Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Am Not Standoffish: I AM SHY!




Wow! What a revelation! Seriously. I better start at the beginning...
The director of the CCD program I volunteer for is having a family crisis: her husband ( a young man of 48) had a stroke a few weeks ago, and she is busy with him at the hospital ( which reminds me, will you all pray for Jeff?) so the deacon led prayer time with the CCD children in the gym. I can't say why, but he decide to lead off with a little blurb about each of us volunteers, and what he appreciates about us. Do you know how he started off about me? "When I first met her, I didn't think she'd work out because she seemed rather stand-offish, but she turns out to be a really nice person......" yada yada boom di yah.....
STANDOFFISH! Well, I went right up to him and said in front of everyone "STANDOFFISH! I'LL HAVE YOU ALL KNOW, I'M JUST SHY!" (In the faculty room later, not the gym at the time. See, I really am shy..) Would you believe everyone just burst out laughing, including the deacon?! Nobody will believe that I am shy! It's shocking really.....
Oh well, maybe not. Once I get to know people, I tend to get a little crazy. But it usually takes a while. At my last job it took about six years for me to reveal that I have a sense of humor. I was mostly concerned about my professional comportment, but also felt misunderstood sometimes when I would open up just a little, so I shut off. Except, of course, to people newer than myself. I did want to make people feel welcome. It was when a much younger teacher starter nine years after me that I really opened up, because I wanted to be friendly to her and help make her comfortable, and then I kind of opened up to others.
I guess what it comes down to is that I was so concerned about how people saw me, that I tried to be invisible. Deacon's comments though have opened my eyes to realizing that I was never invisible. People could see me. They just couldn't read me. So they filled in their own blanks.
I wonder how far this carries back..... I wonder how much I have misinterpretted my own childhood.....How much of my childhood social awkwardness stems not from "trying to hard" as I always believed, but from people wanting to put me in my place because I have seemed stuck up and stand offish? And why would I, when I am not? Because I have been too concerned about how people see me, instead of being concerned with serving and sharing with others. I have been selfish. I never really considered that...
Thanks Deacon. And yes, this is the Deacon we were all praying for in December. Who knew then that he would clean a window to help me see myself, huh?

20 comments:

Wendy said...

Oh Helen, we've all thought that you were standoffish. We just didn't want to say anything... ;o)

Nick the Geek said...

Some people, like my wife, are introverted extroverts. She loves people and loves to be the center of attention and really enjoys doings stuff with people. She is too shy to make that happen with people she doesn't know so others have to reach out to this shy introvert until she opens up into the outgoing fun person she wants to be.

I, on the other hand, am pretty much the opposite. I am an extroverted introvert. I am friends with whoever happens to be around but I don't go out of my way to find friends. If I don't talk to you it isn't because I'm mad it is because I haven't seen you or haven't been able to make it over. I rarely think, "I haven't talked to so and so in a few days I should call them." I don't really like being in crowds of people so I compensate by showing off which makes me the center of attention. Honestly I'd just assume to stuff in the background but whatever. God has a sense of humor about these kind of things.

Wendy said...

Hey, is this where I find the porn?

Steph @Red Clay Diaries said...

I'm with you Helen. I'm a lot like Nick's wife. I really WANT to be loved. But most of the time I'm too shy to initiate. The only time I'm successful initiating is when I do like you said: Think of others. I wish this didn't continue to be so hard. But it is what it is.

And I knew that people considered me stuck-up in my youth because they TOLD me. For the longest time I could NOT understand that at all.

People do fill in their own blanks. And I think all of us look at others from a position of SOME insecurity.

Great post, and great learning experience today. :)

Emily B said...

Wow...and you've just cleaned the window for me! I'm blinking hard and wondering why I never thought of this before now. This is me!!! Thank you for sharing this, Helen! You may have just changed my life!

Steph @Red Clay Diaries said...

Wendy, I have to tell you that your last comment, combined with your profile pic, is just a LITTLE disconcerting... ;)

SHERRI said...

HELEN THIS WAS GREAT. YOU'VE INSPIRED A POST FOR ME!

