I write a lot about my favourite things (Romance, Friends) and my least favourite things (Annoying people, Barenaked Ladies). But I rarely write anything actually about me. Truth be told, I'm not that interesting. I've never lived through a genocide or been in a near death situation. I've barely even travelled out of North America. But there is one thing about me that I'd like to talk about. If you'd ever met me it would be evident right away:
(and don't worry, it's nothing too out there. I only have one head)
You would be able to tell by the way I can't stop putting my hair behind my ears and the way fiddle with my jacket zipper. I am a shy person. No, correction: I am a VERY shy person. Outgoing people often ask me what it's like to be shy because they can't physically conceive of it. Well, let me tell you, it's no piece of cake. It can be hard and frustrating and inconvenient and embarrassing. What do I mean exactly? Well, how about a list of things that I find scary because of my shyness:
- Talking to salespeople: I physically cannot do this. If a salesperson talks to me while I'm shopping I try to get away as fast as possible. I just can't do it. Recently, I have tried to change this habit, but it's been very hard. My automatic response to "do you need in help today?" is always "no, I'm fine", even if I do need help. I can't go ask salespeople things either, which is very inconvenient when I need to find out the price of something.
(Doesn't that saleslady look scary?!?!?!? RUN FOR YOU LIVES!!!)
- Buying things at stores: This one may be one of my craziest things. Sometimes I can cope with this, but sometimes I can't. I don't like to purchase bagels at the local bagel shop. I don't like to buy books at the bookstore. It makes me very anxious. I know, it's insane. But I can't stop myself.
- Seating arrangements: This happens a lot in school, when we get to pick our seating arrangements. I actually get stressed weeks before school starts because I know I will have to pick a seat on the first day. It's just so hard. I want to sit next to my friends, but what if they sit somewhere else? What if we sit in pairs and I have no one to sit with? These possibilities make me SO anxious. This problem came up last week when I went to a track meet with a bunch of friends from school. I woke up with knots in my stomach because I knew I'd have to find someone to sit next to on the bus. Go on, start laughing.
(ahhhh!!! Run for cover! And not just because the boy has so many pimples!)
- Making conversation: I once read that shy people are the worst listeners because they are always rushing to think of how to respond. That makes sense. Making conversation is awful, one of the worst things about my day. I mean, I do it all the time; I've even become somewhat good at it. But I hate it. There is this guy who always talks to me at school. We don't have much in common, so there is a risk of running out of conversation. This scares me to no end, so I'm always anxious, always trying to think of what to say next.
- Seeing old friends/acquaintances: If I see someone I know on the street I cannot talk to them. Sometimes, I actually hide if I see someone I know. I just hate that awkward moment when you recognize each other and you say hi and then you don't know what to say. Moments like that absolutely KILL ME.
- Crossing the Street: This is, by far, my craziest thing. I hate crossing the street at intersections. Why, you ask? Because I hate that moment when you don't know if the driver sees you or not. You hesitate and they hesitate and it's all so awkward. I've actually walked blocks and blocks out of the way to stop this from happening before. INSANE, I know. Five-year-olds can do this. But not me.
(I was this close to being a member of the Beatles, but I wouldn't cross the street with them)
Being shy isn't just the big things, like parties or meeting new people (though believe me, those things are SCARY). It's all these little things, like talking to salespeople or deciding where to sit in class. Being shy effects me all day, everyday. It effects my decisions, both big (like what college I want to go to) and small (like if to go out with my friends tonight). Most people are shy sometimes, around certain people or during certain occasions. But it's very different when you're shy ALL THE TIME, about EVERYTHING. It defines your life, and it often restricts your life.
People often tell me I'll grow out of my shyness, but I don't believe them. Because who I be, if weren't shy?