Monday, August 02, 2010

shy girl

Here's how it all happened.

Andre the Greek had an intervention with me. This isn't a rare thing. Andre is prone to telling people exactly what he thinks they need to be doing with their life. He's outspoken, on account of him being Greek and all. The Greeks aren't a shy bunch.

So there was an intervention.

"I just don't get it.", I said.

"You need to talk more." Andre instructed.

"And don't stand like that with your arm crossed. You look pissed."

My whole life I'd been called the Ice Queen, snotty, reticent. I was quintessentially, wholly, frustratingly, misunderstood.

What I really am is shy. And if you aren't shy yourself, let me just define for you what is it to be shy.

Imagine yourself in a ballroom surrounded by beautiful people and you are standing in the middle in a bathing suit that is too small, with split ends and gnarly troll toes and a massive muffin top.

Yep, that just about covers it. So when you stand there with your arms crossed it's because you are trying to hold your boobs in, not because you are pissed.

But I had missed out on friendships. I had missed out on a lot of life. And it was time to change.

"I'm turning over a new leaf!" I announced.

But in their hearts, no one believed me. Hell, I didn't even believe me.

I started small. I talked more. I introduced myself to one new person a week.

It's been almost four years of Project New Leaf. The Ice Queen is almost melted away. Sadly though, it hasn't gotten a whole lot easier for me. I still want to crawl back into my shell. And I want my shell to be stocked with art supplies and cup cakes.

The problem lies in my approach. It's problematic. I have a hard time gauging how much of myself to share. More often than not, I hit people like a paintball to the face. (Robin's egg blue paint of course.) They stand with wide eyes and their hair blown back trying to process what has happened. I want to be like a waft of exotic perfume. Something floral and spicy with just enough scent to leave people on their tip toes searching for just one more whiff.

It's a hard thing for me. I stand back and watch those of you out there that are naturals and I wonder if you know what a gift you have. Charisma.

But I'm holding on tight to my new leaf. It usually takes me three miles of running before I hit my stride. Someday I'll figure it all out.

And for now, I can continue to hide behind my beloved monitor in my too tight swimsuit and speak freely without my usual insecurities. 

I promise to only hit you with a paintball post every now and then.


From the Kitchen said...

Got it! I totally accept you--arms crossed or not, ill-fitting swim suit or not, hitting me in the face with a volley from a paint-ball gun or not. I celebrate the you, you. Keep it coming!


tollestrupfamily said...

Even with the ice queen persona you just drew me in because you are you!

oldgreymare said...

Embrace the warmth that heads your way, and accept the notion that if others want to share their lives with you it is because they value who you are right now; as you are right now....

Self doubt, in moderation, is a bonus I believe to those of us who want to do our best. I hope it sets me apart from the insincerity and greed of others and helps to keep me humble and striving to better myself, my family and the lives of those I care for.

I for one, am happy to visit with you whether you are ambling along or at full stride.


Christine said...

I love your blog because it's you, I get you so to speak. We have a lot in common i.e vintage brooches type writers and etc. and I just say continue being you because you rock!

Kari said...

I so get that. I follow the "keep your mouth shut and let people wonder if you're an idiot, or open your mouth and remove all doubt" ala Mark Twain--I try to go for the first part, but the second happens more often than I'd like. But always concern over the idiot. Reticent, shelled--yup, yup. That's me. I don't know if it ever gets easier, but you've got to try. If you're at all looking for affirmation (and we shy ones usually are) you're doing well.

And sometimes the arms across the chest are to hide the lack of bosom--but it all comes from the same place.

JennC said...

I was a paintball in the face girl most of my life. Due to coming across strong I have developed the shyness and so wish I wasn't. one can take only so much rejection...

Anonymous said...

I have had several friends just like you have described yourself.
It was funny bc other friends would say, so-and-so is so snobby why do you spend time with them and I would be amazed, I would tell them, snobby? Hell no, they are so sweet and kind and loving. I couldnt believe the version they saw compared to what i saw and knew. Then I realised that it was in the observing that the real problem existed, they were glancing at the cover while I was absorbed in the story held between the cover.
I like you story very much, I also think you have a sexy hot mama cover!!


"I want to be like a waft of exotic perfume. Something floral and spicy with just enough scent to leave people on their tip toes searching for just one more whiff."

I LOVE THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!
I want to be that too!!

Deb said...

Not knowing you personally, I don't know how you come across... but as for your blogging personality?... It is outgoing and fun! I say just keep being you!

Kathryn Zbrzezny said...

I wouldn't have guessed that you were shy. You must be doing pretty well in your New Leaf Journey, at least to us. But I understand completely. I missed out on an awful lot of life because I had crippling shyness. I fight it every day. It is easier on a Blog, online, to connect without being face to face...but in real life I do try. I think I teach children because I am more comfortable than with adults...but at least I am trying...but it does come out the wrong way many times.

kelly said...

I, too had to force myself out of my turtle shell because I had this aspiration to be a wedding photographer, and well, you have to talk to a lot of strangers to do this. It's hard isn't it? But, now, 9 years into my own leaf-turning project, I'm nearly unrecognizable as a shy girl.
From your blog, you seem colorful and full of flavor.

PS. I found your blog through my favorite friend Shelby.

Emily said...

YES. You just described my sister, to a T. Everyone has always thought she was (sorry) a bitch. But she is NOT. She's shy. It's not the same thing.

poractacuscotts said...

have you ever seen someone go in the other direction? from non-shy and completely forward, to lock themselves away in a shell?

jo marks said...

lucky me, i met you after "Project New Leaf" and no ice to be found (though we were in thailand after all:)

seriously, thank you for sharing this - as i hide behind MY monitor in pj bottoms and hoodie wondering just when i will finally let ME out, and stop worrying that everything i say/write/even think, comes out the RIGHT way. thank you sweet smelling exotic april (i'm waiting for the next whiff :)

emmylou said...

Thanks for sharing. I feel the same way. I always feel awkward & someone told me once that if she didn't know me better she would probably think I'm stuck up. I do fine talking one on one with people, but in groups it's different. One time with a group of girlfriends some of them were talking about how they hate sex. I just blurted out "I love sex!" They all turned at me & laughed. Then some of their husbands bike with my husband & were teasing him about it. He thinks it's funny. I just try to laugh it off.
Was that enough of a paintball! Anyway I love your blog!

me said...

I just found your blog through someone else, and almost instantly, I clicked on this post titled "shy girl". See, I'm not shy at all, but my husband and 3 daughters are. Two severely shy, one just plain shy, and one just a bit more than a little shy. I know what you mean. It's tough being shy. It takes so much more effort, and shy people are so misunderstood. I could tell you story after story of me witnessing and supporting the 4 shy people that I love the most in the whole world. So ironic...I'm as far away from shy than you can imagine, and all 4 of my loves are shy. Some of my grandbabies will no doubt also be shy. It's hereditary. I get it. I relate to you post!