Friday, 5 September 2014

On being a snail, in a slugs' world

Does chronic shyness ever go away?

If you'd come up to me when I was 11, my defence would be to blush from my toes to my ears.  I was quiet, thoughtful, and eventually - probably due to not quite fitting in at that age - timid.

I didn't start that way, and I'm not that way now.

But all these little parts of our childhood selves are in there somewhere I think.  I might not be shy anymore, but that's only because I fight it at every turn.  I force myself to make that phone call... I make myself cross the street to say hello.  But I don't always find it easy.

I usually find about 6 months of knowing someone is my thawing point.  When I'm in a new job, for example, people often think I'm quiet and 'serious.'  Then, as the layers peel back, and my sense of humour gradually dusts itself off, they are often surprised by the "me" that emerges. 

I mean, darling, I'm simply fabulous!....

Sometimes people amaze me - the ease at which they seem to form friendships and warm to people.  Sometimes when I watch them slip into social situations with ease, it seems as if they are doing it just to get at me - Look!  How easy it is!! In your face, snail woman!

On the computer, like so many gregarious people trapped in a shy shell, I can be myself.  I don't know why it's easier, but it is.

I think we're all like this to some extent, on and offline.  Maybe the outwardly zany freaks recreate themselves online in other ways, but me?  I can be myself on here.

I wouldn't say I suffer from proper shyness anymore. But I do suffer uncertainty. 

I do have to fight the feeling that if you don't speak to me, it's because you don't WANT to, or you don't LIKE me... if you can't come over, it's because you think I'm this, that, or the other.

It's taken me 25 years to say "sod it" to those feelings and decide that (a) if I'm right, it's no great loss (b) if I'm wrong, that's fine too.

But if you bump into me and I shrink back into my shell a little, give me a bit of time.

After all, what's 6 months between friends?

Plus, you're a slug.  You really can't be too choosy.

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