When you have an outgoing big sister, it's easy to be shy. From birth, I could always rely on my sister to do the talking for me. She helped us make neighborhood friends, navigate parties, and entertain guests. But eventually, she moved out of the house, and I realized that I could no longer depend on her to fill in the spaces where words often failed me.
I was a bookworm and a writer from the time I was old enough to understand words. During tutorial in high school, I was the only person who would actually utilize the time to get homework done rather than pass notes. Spending weekends pounding away on the noisy keyboard of the old IBM computer that had become mine after my family upgraded to a newer model was preferable to picking up the phone (a terrifying prospect in itself), calling a friend to hang out, and facing potential rejection. I'm an introvert by nature, and I decided that being alone was better than being told no.
A few months into my first year of grad school, I did what I thought was impossible: I actually initiated a date myself.
In college, I discovered an affable roommate and alcohol, and both acted as magical social lubricants. I joined the dance team,...