When you blog, people get to see one side of you, the side you present to them. You may open up, share both painful and positive stories, but people make assumptions. They intuit things about your personality- let’s just say we’re all a bit like Columbo. And some of these things are dead on accurate- every word someone writes, every picture clearly show the definition of who you are. But, sometimes, it’s harder to see the truth in someone’s personality- sometimes the person sends opposite messages.
For example. I am a very shy person. I know I’m opinionated, and never fail to make my opinion known. I know I will argue until I have not a point left to utter. I know I have a certain level of self-confidence. But I am still shy.
So what does shy mean to me? I don’t like parties. I am not the type of person who will introduce themselves to everyone. When at a party, I’m the one in the corner, making snide comments with the one person I know. I’m not dancing on the tables (though I have a college friend, SF, who might argue this point, but he never comments, so I’m safe…..) As much as I talk, and yes- I have a big and loud mouth- I am really more of an observer. I watch the way people interact- I see the body language of a couple clearly headed for a break-up, or the hunched shoulders of a woman who clearly has way too much on her mind. I eavesdrop on conversations -sorry- you shouldn’t talk about how you don’t remember which brother you had sex with (last night) because you thought they were both cute when you are on a subway or talk about the way you are going to lie to your wife (that night) while you are walking down the street- I will judge you.
I also have trouble commenting on other peoples blogs. Seriously. I didn’t comment on anyone the first month I blogged. I was terrified that people would dismiss my opinion, not care what I had to say. This is where the bad part of shyness comes in, the fear of doing something because you are scared to interact.
I needed to overcome this. Every time I comment on a blog it is hard for me. I still don’t know if I have anything to add to the table. I worry that my contribution will be paltry compared to what others say. I know it doesn’t seem like that- but it’s true. One truth.
Second truth. When I was in 7th grade, my English teacher told me, and my mother, that I was not a good writer. This crushed me, because 7th grade me wanted to be a writer. It was my dream. Now my Mother, not always the most sensitive person, blamed me- because I should be a good writer, because I clearly had the aptitude (damn IQ test). She hired a tutor, and on Monday nights I sat with this tutor. My tutor didn’t understand why she was spending Monday nights with me, because she said there was absolutely nothing wrong with my writing. I had the basics of grammar and punctuation. I understood how to open and close a composition. I knew how to back up my points. She told my Mother that there must be a personality issue between the teacher and me.
My Mother did not like the version that the tutor presented. My Mother decided I wasn’t working hard enough. And we once again enter the world of parental expectations……
But it wasn’t only my Mother that crushed me this time- it was also a teacher. And even though every other teacher I ever had in school was actually pretty wonderful, this one teacher crushed my spirit. It was then I decided that I would not be a writer.
So the truth is- I don’t think I’m a good writer. This is not a humble brag. I am shocked and amazed whenever someone tells me that I am a good writer, or that they like my posts. Truly.
You have no idea how hard it is for me to push the publish button. I second guess every word, every sentence, every paragraph, every post. Yesterday was the first time I ever post-edited a piece (except for glaring spelling errors, and forgetting to put a title) I try not to edit after I publish because I will always find something wrong with my words- I will always think of a better way to say something, or a point that I missed. There is a chance that I would only have one post on this blog because I would be constantly reworking it. I don’t think my words on the page are good. But I keep trying.