I’m a bit disappointed that I keep hearing from my friends, real and virtual, that the word I’ve been using to describe myself may be inaccurate.
I thought I was shy. A wallflower. A misfit.
I considered my name Shelley to be perfect, because I hid out in a shell, insecure of what to do or say, afraid to take risks and scared of getting hurt.
I gave my Shyness Challenge one year, but it’s only been seven months of half-heartedly setting up challenges and following through on most of the time, such as going to a bar by myself, modeling in a fashion show and reading my poetry on stage.
One challenge that I have not carried out is to talk to the hottest guy in a bar, or along those lines, starting a conversation with a man who I think is interesting.
That’s because I’m afraid I’ll look like: 1. a dork, 2. desperate, or 3. boring.
Yep, I’ll have to get over that. So my challenge isn’t over.
As my friend, Tim Byrnes, said to me Tuesday evening over coffee, “Anyone who can address being shy in a public place, well, that isn’t shy.”
A writer friend of mine said she doesn’t see me as shy but as funny and vibrant. Another friend said I shouldn’t be labeling myself as shy.
Add the fact that I don’t even feel shy most of the time.
I go to work and interview lots of people, more worried that I will forget to ask a question and leave out an important fact than about the impression I’m making. I find that I engage in multiple conversations every day with coworkers, interviewees, friends and people I encounter as I work and play.
Someone who is shy is inhibited in talking with others, being in large groups and taking chances.
That’s not me.
A shy person is distrustful or wary.
That’s not me either.
Being shy is avoiding whatever is the cause of the anxious feelings.
I don’t do that either.
But I do avoid my cool New York City-style walkup like the plague. It may be the coolest apartment in town (in my opinion), but I want to get out and about and live and not stay home doing loner activities.
I like being around people and engaging with them. Call it postmodern shyness where the state of being shy is a slippery thing that, most of the time, is not associated with my identity.
Now what am I going to do?