The Shyness Project

Archive for the tag “shy”

The Secret Note

A lot has happened since the first week of school, and it would take several posts to go over it all, so I’ll give an overview.

Basically, college has been great.  Even though it’s community college, I’ve managed to make several friends and I’m meeting some interesting people (interesting in a good way!).  I’ve hung out with a few of them outside of class after initiating we do so through a text or at school and what not, and that’s brought me closer to them.  Yuli, K, and Johanna I’ve all gotten to hang out with outside of school and I like them a lot.  I’m making several friendships in each of my classes and have made an effort to talk to as many people around me as I can.  Some of those people I may not become close friends with, but it’s good to have a friendly classroom relationship with them I think.  Facebook has been of course helpful for getting to know some of them better.

I’ve found that the few times I’ve been on my own for lunch, I can’t help but want to talk to the people around me.  It’s like I’m in “friend mode” all the time now and I can’t turn it off.  Even when it’s a quiet area like a study hall, I secretly hope someone will not be too invested in their homework and will try to talk to me.  It’s kind of funny.

The first time I sat on my own at a table I witnessed a guy come out of the cafeteria with a lunch he just bought and ask to sit down at a table where a girl was sitting doing her homework.  She smiled and said of course.  He sat there quietly, munching on his lunch.  She kept studying. At the end, when he finished his lunch and packed up to leave, he slipped a piece of paper over to her, and walked away.  I couldn’t help but watch her open it. I saw her expression change from a neutral look to a big smile and she laughed out loud and shook her head and just kept smiling, and reached for her phone to text her friend.

What did the note say?  Did he compliment her?  Did he leave his number?  Did he thank her for allowing him to sit with her or wish her luck with her test?  I wondered what the note said and smiled, feeling very fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time to see that.  The note seemed to totally make her day and it was so cute to witness.  I got the feeling that it was just a friendly message meant to brighten her day, and I just thought that was really cool.  I wouldn’t have minded if he had sat next to me!

Then a girl comes and asks if she can sit next to me, and excited I say “Please do!” She sits next to me, and I keep fumbling through my notes for a little while, and she looks at her phone.  Inspired by the incident I just witnessed, I start talking to her, asking her about the pizza that she got to start.  She was friendly and it was easy to keep talking to her, and we talked about college related things a while.  Afterward she said it was really nice talking to me, and I resisted the urge to ask to swap facebooks, and simply said it was nice talking to her too.

That is just one story of many, but I do need to get on to a new goal soon so I won’t be able to post a lot of the other ones.  I am planning to write a *book* though and will be able to include a lot more in there!   The new year is approaching quickly, and 2011 is coming to a close.  It went by so fast!

Painfully Shy

A neon green package arrived in my mailbox on Thursday.

I hastily tried to open it.  Soon enough, I pulled out the book, Painfully Shy, by Barbara and Gregory Markway.  I eagerly glanced inside the book to read the message written to me with my mom.

The message was very kind and is one I will always love and treasure.  Her closing line was “You have a gentle charisma that shines through in your writing, and I also saw it in your Icebreaker Speech.”

This is the first time I’ve ever gotten a book sent to me.  I’ve never even had a book signed before!

I have only gotten to read a little bit of her book so far, but I’ve already been hooked and have sticky notes on several pages.  I love reading the stories of all the people Barb has met working as a psychologist in particular.  And I love reading about her personal experiences with shyness and anxiety too, and getting to know her even better through the book.

Barb found me thanks to a comment I made on the Quiet: The Power of Introverts blog.  She contacted me and asked me to send her an email, so I did.  It was then that she told me that she could relate to so much of my blog and wanted to send me one of her books that shared several of her experiences.  She said she doesn’t think I am painfully shy anymore, but that it might give me some ideas for my project .  I was flattered and told her that would be awesome.

She’s been very interested in my project and has been a pleasure to talk to through email.  It’s been great emailing back and forth and we’ve become fast friends.  (I can’t help but write book-length emails to her every time!) I’m very honored to get to know her!  She is one cool lady who I’d love to meet in person.  So go to her site, and fill it with lots of good comments.  She has really great, thought-provoking posts!  I can’t wait to read more of her book!

http://markway.com/

Barbara Markway, Ph.D., is a psychologist and author. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including: the New York Times, Washington Post, Today Show, and Good Morning America. Her first book, Dying of Embarrassment, has been named one of the most scientifically valid self-help books in a study published in Professional Psychology, Research and Practice.

The Shyness Project Title

So as you know, I titled my blog, “The Shyness Project: The Year I Confront My Crippling Shyness.”

