Saturday, February 05, 2011

just shy of tomorrow

Years ago I read an article about shyness.  This seems to be my theme for this week.  Oh, the excitement-- it's Introverts' Week at AB3!  In which we will all sit around, read our books, and have nothing to say!

Anyway.  The article.  It was about shyness in children, and it pointed out that there are two different kinds of shy kids.  One is quiet and enjoys spending time alone, but is also peaceful and calm, and will look you in the eye when she talks to you.  The other is anxious, nervous, and afraid.  She may duck her head in embarrassment if you try to talk to her, or stare fixedly at the ground.

There's no question in my mind that I'm honestly an introvert.  I took one of those Meyers-Briggs tests in my twenties, and I was over the 90th percentile for introversion.  I took another one about a month ago, and was in the upper 80th percentile.  But I'm afraid I have more in common with that second shy kid than with the first.  I forgot about that article for years, but since I started working on this "erasing myself" thing, it has come to mind.  A few years ago, I had this vision of myself, with my secret blog (because literally only about two people knew about the first blog) and my fear that I would get hurt if I revealed myself to anyone-- I was like a little mole, scurrying around in the background, occasionally coming above ground but mostly staying underground, trying so hard not to be noticed. 

But you know, that's more than a little unfair:  doing my level best to make it hard to know me, and then expecting people to push through that to find me.  Bad strategy.  So I've been working on changing the way I handle myself.  Yes, I'm shy and I'm introverted, and I thrive on lots of time by myself, and I'd rather communicate with you through e-mail than in person.  But too much alone time and I start to go flat, like a balloon losing its helium.  I'm letting go of fear (or trying to), and pushing myself to connect more often with people I care about.

One of the changes I made was telling people about this blog. It used to make me so nervous, but finally last year I started just mentioning it casually now and then, and you know what?  Nobody cares.  Or, rather, almost nobody cares.  For some reason I thought if I told people about it, they would rush right home, pull it up on the screen, and read every post forever after.  But in all the times that I've mentioned it to someone, only one or two people have actually followed up and read it.  The big scary one was telling my family about it, but that turned out to be a non-issue.  One of my sisters checked it a few times, but other than that, I don't think they really care.  Which is such a huge relief for me-- now they know about it, I'm not keeping it a secret, but none of them ever reads it, so I don't have to worry about it.  Cool.  My philosophy now is that the people who might be interested will find it without me worrying about it.

I think there was a point to this but I can't remember what it was.  Introverts week may have one more post tomorrow.

P.S.  (added the next day)  It occurs to me that I may be giving the wrong impression for those who don't know me irl. I am shy and somewhat reserved, but I have friends, I go out and do things, I'm fairly active in our community and volunteer many places-- or at least, I did before I went back to school and ran out of time. My son has his friends over and I joke with them. I have a group of four or five women I meet with regularly for coffee. But at the same time, all the stuff in the last few posts is true. They're both sides of me.  Just didn't want you to think that I sit at home in a closet being weirdly withdrawn.

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