My Story

I don’t want to bore you with a whole biography. I had the typical life of a 90’s child growing up in the Midwest United States. Training wheels, Legos, Hey Arnold, etc. I mainly want to focus on 2011. The year that I would say I was born again.

Before I do get to that though I do want to give a little bit of background info. As my blog description would suggest my entire life I have been shy. Preschool I had one friend. Kindergarten one friend. Middle school, you guessed it, one friend. I crawled out of my shell a little bit in High School but not much. College wasn’t much better as I commuted and didn’t really involve myself with the whole college experience thing. Needless to say, I wasn’t much of a ladies man either. I’m a cocoon that has yet to hatch into a social butterfly.

Other than my social issues I had a great life. I was blessed with a huge, loving family that nurtured me to the person I am now. I had a few friends but all them were terrific people. I had everything that a kid could want. In fact, it always bugged me that my social life was the one faucet of my life that was so screwed up.

I’m not sure why I had so much social anxiety. My self-esteem has always been in the toilet. Something must’ve happened when I was a kid that traumatized me or something. I always felt I was different. I started writing books when I was in 2nd grade. I didn’t want to play sports. I wanted to  create. During recess the kids would have fun together while I would walk around the perimeter of the playground alone letting my imagination run wild. I thought of everything. I would pretend that I was a hero saving the world. I would think of ideas for my stories. I don’t regret this time of my life. I just missed out on an opportune time to develop social skills. As any shy kid knows once you are labeled as the “shy kid” at school it is very hard to change that label.

Anyways accelerate to 2010. I am in college taking gen. eds. because all of the Journalism classes were already full. At my school upperclassmen get precedence so it was very hard to get into the classes I wanted to. At the same time, I entered my fifth year working a dead end job at a fast-food joint. I was really starting to get discouraged. Everyday was exactly the same. On top of all of that my parents were going through divorce and we had to sell our house or else we would go into foreclosure. My Aunt had cancer. My life was falling apart around me. The only thing that kept me going was weightlifting. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to be a journalist. It’s not like it’s the most in-demand field. It’s what I wanted to do but I started reconsidering my major with a better job lookout. So here I am at he end of 2010, a 20-year-old with a handful of friends, a crumbling family, stuck making sandwiches everyday, crappy car, dim future prospects with a truckload of college debt waiting at the door when I get my degree.

December 2010 was when I had finally had enough. Enough being stuck in a car stuck in neutral sliding down a hill. It was time to shift in drive and step on the gas.  New Years Resolutions hardly ever become fulfilled and I had certainly never fulfilled mine in the past but I was determined to this year. 2011 WILL be the year I get a new job. 2011 WILL be the year I start newspaper writing. 2011 WILL be the year I expand my social circle. 2011 WILL be the year I am happy.

It was a brutal start to the year. Change does not happen overnight. I started listening to motivational music, watching motivational videos, anything motivational.  It’s hard to shift from being pessimistic your entire life and then all of the sudden become optimistic. I almost gave up. My parents finally split for good and my aunt had passed away. That was the all time low for me. Probably the lowest I ever was in life. My plan was failing. I don’t want to say that I thought about suicide but I’m guessing it would have been close if I had not remained optimistic that things would get better. They couldn’t get much worse after all.

March was when everything changed. A job offer. After hundreds of applications in the past four years. After numerous interviews of me getting shot down. Finally a job offer. It was a seasonal job offer only guaranteed throughout spring and summer but I took it. I went in with a chip on my shoulder. I was determined to get hired on full-time. I worked my but off almost 40 hours a week on top of school. My managers and co-workers were impressed. I was impressed too. I never really took pride in my work. I have developed a strong work-ethic since then. A work-ethic I use in all aspects of my life now.

Then other positive things started happening. Our house got sold. We no longer risked foreclosure. We were no longer held down with a massive house payment. My mom, sister, and I moved into a great house that was much cheaper. Eventually I got hired on permanently. I was making more money. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I rode the momentum. I could finally buy a new car to replace my Dodge Neon. I made new friends. By the end of the year was learning how to write articles. I got an internship to write articles at a major newspaper during Winter Quarter.

Some of these changes were a result of external factors. I didn’t sell our house. The majority of them, however, where a result of my changed attitude. I couldn’t believe what a roller coaster year 2011 was for me. From an all-time low to an all-time high in one year. I’m know that there are plenty of people that have had it way worse than me.  I just wanted to show where I am coming from. I feel like you can’t be great until you’ve hit bottom. Micheal Jordan, for example, was kicked off his high school basketball team. I’d say he turned out pretty well.

My New Year’s Resolution for 2012: keep getting better. #1 Focus on my social anxiety. I think I’ve already worked on it tremendously already simply by reporting. I was scared to death my first interview. By my fourth interview I felt much more relaxed. #2 Help others. Stop putting other people down to make me feel better about myself. Help them. #3 Be the best person that I can possibly be. I can finally say that I love my life but there is always room for me to get better. I know it’s impossible to be perfect and I don’t want to be. I do, however, want my dreams to become a reality.

Hopefully I didn’t rabble on too long. I tried to keep it short. I just wanted everyone to see that no matter how low go in life you can always change things. It will not happen with sacrifice. It will not happen with inaction. It will not happen overnight.  It will happen though. As long as you believe that it will.


About Andrew Mundhenk

I'm a shy guy living in a not so shy world. Help me help you with my blog, I Love My Fear. View all posts by Andrew Mundhenk

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