Last weekend I spent time with a group of girls who have known me longer than anyone else besides my own family. We talked for hours and hours, laughing and sharing stories, erasing years and distance. It was refreshing and healing.
The final morning I found our senior yearbook, from all the way back in 1999. Flipping through it, I noticed something. Page after page, a familiar face kept popping up at me. My own. Every activity, every party, every event. The more pictures I saw, the more I cringed. The inward narrative started.
“Ugh, why did you have to do so much?”
“Why were you always a camera hog?”
“You must have been so annoying!”
“Why are you always That Girl?”
Insecurities surfaced with the old narrative. Yes, it was clear that I lived with a deep need to find my worth in my activity and my achievements. We went to a small private school, so plenty of opportunities for over-involvement existed. Still, it hurt to watch it unfold in this book, as I know I STILL so often act out of a craving for approval and acceptance.
But then I realized something. I’ve wasted 19 years looking back at that stage of my life, mentally apologizing. Feeling guilt. Maybe even feeling shame.
But why? What do I have to be guilty about?
It’s okay to be an extreme extrovert. It’s okay to want to do ALL the things, and live with such a wild abandon that every activity is one I want to join. It’s okay to get excited about events and people and maybe even overcommit myself to be part of the fun. It’s okay to love life and live it at a fast (sometimes high-volumed) pace.
Why do I need to apologize for the way God designed me?
Because of my history with mania, it is difficult for me to find the line between what is Manic Erin and what is Fun Erin in my timeline. They are so connected and often hard to distinguish.
Thanks to a lot of counseling, a program at my church called Repurposed, and further soul searching and enneagram-discovering (can you tell I’m a 7???), I now accept that my over-the-top personality and love to do all things is part of who I am and always has been. Whether I’m manic or stable is not the issue. The issue is that I can be comfortable being That Girl, just as my introvert friends can be comfortable in who they are.
We all bring much to the table. I don’t need to apologize for wanting to be at 500 different tables at once. I may need to apologize when I drop the ball, because that’s an ever-present struggle, but being the person who gets excited about everything and wants to be part of it all with forever FOMO is NOT something to be sorry for!
Somehow it took 19 years and a weekend at the lake to discover this.
I’m That Girl. And I’m okay with it.