Posted in Of Psyche

Of Being Shy


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?


Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

4 thoughts on “Of Being Shy

  1. I’m not shy, but I am an introvert, and I would much rather listen than talk … but I go ahead and–with great outward cheer-fill all silences anyhow, leading people to exclaim in disagreement when I call myself am introvert.

    My favorite parties were my sisters’ high school friends’ parties. They’d play nerdy games while I dozed from a corner, happy to be around people with no expectation I should interact. I miss that.

    1. I really envy your ability to do that. I find it very hard to distinguish between introversion and shyness. I started reading that book “Quiet” that came out a few years ago, but I realised that wasn’t me. I’ve gotten better over the years, but I still find it very hard to just be quiet among people. Apart from filling up awkward silences with awkward talk, I just can’t help wanting to know people better. Some people find that flattering and love to share more than they should with a stranger. Others judge me before they proceed with small talk. All in all, it is a mess and how I wish I could be like you, sitting contently in a corner while being in a crowd.

  2. I’m shy and disabled not a good combo haha people don’t understand me sometimes because of it. But hey I’m a good writer so thats all I care about. I do get really nervous with phone calls and being shy is a nightmare when it comes to dating. I’m very inexperienced in that field

    1. I wish I could help you with that, but I’m clueless myself. These interactions are part of our regular lives, and we both know they don’t get easier even if we do them a lot. I am told shyness stems from lack of self-esteem (like everything seems to. I hope they start making self-esteem supplements soon. Would be the invention of the century!) but I need more present results. I’ve realised, getting older makes me more comfortable with my skin, so that I no longer feel as anxious as I used to when I am around certain people. But, it isn’t easy, and some days I am in a really good mood and I forget not to care. It actually helps to be in a angry, bad mood, because then you don’t want to put up with BS!
      Thank you for reading and commiserating!

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