Too Shy Shy

Thursday, July 25, 2013

 I've been called a lot of things in my life, but "shy" was never one of them. Everyone who knows me knows that I never shut up. I can talk forever about anything. Heck, when I was like five, my dad started calling me Gabby Hayes, because I talked constantly; I knew a lot of words, and, by golly, I was going to use them (my little sister was called Grabby Hayes, but that's because she was a little klepto). I never showed a fear of public performance either. I was center stage in my dance recitals, was on the speech and debate teams, and was in every play and musical I could audition my way into. Not exactly someone you would think of as shy.

But the truth?

I am shy.


I think it started around the time we moved to Connersville when I was little, and it's gotten progressively worse as I've gotten older. We moved the summer after fifth grade, and I was very nervous about leaving behind my friends. My elementary school wasn't small by any means, but I'd had a lot of the same kids in my classes, and we all had recess together anyway. Heck, I sat by the same boy at lunch every day of my full-day school career (we had to sit alphabetically by last name, and we were always in the same class, so every year was Hagerman, Hayes). And as long as I'd been sitting by him, I'd been a Girl Scout.

But when we moved, and my dad asked if I wanted to sign up for the local troop, I said no, even though I loved Scouts. I was too afraid. My best friend had been in my troop in Pendleton (her mom was even our leader), and some of the girls I'd known since kindergarten. The prospect of starting over with a new troop full of new girls I didn't know (but who knew each other) terrified me. It was just too unfamiliar, and I worried that I wouldn't fit in. I've wondered for years what would have happened if I hadn't quit.

My sixth grade class was in a very small elementary school. Where my old school had five sixth grade classes, my new school had approximately 1 1/4 (I say that because there was one fully 6th grade class, and then like five or six 6th graders but in a 5th/6th mixed class). There weren't nearly as many people to make friends with. Thankfully I did, but from then on, I only ever had a few close friends.

In middle school and high school, I had a core group of friends (though with like two exceptions, that group shifted as I moved up), and participated in a lot of things; at that point, the only thing standing between me and activities I wanted was my insecurity (and sometimes my parents). I was, however, extremely shy when it came to boys.

Now, my history with guys is a little different than your typical girl's (well, compared to my friends, anyway). I was never really much of a short-term crush type of girl. I had my first crush in kindergarten (I would sit on the curb at recess and watch him play basketball). In first grade, a new boy moved to my school (and my class!), and I liked him all through elementary school, even after I moved (we're FB friends, and he still looks just like him, and it thrills me to no end. Not in an "I want you" kind of way -- we're both married, and I haven't seen him since 1999 -- but it just puts a smile on my face).

Most of the guys I've liked, I've liked for at least a year. And most of them, I got to be really good friends with. But I only ever told one of them how I felt. He was my best friend in high school, and he told me he didn't feel the same (this was freshman year). In February of sophomore year, I moved, and the following October, he told me that he had been thinking that we should date for a year. If he would have told me that, we would have had four months together before I left, but as it was, I was in boarding school three hours away, and he had a girlfriend. Story of my life, eh?

I never told any of the other guys how I felt, though I sometimes wanted to. Admittedly, part of it was insecurity (I was overweight and not particularly pretty), but a lot of it was just the sheer terror of putting myself out there, especially after telling Josh had not gone so well. It was easier to just stay guarded.

And by now you're probably wondering what the heck any of this has to do with anything. And I'm likely off topic (as I tend to be). But it's after 6am, and I haven't been able to sleep all night, so at this point, all bets are kind of off.

I still find it easier to stay guarded. I live away from "my" friends, but I've thankfully made good friends with some of Tom's friends here (including one who is now one of my BFFs, for realsies). I've been too scared to go out and try to make more though. I'd love to be involved in a service organization, or join a club, but it freaks me out. What if nobody wants to talk to me? What if they think I'm lame? What if I'm the youngest person there by a few decades and nobody takes me seriously?

It's just been easier to stay hidden away in our apartment. Heck, there was a point (mostly post-hysterical pregnancy) where I pretty much only talked to people I'd met online, because it was easier than talking to people face-to-face. There have been times I've still been iffy to speak up online (at first, anyway), but it's proved a lot more comfortable than real life interaction. I even feel shy around my own family now (when I was always the complete opposite of shy with them growing up), because I feel like I don't fit in with them anymore.

I'm trying to take steps though. Last night I submitted an application to volunteer with the Girl Scouts. So right now, I'm still timid in new situations, but maybe I'll be able to work my way back to being at ease.

I didn't mean to write so much, and I'm sorry if it doesn't make much sense -- again, I haven't slept. Don't not sleep and blog?

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4 comments

  1. You're a beautiful person, Alex! (I actually still have a Christmas card that you gave me in high school - I always thought you were sweet and friendly.) And I don't know how you feel about Josh these days but I have to say I think he missed out. And you've accomplished way more in your life then he has (at least from outside appearances). I never would have thought of you as shy BUT I can understand why certain life experiences have you made you that way. I mean, I'm a completely different person then I was even as recent as two years ago. I used to be quite the bitch. And while I still have those moments - life has definitely put me in my place. We grow and change. I think you're wonderful. :)

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    1. Aww, thanks! Josh and I have always been friends, even when he was being a silly boy. We're not as close as we once were, as often happens, but I've never had anything but warm feelings for him. And for what it's worth, you weren't a bitch when I lived in Connersville (though obviously, that's been awhile, and like you said -- people change).

      And I think I have your freshman picture around here somewhere, lol.

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  2. Jessica Goffinet GoekenJuly 25, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    I've always thought you were pretty, although I grew up in hicktown and couldn't make heads or tails out of your sense of style :-) I've always been terrified of making friends too, but you were one of my favorite people junior year because we ate breakfast together every single morning. I really looked forward to that, and I had a blast being your friend.

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    1. Thanks Jessica! Our breakfasts were the best (even though I ate pretty much nothing but Poptarts, applesauce, and soymilk all year, lol)! We had a lot of fun hanging out with everybody in the lounge too. I don't know if it's just me, but I felt like making friends was a lot easier at the Academy. Probably because there weren't a lot of us, and we all had at least a little in common (and sometimes a LOT in common).

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