Notice two things:

One, I used the word confront.  This was a carefully chosen word.  It may sound passive compared to “overcome” or “conquer”, but really, shyness isn’t something so terrible that it needs to be entirely eliminated.  Although it may feel like it at times, it’s not a weakness.  Even though there seems to be a message out there in Western Culture that it’s not ok to be shy, I don’t believe that is entirely true.  Shyness isn’t necessarily cowardice, and although you can say that a shy person fears negative judgement, you can also say that a shy person wants to do well.

Two, I added the adjective crippling to shyness.  There were some parts of my shyness that were positive and healthy, while the excess, or crippling shyness was holding me back.  That was the part of my shyness I wanted to focus on.  Beyond that, I’ve realized that what I really had to face was the mistaken belief that I couldn’t do certain things I wanted to do in life.  I felt limited by the shy label that I had allowed to define me.  I thought that others saw me as shy, so I felt like they expected me to act a certain way.  When I discovered that several people were surprised when I told them that I thought I came off as shy, I learned that I had felt confined because of what I thought others thought of me.  When you stop labeling yourself and stop trying to mind-read, it is a big relief.  You’re then free to just be yourself without feelings of burden.

I used to wish I was anything but shy, and I hated my shyness so much.  But now that I’ve become more aware of all the good my shyness has brought me, I wouldn’t have been born any other way.  I’m glad that I have gone through all these feelings of shyness because if I hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t understand them as well.  I wouldn’t be able to truly empathize with those who are facing similar obstacles.

I hope to help change some of the negative messages that are sent out in our culture.  Maybe the image of shyness as a timid shy girl or guy quavering in the corner will change into to the image of a brave girl or guy having the courage to look fear in the face daily and confront it.   Maybe shyness will have less of a negative image then, and it won’t be seen as something to pity.

Shyness is often associated with many respectable and admirable qualities, such as thoughtfulness, sensitivity, kindness, and modesty.   Often those of us who struggle to keep a conversation alive are the ones who listen the best.

The steps I am taking aren’t about overcoming every ounce of shyness in my body.  They are about expanding my comfort zone, and challenging myself to do things that I believe I have the ability to do.  This blog isn’t meant to support the idea that if you are shy, you have to “break out of your shell”.  It’s a learning experience of what shyness is, what it feels like, and how you can push past those feelings when you feel as if they are holding you back.  I’m not trying to become a person who never feels shy, I’m simply trying to change the choices I make so I can be open to more opportunities.

I have also come to learn that I am an introvert.  I prefer one-on-one or small group conversations than larger group ones, and I prefer to talk about more meaningful subjects.  I like to listen and I am a deep, insightful thinker. The thing I want most in life is to have strong, intimate relationships with people.  Love is everything to me.

I see the value in introversion, and I hope more people can see it too.  Shyness and introversion may be very different, but they both seem to not get much respect.  I think it’s about time that they do.

Responses to The Ice Breaker Speech and Shyness Project

I am touched by the responses I’ve gotten from those who have watched my Icebreaker Speech video.  Susan Cain, the brilliant upcoming author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts book and blog (http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/), wrote an especially heartfelt email to me.  She said my speech “brought tears to her eyes — not only the cruelty of your so-called friends, but also your courage in telling it.”  She said she can’t even imagine what incredible things I’ll be doing by the time I’m her age.  I’m honored, not only because she took the time to read my post and watch my video, but because my speech had such an impact on her.  I will always treasure her email.

I recently told one of my friends, Tristan, (who I met through swing dance) about my project and speech, and he surprised me by saying that he considers himself to be shy and introverted.  He brought up many insightful qualities about being shy and introverted as well.  I had no idea that he thought either of those things about himself, but it was cool to hear.  He is a guy I admire very much and have always looked up to.  He is adventurous, environmentally conscious, and wise beyond his years.  He has travelled to many countries and is currently teaching English abroad in Japan for his second year.

Yesterday I finally told my oldest brother Andrew about my project. He wrote back saying “Oh my god Brittany, I am so proud of you!  You always amaze me with your brilliance and introspection!” which was really touching because I’d been nervous to tell him.  We talked on the phone for a long time.  He said he never thought I was shy, and brought up how I’d always befriended his friends right away and got along so well with them.  His friends would often tell him that they wished that I was their sister, and Andrew would tell them he was very proud to be my brother.

