Hopefully, this post will not come across as self-pitying or anything of that nature. Instead, it is meant to enlighten and educate others (and myself), and to encourage you guys to be kind and compassionate toward others who may struggle with being shy or introverted, like myself. It is also meant to let you guys know, as honestly as I possibly can, what I struggle with on a daily basis. We all have our struggles and crosses to bear! Hopefully, I am conducting myself with dignity and class in the process.
As anyone who has known me for even a little bit can recognize, I am very introverted and shy, even on my best days. I am trying my best each day to overcome that stuff, but it’s not easy. Unfortunately, I was bullied on a daily basis in elementary school, and even in high school, because of my weight issues (which I struggle with to this day), as well as because I was so painfully shy. I wanted to fight back, but I didn’t know how to! I sat by myself in the cafeteria every day, I was always picked last in gym class, and I never had a single date in high school. Social life was quite difficult. The thing was, I went to Catholic elementary school (St. Matthew in Detroit) and Catholic high school (Notre Dame High School in Harper Woods)! My family lived in Detroit at the time (they moved to Clinton Township in 1992), and had they not sent me to Catholic school, the other option was to attend the Detroit Public Schools. That was not an option from my parents’ standpoint, and I am eternally grateful for their decision! I got a top-notch education and had the opportunity to graduate from Central Michigan University because I attended Catholic schools. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t wish my social life during those days on my worst enemy!
As I mentioned, I never went on a date in high school, and to this day, haven’t been on very many dates. I’m 44 years old and have never had a serious girlfriend. That feels like such a heavy weight to bear, even though none of my family or friends have passed judgement on me. My two younger sisters, Amy and Jenny, have both gotten married and now have families of their own. During their respective wedding days, I tried as best as I could to be the supportive big brother, and Amy and Jenny were both very compassionate toward me on their respective big days. Thankfully, they realized that weddings aren’t exactly my favorite things in the world. Just the same, it was hard to enjoy their weddings, because deep down, I wondered, “Why can’t I have what they have?” I realize now that it was self-pity on my part, but that’s how I felt at the time. I’m so thankful that I have good relationships today with Amy and Jenny, and that I have two wonderful nieces, Kayla (age 9) and Elianah (age 1).
I don’t remember exactly when, but my parents and my sister Amy talked things over with several professionals in the mental health field, and the professionals came to the conclusion that I have Asperger’s Syndrome. If you don’t know about that condition, I encourage you to look it up on the WebMD site. The site states that symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome can range from mild to severe. Those symptoms include: problems with social skills, eccentric or repetive behaviors, unusual preoccupations or rituals, and communication difficulties, just to name a few.
I am very thankful that I have several female friends who look past what’s on the outside and realize that I am doing the best that I can. To be quite honest, though, I would eventually like to move past friend status and have an honest to God relationship with a woman. Of course, that’s easier said than done! I look at that as a form of redemption for all the unhappiness I’ve endured in my life, and I also look at it as a reward for persevering in the face of adversity. Of course, I realize that God’s way of rewarding people is different from my own! I need to focus on taking things one day at a time and living life to the best of my ability.
I realize I took a risk by writing this post. My parents and sisters probably think I’m crazy for writing this. While I understand their concern, my reasoning is that if you can’t accept me as I am and that I’m doing the best I can every day, then I don’t want to deal with you from a personal or professional standpoint. I also view it as another step toward being the best I can be, toward cleansing myself of the past and moving on with my life.
Thank you for reading and God bless you.