The Shyness Project

Archive for the tag “fun”

Trying Salsa and Latin Dancing for the First Time

One of my plans in trying new things was to sign up for a Salsa & Latin Dancing class.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect out of this class, but from what I’d seen on Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance I knew it would probably be a little out of my comfort zone.  I expected a lot of shimmying and shaking to say the least.

I figured I could handle it though, and my love for dance would get me through any moves I might find out of my element.  I’m an avid swing dancer, but salsa and Latin dancing were completely new to me.

And as it turns out, for a while I actually preferred my Latin dancing class over my West Coast swing class!  I really enjoyed the music and the movement, and surprisingly was better at moving my hips and getting into the rhythm than I thought.

It’s been a lot of fun learning Latin dancing, and has been a great workout as well.  So far I’ve learned Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Rumba, and Cha-Cha.  They’re all pretty fun, and Rumba is a nice break from all the faster dances.  My swing background has actually carried over to the Latin Dancing a bit too, and funnily enough some of the more advanced people in the class are convinced I’ve done this type of dancing before!  I’m just a quick learner.

At some point I am hoping to try going out to a salsa club and seeing what it’s like on the real dance floor.  Should be interesting!

Kicking off the Summer with Camping on the Beach

Last Wednesday I went camping at a beach for a few days with three friends. I’m closest with Annie, and have recently gotten closer with Emily and am getting to know Alice better. Originally I didn’t know if I was going to go on this trip or not, as I wasn’t sure who was going and how I would fit in with the group.  Would I be the fifth wheel?  Would I have a good time? Should I go or should I just stay in my comfort zone and turn down the opportunity?

I decided to go. It was a last minute decision made the weekend before and I was nervous but excited to be able to share this experience with them and to be included in the group. They’re all really close friends who have been in the same group since freshman year and beyond, while I’ve only gotten to know Emily this year and Alice not much at all, though I’ve known Annie since freshman year.

And I’m glad I went. I think this trip brought us all a lot closer and we learned that we’re very compatible living together.  If we can spend a few days together without our normal routine of having cozy beds, showers, and general comfort and not get annoyed with each other I’d say that’s a pretty good sign of lasting friendships. None of us got cranky; everyone was happy and the mornings were always pleasant as we exchanged smiles and good mornings. We laughed a lot and showed our silly sides. We opened up about some things.  We had a great experience together.

We roasted s’mores every night and various other foods that we wanted to observe the reaction of.  We took long walks on the beach at night when no one was out and it was completely secluded. During the days we would enjoy the beautiful warm sunny days on the beach and hike around the breath-taking area.

We frequently played a story game that is one of Emily’s favorite games.  The game involved giving a person three words that they have to use to make up a story.  There were stories about cats and castles, a flag man and a boat man, outcasted clams, three blind mice, pirate’s booty, a house of chocolate, a pumpkin man and egrets, and some other funny or happy or sad stories.  To be honest, the game made me a little nervous and uncomfortable at first because I didn’t know if I would be able to come up with anything like my friends were coming up with.  I didn’t know if I could make up a good or funny story on the spot like that.  But I gave it a shot and I surprised myself in that I was able to come up with some good stories.  The stories became the subject of many of our jokes and later on our drawings in the sand, and I was glad we had done that in the end.

One uncomfortable moment for me was when Alice randomly asked if I was ever loud.  I asked her to repeat that because I wasn’t sure if she’d said what I thought she said, but she asked again and I heard right.  She asked if I ever “yell and stuff”.  I didn’t know what to say and I was disappointed that she asked me that, but it wasn’t the first time she had said something like that to me before so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.  Emily said that she was sure I could if I wanted, and Annie said that’s rude.   One benefit of telling someone your biggest insecurity is that they know when something’s hurt you and that you’re sensitive about it.  (I told Annie about this blog too, and she told me that she’s read every post.)  I appreciated her sticking up for me.  Alice asked me if that was rude and I couldn’t say much without getting emotional so I just sort of tilted my head as if to say “Well yeah…”.  She said I guess you could ask me if I’m ever quiet, and then she and Emily laughed and said only when she’s studying or asleep.  The question affected me more than it should have by now, but I tried to dismiss it and move on.  I learned more about Alice on this trip and we became better friends all in all, and I didn’t want to let a little comment diminish any of that.

