I’m the life of the party, the girl with the jokes. I’m the one who keeps the conversation going but I’m actually really shy.
The first time I realized I was shy was when I was around seven. We had just finished loading the groceries in to our car when my mother realized she’d forgotten to purchase something. She asked me to run in and get it (by myself) and the very notion of that sent me in to a fear-induced shock. I begged and pleaded not to be sent on the mission alone but she wouldn’t budge. My mother was self described as painfully shy, so she didn’t want to nurture that brand of neurosis in her children. I was the “ham” of the family, so I’m sure she was startled by my sudden lack of confidence. After many deep breaths and through many tears, I returned to the store and fetched the sugar or whatever it was. Her pride in me was palpable.
It would be years until I heard the psycho-babble term extroverted-introvert. It might be textbook psyche 101 but somehow, the term garnered some self-acceptance.
When in a new social setting, I ask a lot of questions. I am basically a cuter and more feminine version of James Lipton. Nobody thinks I’m shy because I’m asking such compelling questions. As long as they don’t want to shake or high-5 my nerve-induced sweaty palm, I’m perceived as super-confident. This system works for me because it accomplishes two things: I get to genuinely know people beyond the surface and the heat of the spotlight is deflected away from me. I love hearing people’s stories so the system mostly works. It mostly works.
When it doesn’t work, I feel like one of those racing turtles. Their shells are painted all pretty for the race and they perform their perfunctory duties. Then the race ends and they retreat back in to their shells.
I rarely share my deepest self with others. I’ve always been the “advice girl”. I really know nothing about nothing but I’m a good listener. I listen because I care and because I don’t want to be a “Debbie Downer” burden by verbalizing my own issues.
My system is flawed; I get that. Writing lets me say everything I want to say without hearing myself choke over the words.
I am going to analyze and anguish over every little word written in this post. I will question and Google the punctuation marks and then I’ll hit publish.
I will publish because I want to be a voice and not just ears.
Dear Diary…Here goes!