In my large family of 9, I was the middle child. I often felt like the ordinary one, the quiet one, the over looked one. I had friends, but anyone outside of my circle of friends, probably never heard me speak. I may have been the most awkward, red in the face if there was a boy around girl in Roanoke, Virginia. Sadly, this stayed with me throughout college. I had an awesome time with my friends and roommates, but beyond that, my stomach would knot up and I could barely look anyone in the eyes let alone speak to them. I had no idea what to say to any boy I liked in college; I had no moves. I was that girl.
So I graduated with my associates degree in 3 years, don’t judge, and I took a year off. I moved to Colorado where my parents had recently moved to from Virginia. I lived with my parents for just a few months. My old college roommate was from Colorado and we decided to look for an apartment to rent together. I had no idea my roommate was living a different single lifestyle than I until after we moved in together. What I thought would be a lot of fun together was not so fun. I didn’t know her anymore and we rarely hung out. I felt super alone and pathetic. My nights were spent at Barnes and Noble on their chairs reading a book off the shelf. Some nights were spent sitting in between my parents watching movies on the weekend. Picture My Big Fat Greek Wedding, that was me.
After a few months of that, I decided enough was enough, nothing was going to change if I didn’t change. I didn’t want to be unheard or overlooked any more. I wanted to know me. I set a goal for myself to try something new each month. I started jogging around my neighborhood, making flower arrangements, tried cooking, wrote poetry, wrote in my journal, and joined a basketball league at church. The hardest goal of all… I decided to talk to someone or introduce myself to one person at church every Sunday. As I did these things, the fear of being heard and seen lessened. I began to develop true confidence in myself. It took practice and effort but I enjoyed me and knowing me. Things got even better once I decided to find new roommates. My calendar started to fill with fun activities and my new found confidence even won me some dates! I was having a blast!
It wasn’t long after making all these changes that something wonderful happened; I met my husband. We were set up on a blind date. During our first phone conversation before we met, we were trying to pinpoint a day to go out. I had a Dave Matthews Concert, a River rafting trip and whatever else, so our first date was put off for 2 weeks. He said that intimidated him with how busy my social life was! If he only had seen me months earlier sitting alone at Barnes and Noble reading books nearly every night after work! The funniest thing to me about the two of us is how opposite we were as teenagers. He was the popular jock who never ran out of date options and was super confident. We ended up getting engaged in 10 days and married 3 months later. How grateful I am that I was given the courage to stop waiting around and make a change. I had no idea of the potential waiting inside of me.
Written by Stacie Baca
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