April 24, 2008
As a little kid, I was painfully shy. I was terrified the first few days of kindergarten, frightened to be in a room full of kids I didn't know. I can still remember the first time the teacher asked me a question, trying to get me to speak up in front of the class. I knew the answer — I always knew the answers — but I couldn't bring myself to talk aloud into the silence of the room. The other kids turned to look at me, all of us sitting at these little tables, about 8 kids to a table, and the silence grew bigger and bigger until it filled the room all the way up to the ceiling. I couldn't break that silence, I just couldn't, so I shrugged as if I didn't know the answer, and finally, to my great relief, the teacher asked someone else.
As an adult, I don't act shy at all. I am perfectly comfortable at social events, even if I know no one there. I am comfortable speaking to crowds, I like to meet people, and I'm definitely an extrovert. When I tell people that I am shy, most laugh and think I'm kidding. But I still think of myself as a shy person, even though I don't act that way. I still wear my hair long, so that I can hide my face if I need to. And I still hate silence worse than anything.
When I had dinner last night with Kindergarten Friend, we got talking about our childhoods, our pasts, and she said, "Oh, yeah. I remember how shy you were." And she, because she has known me for so long, believes me when I say that sometimes a situation or just the right moment can still trigger those shy feelings, that paralysis that comes with fear. The moments don't come very often, but I don't think anyone ever completely overcomes shyness: when With-a-Why was little, and I'd see him freeze into silence when a grown-up talked to him, I knew just how he felt.
Really, I wasn't going to post any more lamb photos, but this one seemed to fit the post.
Posted by jo(e)