My Certain Shyness.
People who have known me a while but don’t know me deeply are often surprised if not shocked when they find out that I don’t mind public speaking, or performing on stage in most cases. They see the quiet, supposedly aloof guy who doesn’t like to engage people at parties, nor shove his business card in everyone’s face, and they assume, “he’s too shy to give a speech.”
At that point of course I am forced to remind people once again that shyness and introversion are not the same thing. That while the two often go together, they are not synonymous anymore than a hamburger roll and a hamburger are the same thing simply because burgers are often found on such rolls.
Shyness, in its various degrees of severity indicates a sort of social anxiety. A fear of being judged by others, or somehow threatened by them should one behave naturally. I suppose just as everyone has some degree of both introvert and extrovert in them, everyone to some degree under certain conditions is a little shy. It’s a matter of whether or not shyness is one’s default position that makes it an appropriate descriptor for any given person. I would say that shyness is not my true default position, despite how I may appear to some.
So when is this introvert actually shy? I have given this question much thought, to be honest. Sometimes the line is blurred between being uneasy about sharing or doing something in front of others, (shyness) and just really not giving enough of a damn to waste my time on doing something with or to others. (introversion).
Perhaps to some degree I am a little shy about sexual topics. I have a rather open view on human sexuality as a whole, but outside of general things, (I am a heterosexual…I prefer brunettes…I find intelligence sexy…Butt man), I won’t get into a detailed discussion as to my turn-ons and what not in an open forum.
I discuss those things with partners of course, or once I have gained a certain level of trust from friends, but in most cases if it were a discussion in a group at a party somewhere, I would refrain from sharing much. For some that would just be privacy, and for others it would be shyness. It’s probably a little of both for me, because I don’t want those with whom I am not sexual to judge the quality of my friendship based on my sexual preferences. That is probably shyness at work to some degree.
Certain aspects of my appearance sometimes cause shyness. Some of my teeth are a bit crooked, and I have a small gap between two of my front teeth. All things I have thought about correcting when I have more money, but for now are a part of me. I don’t hide my face, but I do sometimes try to minimize the impact as it were. The same thing in regards to the fact that I have no defined musculature. I am in good shape by and large, but there is nothing there to look at, and I sometimes allow that to make me feel like less of a “real man”.
Every once in a while I am shy about the stigma some people place on being a writer full time. I am not ashamed to be one, but sometimes I wish the “what do you do” question would be banned from social gatherings so I could just meet new people without having to answer and explain that I am not some drunk luxuriating outside in front of a laptop all day. I’m not getting rich, but this shit is hard, you know?
The oddest one is perhaps entering someone’s home. I am a bit shy when I am in somebody’s house. Even friends. There are people nearby I have known for years now, and yet for the first ten minutes or so I am in their house, I feel off. The world seems somewhat colder and feel constrained from being myself. Not sure if I should sit on the same couch I have sat on every time I have been there the previous dozen times. I don’t know why. I just have a thing about being a guest. It fades quickly with friends. It can last a while if I am new to a house.
There may be a few more examples of my being shy, in that I fear being judged for what I am by nature. Yet there are far fewer such times now than there were when I was a child. Back then one could accurately label me as shy. But not today. Today I am mostly an introverted man with specific moments of shyness, just like anyone else.
I wonder if the moments that make me a little shy now will someday vanish as well. I think the chances aren’t good at this point, but I’m okay with that. After all, I am not shy about admitting I am shy every once in a while.
When are you shy? Would you call yourself a shy person, or just someone who at times feels shy?