Friday, September 5, 2008

Introvert to Extrovert

Looking back, it's almost as if I were a flower opening in reverse from childhood to adolescence. That by the time I stumbled, dazed, out of adolescence, it was as if all my petals had folded in on themselves.

And now I am trying to reverse the journey, to reconnect with my childhood chutzpah. Not to say I was always a well-behaved kid. Honestly, I was known to border on downright obnoxiousness. So maybe not going so far as to be a wild child, but enough to jump into the middle of the stream and be okay watching the current I create. To participate instead of lurking and watching voicelessly.

I've been trying to think what it was about turning twelve that made me change into an opposite person from what I started out as. Well, I know a big part of it was the hair. It was about that age that it got cut off, leaving me mushroom-headed. At the same time I went from an environment of few rules to one of many. I went from a place where things were easy to where they were hard. And I went from one where I was closer to society's ideal of beauty, to where I was planets away from the beauty ideal compared to those around me. Plus that whole puberty thing. Man, was I awkward! Braces, big 80's glasses, bad skin, no clue about clothes, and broken, frizzy hair.

And boys. Lots of energy went into trying to catch one of those (no success in highschool, which is just as well. Just like a dog chasing a car, I don't know what I would have done had I actually caught one).

Teenage years are the years that you try on different yous, like dresses, and see which one fits, and which one the world around you responds to in a way that you feel comfortable with. I spent many of those years trying on conforming outfits. Trying to not be odd. Trying out the combination lock to the door of normalcy. Sometime around sixteen or seventeen I gave that up, and got quiet instead. By eighteen, I wrote much more than I spoke.

Then over the years, another change happened. I figured out my hair, and now have the long mermaid hair I'd dreamed of. My curly security blanket. And I've made peace with so many of the things that kept me quiet all those years. And I'm surrounded by wonderful people.

And with the site has come new lessons. Lessons that it's time to have a voice again. To learn the lessons that come with communicating, with having opinions (and actually saying them out loud). Having started the Biracial Hair site has been like finally stepping out into the stream and watching the currents I myself create. Because I have stepped into the water, and put up the site, I have met so many wonderful people, been exposed to many great ideas and voices, and found new friends from all over the world.

I have discovered that the more I've thrown myself to the universe, the more it has given back to me.


modest-goddess said...

I've always been shy and introverted but I have become more assertive with age and less likely to let people take advantage of me.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for sharing your experience with the world. I was a Mushroom-haired child as well lol and being mixed didn't help the matter either - I didn't know who to identify with and because I had no African American family members in my life until I was 24 years old, I was a confused little soul for quite a long time. I wish you the best of luck in everything and I look forward to your book coming out!

Former Mushroom-Haired Child said...

Thank you thelady for your post, and I'm so glad that you have become more assertive with age. That is a huge relief to feel more comfortable taking up for yourself.

My heart goes out to you uneekdiva, being a lone mixed Mushroom-haired child with no people of color to identify with. I spent many of my adolescent years in racial isolation, so I got a taste of what you must have gone through. I enjoyed reading your blog, and I also wish you lots of luck and joy.

Anonymous said...

This post really resonated with me, and I thank you for being so open and honest! I'm so excited I came across both your site and your Blog, keep up the fabulous work;-)

Christie said...

wow! thank you for sharing your experience. It's so great to read how someone could be growing up in a different part of the world but have VERY similar experiences including chasing guys in HS and mushroom hair.

I've figured out many things but still trying to figure out how to get rid of the mushroom!!