My Survival Kit

At times, I feel as if I have a harder than average time connecting with people. I’d describe it as a constant sense of FOMO. I’m surrounded by others in the media and in my own life that seem like exceptional “people persons”.  I, on the other hand, constantly feel awkward in social situations, dread new environments, dislike large noisy groups, and occasionally feel overcome by feelings that people just pretend to like me.

I’m constantly reminded that human connection is one of the best things about life. Something that should be inspiring; something that professes the best things in life are free! Anyone can do it! But that sentiment tends to fill me with a tiny bit of dread. It doesn’t feel like something I can achieve easily; it feels like something I’m lacking the skills to accomplish and something I’m missing out on.

I’m an introvert. I’m fairly withdrawn and I enjoy spending long periods of time by myself with my thoughts. I re-energize by being alone. But while, being alone re-energizes me, it also has the twofold effect of making me feel as though I’m not connecting to people the way I should be.

I’m completely unaware of how I come off to other people because my mind is preoccupied with the feelings of anxiety and discomfort that plague my thoughts during most social interactions. I have a looming feeling that others perceive me as awkward and boring.

While this may or may not be true, I have managed to make several friends throughout my 25 years of life.

One particular friend gifted me a “survival kit” for my possibly 17th birthday. It was a cute white stationary box. At the time it was filled with all the teenage essentials…..for some reason all I remember now are the ear plugs and a silver call bell….? Idk high school is weird.

However, now the box is filled with all of the nice letters or endearments from people who have mattered to me. Every once in a while, when I need to be reminded that people care about me I take a peruse through the box. I think it’s beautifully symbolic now that this stationary box still has the words “Survival Kit” scrawled on the lid in my best friend’s hand writing.

The box contains lots of nostalgia and love—old pictures, birthday cards, thank you notes from friends, a thank you note from my college work study for the positive interactions I had with several unique children at the museum’s learning center, notes from Adam, letters from my pen pal, mementos that people have given me, well wishes on my move to Texas, pictures drawn by kids I babysat, handmade crafts from my cousins, random “thinking of you notes”, etc.

It’s a nice way to spend an evening and I’d recommend it to anyone.  It’s a pleasant reminder that even if I’m not as loud and boisterous as everyone else, I can still make an impact on people.


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