The daily prompt today is “After spending time with a group of people, do you feel energized and ready for anything or do you want to hide in the corner with a good book?”
As a child I was painfully shy. Until the age of about 35 I was painfully shy. I am not entirely sure why. I don’t have low self-esteem, I see myself as pretty cool but for some reason can’t imagine that others share my self view. There is a saying “Rather be quiet and be thought a fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt”. Socially I lived by this. Often if I give an answer or make a comment which I regret, I muse over what I should have said for ages.
As a child I was no good in groups. I remember reading a book in by bedroom while my mother played pin the tail on the donkey, with my friends outside. I remember sitting playing with a dog or hiding in a corner at other children’s parties. Social situations created a high level of stress.
I am deaf in one ear which sometimes cuts me off from conversation if in a loud environment, or if a person speaks on my ‘wrong side’. I can really get the wrong end of the auditory stick. I learned to nod and smile a lot but that can be a minefield if I am being told that aunt Lou Lou was hit by a bus. You can even seem an idiot without opening your mouth.
I’m not sure what changed, but slowly I came out of my shell, the good old ageing process is most likely responsible. I always loved one on one interactions with a few choice friends but now I can chat to a stranger with ease. With age I realise that no one is perfect and that everyone has made mistakes and experienced pain, that levels the playing field.
Yesterday was a prime example, looking into my wardrobe in the morning I wondered “What does a writer wear?” I have been chosen to work with POWA on a writing mentorship project, as a mentor. I needed to clothe my insecurity. Despite having quite a few works published, as a writer I keep shifting my goal posts and never feel that I have arrived at a point of confidence in my work.
Despite my fear of feeling like an imposter among ‘real’ writers, the day was a mental banquet. I loved hearing what the other women had to say. I loved working through the manuscripts which we were given. I loved the interaction and the vibrance of meeting excellent minds. On leaving I no longer felt inadequate but up to the task of the workshops ahead and excited about what they will yield.
The little girl hiding in a book will always be a part of me, and I do so love to read! In my case it’s not a matter of choosing solitude or society but about balance between the two.