(Don’t) Look at Me!

Attention-starved I’m not.  If I could have figured out how to have a wedding without being the center of attention, I would have done it.  When I was in 4-H and took sewing projects, at the end of the summer we had to participate in the Fashion Review and model our outfits.  Are you kidding me?  I have to get up on stage, by myself, and walk around while thousands of a hundred people watch me?  The best tip I ever got was to find something on the wall at the back just above the crowd, and look at it instead of the people.  Then, when I got old enough, I actually had to speak, to describe other girls’ outfits while they modeled.  My only consolation there was that I was over on the corner of the stage and hopefully most of the crowd was paying more attention to the model.  Then there were the demonstrations.  Each year, every member had to give a demonstration for the club.  You had to make a poster and give a little talk or demonstration about something related to one of your projects.  Fine.  Not so bad in front of your own club, and sometimes only a small group of them.  But at the county level, they also had demonstration competitions.  Which I participated in.  Twice.  Fortunately, it was a team demonstration, and I was paired with my cousin, who is as extroverted as I am introverted.  (You know how sometimes in college classes they have you take those personality profiles and then you get a series of four letters to describe you?  Sometimes my other letters would change, but I never failed to get the ‘I’ for introverted.)  My cousin was, and is, very outgoing and doesn’t know a stranger.  (Seriously.  I visited her at college once and she spoke to every single person we met on the way to anywhere.  Seriously.)  She was interested in theater, so of course she ate that stuff up.  And I got to play kind of a ‘straight man’ to her bubbliness.  Anyway, we won in our category twice.  And had to do the demonstrations again at the state fair.  Twice.  The agony!  One year we even got Outstanding of the Day at the state fair, but that may have been due more to the fact that we had homemade ice cream for the judges to taste than to my actual speaking skills!

I like to bake and I usually make and decorate my kids’ birthday cakes.  My husband likes to accuse me of being a show-off.  And it’s true that I am very happy to have people ooh and aah over my creations.  But I don’t want any of the attention.  I’m like the Wizard of Oz…”Pay no attention to the (wo)man behind the curtain!”  But because I am so quiet, it takes me a long time to get to know people.  Several years ago, I realized my conversational philosophy was something like, “If they want me to know something about them, they’ll tell me.  And if they want to know something about me, they’ll ask.”  Which is completely contradictory and doesn’t work.  I also don’t like change.  If I have been working with a certain group a people for an extended time, I dislike having a new person included, or even worse replace a member of that group.  It has nothing to do with the actual person, but with my comfort level and having to get to know someone new.  I have a friend at work who is excellent at asking questions to learn more about someone.  That just doesn’t come naturally to me.

You might wonder then, why I am a teacher when I have to speak in front of students every day.  It’s not the same thing, especially with little kids.  Little kids (for the most part) think everything you do is awsome.  Little kids think that I am an artist.  (I’m not.  I have gottten fairly competent at drawing things that I draw a lot.)  Little kids think I can sing.  (Hah!  I come from a long line of “singers” who cannot carry a tune in a bucket!)  Well, now it just sounds like I sit in front of my students feeling superior all day.  I don’t.  The point is, it’s just not the same thing.

Enter the blog.  Due to the anonymity of sitting here by myself, I have a way to let people get to know me a little better, but I don’t have to be present while they’re doing it.  Genius!  😉  I can sit here and plan what to write, delete something if it doesn’t sound right or if I’ve made a mistake, and say things that I probably wouldn’t when actually talking to someone.  Hopefully, I can also show my sense of humor, which is one of the qualities I like most about myself, but which I don’t think is one of the first things that comes to someone’s mind about me unless they know me really, really well.  I love to make people laugh.  So read, enjoy, and hopefully you’ll feel like you know me a little better!

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3 Comments

  1. lol I can relate! And I know what you mean about having the blog or computer to act as the buffer, I’m pretty shy myself. If I had to speak in front of even 10 people I’d probably flat out refuse. (You see how my extroverted husband balances us out, I guess I’m the assistant to his personality lol)

    So how did you get through the speech class in college? To be honest, that hindered me from finishing my degree. I usually won’t admit it, but it’s true.

    • I made it through speech class because I had to…plus I didn’t really know anyone else in the class so I didn’t care what they thought. And I’d had enough previous experience doing *some* speaking that I could suck it up and make it through! 🙂

  2. Flutter Cat

    I read your blog and wow! I am shy, too. I have a friend who really helps the conversations I have with others by asking the questions and I can join in the conversation or just listen. (Those around me know I just listen most of the time.) When I’m trying to get to know that person better, I’m not sure how to start conversations and get everything jumbled. (This is an aggravation for me.) It’s like I forget to talk. I can talk to my students because they don’t judge me, just nicely help me as needed. I can write and write and others respond and no problem. This is how I build friendships. (Sometimes I think I learn to talk in college. I could finish a whole sentence. This was big. Public speaking went well when I took a Dale Carnegie public speaking class before I went to college. My nerves were not so bad.) I appreciate those who will listen, even though I get very nervous and tongue-tied. I have learned who will converse with me and I have learned when to have someone else nearby in case my tongue is frozen to communicate ideas. Those who know me best know it takes me a while to get to know them, but I am glad when given the chance even though I am different.

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