Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Shy and the Family Stone

I'm sneaking this post in mere minutes before I'm supposed to go introduce a speaker to a few hundred people here as part of a lecture series.  Having to do this makes me shaky and throw-uppy.  Which totally pisses me off.  Put me in front of a class of thirty kids, and I'm a natural.  I dance, I sing, I throw chalk.  I'm more at ease there than at home soaking in the tub.

But put me in front of hundreds of people I don't know, and my knees start to shake and my voice shakes and my hands get cold and I feel like a three-year-old.  People tell me, "breathe."  People tell me, "speak.....really......slowly."  People tell me to imagine the audience in their underwear.  None of this works.  Even remotely. 

Weirdly enough, I feel the same at cocktail parties, when I have to make small talk with two or three people at a time. 
What is this about?  It's so annoying.  I feel like I have confidence with my friends and families and as an instructor, but then having to say a few words introducing somebody else for god's sake totally unnerves me.  I mean, it's NOT ABOUT ME.  So why do I sweat it?  Having to get to know somebody else puts the fear of God in.  Why?  I like people.  I like making friends.

I guess I wonder what this says about my so-called "confidence."  I guess I wonder if that's mostly manufactured, dependent on levels of control that just don't exist in every social situation.  Which maybe doesn't reflect very kindly on me.

Or maybe I'm just a naturally shy person.  People laugh when they hear that, because I've been known to do a fierce karaoke version of "Baby Got Back," and I have a really hard time keeping my mouth shut every minute of the day.  But I'm also pretty private, and need a lot of my own time.

Got to go.  Hands cold?  Check.  Legs shaky?  Check. 



  1. Killer title, girl. Loved this piece.

  2. I relate to most of your articles, including this gem.