I’ve always been an introvert. I’ve always been the quiet, contemplative type. I’m pretty much always listening though, always being alert to my surroundings. Opening up and speaking out was always difficult. I never wanted to answer questions in class; not only do I dislike spotlights, I also don’t like being wrong. It wasn’t until college that I started to become less withdrawn. At first it was hard. I had to create a new identity. I couldn’t be myself around complete strangers, not like I was around my close high school friends. I had to learn to make new friends and put myself into new group settings. It took awhile to make lasting friendships. When class participation became mandatory, I still did everything I could to avoid it, but I tried harder as time went on. When I moved to the Houston area, I put myself out there more. I had to since I was in another situation where I needed to make friends. But this time was different. This time I had more of an identity–new job, new degree, making my way in life. This time was easier to open up to people. I struggle to find a balance sometimes, between being too open and too closed. Sometimes I feel my old ways creeping up inside me, especially with people I really care about. If I speak too openly, I might be judged or rejected…..but if that were to happen, maybe I shouldn’t keep that person around anyways. There’s no need to hold back.