I would like to introduce you to my article series called Finding the Nerve. This is a brief series in which I will address some common issues we experience when we are naturally shy. I would like to offer a perspective that may help other lesbians with their own inhibitions about different subjects such as; coming out, flirting with women, and how to deal with being a lesbian in a predominantly hetero workforce when everyone assumes you are straight. If you are shy, these scenarios can be scary.
Being shy is challenging for anyone. At one time I was so shy, sometimes I would get anxiety attacks. I used to think that I was misanthropic because I felt as if I hated all people. I used to tell myself that everyone was an idiot because it helped me feel secure about the fact that I was too socially awkward to make friends.
When I tell people that I am actually a shy person inside, they laugh at me in disbelief. If you knew me now, you would think that I was shameless…actually, I may be quite shameless now. This is a persona that I cultivated effectively because I grew up in a large family with five other siblings. I used to watch my sisters and brothers get all of the attention while I sat back like an awkward wallflower…looking as frigid as an iceberg I must say. My “stuck up bitch face” was actually my “terrified to talk to you” face.
While I was naturally shy, my family was full of highly extroverted people. You feel as if you are among a theater troupe when hanging around them as they all compete for attention with a hilarious reenactment of some amusing story. I have one younger sister who is so friendly and generous that we felt as if she never knew a stranger. No matter where we lived, everyone knew her.
I was so envious of my family’s ability to make friends everywhere. While I have made progress, I still have moments of social awkwardness that amuses everyone I know. Sometimes being shy is actually a side effect of being criticized by friends and family for being you and doing things that may seem strange to other people. I have the most dreadful habit of staring at people so intensely that I do not blink. I lean forward and get a wrinkle in my brow as if I am glaring. Here I am thinking that I am being attentive and people start to fidget and glare right back at me. One time my friend said to me “For goodness sake, just blink already!” It made me self conscious and I actually had to practice staring at people without making them nervous… I blink periodically now.
I can laugh about all of the social faux pas from my past, but I do remember a time that I suffered from depression because I felt so separate from human connection because of my social anxiety. I feel that it would be an honor if I could help someone else who is going through what I went through most of my life, which is what motivated me to start my Finding the Nerve series of articles.
Over the next few weeks, my articles will cover the following topics;
- Getting Over the First Hurdle of Being Shy
- Socializing at events
- How to Flirt with Her; reading and sending the right signals
- Coming Out at the Workforce
While the subjects above will be addressed by me, my goal is to create an interactive community with my readers. I encourage you to feel open about reaching out to me about social topics you would like to hear about that can help you move past unnecessary inhibitions. It’s time to release the constraints of shyness and embrace emotional freedom!