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.