“You’re intimidating”. These were the words right out of dear friend’s mouth. Each syllable stinging like darts aiming to puncture my lung leaving me slightly breathless. What provoked this sentiment? Why hadn’t she told me sooner? I devoted my effort into focusing on the TV commercial to avoid looking at her face or better yet to keep her from seeing the expression I had on mine. In the midst of my confusion, I managed to utter “what do you mean?”. She attempted to straighten out the confusion by exchanging “intimidating” with “strong personality”, as if that was any better. Her explanation meant nothing because both words translated into a fear brought upon by my presence.

The only shocking factors about the delivered statement was that it was coming from a very close friend and she had chosen an uncomfortable set of words in which to express herself. Oddly enough, I had heard similar comments before. Some have said it’s my straight-face, rude-like jokes while others believe it is the attitude I give when performing spoken word. Either way, I ignored the comments because they referred to a part of my personality that was not going to change, but I guess my friend put it in perspective for me. It made me wonder how many of my other friends could agree with her, but never bothered to share such feelings. With my friend’s departure, I immediately commenced a text message survey to determine if I was, in fact, intimidating.

To my disappointment, I received a handful of yeses. Very few said no and a couple of others did not respond or were in between. I don’t know how “not really” justifies as an answer, but apparently it does. I laid in my bed staring at the complex ceiling arrangement that reflected my mental state. Why do people think I’m mean? Even my boyfriend told me of situations where certain girls were scared to be around or even meet me. This one girl, Megan Jerome, took off running when I saw him notify her that she was about to meet me. I’m 5’0 and 113 lbs. WHO COULD BE AFRAID OF SOMEONE SO PETITE?!

At this point, I needed to do something drastic! I picked up my phone and called my best friend in New York. I presented her with the situation troubling my mind and she told that we both

have strong personalities, but it is a good thing because then people will respect us. It does not necessarily mean they are scared, but fully aware of the kind of woman I am. I also spoke to my mother who let me know that I’ve always been the assertive type ever since I was little. She told me when I was in kindergarten, another kid in my neighborhood stole my bicycle. She was preparing to come handle things until she realized I was already in the process of getting my bicycle back.

These are two women who know me as well as penguins know their mates solely based on their scents. I almost had to believe them and how could I not? Their words were so enlightening. Everything said about me and feelings felt towards me were simply false assumptions. That is what I had to keep telling myself. I can always try to make better impressions and amend the ones I have already established, but until then I’m just going to the same ole me.