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Imagine Magazine Question For 10/15


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I want you guys to all take a deep breath, calm down for a second, collect your thoughts, and know that ANONYMOUS replies are both allowed and encouraged! I don't care if ALL of the answers are anonymous...it's important that we get to hear from you, ok?

Don't sneak over and whisper it into somebody's ear! POST! Two or three minutes of courage is all it takes.

The question is...can simply being shy end up restricting parts of your life in negative ways? I'm not just talking about standing in the corner at a party, or blushing around someone you have a crush on, or being nervous during your first day on the job. I'm talking about feeling isolated against your ability to overcome it. Being able to interact with people, looking down at your feet when you buy groceries, crossing the street to keep from crossing paths with another human being. Sometimes, people are too bashful to even speak online, much less in real life.

I'm often curious about what's going through the minds of people who deal with this on a daily basis. There's nothing unnatural about it, in fact it's probably a lot more common than we think. But are they happy? Are they scared? What's the worst thing that could happen? When they think about maybe making a move to speak up a little more often...what are they expecting that's so terrifying that the hide back in their shell again and stay silent instead?

Can you function at a job with other people? At school? Find love? Follow your dreams and passions? What's so scary (or bothersome) about the world that you would rather not be an interactive part of it?

I know what it's like to be painfully shy, nervous, and severely uncomfortable. And sometimes for no real reason at all...but it happens. I also have my moments when it has nothing to do with fear at all...I just keep to myself and don't feel like being bothered. I enjoy my alone time too.

I probably won't get a bunch of answers to this question, but I had to try, right? I'll chime in to give my own answer as well, but I really want to hear from as many of you as I can for this one. K? Just try.

I don't bite. (::Retracts fangs::)

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When I was much younger, I was extremely shy. Like...to a fault. And I hated every minute of it. I had a lot of secrets that didn't help. By the time I was able to hide the trouble and abuse that I was going through at home...I figured out that I liked boys. By the time I had dealt with that...I realized that I had an attraction for younger boys as well as adults. There was always something to be self conscious about and afraid of. But...I couldn't stand not having a voice! It drove me crazy. But I was so used to taking care of all of my problems on my own that it was difficult for me to have to depend on other people to hear me, validate me, etc. That was completely out of my control, and it worried me. Sometimes it would really depress me.

As far as school or work or being around family, I was able to get by because having a sense of humor helped me to connect to other people and keep it from being such a frightening experience. And once I was able to laugh at myself...things really began to turn around. I do a lot of really stupid, goofy, things...and it's just plain funny. Because it's like, "Yeah, I'm an idiot. So what? Who are you?" I'd feel ridiculous pretending that I was completely sane. Hehehe, it's like trying not to laugh the second someone tells you not to laugh. Even if there's nothing funny going on, you start laughing anyway. You know?

There are a lot of regrets that I have from allowing the fear and anxiety win in my past. I wish things could have been different, and my shyness deprived me of a lot of the experiences that I wish I had pursued when I was younger. But what turned me around in terms of being quiet and shy was this guy, Ed, that I worked with. Soooooo cute! And the place was just opening up, so nobody knew anybody else at the time. And I really wanted to talk to him, but didn't want to make it look like I was trying to talk to him specifically. So, I'd quietly mumble a hello whenever I saw him...and pretty much run away. LOL! And then, to cover my tracks, I started to say hello to everybody else too so it didn't look like I was just talking to him. The thing is, after about a week or so...those other people started to say hello to me too. Which surprised me, but...cool. Next thing you know, I was talking to everybody and they were talking back, and it just felt good. Shortly after that, the Shack was built online and I started trading emails with people on a daily basis, and it builds confidence. You realize that everything that you once thought was so TERRIFYING doesn't even exist. Even when it comes to rejection. I figure the worst thing that anybody could possibly do is 'leave me alone'. Which sounds like a hell of a deal to me. Hehehe! Oh no...someone who doesn't like me takes the opportunity to 'go away'? How will I ever live with myself? :P

Anyway, shyness can be a real problem for a lot of people, but I now understand that it's like that for everybody. Nobody wants to feel awkward or uncomfortable, no one wants to be rejected, nobody wants their heartbroken...but if I have to chose between taking that chance and getting hurt or feeling imprisoned and unable to make myself seen and heard by the rest of the world? I'd rather risk the hurt. It won't kill me. It just sucks for a while.

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