Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Why So Shy?!

Pictured: Total wall-flower.

There are people who might not think I'm shy.  People who saw me dance my backside off to Year 3000 at Butlin's this weekend just gone.  People who've seen me do story workshops in schools, whilst I was promoting my children's book series.  People who know of my propensity to pull stupid poses the second a camera comes out (seriously, the more ridiculous, the better).  But I am shy.  And I'm especially shy in one particular area of life...

My best friend has a long-running joke that I fancy everyone.  Like all good jokes, it's rooted in a little bit of truth - I do have a habit of forming big crushes very quickly.  Whilst I may be utterly in love with James Bourne at the moment, I also can't watch an episode of In The Club without squeaking: "Isn't Sacha Dhawan the most beautiful looking man?!"

Yes.  Yes he is.

In reality, I'm a little more wary.  I guess you could say that fancying celebrities is a nice, safe way of indulging in that side of life without getting hurt.  Sounds childish and a bit sad (and probably is), but when your last relationship was abusive and you spent a long time blaming yourself for getting into it in the first place, you don't necessarily trust yourself when it comes to starting over with someone else.  But that doesn't mean you don't look.  And I definitely look...

The trouble is, I look and that's it.  Not out of fear of getting involved with someone (I've gone through the whole "I can't trust my own judgement" phase and come out the other side), but out of fear of something much, much more mundane.  The fear of rejection.

I've talked very honesly on this blog about my experiences of bullying at school.  About being spat at and told how hideous I was on a daily basis.  About then, years later, being in an abusive relationship in which the man who supposedly loved me told me I was clingy and disgusting.  Suffice to say that whilst my confidence might be high in some areas, when it comes to approaching someone I like, it's really... Well, not.  And I'm tired of that.

This weekend, I met - all too briefly - a man who I instantly told myself was out of my league.  Didn't matter that he was kind of flirty.  Didn't matter that we kept staring at each other from across the room.  There was no way in HELL he could possibly be interested in me.  I mean, come on.  He looked like Jake Gyllenhaal.

I'm just leaving this here to perv over later...

Even when I found myself stood a few feet away from this gorgeous person, who'd been kind of flirty and quite stare-y, I did precisely nothing about it.  He was with his mates.  I was with my friend and she was much hotter than me, so he was probably looking at her anyway, right?!  And what would I say?!  What if I went over and he recoiled in horror?!  

My friend tried desperately to make me go and say hi.  We'd already spoken, so it wasn't like I'd be introducing myself to a total stranger.  Maybe he'd remember meeting me the night before.  She asked me what the worst thing that could happen was.  And I had quite a list, which, if I remember rightly, ended with: "I COULD DIE."

Seriously, what is it about a handsome face that turns me into an utterly ridiculous twerp?  Why is it that I can hold a conversation with a total stranger - making jokes, chatting away and seeming like the most confident person in the world - unless I fancy him, in which case I either start spouting nonsense or find myself unable to speak at all?!  

I can be confident when it matters professionally.  I can walk into a classroom, full of kids I've never met and teachers who are expecting big things from me and deliver an impressive story session.  I can be confident when it matters socially.  I can meet and greet new people and give off the impression that I'm fully in control and sure of myself (although hopefully not cocky).  So why is it so hard to be confident when it matters personally?

If "Jake" and I had bumped into each other somewhere quieter and with the opportunity to chat, I know I'd have been able to natter away to him, once I'd gotten over the whole "YOUR FACE IS SO BEAUTIFUL I WANT TO EAT IT" thing.  But actually going over to him in a loud, crowded environment and making the first move myself was never going to happen, because the idea was scary enough to render me incapable of movement.  Why?  I wish I knew.  Because I know that in reality, I almost certainly wouldn't die if I wandered over to someone I fancied and tried to strike up conversation.  I probably wouldn't even die if he told me to piss off.  Probably...  

So this is me, quite seriously telling myself to grow a pair.  "Jake" probably doesn't remember who I am now (and we only met five days ago, so that's pretty depressing), but I remember him.  More importantly, I remember how lousy I felt after getting home from a night out and thinking "he was stood right there, smiling over at me and I didn't even have the guts to say hello."  Who knows, maybe he was as shy as I was.  All I know for sure is that I don't fancy being a spinster for the rest of my life and if I'm going to avoid that fate, I'm probably going to have to learn how to stop being such a shy fool.  I just haven't quite worked out how, yet.  Answers on a postcard...

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