Quiet, Maybe

An open letter addressed to everyone that has known me, will know me, and knows me currently.

Depending on who you are and which one of these three (or somewhere in-between) states we currently abide in, you will have a different reaction to the following statement: I’m sorry that I can be so damn quiet.

Regardless of the fact that right now you’re probably either planning on telling me that I shouldn’t be sorry or giving me advice on how to be more outgoing, I apologize for my tendency to stare off into space or simply giggle when you say things that aren’t even supposed to be funny. I apologize for the way I look at you with expectant eyes that say, “Please, go on.”

But seriously, please, go on.

If you think that I’m going to use the word introvert at all, you are only correct because I’m using it now to promise you that I will not in fact be using that crutch again, at least for the five minutes it’ll take you to read this. I will not justify my actions and personality with a single word, a categorical box I have fallen so in love with living in that I honestly forgot I never even carved a door to walk out of. But consider this to be my metaphorical box cutter, my knife that doubles as a key except it can’t trap anything inside so it really only works the one way.

Hi. I’m Gabby. Nice to meet you. If we have already met, let me re-introduce myself because it’s about time I let you inside my mind a little bit. This is what you need to know:

I suck at conversation, but only in certain scenarios like when I am visiting someplace new or maybe haven’t been in often enough to comfortably unzip my armor and say, “Hey I’m here, notice me.” I suck when there are too many distractions, unlike your typical I-word (I didn’t use it!) like myself because while typical I-word’s love a good distraction to keep the conversation topics flowing, I always find my favorite words to be waiting behind the eyes of the person sitting in front of me when they are saying something, anything, right to me. I suck when I’m under bright fluorescent lights that feel like the spotlights in my middle school drama class and, oh God, please don’t look at me like you expect me to do something interesting. I mean I can be interesting I promise, but not like this. Just wait. Be patient. Please.

You get it, right? You understand that I’m trying to say I don’t like attention, but that’s wrong too because I’m a girl made of contradictions that confuse me more than they will ever confuse you, trust me.

No, I’m not a girl who hates attention. I’m a girl, a woman, a wannabe human just trying to do the whole human thing like everybody else. Hear me, absolutely. Look at me and see something worth holding on to. But for the love of God, please understand that I thought I was going to grow out of that shy kid phase a long time ago and I am trying to figure out what to do with this weird parasite living in my brain.

I’m slowly evolving into a less shy adult who plays pretend as often as she can. Don’t let her fool you; she lives for convincing people that she’s outgoing. She loves it more when she convinces herself too. She’s learned to do it so well that she kind of thinks she deserves an academy award because damn, I bet you can’t even hear the howling wind erupting from the hurricane in her stomach right now. False extroversion (I didn’t use the I-word!) makes her feel alive temporarily, while that little hurricane reminds her to stay grounded. It’s a decent enough balance on the good days when she feels like putting in all that effort. And it’s a lot of effort.

So yeah, I suck at conversations sometimes. Maybe the clouds weren’t exactly in the right position when I woke up or my hair refused to curl in long messy ringlets just way I like it to; my point is, it just happens. My brain and my mouth have never been on the best of terms, and I can’t always control when they’re in an argument but sometimes they are so perfectly in love with one another that I remember why I wouldn’t want them to exist any other way.

Imagine this:

I come over to your house. You put on music we both like. If I know the words I might kind of sing them, or if I don’t I’ll hum along and pretend that I do. I’ll pet your dog or cat or whatever other animal I hope you have. I’ll flop down on your couch just like I did last week. Or maybe you and I go out to eat at one of our favorite spots, or that new place we’ve been really excited to try. Or maybe you ask me to meet you on our spot at the beach, the little alcove that belongs only to us. At least in our heads. It’s late at night, the moon is reflecting beautifully against the crashing waves just enough to illuminate your eyes so I can look at you when we speak and the black sky wraps around us like a blanket, and I am comfortable.

Remember when I said that I’m made of contradictions? Do you see the irony in loving people and being terrified of speaking to them?

No, not terrified actually, but it’s more like somebody is standing at the doorway of my brain saying, “sorry we’re closed today” but I don’t remembering even hiring that guy in the first place. Where’d he come from anyway? I understand that it’s only a part time position, but come on he’s really getting in the way of the whole “loving people” thing I’m trying to do here. What a jerk.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that I am just a person who wants to be a little bit of everything. And I’m just a human who wants you to love me for it, not in spite of it.

So I’m sorry if my quietness is never consistent, if one minute I’m dancing like I’ve had too much to drink and the next I’m hiding in my comfortable little turtle shell, but the only thing I’ve ever been consistent at is inconsistency. And loving people. So I’ll love you for your quirks if you love me for mine.





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