I woke up from a nap today to a text message from a friend that kind of caught me off guard. She expressed concern for me stating that I don't seem like my normal happy self.
This spawned an introspective look into my life. Am I okay? Am I happy?
I've experienced a lot of change recently. I moved, started two new jobs, transferred my records to a new ward, a favorite friend of mine moved away causing my circle of friends to change drastically.
I am naturally very shy. Adjusting to all this new stuff hasn't be outwardly overwhelming, but it has definitely taxed my vibrant spirit. Because of my shy nature, I appreciate control. By control I mean control of my life and the ability to predict with some surety what will happen next.
The change that has probably impacted me the most is my friendship circle changing. I miss showing up at my friend's apartment announced or unannounced. No matter the time or day, he or one of his roommates was home. I did whatever they did. We watched tv, we ran errands, we went fishing, we had homework parties. Now when I want to do something, I have to find someone to do something with. This can be very intimidating to me.
I really like my new ward, but I feel like an outsider. For the most part, I feel accepted by my ward members. The acceptance that is surprisingly hindering is that of my Bishopric, their wives, and the adult members who serve as shepherds. I am monopolized by these adults each Sunday and every time I attend a ward activity. They all come talk to me and express their appreciation to have a young person with so much maturity, leadership skills, and the desire to share talents. I appreciate the awe they express, but it keeps me from socializing with my peers. Not only does this conversation physically keep me from my peers, but I feel like it socially and even spiritually keeps me from my peers. Sometimes I feel as though I'm not allowed to just be a kid in this ward.
Probably the strangest struggle I've encountered is scoring a 200 on the PRAXIS. It should be a source of pride and joy in my ability, but I am beginning to feel like it has changed things for me as well.
When I posted my score, I mentioned a dream I had the night after taking the test. In my dream, I got my perfect score, but I also found out that my dear friend didn't pass. I wanted so desperately to rejoice, but I couldn't because I felt like it was hurting my friend who didn't fare as well.
I think this dream was a preparation for reality. I hesitated to share my score with anyone. Then I thought, well, now that's silly. I should be able to enjoy my successes. I shouldn't hide from them.
While my family wished me congratulations, I don't think they ever grasped how big of a deal this was to me. I had hoped they would want to celebrate with me somehow.
At school, I was put on the spot and even embarrassed. I walked into class where news of my score had spread. One of my classmates called me out and insisted that I had news. I awkwardly announced my results and then sat down.
I appreciated the private congratulations that I received that day. I didn't appreciate the remarks (accompanied by eye rolls) such as, "Of course YOU did well on the PRAXIS."
It was a hard test. Although I didn't dedicate hours to studying specific material with this test in mind, I have spent my whole life studying for this test. I love to learn. I have sacrificed other things to learn. I read everything around me. I study things that pique my interest throughout the day. When I'm with my friends and someone has a question that no one can answer, I go home that night and look up that answer. My friends tease me for that, but I learn a lot as a result. I ask questions and seek answers. I am not a rare genius. I don't just know things naturally. I have worked hard to learn the things I know and to retain this information. When others do as little as possible to get a grade on an assignment, I delve into the material and learn and do more than is required. Learning is something I value and enjoy.
Now in class, I feel alienated and even lonely. The friends I sat next to last year are scattered in other parts of the room. Fortunately, I get to sit by my dear friend, Sarah.
Yet, it feels as though I am not freely accepted as a peer by my classmates.
School also feels different because of a miscommunication before school started that now makes me feel intimidated and awkward around my professors.
Yes, I am happy. I am so incredibly blessed right now. I have many great opportunities in my life. I delight in my future.
I am just expending a lot of energy adjusting to all the change in my life right now.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.
I appreciate my friend expressing concern. A load that I was unaware of has been lifted, because I took this time to sort through my feelings.