Sunday, 23 October 2011

Shy.

Truth be told blogging is a huge escape from real life for me. It always has been, I’ve been free to discuss many a love and inspiration with people who genuinely appreciate and relate to what I have to say. It’s certainly not often I mix the two.

Something that right now in time, I need to address. If only for myself is a sensitive issue that has troubled me my whole life...

I grew up very shy and quiet, I cried on my first day at school, so much so I made myself sick and ended up being gradually taken into class. I refused to speak to any adult, other than my Mummy and Daddy.
My only allies were other children. I found it a lot easier talking to other kids in the playground, than I did speaking out loud in class or directly to a teacher.

I loathed being made to speak directly to adults. I repeatedly refused to speak to dentists, doctors, teachers and hairdressers etc.

My shyness was recognized, but my teachers found a way around it, and got the best out of me through other ways. I shone in project work and English.
I even found myself slowly coming out of myself by the time I had reached the end of junior school. I took part in both the Christmas play, taking key role as narrator, and also stood at the front of the church and read aloud in front of a packed full service, without a second thought.

My eleven year-old self was finally coming out of her shell.

The irony that is often one step forward, three steps backwards, my time at secondary school was very disrupted and unsettled. For a long time I felt trapped and alone.

Becoming a teenager should have symbolised maturity, instead it is when I became far more withdrawn than I had ever been. I spent my time blanking family members, refusing to speak aloud in class, and generally being the social reject.

College was a very different environment. A lot of the problems I faced at school soon were something of the past. The shyness got the better of me again. I spoke as little as possible, only when and asked to do so. I didn’t ask my tutors questions, I didn’t go the extra mile, I took the back seat.

When I left college life did change. I didn’t progress onto University, something that wasn’t the right choice for me.
I became an adult legally and I faced a lot of tough challenges along the way, but also found the freedom adulthood brings. I met my boyfriend; I left home and became independent. I faced unemployment for a long period of time, I was forced to speak in interview situations, but found myself completely challenged and tormented, when it just wasn’t enough to get me the job.

I know it’s hard to describe the exact root of the problem, or the actual problem itself. But I do have a voice. I do speak.
I speak to my family, I speak to my boyfriend, and I speak to my closest friends like any other normal human being.

The times I find it most difficult to speak is to strangers, distant relatives, my boyfriend’s relatives and work colleagues.

Regardless of all this, I always try my best, if only saying a little ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.

Earlier this week I heard something which had been said about me, regarding my shyness. It’s true what they say. The truth does hurt.
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12 comments

  1. Well, i think you have the perfect little spot in this world and we like you for who you are!

    We really must meet one day (: I'm sad to see such a down post from you, i'm always here if you'd like a chat!

    Lots of love, Kat xxx

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  2. Oh Alice, I hear exactly what you're saying. I was crippled with shyness for years and even now struggle a bit with phoning people and making small talk.
    Yes, you have got a voice and lots of people who consider you a friend (me, included).
    It does hurt to overhear someone talking negatively about you but I imagine they'd feel a lot more uncomfortable if they were aware they'd hurt you.
    Hope things feel brighter for you soon. xxx

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  3. Sorry to hear how much you've struggled to overcome your shyness, Alice. And also sorry to hear that you've been negatively effected by the comments of someone else. Often people view the world as homogeonous to their experiences and find it difficult to see why people behave in other ways. Some people try hard to understand others and some see everybody as similar beings. Comments which are hurtful often say more about the way the speaker sees the world than they do about the person they're talking about.

    Also, I am totally with you on those silent years! I didn't speak to many people for quite a few years. I'm still shy underneath it all but I don't think anyone would guess. If I'm feeling shy about a phone call/speaking/meeting I always think how would I feel if someone called/chatted to me. The answer is almost always 'absolutely fine'!

    Emily x

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  4. I can't stand ringing people up I don't know, although I've got better over the years. I find standing up helps. I think a lot of people struggle with shyness to some extent, and I'm sorry someone hurt your feelings. Did they mean to be mean?

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  5. Its good that you can speak up on here. I'm the opposite I enjoy talking to total strangers although that can be perceived as not quite the norm. Its just how I am, its just how you are. If it does'nt cause you too many problems let it be someone elses issue, not yours. Take care. x

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  6. I too have always been a shy person. Frequent comments on my school report were "Linda is too quiet" or things along those lines. At the moment I am also in a situation where I need to go through interviews to find a new job. I can get the interviews - no problem, applications are written - I can communicate that way - but at interviews??? Last week I had yet another interview for what I have to say would have been a dream job. I came out knowing I hadn't made it. I'd forgotten to mention half the things I should have - I'd babbled about all the wrong things. I won't let it get me down though - you see I decided some time ago that I can only be myself. I know I could have done that job, in fact I would have excelled at it, but hey ho if they couldn't see that it was nobody's fault, I can't be anything but who I am. You are who you are - like yourself for you are wonderful. If others do not understand you or your shyness, that is their problem not yours. Linda xxx

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  7. I am also shy, but sometimes over confident which can be confusing for me and others, great post, sorry you had a hard time with it as a kid xx

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  8. my husband calls me timid and it's hard for me to speak to other people eye to eye, i'm mostly shy but sometimes i do have to wear a mask (imaginary mask that i'm bubbly and social) when i need to go to job interviews or meeting new friends, but it takes a lot of energy that exhausts me after that and i could stay indoor for days even weeks without talking to anyone except my husband, not sure why...keep doing your best, you are what you are and try not to worry about what people say...x susan

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  9. The truth hurts, and this a really touching post. But one thing to remember, as much as the truth hurts, you can prove a lot to all those people, who masquerading as being truthful, really are just criticising, by using what they say for the positive aspect, whatever it may be, however long it takes to find it.

    Hope all is ok. Take Care, remember there are always people who understand you somewhere.

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  10. Im sorry someone hurt your feeling hun :o( I used to be so very shy at school, i got picked on so that didnt help either. I found going to college and uni really brought me out of myself. I'm still get shy when i meet friends familys for some reason. Scarlett x

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  11. Have you heard of selective muteness? There are varying degrees of it and maybe you have a very tiny bit of that and your problem may not be your fault. It maybe that you deserve admiration for keeping your shyness small when it could have been a bigger problem. Whether or not that is the case, I think that being bothered by what you overheard, will only make you feel badly, and you are such a beautiful person and so unique and intriquing that it would be a waste of time.
    I am glad I found your blog (via Susan).
    Marilyn

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