Yes, it's true. I have battled shyness all my life. Did I have you fooled? Well, I have many years of practice. I remember that a few years ago my sister mentioned my mom's crippling shyness, and I was so surprised to hear that...mainly because she was home with me, nurturing my socialization, and rarely had to step out of her comfort zone and into the bigger world. When she did, she was dressed to the nines in clothes she designed and made, hair and makeup perfect. That gene seems to have skipped a generation, so when I'm out in the world, I don't have that armor.
So what reminded me of that? Just a party. A neighborhood block party, next door, with dear sweet, welcoming people, name tags (I can NEVER remember a name...and even froze on my business name when asked tonight...duh!), my BF and even my dog...and I could not get out of there fast enough.
But...it was fun. I met the couple who have been my backyard neighbors for almost 11 years. Yes, just now met and visited with them. Ditto a couple from across the street. I truly enjoy the one on one conversations. I do intend to keep those aqaintanships going and feel good about that. But once our little clique dissolved as those dinner time conversations do, it was all I could do to not bolt for home. And I learned this is not how everyone feels (remember, my role model was even more shy than me, so I had no idea people actually LIKE parties. Who knew?)
My new role model? Katie. Yes, the Shih Tzu was the life of the party. She was completely charming, fluffing her tail plume, doling out doggie smiles and measured licks, minding when I called for her but working the crowd as if the party was her debut. When I lost track of her and looked around, there would be a table with 7 people and Katie (she jumped up on the vacant chair so as to be included in the goings-on), grinning her most toothfull grin, wagging her pleasure at being out and about. The resident Lab was shooed away for barking, and a little terrier had a few snarling fits, but Katie made her rounds, trailing "oh, she's so cute" and "how well-behaved!" in her wake.
I won't even go into my boyfriend's socializing. He loves being around people, doesn't share my awkwardness in large gatherings, and was also "well-behaved" (and picked up after Katie when she oopsed in the middle of a bocce game). He's human. He's supposed to know how to be around people.
But I learned something from Katie. Being social can't rely on being glued to the first seat I encounter and hoping 1) nobody notices or 2) someone gentle comes to visit. Next time the situation presents itself, I will do my best to channel my inner Shih Tzu and table-hop, smile, and have fun.
Let's see. That will probably be next month in Jamaica, where I understand a lively entertainment staff will arrange frequent schmoozing opportunities. I don't drink alcohol so I can't rely on liquid courage. But maybe I'll keep one of Katie's photos with me...a big smiley one...reminding me it's all about fun
And what the heck. I'll never see those people again...