The Shyness Project

Archive for the tag “honesty”

Wrapping up the Vulnerability and Energy Goal

I’m going to wrap things up with the vulnerability and energy goal now.  I’ve given the link to this blog to my two closest friends, though I think only one has actually read it so far.  Her reaction was good and she didn’t feel sorry for me, didn’t try to give me advice, and nothing really changed.  My imagination of the worst occurring and any of those things happening didn’t come true, and I don’t think I made a bad choice in telling her.  She thinks this project is “badass” of me in that I took one of my toughest insecurities and just owned it by exploring my feelings and learning from them.  She said that she feels so honored, blessed, and happy to be my friend, and lucky to have me in her life.  I’m very appreciative of all this and think it’s really nice to be completely accepted and loved when you show the real you and can just be yourself with someone.

I’ve noticed several changes in me since I started this project.  Recently it’s really been apparent that I raise my hand a lot more than I used to, I dress up when I want to, I open up more about sensitive subjects, and I’m just less worried about what others think in general and have a better self-image.

This past weekend at a college orientation class, I asked a lot of questions when others were quiet.  I didn’t feel nervous speaking among the group and I asked my questions with ease and confidence.  I didn’t leave anything uncertain in my head and asked about everything that I wasn’t sure about.  I feel like I see myself as a talkative and confident person now, and see myself as feeling shy only in certain situations.

I’m taking a summer class too, statistics, whoo!  I’m trying to get another big subject out of the way to make things easier for me later on.  On the first day of stats class, I talked to the people around me easily.  It was a breeze and I didn’t feel awkward since I expected positive results.  I noticed that the cousin of a friend was in the class right away and even though I don’t know her well at all we both recognized each other and I opened my arms for a hug.  I sat nearby to her and met her friend, who I think said his name was Crystal.  To greet me he stuck out his hand wrist flexed down as if to show off his nails, and I wasn’t sure what to do so I just did it back and we laughed and he said hey girrrl in the a soft sweet voice.  I asked the younger teenage girl next to me if she was added into the class already and about the textbook (easy conversation starter for a class), and she sort of answered me in a really low voice that I couldn’t hear and she went back to whispering with her friend and giggling.  I got the vibe that she thought I was weird for trying to talk to her and didn’t want to talk.  Oh well, I tried.  Then a lady probably in her 30s sat down next to me, and I decided to try talking to her instead and asked her similar questions.  She was friendly and talked back fully to me and I’d say we got along well.  I liked her and she had a good, friendly vibe.

The teacher has been great, he is actually really young and has a thick Chinese accent.  He is delightfully geeky and has a great sense of humor; I could definitely see him as being a cartoon character in “Futurama” or something. He is very good at making everything very clear too and goes over several examples until there is no doubt that you understand what he is trying to teach.  He makes everything funny and memorable whenever he can too.  I heard that he’s even got a Ph. D in statistics, so I’m very glad that I was able to add his class and learn from him!

I’ve been working on some multiple goals at once lately as some things have taken longer than I expected.  I’m trying to get involved in a speaking group called Toastmasters but it’s taking longer than I thought to join and it’s only once a week so I won’t be able to write about it that much for a little while.  I’ve also been doing a ton of exercise and have been trying to eat healthy. (There is hardly any junk food in the house and I haven’t baked cookies in a long time, though I might cave in soon!)  I’ve been driving on my own too to get to my stats class and have been taking walks by myself sometimes when I have the time. I can write about those things in more detail soon, sorry I’ve not been the most active blogger lately. It gets harder to blog when you get really busy in the summer!  Thanks for reading!

Revealing Insecurities

On Saturday, I talked to my friend Brian for the first time in several months.

At first it was light talk.  We talked about the summer and possibly meeting up, but it didn’t sound like it’s going to work out for this summer.  I told him about my previous weekend and how high school was ending and it was a very emotional time. We said some funny things to make each other laugh and got caught up on what had been going on lately.  I almost felt like the conversation was too light to merge into the deep end of conversations though.

After he told me that his parents were moving to Colorado and I asked if he was going to stay in Colorado for a long time, I asked him, sort of daringly and a little randomly, if he had any dreams or goals.  We had some honest conversations about that.

I asked if he had any insecurities, and brought up my biggest insecurity being my shyness and how I have been labeled that way a lot in the past.  I said how I felt like I was always being judged that way and that’s what people thought of me.  I started tearing up and had to blink rapidly so I could collect myself.

