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Being self-centered and self-conscious at the same time

For the final for my econ/government class, we had a final project. I don’t remember the exact details of the assignment and what we were supposed to present. Somehow I had the great idea to create a video about myself. Somehow I had an incredible desire to tell the entire class about myself.

And also, the teacher had given us the option to ask a friend to see our final project be presented. So I chose Rebecca.

Except all I can remember when I showed the video was how suddenly embarrassed I was.

In high school, I was incredibly socially anxious. I didn’t want to tell people who I was. Instead, I wanted to bury myself into the background and not be noticed. So that always led to this paradoxical desire—I desperately wanted to be heard, but not seen.

So like many brilliant ideas in my life, I had imagined the perfect ideal scenario. I would create an artistic video that summarized everything that I felt, saw, and heard. Everything that was about me. Now the world would understand! Now everyone would grasp at what’s important about me! Now they would get it! But unfortunately during the process, I didn’t think deeply about what it meant to actually present the material.

So on the day of the final project, I played the video that I had carefully created. As I played it, I suddenly was so embarrassed and terrified. I covered my face. My teacher did notice and attempted to yank me out my embarrassment. Embarrassed again, I forced myself to watch…my masterpiece.

And it was fine. I am pretty sure my high school classmates don’t remember it, especially now it’s more than 15 years ago.

But this past Monday, I thought—what a great idea to present my “About Me” at my new job. I would show my quirkyness, my fun, and my style. But as usual, this time with years of maturity and confidence, I blasted through it with no fear. But then I realized—the terror. I have just exposed myself with the silliness of how I viewed life (privately) and how I wanted life to be.

But then afterwards? Not much, except for the colleagues who already was very interested in my background. So I seeped back into silence and the neverending skulking.