The other day I got an email from someone from my past. He said he Googled me and was shocked that I do stand up comedy because as he noted, I was “so powerfully shy.” He is right, I was at one point shy, but “powerfully shy”? That doesn’t sound right. It sounds as if being shy is controlled, strategic choice. I guess on some level shyness is a choice although I don’t think it is a conscious choice.
I was shy for the majority of my life, dysfunctionally shy. I was afraid to talk to people. I wouldn’t buy things from a store clerk, call to make a hair appointment or answer the door. I never felt comfortable in groups, I didn’t ask questions in school and was even afraid to yell out bingo if I was playing. I didn’t like going to other people’s houses, I didn’t like being in school plays and didn’t seek groups of people to be a part of. I didn’t want any attention. I was afraid that I would sound stupid or had nothing to add.
But that was a long time ago and somewhere along my journey that changed. I no longer think of myself as shy although much of my behavior hasn’t changed. I still don’t seek out a crowd, I don’t ask too many questions and don’t talk alot although Mr. No Game might disagree with that. My quietness now is by choice. I speak when I have something to say and ask questions when I want to know something. I engage with people that I find interesting rather than with just anyone on the street. I’ve still have people call me shy but they are usually the ones who don’t know me and mistake shy for quiet and thoughtful.
It’s funny how people from your past remember you how you were and sometimes can’t fathom how you now are. Shy is just one thing I used to be but I knew him when I was only 19. I was overwhelmed by the enormous college I was at and all that lay ahead of me. I wasn’t confident in who I was. I’m not 19 anymore and barely remember being 19. I’m too busy being me now. Of course I occasionally think back to good times in the past but I rarely long for days gone by. But right now is more important and the dream of what’s to come tomorrow. So I used to be shy. I used to be alot of other things too. I used to be afraid of the dark. I used to be a landscape architect. I used to be shorter. Although one thing hasn’t changed, I still don’t like to answer the door so much so that I go pick up my pizzas rather than have them delivered. I guess some things never change.