He told me that when he was younger, he was very shy and was labeled that way.  He thinks at my age, 18, I’m going through a lot of changes and it’s a difficult time.  He said he’s changed so much over the years now that he’s 26.  He’s so much more outgoing now and a completely different person than he was when he was 18.

He went on to say that he’s never once thought I was shy at all, even when he met me for the first time at my brother Sean’s graduation.

I thanked him and was really feeling emotional now and misty eyed.  My voice changed and was a little more wobbly.  I could still speak thankfully but I had to hold myself together to not start crying.

I gathered myself and told him that’s how I think people see me.  Over the years some fellow students have called me shy, teachers have made comments that make it sound like they think I am shy or quiet, and so forth.  He said they just don’t know you then if they think you’re shy.  I agreed and said I think they may just see me in a few situations and then infer from that that I’m a shy person.  He said shyness isn’t a bad thing, but he doesn’t think I am shy.

He said that I’m just a really good listener and that I really care about what people are saying.  If that’s mistaken for shyness, then that’s their problem.  He said we’re friends and I know you and I never thought you were shy.  He thinks it’s so rare and so good that I listen and care about others as much as I do.

I asked him if he had any insecurities and he told me some of his, which surprised me.  I told him that I never thought that about him either, and that I think he’s very handsome and cute, as well as muscular and tall.  He laughed and sounded flattered and thanked me.

We talked about our other insecurities too.  He was really surprised by one of mine and told me that he always thought I had a beautiful face and that he was surprised that high school guys weren’t swooping all over me.  He told me he always thought I was really pretty, and I thanked him.

He thanked me for sharing all that with him and I told him that I just wanted to have an open and honest conversation with him.  I wanted to try and talk about my shyness and get some feedback from him and see if he had any insecurities he’d want to talk about.  He always looks so confident and self-assured to me.  I told him I’m glad we talked about this because now we could see how silly our insecurities are and that they’re not true.  I said talking like this meant a lot to me, and he said he was really glad we talked about all this and put it out on the table.

I was still emotional from talking about my shyness, and it must have shown in my voice.  He said he had to buy a ticket now for the train and asked if I’d be ok if he did, and that if I wanted to keep talking we could and he would just buy one later. I told him that I was fine and that it was just hard to talk about because it’s not something I talk about usually.  I was just emotional, but was fine.  He asked two or three more times if I’d be ok, and I said yes and told him to buy his ticket already.  I told him to have fun on his city adventure.  So we said goodbye, after yet another two hour phone conversation.

I think this project is the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.  I’m learning so much about myself and others, and am learning so much about shyness.  I’m really glad I made this my New Years Resolution and have been faithful to my goals.  I can’t believe I have kept it going for over 5 months.  I’m a person who often starts things and has all sorts of ideas, but then doesn’t finish them.  I think this is different though, and that I actually am going to be able to keep going and achieve all my goals.  It’s a powerful feeling knowing that if you really want something, you can make it happen if you persevere.

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.


Some more honesty for you

Two nights ago (Monday) my dad left clothes laid out all over my bed that were to be put away.

It was late at night and I was really tired and just wanted to flop in bed, but these clothes were in the way.  I tossed them to the pile of other clothes at the side of my bed.  Then I looked at the nice laid out clothes all carelessly tossed to the side and sure to get creases, and I just started getting emotional.  I started tearing up and was upset with my dad for piling all these clothes on my bed when I just wanted to go to bed, and picked up the clothes and carefully laid them down on top of some other stuff on my floor instead so they were flat and wouldn’t get wrinkled.  That made me feel better, but I was still emotional and started crying.  It wasn’t really about the clothes though, just at that moment all my frustrations came to the surface and I just had to let it out.  So I cried for a little bit in bed thinking about it all, then after a little while stopped crying and was fine.  Sometimes a good cry is all I need to feel better and get back into the swing of things.  I can’t always keep positive and be in the best of moods, I have my ups and downs like every person does.  Sometimes there’s not even a real concrete reason for feeling upset, it’s just a weird feeling or mood.

I’ve been feeling that mood lately.  I’ve been trying to act more energetic and enthusiastic but I just have been in this weird, more reserved mood.  I guess I just have to prepare myself a little better to get into that energetic mood, like listen to upbeat music in the morning or something.  I’ve just been tired and not feeling the best and it’s hard to pretend otherwise.

