A label that used to affect me a lot in high school was that of being the “shy or quiet girl”. I would get that all the time mostly because I was really quiet and shy. However, it was also like the self-fulfilling prophecy where that was the way I and others saw myself so that’s how I would act. I felt constricted in a box and would be afraid of what people would think about me if I did something that wasn’t part of the person they thought I was. For example, someone who is shy doesn’t speak in front of the class or even in a large group. So, I never volunteered to speak first and I only spoke if I had to because I thought they would judge me and think that I was fake. I didn’t want them to think or say, “Look at her. Who does she think she is talking if she never talks” or stuff like that. Which never actually happened or not that I was aware of. Instead, people would be surprised and say good job but I thought they were just saying that to be nice and didn’t actually mean it.
In the relationship aspect, this affected me in the sense that I only had 2 close friends. I had a group that I would hang out with and since my school was really small and everyone had been together since 5th grade, we were all generally friendly to one another. When we would hang out I would only listen for the most part and never really gave my opinion unless asked; didn’t feel like it was necessary as the more dominant personalities had given theirs already. But the only people who I felt comfortable to be myself around with were those 2 friends. With my family during those years, I was labeled as shy but it didn’t affect to the extent it did with the people in my school. Not that I didn’t care what they thought about me, it was different with them because no matter what they were my family and I was always comfortable with them.
During my senior year of high school, everything regarding being the “shy girl” started to change. I didn’t do a full 180-degree change to the point where I was a social butterfly but I didn’t see myself as the shy girl. I still don’t to this day. I know that I do tend to be reserved but I’m not afraid to participate in class for example or to initiate small talk. It’s definitely hard to open up, but at least now I don’t limit myself to things only a shy girl would do.