On our full day of the trip we headed out for the nearest town that was 2 miles away.  It felt like a much longer walk than 2 miles though and I think it must have been longer.  We had to walk along the side of the highway so it wasn’t the easiest walk since we had to walk in single file sometimes and be careful.  We could have driven but we figured it would be more fun to walk.  One car honked at us, and another car drove past and a guy flirtatiously hollered “What’s up ladies!”, which made Emily and I laugh.  When we got to town, we noticed that it was a really small town, and that everybody knew everybody here.  We were obviously not from around here, but everyone was very friendly to us.  We met two friendly drunk guys in one of the food places who started talking to us after Emily read off her Snapple cap to Alice that said that the tongue was the strongest muscle in the body.  Alice talked to them a lot and faked a British accent for the heck of it, and it was amusing seeing the guys try to do one back.  She seemed very comfortable talking with them and I was impressed.

After we got back to camp, we decided to go walk along the beach.  Alice was tired so she went to sleep in the tent while Annie, Emily, and I headed over to the beach.  We probably walked at least 5 miles earlier so we were all feeling some soreness in our legs and ankles.  This day on the beach though, was probably my favorite part of the trip personally.  It was without a doubt a perfect day, and the scenery was amazing.  It was so warm and the sand was so soft and inviting.

Earlier in the day I had decided that I was really going to try and live in the moment today and just have fun and be silly.  In this moment, I truly felt happy and content with my life.  I was so happy to be with Annie and Emily on this perfect day in this beautiful weather on this gorgeous beach.  I just wanted to hug them tightly and tell them how much I love them and what they mean to me, but instead of being cheesy I decided to jump on them and wrap my arms around them.  They picked up my legs and carried me to the water and we were laughing and it was fun.

We took some funny pictures and did some funny poses.  I wrote “booty” in the sand with my toe because I felt like it and that word came to be known as something that reminds the others of me because I used it for fun a lot.  I saw a seagull all by himself and I randomly told Annie and Emily that he was Spencer the single seagull.  I told them how the other seagulls had outcasted him and how he couldn’t get a date.  When we walked by a group of seagulls and Emily said they were cute, I jokingly  scolded her and told her not to be nice to them.   We were supposed to give them attitude because they had outcasted Spencer!  She laughed and said “you’re a nut Brittany, a loveable nut” which made me laugh.  I’m happy to be called a nut because that means that my silly side showed and I’m glad it showed.  Some people get the impression that I am serious and I am not really serious or proper or anything like that, I’m actually really silly when I’m with the right people.  They said I could be a Seagull Whisperer and interpret for seagulls or something.

On the last night it was unbearably freezing and the wind was out of control.  We shivered and retreated to the car as we contemplated spending the out of nowhere bitterly cold night in the tents.  But we slept in the tents and it wasn’t so bad after a while.  The next morning we woke up and packed everything together.  We made one last visit to the beach where I did a humorous sand drawing for Annie and she did one back, and then Emily and Alice did one and it was a lot of fun.

The car ride back was fun too.  Annie and I danced around in our seats and did some arm aerobic type stuff and some silly moves like flipping the pizza and mowing the lawn.  We danced to a country song by doing a lasso type arm movement, and tapped our knees with our hands and hit each others knees which then turned into a friendly fight and we whapped each other playfully with our palms.  We crashed into each other on sharp turns a couple of times too, and I got trapped by her arms a couple of times, and it was fun and we laughed a lot.  We stopped at Inn N Out, and it was good even though I wasn’t really hungry and couldn’t eat much.  We got home at around 11am or noon I think, and it was a beautiful day.  We all hugged and said our goodbyes, and later on when I saw all the pictures, I couldn’t stop smiling.  They were some of the best pictures we’d had together, and it was an experience that I’ll never forget and will always cherish.  This summer has proved to be a blast so far, and I’m excited for more adventures to come!  I hope all of you are enjoying your summer too!

Graduation Day and Grad Night

Graduation Day was last Saturday and it went well despite the downpour of rain all day. It was the first time it had rained on graduation day in a long time, 100 years maybe? Either that or it had never happened before, I can’t remember. This meant we could only bring 4 people, which upset many people and made me worried as well, but luckily I was able to get some extra tickets from a friend who didn’t need all hers.