I CAUGHT 'YOU' THE FIRST TIME I READ SOMETHING YOU WROTE- BUT I'M CERTAIN I'VE BEEN MISREAD AND I'VE MISREAD PEOPLE UNTIL I GOT TO KNOW THEM BETTER.

a LADY I MET A CHURCH A FEW YEARS AGO, ADMITTED THAT THE FIRST TIME SHE SAW ME SHE THOUGHT SHE WOULDN'T LIKE ME BECAUSE I LOOKED TO HER LIKE SOMEONE THAT WOULD BE SNOOTY (BECAUSE OF THE WAY I DRESS...STILETTOS,LOTS OF ACCESSORIES, ETC.) THEN WE ENDED UP AS CLOSE FRIENDS, AND SHE SAID THAT I GIVE OFF A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FIRST IMPRESSION.

WELL, I DON'T MEAN TO...I JUST HAPPEN TO LOVE ACCESSORIES! I DON'T EQUATE THAT WITH SNOOTY , BUT OTHERS DO.

THIS IS VERY INTERESTING!
THANKS.

Nick the Geek said...

Sherri,

You either forgot your caps lock was on or are just feeling REALLY LOUD today.

sarah said...

People are so funny. It is always interesting to hear the opinion of others, even when it catches us off-guard. Can be quite humbling.

Have a great day.

Annie K said...

Would someone tell Sherri to quit yelling.

My problem is that I start thinking about something and get so deep into thought that I apparently get a 'mean' look on my face. I'll have to try to remember to smile when I think.

Oh, and shyness isn't really one of my problems...

Wendy said...

Steph - Sorry about that! Maybe I should have changed the pic to one of PCB instead...

GEE SHERRI, HOW DO YOU REALLY FEEL?!

By the way, I'm shy and deep. Wait... Or is it obnoxious and shallow?

sherri said...

I wasn't shouting , I just was too lazy to fix the cap lock. I really didn't think it was that big of a deal, but apparently all the shouting was hurting sensitive ears! Sorry folks.

Helen said...

Wendy, thank you for being concerned about my feelings. Sorry, I forgot the porn. If you do go with the PCB pic, I won't have to worry about it, will I?
Nick, interesting description of your wife. I too like attention, but am afraid of going about it the wrong way. Never thought about it before, though...
Steph, yeah, it is kind of hard. Just because I see where I went wrong, doesn't mean change is going to happen quickly, or even effectively. Steph, you are right about the picture. Didn't think of it until you mentioned it.
Emily, thank you for visiting. Welcome.
Sherri, if I saw you dressed like that for Church, I wouldn't think that. Wal*Mart, maybe, but not Church.
Sarah, thanks for visiting. Welcome. True. Few people besides The Deacon would have the courage to let people know how they appear.
Annie, mom says that about me too when I am thinking, so I try not to do that too often. KIDDING!

Ryan B said...

Helen is shy!? Since when?

Candace Jean July 16 said...

Are we talking about the same snarky Helen? Is there more than one Helen here?

Sherri, if you don't stop screaming I'm going to send you to Helen Wait. It's one stinkin' key to press to get the caps lock off. Not like it's code or anything.

Matt @ The Church of No People said...

Hey Helen, in response to your comment, I meant no offense to big churches or people who attend them. It's just my anxiety as a small church pastor talking. :)

And I'm with Nick the Geek, an extroverted introvert - I'm good at acting like an extrovert in most situations.

Helen said...

Candy, yeah, two sides of me. The fun side came out on my blog a lot quicker than it does face to face.
Matt, I didn't take offense at all. I hope I didn't give any. I actually like small Churches where people know each other. I just figure that there is something about big Churches others find appealing. :-)

JML said...

I think that standoffish is fun. So don't worry. :)

pip said...

Hi Helen

I have been perceived as aloof or snobby in the past (and present ?) but it was just shyness. I am a shy person. Giving testimony in front of hundreds or writing on the blog is fine, but in some social situations I feel like a fish on a bicycle. I stand up with you and shout: "I am not stand-offish, snobbish or aloof...I am shy!" :)

Michelle said...

HAHA!!

When I am meeting new friends I do things like tell jokes that only I think are funny, or talk non stop about nonsense!!! Then when they get to know me, I clam up!!!

Strange!!!