Society or Solitude?

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. 

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