Shyness

I had a conversation tonight with someone about shyness.

When I was a teenager, I was painfully shy.  I know, hard to believe if you know me now.

Now, I will willingly take a stage, take a microphone, stand up in front of people, stand in the spotlight.

I know that it started after I got out of school.

I was astonishingly unpopular in school.  No movie dates or school dances or proms.

What probably won’t surprise anyone is that I was on the annual staff, about my only activity.

Then I got out of school and through a few coincidences and one of those horrible social programs, I got a job I’d never have gotten any other way, that lead me down a lot of paths.

I got a job through CETA, the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act.  It was one of those programs that Reaganomics thought had no value, although it was actually a continuation of the WPA.

Anyway, I got a job working for an arts alliance in the itty tiny town I grew up in.  I ran the office, typed up everything in the days when things were typed, scheduled classes, wrote grants, and generally did whatever needed to be done.

It was a great job for someone who didn’t have a lot of experience doing those things, and the woman who hired me, Colleen, actually had a lot of influence on me.

She was enough older than I was that it was easy for her to be a mentor, but not so much older that we didn’t have a lot in common.

I spent a LOT of time at her house as we got to know each other, and less at my own, and that was, no doubt, a real benefit to me, too.

Colleen was NOT shy.  She was six feet tall in her stocking feet and, in the parlance of the day, she owned it.  She stood tall, she didn’t slouch, she wore heels, and her husband was about 5’8″.

I learned a lot from Colleen, the most important thing being that you missed out on a LOT by being shy.  A lot.

I really didn’t want that to be the case.

I think I came to the realization that mild discomfort on my part was not a good enough reason to miss out on the things that I wanted to experience.

So I stopped.

I know, I know, if you’re shy, you’re saying, but how do you do that, how do you not stand there paralyzed and just get over it?

I don’t know, on one hand, on the other hand, I know exactly.  You simply do it.

You put one foot in front of the other and keep walking.

Shyness is really about being obsessed with yourself.

I know, I know, not the most popular view, particularly if you’re the one who’s shy.  However, shyness is about being sure that everyone is watching YOU.

They’re paying attention to themselves.

That’s the secret.

No one is paying THAT much attention to you, because they’re all obsessed with themselves.

The other thing I do know is that the best way to stop focusing on yourself is to focus on someone else.

I think, too, that having a job makes it easier.

As NOT shy as I usually am, I can be at loose ends if I don’t have a role.

Give me a job, though, and I’m good.

It’s one of the best things about volunteering, because you have a job and that pushes you to focus on other people, on a task, and that’s helpful, I think.

Give me a job and I’m happy.

Put me on a stage and I’m even better.

 

About MsConstanceExplains

Ms Constance has been actively involved in the BDSM/Leather community since the mid-1990’s. She is the Founder of the Louisville Munch as well as its hostess for ten years, from 1997 to 2007, and was christened as “Louisville’s First Lady” by her community. As a member of various BDSM/Leather organizations, she has been nominated for Pantheon Woman of the Year as well as regional awards, and has been nominated with her slave, drew, for Pantheon Couple of the Year. She serves as Special Events Director for the Great Lakes Leather Alliance. She produces the Bluegrass Leather Pride Contest, sending contestants to Great Lakes Leather Weekend, and was Presenters Committee Chair for Leather Leadership Conference 2010 Great Lakes/Ontario. She has produced and judged Leather events and contests, been instrumental in the organization and creation of various groups and clubs, advised and encouraged other communities and endeavors, and produced a performance by a BDSM comedian. Groups around the country use her writings in information and introductory packets, and she is an occasional columnist as well. She and slave drew hold the titles of Great Lakes Master and slave 2003.

Posted on January 23, 2013, in Kink Events and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I can still be shy…but you are dead-on…most people are self-absorbed and aren’t really going to notice if you’re a bit…awkward…at first. It is an emotional challenge for me to extend like that, being an introvert…but …you just have to “get over it and do it” (or as I say in my head over and over – nike, nike nike (just do it!))

    GREAT post. And yes, I have a VERY hard time imagining you as shy. Funny how our grown up selves are so very different from our kid selves!

    nilla

    • It’s like those stories that stage actors used to tell on talk shows. You know, they had a friend in the audience that night and it was the night that the door wouldn’t open and they had to enter through the window, they were supposed to shoot someone and the prop gun wouldn’t work so they had to yell, “Bang!,” and the leading lady’s skirt fell off and she did the last act in her knickers.

      The friend comes back stage and when the actor apologizes, the friend says, Oh, I noticed the vase of roses was wilted, but I don’t think anyone else did…

      What we see as the biggest mess, the most obvious mistake, half the time no one else notices because they’re paying attention to themselves, not to you.

  2. Dr. Cain, who wrote, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t stop talking,” explained that introverts are quite good at being the center of attention provided it is work that they are passionate about. i find this to be true. i can teach anything, for example, because i’m passionate about learning. This requires the ability to get up infront of large groups but it has a distinct role, as you mentioned. i am shy and an introvert so i understand what you are saying. Thankfully, i respond to things that are calculated risks well and can harness that to do all kinds of things. What i find interesting is people will say that i am not shy because i can take my clothes off infront of practically anyone without any fuss.
    i’m not passionate about nudity but am about demonstrating trust and BDSM. i understand exactly what you are talking about and often objectify myself in the situation by reminding myself that i’m a tool being made use of for (fill-in-the-blank) and not the important part of whatever is going on. 🙂

    • I put off answering this because I wanted to give it some thought. I think that we do make our choices in terms of what we feel shy about, too, or at least what we are willing to sacrifice our shyness for. Nudity doesn’t cause your shyness to kick in, but potentially playing in public might because you might not reflect well on your owner.

      I don’t mind at all speaking in front of people, giving a speech, directing something, but the concept of being in a fantasy, for instance, where I’m on a stage, but I’m not ME, that’s terrifying to me, though I’ve done it.

      The idea that your passion about something trumps your shyness is interesting.

  3. Out of pure curiosity, did you find you actually lost the shyness, or just learnt how to manage it?
    I have some fairly impressive coping skills firmly in place – but the shy still tries to shut me up. (Fortunately, I am stronger than even myself!)

  4. Your words have been on my mind the past days. They really struck a chord.

    I’m not shy, per se. But as a new submissive, I’m somewhat.. stunted, I think the word might be. And because of that, I am missing out. Overthinking, when I should be enjoying myself.
    Scared of expressing my desires, too shy.
    After reading this, I decided that I don’t want to miss out.
    For the first time in my life, I am living my dream.

    Thank you for pointing out that, by being shy, I’ll miss out.

    Sincerely aim

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