I’ve always been shy. Sometimes people find my shyness hard to believe because I have moments where I seem very confident in myself. But when I was younger, adults would ask me questions like “How old are you?” and I would run away without giving them an answer. I’d spend the next few hours breathing heavily and nervously wringing my hands. When cars drove past my house while I played outside, I would run and hide in my garage until they were gone.
One time, my sister asked me to buy her candy at the store. She gave me exact change, and I counted it hundreds of times to make sure that I had the correct amount. I walked confidently up to the register, only to hear the words: “you’re three cents short”.
I knew for a fact that I had enough money. I saw the lady count it, and she obviously made a mistake by adding it wrong. I panicked, and ran away (as usual). Candy-less and money-less, my sister made me go back into the store and get what was ours. I’ll never forget the amount of sweat that formulated under my armpits that day.
Not much has changed. I’m still absolutely terrified of public speaking. My face usually turns bright red and I stumble over my words. It’s pretty painful, like watching a dog try to play a video game. You know it’s not possible because the dog doesn’t have opposable thumbs, but you just don’t have the heart to tell him that he should give up because he is embarrassing himself (and it’s kind of entertaining for you to watch).
The truth is, we’re all self-conscious — especially if it’s about something personal to us. We’re all afraid of the judgement that will follow after we share something with the world.
This morning, I read an inspiring blog post from my friend Allison Francis. She talks about how we should let go of our fears and share it anyway. You should definitely take the time to read the post in it’s entirety (especially if you are in a creative field). Her last paragraph is my favorite:
Let go of your insecurities. Get out of your head and into your soul. Answer the call to art and become a part of something bigger than you; embrace a power inaccessible to lone individuals. Create, create, create, and help make the world an inspiring place to live.
This term, I’m taking a creative writing class. We spend some time writing short entries, and sometimes that writing turns into something I’d like to continue with. I’ll probably never be able to give a speech without a red face, but here is to small steps…I’m going to start sharing some of my short stories on my blog under the category “Short Stories” (very creative title, I know…).
Even if the stories suck, maybe you can laugh at my pathetic attempts at writing. Or, if there is a miracle worker out there, maybe you will watch my writing improve as the class progresses. Feedback is always welcome – it’s the only way I can improve!
p.s. Today’s writing prompt was Objective Correlative, which means we had to “use a symbolic article used to provide explicit, rather than implicit, access to such traditionally inexplicable concepts as emotion or color”. I don’t even know if I did this correctly, but heck, here goes nothing…
The Bus Stop
Dan sifted the dirt underneath his leather shoes, and waited for the next bus to arrive.
“I should have gotten a shoe shine,” he grumbled to himself. “Hell, I didn’t even shave this morning,” he said, as his cold fingers stroked the graying stubble growth. “I guess it doesn’t really matter anymore…”
He mused to no one in particular, not even himself. Not a soul was even within earshot. That was just it; no one was there.
The bus stop taunted him with emptiness. After all, where would anyone want to go? Why would anyone have anywhere to be at 2 p.m. on a bleak Tuesday afternoon? Most people were busy shuffling about on their daily endeavors. Children were lacing up their shoes on the playground. Fathers were at work, furiously scratching away on yellow lined notepads. Mothers were sewing patches on the broken seams of the living room pillows.
Dan didn’t fit that lifestyle anymore. Instead, he was watching the rain drops slowly drip into larger formations of nothingness on the side of the bus stop at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday.
He recalled the last time that he was on a bus. A blue Dodgers cap had covered his slightly tousled hair – more hair than he has nowadays. He frantically checked his watch, each tick determining whether or not he would make it to the game on time. If it wasn’t for Jack, who felt the annoying urge to pick up every single stick along the way to the bus, they would already be cheering in the stadium.
“Hurry it up, Jack! We’re gonna be late,” Dan had told him, as he hustled him along by the arm. “I paid a lot of money for these tickets! The sticks will be there when you get back.”
The rumbling of the bus awoke Dan from his daydream, and he boarded the bus headed for Marisville Cemetery. He took a seat near the back, even though he was the only passenger on the bus. This time, he wasn’t wearing a baseball cap or checking his watch. Instead, he gazed out the window, and wished that he would have spent more time picking up sticks alongside of his son.