Yesterday, while having one of our non-sequitur down-the-memory-lane conversations with my mother, I reminded her how shy I was as a child when we had guests at home, often hiding in corners or bizarre places, like behind chairs. I use the word “reminded” wrongly, because she seems to have no memory of it in the first place. Her response was, “Oh, you weren’t shy. You aren’t shy.”
Having a deep, authoritative, loud voice that is used to talk quite passionately and quite a lot, ensures that no one will ever believe me to be uncomfortable or absolutely petrified in certain social situations. Nope, having a theatrical voice and a politician’s passion for talk, ensures I am the sacrificial goat for anything that requires any verbal communication. But, believe me, even a phone call sets my heart apace. I find all sorts of people interesting, but I’d rather be watching them from afar than be among them. Because, then, I’d have to be interesting along with them, and that would be impossible to do because I don’t know how to be interesting.
Of course, that helpless talent for loud, nervous talk gives the unfailing impression that I believe I say important, interesting things. While most of the time, at least with strangers who make no effort to put me at ease, my ramblings are just to fill up space and time. Otherwise, I am an anxious ticking bomb that would explode any moment, first in tears and, if I haven’t been rescued by then, in other emissions. And yes, this has happened. The tears part though, not the rest of it.
But still, anyone who’s ever known me, closely or lightly, doubts the sincerity of my claims to shyness. And all because of me being a loudmouth. I didn’t ask for it, and I certainly did not develop it. I should be on stage making use of it, but life and disastrous career decisions have ensured I haven’t even been near a stage in the last four years. But, tell me, if big wrestlers, military men and popstars are allowed to be shy, why not me? And you can’t tell me to work on it, when I have worked on it my entire life. I’ve always been on exposure therapy – being in situations to overcome shyness by having to interact with people who scare me to near death – but, it clearly hasn’t worked. At least, grant me acceptance.
From the beginning of this year I have been wanting to make podcasts for this blog. I’ve even made several demos through these months. But, each time I listen to them, I cringe. I hate every silly little giggle I give out, which thankfully can get edited out of written posts. I hate how arrogant I can sound sometimes, just because of my voice. Sometimes, it even goes all raspy, and femme fatale-ish, except I don’t have any intentions of seducing listeners to potential death. I’m so grateful that writing exists, because it ensures that no failings of my corporeality interfere with how I communicate what I truly feel. All you see are words on a white screen and at least you believe that the one who put them together is telling the truth. At least you, dear Reader, believe I am shy.
Are you shy? Do people believe you aren’t shy, even if you think you are? Do you have any tips on overcoming shyness?