I took pictures with friends before the ceremony and it was fun seeing everyone dressed in their blue gowns and caps. The ceremony wasn’t too long and I wasn’t too nervous during it. We listened to a few speeches and listened to some of our classmates perform our senior song, and then we went row by row to get our diplomas (really just empty folders). My heart started beating a little faster as it came closer to my turn to go up to the podium, but when I was actually near the podium, I didn’t feel any nervousness at all strangely. I shook hands with my right and received the folder with my left and smiled for some pictures. I was in the last row so after I and a few others went, the ceremony was over and caps went flying in the air.

At night, I got picked up by my friend Sue who was going to take us to Grad Night. As we walked into the school, I felt like we were in a totally different, happier place. It was like we were in a theme park, not a high school. Luckily the rain had stopped by now so all the outside decorations and activities weren’t ruined. Sue and I played some carnival games first, and then we did this bungee jumping thing where you can do flips on a big trampoline. I didn’t really want to do it honestly and the mere thought of it made me nervous, but Sue really wanted to so I agreed. We waited for a while, and I got more nervous as time wore on. More people came in line with us that we knew and we started talking to them, and it was good to see them but at the same time that meant more people would be watching me when it was my turn. Finally it was Sue’s turn and she jumped up and down a couple of times though she wasn’t able to do any flips. It was my turn then and I managed to do some flips and it was a little scary because I really had to throw my feet over my head and I didn’t always land the best. I felt really dizzy afterward but I was glad that I faced my fear. I thought of the experience as being symbolic for facing more fears to come and doing things that I might otherwise regret not doing when I’m hesitant. I’m trying to live up to my senior quote, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do…Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain

Later on in the night we found Annie, Ashleia, and Emily, and we stuck together the rest of the night. I raced Ashleia in an inflatable obstacle course twice and it was a lot of fun and we crashed on top of each other at the end and got all tangled up. The second time we started pulling each other down as we were climbing the inflatable rock wall and we laughed a lot. A group of us later raced each other on motorized toilets in a little race course that was set up, and that was fun even though they were kind of hard to control sometimes. I also did this inflatable jousting battle with Sue and I was victorious. We sang karaoke as a group, and I was happy that they all finally agreed to my suggestion of singing “Man I Feel Like a Woman”! We also played a couple of rounds of bingo and most of my friends won boxer shorts that they wore over their jeans.

Near the end we got our fortune told, and the lady was sort of accurate and sort of not. I’m not sure if I believe her or not, she did get some things right but other things were really off. After that it was time for the hypnotist show, which was crazy and had me laughing so much and I couldn’t believe what was happening. The guy would make people fall asleep just by jerking their hand or telling them to look here then there. Some of the things didn’t work, but a majority did and it was really funny to see people you’d never expect acting the way they did. The best part was when he told the guys that they were female lingerie models and had them walk the runway and strut their stuff. A lot of the guys got really into it, even the ones you’d never expect. Other than that he had them react to all sorts of things like different beliefs about who they were or what the temperature was and what not.

Afterward we all hugged and said goodbyes, and some people started crying. It was a really fun way to end high school, and it was a great night. On the car ride home with Sue it finally hit me that I was never coming back to this place and that our class and friends would never be together like this again. Sue couldn’t believe I was crying but the tears were indeed rolling down my face as I thought about it. We’re all going our separate ways; we’re not going to have each other around like this anymore. I’m going to miss people, especially those who I got closer with this year. But at the same time, it’s time for bigger and better things. Like Hook said, the world is now my oyster, and it’s time for a new beginning. I won’t lose the close friendships I’ve made and it’s not the end. High school was a good experience overall, and I hope college will be fun too. I’ve heard that it’s better than high school, so I’m excited. What was it like for you to finish high school and start college if you did? How did things change?