I had a good conversation with a friend I haven’t gotten to talk with much one-on-one several days ago about our futures after high school, and that was cool.  We just sat on the sidewalk curb in the shade and talked after three hours of picking up trash in the blazing hot sun.  I learned some more about her that I didn’t know before and I was glad that she opened up to me and I opened up to her too.  It was nice, and I’m glad we got to talk like that.

I’ve been saying more funny things at school too whenever I can think of something like that to add.  Today for instance one friend was saying how she loves science but hates dissecting things, and with a wry smile I told her to just pretend it was cheese and think like she was cutting cheese.  Mind you it would be squishy, smelly, disgusting cheese I said, but think of it that way.  This made her laugh quite a bit and she said that was great.  I’ve just been saying more things like that without allowing myself to think about it too much and be too much of a perfectionist with what I say even if it doesn’t make the most sense.

And lastly, tonight was the last night of my psychology class before the final next week.  I missed out on Senior Awards night (I heard I got an award from the California Scholarship Federation club though!), but I’m glad I decided to go to class instead.  The lesson was on phobias and disorders and it was all very interesting to me, and hearing about some of the cases my teacher has come across working as a psychologist was really cool to me.  She explained the story of one person who got over their fear of dogs and how they worked her up to confronting her fear very slowly and carefully, and eventually at the end she even adopted a dog!  It was awesome to hear about and it must be great helping people work on phobias like that.  There was another lady who wouldn’t go anywhere without her husband, especially shopping, because she feared she was going to have a panic attack and collapse and all these people would be crowded around her.  So my teacher drove with her to the store and told her to just go in the store and stay there for 15 to 20 minutes.  She didn’t have to interact with anyone or buy anything, just stay there.  She was taking a long time and my teacher started getting worried, but then the lady came out triumphantly with 2 bananas in her hand.  My teacher got worried and thought she must have stolen the bananas because she had a huge fear of standing in line and there was no way she had waited in line for those bananas.  But it turns out that she felt good enough that she waited in the short line and bought two bananas, so they had celebratory bananas.  That was a good story too.

At the end of class Patricia started talking to the teacher about the DSM-IV book she was passing around.  I joined in on the conversation too, and also asked the teacher if she always knew she wanted to be a psychologist.  (I had never really talked to her after class before so I’m really glad I stayed and talked to her.)  She said she originally thought she was going to go into law, but then she took some psychology classes and really loved them and wanted to learn more.  I told her that I’m a high school senior and was thinking about psychology as a possible major, and was really interested in the subject too.  We asked if she had any other psych classes she teaches because we both really like her, and she mentioned a few other classes.  We then said goodnight to her as we were the only ones left in the classroom and had been talking for quite a bit, and walked downstairs together.  Patricia and I talked some more while we waited for our rides and she said she has a bit of a driving phobia too, and I told her I don’t like driving much either.  When my dad came I got up and opened my arms for a hug, and we hugged for the first time.  Before it had always been friendly goodbye waves and big smiles, but I probably won’t get to say goodbye to her after the final so I wanted to hug her before we parted.  Hopefully we’ll still keep in touch, she works at a hospital that I might want to volunteer at sometime, so she should be there for a few more years before she retires.  We exchanged emails and numbers earlier too, and I’ve been trying to help her add me on Facebook but she hasn’t figured it out yet.  I can’t add her because her privacy settings are really strict, but hopefully she will figure it out soon so we can talk using the “box” as she says, or chat, haha.

Driving home with my dad I felt happy though, the hug and conversation with my teacher made me feel good.  I looked up at the purple-blue sky and felt more optimistic and hopeful than I have felt the past few days.  I think I’m starting to get out of this funk I’ve been in.

Lunch Disclosures

Lately there haven’t been a whole lot of opportunities to raise my hand in front of the whole class.  On Thursday I raised my hand a few times but since we were on the computer for those classes the teacher just came by and helped me one-on-one. It’s still been good practice though asking for help when I need it instead of trying to figure out certain things on my own so I don’t have to ask.

