Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I was a shy child.

Painfully shy. I couldn't bear for others to look at me, much less talk to me.

As I got older, I learned ways to cope. There are a few souls in this world who can take pity on the painfully shy and try to help them. I was fortunate enough to make friends with a few of these people along the way. They in turn introduced me to other people and eased my way into new friendships. I was very fortunate.

Now I find myself at an impasse. At the ripe old age of 37 with a toddler in tow, most people don't think you need any help at all. Certainly you shouldn't need help in something so basic as meeting people and getting to know them.

I have often thought that shyness is a lot like depression in that there must be chemical things going on. A person cannot "positive think" themselves out of a genuine depressed state. Nor can a person wish themself to be less shy and more outgoing.

There was something I really wanted to do today. Really, I did. I wanted to go join a group of ladies like me - ones who have kids. I even drove over to the house where the group was meeting. But in the end, I just couldn't get out of the car. I was paralyzed. After sitting there for 20 minutes I drove home and cried. I hate myself for being this way and yet I am powerless to change it. No matter how much I wanted to get out the car today, I physically could not. I might as well have been quadriplegic.

I've written about a lot of my raw emotions on this site and I really hesitated to write about this one. I know that some of my friends read this blog. This is as raw and open as I get. This is the real me. I'm not happy about it. In fact, I'm downright ashamed of it. But there it is, out on the table for all to see. I hope that someone reading this might somehow recognize themselves in this story and be able to tell me that I'm not alone. J says that I need to just "go out and meet people" but, introvert that he is, even he does not fathom the crippling burden that true shyness brings. I guess you'd think I'd be too shy to share my emotions so freely on such a "public" forum. But because I don't really "know" most of you, I don't find it that hard to do. Now, if you ever invited me over to your house, I'd probably sit in the driveway for half an hour composing myself and even then I might not come in.


Tendersoul said...

You are not alone. I was the same way growing up. It wasn't until my senior year in high school that I really started opening up. Frankly, I think that was due to all the singing I had to do around that time. Getting on stage was easier for me. I was very nervous, but once I heard the applause and praise, I slowly came out of it. Of course, I will always say it is much easier to sing in front of 500 people I don't know as opposed to 50 people I do know.

When I stopped singing, I reverted to my old ways. My husband says the same thing about getting out and meeting people. The irony is that he was much like me and uses alcohol in social situations to loosen him. Apparently, that works TOO well for him. I self- medicated the same way in my 20s. One day I woke up and realized I couldn't do that anymore. It was definitely a social thing for me. That was the only way I could even talk to a man. It was really sad. I just decided I didn't want to be that way. I was raised rather conservatively.

Often, I avoid social situations for the same reasons. I have been known to find excuses and even turn around on my way there.

Most of my close friends are very outgoing and extroverted. Thank God. I always feel more confident with them.

I can say that I only have one close extroverted friend here where I live and we are both very busy. We manage to get together periodically and I can feel myself come out of my shyness when she is around. Maybe you need one like that!

Josefina said...

My husband is a "social phobic", so I understand a lot what you feel (even though I'm not that shy)...don't feel bad or stupid, I think you're very brave to share this with us...
Typical therapies say the only way to "beat" a phobia or things like that, is confronting them. My husband thinks the opposite: why suffer if you can avoid it...I think it's a little of the 2: do not overexpose yourself if it will make you feel so bad, but maybe try little groups at first, with someone you know....but well, it's an idea only, of course you should do what you feel!!!
Oh, and I don't think it's something to be ashamed of....really!!