Shelley Widhalm

Losing My Shyness Identity

In Shyness, Talking on August 14, 2011 at 7:00 am

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.”

Oh, okay.

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.

Darn.

Now what am I going to do?

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  1. AHEM!!! May I be so bold as to suggest that I think you’ve actually have met the challenge of starting a conversation w/someone you find interesting. Can’t help ya w/the hottest guy in the bar, though. Maybe after the haircut?

  2. You’re too cute. Can’t wait to see your haircut. 🙂

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