My struggle with shyness

People don’t believe me when I say I’m shy. How can a head usher in training be shy?

The thing is, while I am shy, I am still able to function in society. I don’t freeze up, but it takes a lot of energy to start a conversation. There I people that I’ve known for years, and I still struggle out of fear of…

Fear.

I guess part of shyness is a fear. But of what? If I’m honest with myself, it’s fear of an awkward moment. I think they are painful and would rather avoid them. Interestingly enough, for every awkward moment I survive, I’m the first one to laugh at myself and at the situation.

I have no real social life. School, work, church. I guess church is my social life as just about all of my friends are from there. Anyway, I always wondered why I felt extremely exhausted after church.

When I come home from work, I feel fine. Whether working as a Team Member at Target or working the ramp at UPS, I had some physically demanding jobs. But I don’t feel as weak as when I come home from church.

At school, one semester I loaded my schedule to fit Tuesday and Thursday. So, I spent all day at school in class or waiting for the next one (I don’t study in public; might be another symptom of shyness). Yet, when I get home after those boring lectures, I’m not tired.

So, what is it with church?

See, at work, I work. I am not here to socialize, so my shyness is not a problem. At school, I am here to learn. Not to talk. Class and then home. So, again, shyness is not a problem.

What I’ve found recently is that I spend the most energy in prolonged social situations to the point where I wear myself out physically. Plus, as an usher, I spend all service on my feet. That combination over five hours can be rough on me.

Somehow, I have to figure out how to deal with my shyness because it literally drains me. It takes so much to say hi to someone it’s not right. It doesn’t make sense. What’s scary is that I’ve gotten better in the past few years.

Like I said, it takes a lot for me to address people I’ve known for a long time. I’ll bet people thought I was being a dick for not waving hello or something. I’m just not used to stepping out first; or, if I do, again, it takes quite a bit of effort on my part.

Even with my lighting crew, I am still shy towards them; and I’ve been working with some of them for quite some time. Yet, I am their leader. A leader with barely any voice. How can this be? Well, I try to push my shyness aside to take command of my crew. You have to.

But, this shyness is complicated. It’s really bad over the phone. For some reason, between calling, texting, or face to face, I prefer face to face! That’s right; over the phone feels too awkward and I feel like text takes away from the conversation; especially since my sarcasm may not translate well. My preference is to meet you in person, email you, then call you. Weird.

So, my preference seems to counter my shyness and so I’m in a cycle of…I don’t even know.

I have no idea how to combat this. Not only am I shy, but I am anti social as well. I prefer to be on my own or with a small group of people. Yet, my shyness and anti socialness does not kill my personality…that much. I still love to make people laugh; the problem is, I tend to do it indirectly. For instance, we might hear something funny at a meeting. Out loud, to no one in particular, I’ll add a humorous comment. I’m not talking to anyone (or at least I convince myself of that) and I still make people laugh. It’s interesting because a big boost of energy comes from making people laugh.

So then, do I have my own cure for my shyness? Do I overcome the emotional and physical drain of being social by doing what I do best, which is being funny?

It’s a wash effect, I guess. You expend energy to gain that energy back, hopefully more. If I fail to be funny however, not only does my shyness win, but then I end up retreating into my shell, not willing to try again.

I’ll get better. They say you can miss out on a lot of opportunities from life. I can’t tell if I have; though when the time comes, I’ve always been able to push my shyness aside so I don’t think I’m in a serious position of problem yet. That sentence had weird wording. And, again I managed to assemble a team of people to deal with lighting for my church. I can hide shyness, but it probably will never die.

Once I am connected to somebody, however, I’m told I end up too personal. I say things that is “TMI”. Once I consider you someone I can easily talk to, the dam is broken.

I think with each year and with more experiences, it’ll get better. I can’t offer much advice if you’re struggling. I will say this though: For as scary as it can be to overcome it, whenever I do overcome it, I actually feel a wave of relief. I feel better about myself. Any perhaps that’s a cure. Keep easing the shyness away and you’ll find it’s easier to come out of the shell.

-Dante Writes

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