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Confiding, Apologizing, and Being Silly

On Friday I went swing dancing to see my friend Billy, who I hadn’t seen in a year since he moved to Washington after college graduation.  It was really good to see him; he hadn’t changed at all.  I couldn’t believe it had already been a year since we had to say goodbye to him, time went by quickly. It probably seems that way because we haven’t gone up to swing dancing much this year whereas last year we were practically there every other week.  During the long car rides there and back, Angela, my brother Sean, and I talked about some funny things and some serious things.  I love how Angela and I can just be open and honest with our feelings and rant to each other when we need to and always be there for each other.  She’s told me that she truly considers me to be her sister, and that I know more about her than any person living.  She knows more about me than anyone else too and we have so many experiences together that we can talk about anything and understand each other.  She knows so much about me and she loves me for who I am.  I never feel like I’m not appreciated and feel total unconditional acceptance from her, which is an incredible thing. 

During swing dancing I finally talked to one of my friends after wanting to talk to him for a while.  We were dancing and he told me briefly about some of the bad things that were going on lately.  Things had been a little weird between us ever since last year when we went on a date and there was all this confusion from that.  I didn’t think one date meant we were dating while he did, and it got very complicated and stressful.  It was really hard when I finally had to bring up that I wanted to make it clear that I considered him just a friend, and he took it really hard and things were never the same.  While dancing and after when I pulled him aside I talked to him about how sorry I was for hurting him and that I never meant to lead him on if I did.  I told him how much I was stressed out about the whole situation and that’s why it took me so long to bring it up.  I didn’t know what he was thinking and I didn’t know how to bring it up.  He said that means a lot to him and he was sorry too.  He said he didn’t mean to make me feel as bad as he did. A lot of bad things were going on and he kind of took it as an excuse to dump everything on me and was sorry.  He told me in a platonic way that he loves me and I’m one of his few friends and always looks forward to me coming up. I told him I love him too and think he’s a really sweet guy and that I was really sorry.  We hugged a tight hug and from then on out he seemed much happier and was smiling a lot.  The air was cleared, and things felt like old times again.  I’m glad we finally talked.

On Saturday we all met up again except this time at Angela’s house. We had a lot of fun baking, playing card and board games, and taking funny pictures.  I went into Angela’s room with her and found all these clothes that I could put on to be funny, like a blue cape and a horned hat as well as a Star Trek toy gun she had gotten for her birthday.  I put all the stuff on while Angela laughed, and then I opened her door quietly and creeped around the corner to where our friends were standing.  I jumped into the doorway and started blasting the toy gun that made “pew pew” sounds while lighting up and then ducked back for cover.  It was funny and silly and they all came to find me and found some stuff to wear too and we took awesome pictures.  They are really a great group of friends and I always feel so comfortable with them.  It was a very good weekend, and it was great to have most of the gang reunited again.(minus Brian) They’re all about 7-8 years older than me at 25 and 26, but we get along so well that you’d think we were the same age.  They’re always forgetting that I’m still in high school and never really think about it.  I hardly ever think about the age difference either.  I don’t really feel or act my age, I guess growing up with two brothers 8 and 11 years older than me made me feel like I was the same age too and I act as mature as them.


Senior Prom

Prom was amazingly fun, I had no idea how great it was going to be.

Originally, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to prom.  There was a lot of party bus drama/stress because there were only 20 spots and they had all been filled up in one day before I was included in the list.  I was irritated for being left out and I almost didn’t even want to go anymore, especially since I wasn’t going to have a way to get there.  But after some more drama there was a space for me, I got asked to prom, and decided to go.  I didn’t find all this out a week or two before prom so it was very stressful trying to get a dress and shoes so last minute.  I also thought prom might not be fun for me and wouldn’t be worth all the money if it was like the other school dances, so I thought about just not going.

But I’m really glad that I went.  I went to homecoming earlier in the year and that wasn’t much fun really, the best part was getting ready with friends.  The actual dance wasn’t great and we were surrounded by a bunch of people grinding on the dance floor and it was a little awkward and uncomfortable.  I had no idea how dirty people danced at school dances.  I danced with a group of friends but it was like the not really into it but pretending to be kind of dancing.

For prom I guess the administration got sick of it too, because they made a no dancing back to front rule and they actually were able to enforce it!  Whenever someone started grinding the DJ would stop the music and tell them to stop or our prom would end early, and it worked.  And I think people still had a really great time and had fun dancing in a different way!

