Today was kind of a big day for me. In a very small way, but it still made me proud.
Those who have dealt with me on a personal level for awhile probably know that while I’m loud and silly and willing to dance like a lunatic or yell out the window at a friend’s crush, I am also painfully shy. Shy to the point where I will just stop. Stop walking, stop talking, and occasionally stop breathing. It’s almost as if my mind shuts down on me.
It makes me sad that for all my effort to improve my confidence (which is actually working ridiculously well, with some noticeable exceptions) I can still have these moments of debilitating shyness. ESPECIALLY when faced with someone I like. This can be true of an attractive guy or even just someone I’d like to be friends with, but am unsure of their reaction to me.
I literally turned and walked away a few weeks ago when my roommate and I were joking around and a guy I thought was pretty cute walked past and Jessie nudged me towards him. I didn’t ask for the name of guy who tracked me across a crowded concert floor to talk to me, I just let myself be led away when my friend decided to leave. (Oh, do I regret that…) Words dried up in my throat when a neighborhood man who walks his dogs and looks like he might be a nice person to know smiled at me and made a small attempt at conversation. I was disappointed in myself and felt like my new-found confidence was just a sham.
But today was kind of a breakthrough. I went on a walk at lunch and saw the dog walker. He smiled at me and I smiled back. My steps continued to take me forward and he looked a little disappointed. I couldn’t keep doing this to myself. I stopped and asked “Hey, what kind of dogs are those? They’re gorgeous.” It wasn’t much, but it got me a nice five minute conversation with someone new that seemed to like animals as much as me. He even took the initiative to introduce himself when I said that I didn’t want to hold up his walk further. He clearly enjoyed the conversation, which made me really happy that I had finally said something.
I took it a step further a little later that afternoon. I replied to someone “famous” on Twitter, which sounds so silly, but it was something I had been too shy to do before. “Oh, they won’t notice. My comment doesn’t really mean that much. I should just be silent.” Well, my comment might be only one of fifty, but it still means something.
Little steps that may not seem like much to you, but being able to do these things give me a lift for the rest of the day. I hope I remember this feeling the next time I look down after smiling at someone.