He then told me as he was watching my speech, he nearly cried.  He said he learned something new about me.  I asked him what that was, and he said he had no idea about the bullying.  I hadn’t realized that I’d never told him.  The truth is, I’ve rarely ever talked about it and at the time it was happening, I kept it secret.  I didn’t want my family to think that I was a loser like those girls did.  I didn’t even write about it in my journal because I didn’t want to admit that it was happening. It wasn’t until the cyber-bullying near the end of the year that I finally broke down and told my mom.

Today I talked on the phone with my friend Brian, and let him in on the project too. He was very enthusiastic and interested in reading it and watching my speeches.  He was very proud and touched by what I was trying to do not only help myself, but to help other people.  He thinks I’m proactive and am helping spread a message that shyness isn’t a weakness and something others should look down upon.  I told him how I used to believe that I had live my life with limitations, and now that I’ve learned that I don’t have to, my whole perspective has changed.

Now that I’ve been speaking more about my project instead of keeping it to myself, I’ve learned that people are very supportive and proud of me for what I’m doing.  The ones I’ve talked with don’t view me as shy at all.  They are glad that I’m becoming aware of what I’m capable of and that I am not letting labels or false beliefs hold me back.

To anyone who I’ve mustered up the courage to tell my project to, thank you.  Thank you for being so supportive, understanding, and loving.  Thank you especially Annie for making me feel so comfortable when I shared my project for the first time, and for making me feel so good about myself.  Thank you Andrew for spending several hours with me editing a guest post I’m writing to help make it the most accessible it can be.  And thank you to all the loyal blogging friends I’ve made since the start of this journey: Doug, Vee, Sharon, “Madonna”, Cheryl, Jenny, “Hook”, “GMom”, Tom, Patti, Maria, Patricia, Tyler, Eric, and Faith.  Doug, as you know you were my first blogging friend.  If you hadn’t been there to help me figure out blogging and hadn’t offered to let me write a guest post, it would have taken me longer to get started.

I am very fortunate to have so many wonderful people in my life.  Who knew starting this project and blog could bring so much greatness and self-realization.

Taking on Another Role: Wordmaster

Last Wednesday I was the Wordmaster at Toastmasters.  I had one of the smaller roles, and simply had to introduce a new word to the club that they would try to use during the table topics impromptu speaking or any other time. I chose auspicious, which means favorable or opportune, even though it’s a word that probably many know and I’ve known it since it was a vocab word from Lit class in 9th grade when we read “To Kill a Mockingbird”.  The word was used several times throughout the evening and it had a fairly good run.

Luckily I didn’t have to do table topics that night as I was feeling pretty nervous about the scenario and wasn’t quite sure what I would say.  My dad gave his icebreaker speech this night though, and that went well.  He did end up talking way over the time limit but everyone assured him that his stories were so good and interesting that they didn’t mind.  So now my dad and I have both gotten our first speeches out of the way!  We really should celebrate.

I won’t be able to go to Toastmasters for the next two weeks though as I’ll be away, but I will have some other posts up for you hopefully!

Scheduling my Icebreaker Speech Earlier than Planned

7-11-11

As I was sitting down finishing my dinner, my mom told me that my dad isn’t ready to give his speech yet and wants to switch dates with me.  Suddenly, that lasagna didn’t taste so good anymore.

I felt sick to my stomach and cold and nervous, and as I ate a few more bites it became harder and harder to chew.

But I took a deep breath, and agreed to do it.  I was planning to give my speech the following week, but now I had two days to finish practicing and fine-tuning my speech.  Oh boy, this is happening.  At least I’ll get it over with…Fellow Toastmasters.

Brittany the Jokemaster

7-6-11

Tonight turned out to be a great night of Toastmasters!  I was the jokemaster of the evening, and was to tell about two jokes.

I practiced my jokes several times a day until I knew them like the back of my hand and didn’t need any notes.  I even video recorded myself so I could see how my vocal variety and expressions/gestures looked.  If I saw things that I wanted to make better, I would work on them, like the way I used my hands and varied my voice.  I didn’t think I’d be able to memorize both jokes, especially the longer one, but after I realized the rhythm of the jokes it made it much easier to keep them straight in my head.

I didn’t allow myself to get worried about what I was doing the week I was practicing thankfully enough.  Anytime I felt a negative thought try to creep into my head, I immediately blocked it from entering my mind.  It was amazing.  I tried to imagine myself telling my jokes with confidence and a self-assured smile.  I believed that the group would laugh at my jokes and genuinely enjoy them.

At the meeting I was called on to tell my jokes right away, sooner than I expected, and I nervously smiled and shook hands with the Sergeant at Arms.  I hoped I would remember everything and not look at any notes.

