The Introverted "People Pleasing" Artist, Part 3
Because it was always such a challenge to make friends with my shy, timid and introverted nature, I supposed it was expected I would have to put twice the effort into relationships.
My first friendship outside of my sisters was with a girl named Jennifer. We were in Kindergarten. She had straight, blonde hair and big blue eyes. I was tall, awkward, shy, and had an odd eye shape that confused everyone as to my heritage.
“Mexican? No, you have to be mixed with something else…”
After weeks where I searched for my adoption papers or my picture on milk cartons, I accepted I was, in fact, my parents’ daughter. (Or that my poor Chinese parents tragically put my picture only on Chinese milk cartons)
At lunch time, Jennifer would have me relay messages of love to random boys in class. I would then send messages back. When I told my mom what I did at school, she was enraged. She said, “Tell her you are not her maid!”
So I obediently went up to her the following day and said thus. Except, I had understood “mail” from my mom and said, “I am not your mail!”
To which she responded, “You mean, maid, right?” I nodded. So she turned around and befriended someone else. She completely ignored me. I felt slighted – betrayed even.
My mom said it was for the best. But I wasn’t so sure. So I told Jennifer I was sorry, and would keep sending messages. To my relief, this was acceptable and she held no remorse. What was the damage done after the impending breakdown of the friendship, after I yelled at her at the top of my 7-year old lungs one sunny afternoon? A total of 5 Barbie dolls and countless toys and trinkets "borrowed" and never returned, and a lonely existence as she told everyone else to ignore me.
I had come to hate her back then, at how easily she used me and took what I loved. But I now see how I willingly gave it all without speaking up for myself. Why had I done that? My mother certainly did not train this behavior in me.
A few friends sprinkled throughout my life actually saw us as equals and we would share, without even thinking, the gives. I am forever thankful for them. They taught me true camaraderie, laughter, and built up my confidence. I hope I was able to do the same for them...
But a drastic change was about to occur - if I thought it was hard to make friends in Arizona, I was in for a massive shock-wave when we moved to Southern California...