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It Worked for Popeye

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One of the flaws of my otherwise fantastic personality (if I do say so myself) is that I’m stubborn. I know it, I see it, I own it. But I can’t change it. It’s part of who I am.

One more character flaw? Despite what you may think, I’m pretty shy. In my comfort zone, I am personable, funny, and enjoy a group of people. When I am out of my comfort zone? I’m quietly stressing out and anxious. Growing up, many peers at school thought I was mean or bitchy, intimidating, and mean … oh shoot, if you only knew that I was afraid of you! Guess I faked it pretty well!? Who knows why I am so shy, it’s just me.

Sometimes I am able to somehow “overcome” my shyness and fake it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still panicking on the inside but I am able to stifle it somehow. I do this by pretending I’m acting! No seriously, I pretend that I am looking at myself on TV and acting my part. You know, the part of ME, the goofball and clumsy one?! I know it sounds weird, but often that’s the only way I can get through a situation.

Hubby doesn’t understand this. He doesn’t understand that I’m shy. He doesn’t understand that I have an extremely hard time meeting the droves of people he is always introducing me to. In his business, especially with all of his international clients, it’s customary that the men hang out and the wives chat amongst themselves. I know it might be good for business to “make nice” with the wives of his clients, but most of the time, you can find me hiding in a closet! No, I’m not kidding! One time Hubby was convinced that I was faking a headache just so I didn’t have to entertain a group of women that were coming with their spouses to the ranch. Not so! I get so stressed out and worried that I make myself physically ill. Believe me, it’s not fun.

It’s the act of being “thrust upon” strangers that gives me such discomfort. When I come to know strangers on my own, in my own time, without the prodding of someone pushing me, I do just fine. Heck, I have zillions of friends everywhere which I made just fine on my own!! It’s just the act of being pushed into situations where I’m not yet comfortable that makes me panic.

People have forever been pushing me to be part of something larger than myself. As an only child I got the impression early on that others felt sorry for me because I didn’t have siblings for built-in playmates! I could have cared less about playmates! I was blissfully happy as a child and honestly never once wished for a brother or sister.

The same is happening now with our son. He is our only child and is the happiest and most well-rounded individual I have ever known. Yet the same panicked look comes over his face when adults try to push him to play with strangers. Just like good ol’ Mom, he is an outgoing, popular kid when he comes to make friends in his own time. Pushed? Forget about it! I understand his shyness towards strangers, he got it from me.

“I am what I am and that’s all that I am.”—Popeye 

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