Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ms. Understood

People think I'm shy.

And people who know me, think this is ridiculous.

Sure, I was shy.

In kindergarten.

After spending five years in a tiny town with only my mother and sister to occupy me, I'd grown accustomed to talking in a whisper and new faces brought on new anxieties I'd never wanted to experience.

But after I was forced into a world that looked incredibly scary to the miniature life I'd led until that point, I slowly grew out of my shyness and into a more bold self, the woman I consider myself today.

I found my stride in a small group of friends, people who understood my humor, people I could look to for entertainment, support, and acceptance.

But I was still aware of how often I was misunderstood.

My humor seemed lost on most outside my social circle and many conversations I had the misfortune of overhearing seemed too petty for my input.

And so, after curing myself of early childhood shyness, I became quiet for other reasons.

Not because I was too timid to interject, but because it didn't seem worth my time to do so.

Because the conversations of those around me often focused on things of little interest to me, television shows I didn't care to watch, classroom discussions on books I'd read a decade before, gossip about how much weight so-and-so gained, I decided to keep to myself a little more.

If I chose to interject, my thoughts were often lost on those around me, blank stares and quiet moments filled only with an awkwardness my silence never seemed conjure on its own.

And so what looked, on the outside, to be shyness crept back in.
Meeting new people became just a handshake and a simple smile again, rather than a conversation where only I seemed amused.

The headphones were worn more frequently, drowning out the noise of my surroundings and allowing me to be myself instead.

Not shy.
But disinterested. Unamused. Sometimes offended.

And often, aware that people are much more comfortable with the idea that you're shy...

Than the idea that you may just not like them all that much.

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