It went well, and I didn’t look at my notes at all.  I spoke a little fast at first probably, but I used my gestures and vocal variety that I practiced.  I smiled and sustained eye contact with each separate person longer this time to make them feel like I was really talking to them.

Everyone laughed and clapped, and especially enjoyed the second joke.  I felt flushed afterward and a little shaky once I was back in my seat, but it couldn’t have gone any better.  I did it just like I practiced.

When it was time for the table topics, however, I had a much harder time.  Each person read a line off a Snapple cap that they had to make a 1 – 2 minute speech about.  And just my luck, when I was called up I got a really off the wall one.  It read “Only male turkeys gobble.”  I smiled up at the podium but I had no idea what I would say.  I don’t really know much of anything about turkeys…

I started by repeating the fact, and said “Well what do the females do then?  What noise do they make?” I had no idea what else to say and I think I said an um there, and then decided to talk about having a grandpa who owns a farm (made up) who has turkeys, pigs, and horses.  I talked about how the first time I’d ridden a horse, I was really nervous.  We were in the Mojave Desert and it was very hot, and I was afraid of getting thrown off or something but didn’t have any problems. (true)  I said a few more ums and winged it until I saw the green light signaling I’d reached the required minute and that was good enough for me so I finished.

Everyone clapped, and I thought I did really bad, especially with all the ums, but hey, I did it.  I got a little flushed, embarrassed by my poor performance.

Imagine my surprise when at the end of the meeting it was announced that I won the Best Table Topics Award!  I thought I had no chance of even getting a single vote!  I accepted my award with a look of shock and smiled, and admitted that I really didn’t expect that at all.

I talked to some people afterward about it, Marcy and then later one of the guests who said I did really good and they would have had no idea what to say on that.  I couldn’t believe it, I told them I had no idea what I was saying and thought I did really bad.  Maybe I’m just too hard on myself.

Everyone really liked my jokes, and one of the guests at the end commented that she’ll have to steal my jokes to tell other people and pretend they’re her own, which was a pretty high compliment to me.  Houston made a comment that I was a great storyteller, which made me smile because those are words I’d never thought I’d hear.  Chole told me privately that she was really impressed with me because she was terrified of being the jokemaster and hadn’t done it yet. She thinks no one will laugh at her jokes, which surprised me because she’s one of the best speakers of the club.  The other guest said she was really impressed that all of us were such great speakers and said as she was watching Table Topics she thought she’d have no idea what to say and would make a big fool out of herself.  She said public speaking terrifies her, but she has to make a presentation for work soon so that’s why she’s here.

After hearing that, I knew I had to talk to her and tell her how nervous and intimidated I was when I first came here.  So I talked to her and told how intimidated I felt at first and how I wanted to get the heck out of here because I was so scared, but it’s gotten easier each time I’ve come and I feel more comfortable now.  I told her that everyone’s always so supportive and friendly.  This seemed to reassure her and she said she’d definitely be back then, and I was happy to hear that.

On the way home, I turned up the music and sang my heart out to the songs on the radio and felt a rush of euphoria with my accomplishments for the night!  I never thought I’d say this, but speaking in Toastmasters gives me a rush and I’m excited for more!  I can’t believe how far I’ve come already, this is insane!  Absolutely insane I tell you!

*Here’s one of the practice videos, this one was before going to bed.  This camera makes my voice sound funny and doesn’t sound like me according to my mom, but at least it has sound.

Bringing the Story Game to Table Topics

4th night of Toastmasters  (6-29-11)

On this night of Toastmasters, I was the table topics leader.

My dad kicked off the meeting with two jokes.  He told a golf one and used his arms and gestures to make the joke more animated.  He didn’t look at any notes and I was impressed considering he told me he hadn’t practiced much.  Then the wordmaster explained the word of the evening, languid, and then my name was called to lead the table topics.

I felt nervous the moment I entered the building, and even more nervous as it got closer and closer to my time to stand up before the group and give my little introductory speech.

But I smiled, shook Marcy’s hand, and stood at the podium.  I started off by saying I hoped this wouldn’t be a languid table topics discussion, which got some chuckles.

I said what I had planned to say without looking at my notes, I smiled, I used my arms, and even leveled my voice a little.  The big smiles of my fellow toastmasters put me at ease and comforted me.  Beforehand I had tried to imagine this going well and people enjoying my table topics, and I think that helped.  I practiced in front of the mirror quite a bit too, and once in front of my mom before I left.

