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Well then… Let’s begin with the general perception of a typical 17-year-young Pakistani lad. What’re the first few adjectives that pop up when you think of one? Tall? Dark? Handsome…? Never mind those, let’s talk about the most prominent of them all, extrovert.
Growing up in Pakistan, you’re expected to be socially confident, have good conversational skills, navigate through alleyways and have your local bun kabab waala’s contact number saved, but for me… that wasn’t the case.
I grew up in my own world, disconnected from the majority. I could never seek interest in any particular activity that would pique the interest of others my age. I’d rather sit alone, stay quiet, pay no heed to what was happening around me, this was what I desired. Enough about me, let’s talk about how I moved away from extreme isolation, to venting to a complete stranger.
1. Desiring Change
The first step is to desire change… which I never did, it just happened. For the entirety of my school life, I either did not attend my classes or sat in a corner, imagining what’d be the most plausible option if a terrorist attack were to happen, never really cared about anyone else… Ugh, I’m talking about myself again, let’s just move on, so where were we? Ah, yes, desiring change, I never wanted to change, until I entered my high school life.
2.Change. But When?
The second step is knowing when to change. You should aim for a new beginning in your life, after achieving a milestone, that’s the ripest moment for you to morph into a typical Pakistani boy, especially if you’re trying to leave behind your introverted nature.
A new campus, with eighteen students? Introvert Haven. That’s what I thought. Then came along a girl… WAIT, WAIT, WAIT! We’re not drifting towards a love story, let me go on… She was the embodiment of pure joy, with an immortal smile, and a happy-go-lucky attitude, she would be quite attractive for any young boy, my age, but I? I didn’t care. She approached me, and within a month, we were friends, I had grown accustomed to her goofy attitude, and longed for it.
3. Change Now!
The third step is to change. We’d talk for hours. We didn’t honestly care about what the society deems norm or what it calls unconscionable. We only wanted to talk. A few months went by, and now I felt the change, I had friends, my contact list had more than just my parent’s contacts, I was… happy.
4. Enjoy It
The fourth step is to stick with the change, let it sink in. In the course of my introverted years, I had grown completely isolated from my relatives, after this change, I tried visiting one of my not so close, yet not so distant, relatives, they were trying to deduce just who I was… (LOL)
When you’re at the age of 12, and haven’t tried to connect for a span of 5 years (yes I know it’s a short one), and you’re suddenly 17, going through that teenage phase, striking puberty and completely transitioning into adulthood, would boggle anyone’s mind, let alone relatives.
Oh and this doesn’t really have a happy ending, that friend I spoke about? She doesn’t even talk to me anymore… Well… she does, but only when she needs me… BUT! I felt the change was positive, so I’ve stuck with it, and still am, as I’d call it, the better me.