We took pictures at my friend Jon’s house and then all got on our party bus that took us to San Francisco.  I thought the party bus was going to be awkward because people would be going kinda crazy but it wasn’t and I mostly talked to Ben, Ryan, Jon, and Andrea who were seated around me.  We bobbed up and down a little bit and one guy was being goofy and dancing on the stripper pole and people stuck dollars in his suit pockets.  It was funny and some other drivers could see in and we saw one girl took a picture.  🙂

The place where prom was held was amazing, there were 5 stories and it was very very fancy.  No wonder the ticket was so expensive. ($120!)  We had dinner first which was chicken, salad, and bread.  After that they made an announcement that there were some people who wanted to show us a different way to dance, and it’s called swing dance!  I was excited and the performers did a really good job, they danced West Coast swing to modern music and it was very smooth and cool.  They mixed in some salsa and Latin dance too I’m pretty sure.  Then the dancing started, and they kicked it off by playing the Pokemon theme song, which made everyone laugh and start dancing all goofily.

Then all the modern music came on as well as some other songs and it was really fun dancing.  It’s always a little awkward when you first start to dance, but after a little while I was really getting into it and just kind of let loose.  I didn’t care what I looked like, but I was having a lot of genuine fun and really danced.  I mostly danced in a group with Ben, Ryan, Jon, Andrea, Pearl, and some of our other friends.  It was fun dancing with them, we did a bunch of funny and goofy moves that made us all laugh.  I found a couple of other friends in different groups and danced with them too, but mostly stayed with Ben and our group we came with.  I slow danced to all the slow songs with Ben and we did a little bit of swing dancing too.  Ben, Ryan, and I wandered around a bit when we needed a break from dancing and picked up various desserts and gazed down at the dance floor from the upper balconies.  It was really fun, and I actually even wish there was another prom or a dance like it coming up!  Who knew it would be so much fun?

Friday: Frisbee and Swing Dance

Last Friday was a pretty good day.  I went to play Ultimate Frisbee after school and had a lot of fun.  It’s mostly guys who play at the high school and they can get very competitive, but this time they passed to me and I enjoyed it much more.

I even joined in on this frisbee target game that I thought I would stink at and would embarrass myself in front of all the others, but it turns out that I was actually pretty good at it and nearly won!  I surprised myself and apparently the guys watching, who my friend told me were very impressed with me.  After frisbee we took a lot of fun pictures, and we laughed a lot.  🙂

After frisbee I went home and got ready to go out swing dancing.  My close friend Angela and her boyfriend picked me and my brother up, and we headed out an hour and a half for the dance.  It’s a long ways to go, but considering our town is too small to have swing dances, it’s better than not going at all.

Swing dance had been one of my main ideas on how I could talk to enough strangers last month, but it turned out that I didn’t get to go in January and had to find other ways to meet people.  I thought it would be easier to make small talk at swing dance, but that night I found that I felt really friendly in the beginning of the night, and later on more reclusive as I became more tired.

I did introduce myself to many people though and gave out a few compliments on cool-looking ties and an awesome handlebar mustache.  The guys were quite appreciative too, and when I told one guy that I liked his tie, he responded by saying, “Well I’m really glad I wore it then!” with a smile.

I got asked to dance quite a few times in a row in the beginning, and soon became aware that I had to stop dancing at some point and grab some water.  Some dances I sat out and watched.  Sometimes I simply just wanted to sit out because my legs were sore, and other times I felt shy and had a harder time finding someone to dance with.

One guy asked me quite a few times, and even when he didn’t ask me I could tell he was trying to out of the corner of my eye.  I asked one guy who I noticed hadn’t been dancing at all and had just been standing in the corner, smiling at the dancers.  He said it was his first time ever dancing, and we talked about swing dance and how fun it is.  He seemed pretty happy that I asked him, and he was sweet.

We went out to eat afterwards and that was fun too.  We had some interesting and unusual conversations.  We were hoping to see our usual waitress, but she wasn’t there so we met someone new.  She was pretty nice, and we all liked her.  I suggested that we should write a note to leave with her tip to try and brighten her day a little.  On a napkin I wrote, “Thanks for being such a wonderful waitress Jenna!  Tell Amy the swing crew came by!  Hope you have a good night!” And then Angela added illustrations of the food we ate in monster form, and we left it with the tips and headed for home.

It was a wonderful day, even though it hadn’t started that way at school and I didn’t feel better until frisbee. 🙂

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