Would you like a revelation with your latte?

So, earlier today, I did one of those things that we all do from time to time – I went to Starbucks to grab a coffee (mine’s a skinny vanilla latte, if you’re buying ;)). And as I stood in the queue, a strange sensation waved over me…I started to get worried, and flushed, and stressed.

Why?

It was a mini-flashback of sorts.

You see, for much of the first twenty-odd years of my life, I was pretty darn shy. I’d gotten over my doormatitis (I learned the distinction between helpful/giving/kind and muggins!). I’d stopped actively hating / disliking myself (the starting to realise that I was OK, really, came later). I’d miss parties because I didn’t want to arrive alone. I’d never dream of waiting alone in a pub for friends. I’d get flustered if I had to ask directions, or ask a shop assistant for help, or even just order a coffee in Starbucks…

When I was 22 and I left uni, I started to build my self-confidence up…sometimes in small increments (smiling and looking people in the eye when we were introduced, learning how to take a compliment (believe me, one of the best lessons I’ve ever learned!))….sometimes with giant leaps (my big trip to Canada – especially when I got a little lost and had to sort it!, choosing to move 500 miles away to do a job that inspired me, that first Join Meet last December – I was so nervous!). And do you know what? It’s worked!

I’ve had so many chats with people over the last few weeks (the joy of summer break!), and so many of them have cited confidence or bravery as something they see in me or admire in me. So, it seems, I’ve got there. That makes the shy chubby silly girl who was scared to go to the bar or the coffee shop smile 🙂

There are still times and places where I still get shy and worry. Today was a flashback, and there’s certain situations that never fail to make me very shy and unsure of myself. But it’s getting better, baby. And I think having been a shy type helps me understand other shy folks a little better too. Yay empathy!

Love,
Cxx

19 Comments

  1. vivavavoom
    9th August 2008 / 11:00 pm

    People are always amazed because of what I do and that I have taught and speak at conferences, but I have real social anxiety at times. I am what many describe as those exrovert introvert. Those flashbacks are always interesting as they can show us how far we have come as we also feel that same anxiety all over again. I hear you and am glad you shared it. Hope the latte was good.

  2. Christielli
    10th August 2008 / 1:17 am

    Wow! Great post!I can totally empathize with you. I’ve always been rather shy. I think that in my adult-incarnation, I come across as confident, but inside I am anything but. However, it’s something that I am also working on.Hope that you enjoyed that latte! I’m a fan of the skinny cinnamon dolce latte… 😉

  3. Scarlet
    10th August 2008 / 2:11 am

    I realize there are many people out there who are afraid and lonely and could use my smile and attention…so I can’t afford to be shy. I got over shyness a long time ago.

  4. Wiwille
    10th August 2008 / 5:32 am

    Believe it or not I used to be very shy. Except of course when I had a few beers in me.

  5. bee
    11th August 2008 / 1:48 am

    i am very shy too, but a lot of people think i’m crazy when i tell them. i can do small talk really well. you, my friend, have one of the biggest hearts around…one of the best nights of my life was that crazy place we went to where the waitress served us and a styrofoam head food. 🙂

  6. running42k
    11th August 2008 / 10:23 am

    the world would be a better place if we all had empathy.

  7. whatigotsofar
    11th August 2008 / 12:09 pm

    Starbucks makes it so difficult to order a coffee these days.I used to have a stuttering problem which I think made me very shy. Well, I was shy, still kind of am shy. It was just something I had to overcome by speaking in public. By just talking to people. A friendly chat of inane conversation with a cab driver or a store clerk. But somedays, I still haven’t the effort. It’s a continuous struggle, but one that gets easier everyday.

  8. Sacred Suzie
    11th August 2008 / 12:59 pm

    As someone who has lived with social anxiety all her life, I can really relate! Good for you for recognizing that it was just a moment and passed and you could get back to being the outgoing you that makes you happier. Anxiety keeps us small! That said, when I spend a lot of time at home my anxiety creeps back so I force myself to go out and get over it, LOL.

  9. Alice
    11th August 2008 / 5:32 pm

    i spent my childhood never once thinking twice about how i maybe should be quieter or shyer or maybe i WASN’T the center of attention at all times… so if anything, i’ve learned to be MORE shy and reserved as i’ve gotten older 🙂

  10. cdave
    11th August 2008 / 5:45 pm

    I did a similar thing, but years ago. I used to relatively introverted with people I didn’t know well. I decided to just be as mad with people I don’t I don’t know well at an Youth Theater Group I was in at GCSEs. I just kept it up from there and met loads of great people, like the Joinees!I still have difficulty with the whole eye contact thing.

  11. changetheworld360
    11th August 2008 / 6:52 pm

    Wow, that is strikingly similar to my own life. I wouldn’t describe myself as totally shy, but I’m definitely pretty reserved socially. But then again, there are times when my actions do not reflect my personality at all.

  12. MyUtopia
    11th August 2008 / 7:34 pm

    I am glad to hear that things are getting better for you. My husband went through something similar.

  13. Miss Ash
    12th August 2008 / 12:02 am

    Well I for one and thrilled that you were able to overcome this!!! You came all the way down to meet up with us late at night in a completely strange city and we had a blast!!

  14. Riot Kitty
    12th August 2008 / 2:44 am

    I can totally relate to this. Only people who know me really well know that it took a lot for me to overcome my shyness and that I am still a BIG introvert and get social anxiety. I wonder how many people there are like us, overcoming and faking it? 🙂

  15. Mizzle
    12th August 2008 / 3:28 am

    Yeah thats was me when I was a bit younger. It still happens from time to time…the right person comes by and oh look, I found a shell to hide in.And yes, I really do believe wiwille was shy at one point…ha.

  16. Relyn
    12th August 2008 / 3:58 am

    I love this brave post. It strikes me that you are confident. You must be to have the courage to post such an open-hearted post. You also have a great amount of self-discipline. It is no small thing to change who you are inside. Yeah you!! You should be very proud of yourself.

  17. rawbean
    12th August 2008 / 4:43 am

    I finally added you to my blogroll!!! YAY!

  18. JLee
    16th August 2008 / 2:56 am

    I can relate to this Claire. You’d be surprised at how many people feel the same way!

  19. Andrew_tM
    16th August 2008 / 12:06 pm

    Late to this posting party, but would honestly say from when I knew you, would have found it hard to relate the you that I knew/know with with that person you’re describing there.

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