I spent lunch with a close friend Thursday.  We talked about general things at first that weren’t too personal, like upcoming dances, volunteer work, the weekend, etc. Eventually she brought up the topic of her weight again and she thinks if she loses so much weight that she’ll be more confident and self-assured.  I told her again that she didn’t need to lose that much weight, but if she really wanted to lose some weight she should do it safely.  I suggested exercising more and eating less, but not to the point where you’re starving yourself.  She said she’s really sensitive about her weight and easily upset.  I decided now was as good a time as ever to open up to her that my insecurity is my shyness and I’m really sensitive about it.  I told her how I dislike being called shy and every time someone says that to me, even her, it makes me upset.  I’d been meaning to sort of confront her about this for a while now since I’d heard her go on about that I’m “too shy” or “I wish you were more out there”, etc, and it’d always hurt my feelings.  I finally brought it up though, even though I was afraid of “making something out of nothing” by talking about things she’d said to me a while ago.

She said she didn’t know I was sensitive about it and that it hurt my feelings, and apologized and gave me a hug.  I went on about it and said there are a lot of good things about shyness too and it doesn’t have to be seen as a weakness. I said I was trying to work on things like talking to strangers and raising my hand too.  I told her that I work hard to be outgoing, and I wish I was just accepted by her.  Hopefully she’ll understand now that her sensitivity to being called fat is like my sensitivity to being called shy.  Since I started this project though, I have become less sensitive about it and have started embracing more of my shyness.

Wednesday’s Heart to Heart

So far this week and weekend has been a really good one.  I’ve had some deep heart to hearts with close friends and a lot of honesty has been expressed.

Wednesday started off well. Before school started I walked to the senior locker area where some of the people I know gather in the mornings, like usual.   My close friends usually aren’t there in the mornings, but there are some people there who I’ve talked to before.  Often a circle of two gets formed, and as I walk over I often find it difficult to “get in” the circle.  I don’t know them as well so no one usually looks over at me or greets me until I tap someone on the shoulder and say hi.  But this time was different, a girl who I don’t normally talk to much, Alicia, waved to me right away when she saw me approaching, and I smiled and waved back.  I entered her and the other girls’ circle, even though I’ve hardly talked to anyone that she was with.  She complimented me and said I looked very pretty today, and cool with my sunglasses. I said thank you and smiled.  I talked with her and some of the other girls in the group until the first bell rang.

It was a good start to the day, and I appreciated the compliment and Alicia’s friendliness.  Sometimes I just wander around the school to waste time in the mornings because it’s hard to enter those group conversations with the people over there that I don’t know too well.

At lunch I had a heart to heart with one of my close friends.  We didn’t see any of our other friends at lunch, so we decided to wander off on our own to someplace where we hadn’t sat before, and ended up sitting on the bleachers at the side of the tennis courts.  She had told me the day before about how she’s been feeling excluded by some of our other friends, so I brought her a banana muffin from the batch I had made earlier in the week, and told her that bananas are supposed to boost happiness.  She smiled and hugged me, and said thank you.  She confided in me that she’d been feeling really depressed lately and had spent the last few days crying.   She’d been having some dark thoughts about herself, and I tried to convince her otherwise not to think those things.  I told her that I care about her a lot, and that I like how she’s usually always smiling and friendly to everyone.  She’s very caring and selfless.  She said she appreciated what I said and wishes she could talk to me more often because I always make her feel better about things.  (I’m currently one of those rare teenager in the world who doesn’t have a cell phone, but still, I borrow my mom’s a lot and she can always call me there.)  She said she’s always tries to please people and be the nice one, but she feels like she’s been taken advantage of and people don’t really care about her.  I told her I used to do a similar thing in middle school, and in 6th grade I was really taken advantage of.  I told her all about the bullying and teasing, though I thought I had told her before.  But she didn’t seem to know about it.  So I told her about how I had always tried to please people and let people walk all over me.  In return I was picked on every day for being too quiet/shy, and for not knowing the popular rap and r&b songs on the radio, and for not wanting to wear pink skirts like them, for not being “cool” enough, etc etc.  I didn’t go into everything that happened, but talked about some of it.

I mentioned some people that I thought would be great to spend more time with and get to know better.  She agreed and said she wanted to get to know those people better too.  Before I knew it the lunch bell rang and I realized I still had half of my lunch to eat.  I decided I would sneak some food in class later, and we walked slowly to our next classes, hugged, and parted. She was in my thoughts the rest of the day though, and I hoped she’d be all right.

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