I explained what the purpose of table topics is (to practice impromptu speaking) and introduced my topic.  I told them how earlier in the summer I had gone camping and was introduced to a game my friends called “the story game.”  I explained how it worked in detail and summarized it once more to make it as understandable as I could. (*Basically, you’re given three words selected by the audience and have to make up a story using them.)  I then called Houston up to be the first speaker.  She did a great job as she always does.  I then called up another person, one by one, until I had pretty much called on a majority of the group.  If people weren’t called on to speak I at least included them by asking for the three word suggestions for the speakers to use, which got everyone involved during the 15 minute segment.

After each speaker spoke, I led the applause, shook hands with them, picked another person, and asked the audience for three more words.  Everyone really got into it and they all did wonderful.  Some stories made the group roar with laughter and I felt like everyone was really enjoying themselves.

Afterward during the break and at the end of the meeting, I was told that I did an excellent job and that I looked very comfortable up at the podium already.  I received big smiles and Larry (our new president) told the group that was a very innovative table topics, and that he’d never seen anything like that done before.  (Wow!)  He said it was a lot of fun and it involved everyone in the group.  Others told me that they thought that table topics was a lot of fun too, and I was happy to hear that.  I didn’t even know if I should use it for a table topics or not because I didn’t know if telling stories would count as practicing impromptu speeches, but I’m glad I went for it anyway.  I was very happy with myself afterward, and I volunteered to be the jokemaster for the following week.

My dad and I were made official members this night too.  We were presented with a toastmasters pin, card, and certificate.  Everyone had to approve our joining and they all clapped for us at the end.  Several said “Welcome, new members”, with a smile.  I am now an official Toastmaster!

Night Two of Toastmasters

After I went to Toastmasters for the first time on June 1st, I missed the next meeting because I was out of town camping with friends. I went the following week on June 15th though. After the first meeting and discovering how scary and difficult this was going to be, I was nervous to come back. What if I got called on as a guest to do a Table Topics impromptu speech?

When we arrived at the meeting, we were a little late so my dad rushed in without me, and I took a little longer and came in a little later. When I walked into the room, Marcy was excited to see me and said “Oh yay Brittany!” with a big smile. Carol said “Hi Brittany!” with a friendly smile, and I felt welcome and was pleased that they remembered my name. Marcy also noticed that I had cut 10 inches off my hair since the last time I came to Toastmasters, as I donated it the day I left for camping. (see new profile pic) She said it looked very cute and I thanked her.

The meeting started off with introductions and the word of the day, and then the jokes. Then, it was time for table topics. I was more nervous than the last time because I knew there was a possibility of getting picked.

As a guest to Toastmasters, participating is optional. You can sit there and observe all you want before you’re ready to give it a shot. I had been planning to agree to do it if I was asked this week, but luckily for me the Table Topics leader ran out of time and I didn’t have to be faced with the question of whether I wanted to try or not.

This table topics was a role-playing scenario where you played a dentist I believe and were told that you had to confront an imaginary client about something. It seemed really hard and I honestly couldn’t think of anything to say since I didn’t really understand the scenario and was glad I wasn’t picked. The people who were picked did a really great job though and many of them had us laughing really hard. After that, there were two speeches that were interesting to listen to and both did a good job.

At the end of the meeting, guests are asked to make comments about the meetings. My dad told the group that we were both going to join, and everyone clapped and smiled at us and welcomed us aboard. When it was my turn, I asked the Presiding Officer if I could ask a question instead of make a comment, and he said go ahead. I looked at the different people in the room and asked if any of them were scared when they first joined, and Marcy, an excellent speaker, said oh yeah, and Houston, the elderly spunky lady who’s an amazing speaker, said even though she grew up with public speaking because both of her parents were speakers, table topics absolutely terrified her. I was surprised and said that they’re all really great speakers and if they’re nervous at all it’s impossible to tell. I expanded on my question some more saying how I felt pretty intimidated because everyone here is already so skilled at speaking in front of groups, and they reassured me that they’d been coming here for many years now.

When the meeting was adjourned, Houston came over to me and talked to me one on one about my question and I felt like we made a real connection. She suggested that I use my young age as a theme and play to that like she does with her age being the oldest member in the group. With a mischievous smile and a twinkle in her eye she told me about how great it is being old. She said she can get away with so many things because people will just wave her off as a cooky old lady, which made me laugh. She is very happy and I admire her spunk and enthusiasm.

It was a good night even though the only time I spoke then was during the breaks and at the end of the meeting, and when I asked my question. I’d had the question in my mind beforehand as I was hoping even just asking a question before the group would give me some practice speaking to the group, and I’m glad I asked because I think it showed people that I’m eager to hear from them and that I’m an approachable person.

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!

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