I tend to overreact to things.
But I wasn’t always like this. Actually, back in elementary school, I tended to under-react to things. I wasn’t particularly hyperactive during class. I was quiet and liked to keep my head down.
Not to say that I wasn’t a happy kid. I mean, what did I have to worry about? I had barely any homework and played outside all day. I had friends. My parents fed me. The freeloading life was pretty swag.
But I guess in elementary school, I wasn’t a very emotive kid. Or something like that. I suppose. I really didn’t notice. Regardless, in my later elementary years, my teachers took notice of my subdued behavior.
This happened more than once.
I didn’t really think much of it. Maybe my teachers were just concerned for their students.
Fifth grade was a particularly fun year for me. I had a young, super-cool teacher (who taught us the Pledge of Allegiance in sign language) I really liked my classmates (especially the kid next to me who taught me how to play Yu-Gi-Oh… ooooh, grade school crush) and I got to race cars made from K’nex. Heck, in elementary school terms, I was pretty much living the life.
That year, each student had to sit down with their teacher and talk with them one-on-one. Like a parent-teacher conference, minus the parents. I wasn’t too concerned since I wasn’t a troublemaker. Plus, as previously stated, I loved my teacher because she was super-cool.
Whoa, hold up. What? She had something to tell me? I did something wrong? My young mind was thrown into uncertainty. Oh no, I must be in trouble! The suspense! Say it, just say it now!
I needed to smile more? What? But why? I was perfectly content. Did it not show? Did I not smile? Did I look, like, perpetually depressed all the time or something?
Wait, she said it again!! This wasn’t a joke!
And, if I didn’t smile enough, maybe I was depressed! Oh no!! Have I been secretly unhappy this whole time while I thought I was happy?
AHHH!! IF MY SUPER-COOL TEACHER THOUGHT I WAS UNHAPPY, IT MUST BE TRUE!!
That day, little elementary school me went home very confused.
How have I not been displaying my happiness? Was I unhappy? I consulted my closest confidant.
I was playing Pokemon. So that pretty much answered the question for me.
Still, this was a problem. So, like how Ash resolved to become a Pokemon master, I made my own resolution that night.
I walked into class confidently the next day, ready to show that I was a DARN CHEERFUL KID and I CAN SMILE, DARNIT! I just needed the right opportunity.
I found my chance when my super-cool teacher announced that we would be raising animals that year. That caught my attention. Animals?! No way! I had always wanted a pet. I was very excited.
WAIT! I MUST DEMONSTRATE ENTHUSIASM.
In fact, each kid would get their own animals to bring home.
Specifically, a pair of fiddler crabs.
In my determination to show that I had enthusiasm, and the fact that I was actually extremely thrilled about this guys, omg look at their little claws, meant that I was soon reduced to a jumble of breathless chatter and wildly waving arms.
I was a mess. A very excited mess. And the thing is, I never stopped being an excited mess. To this day, I gesture wildly, overreact to everything, and generally make a fool of myself.
At least my teacher never questioned my emotional health again.