I'm shocked at how long it's been since my last post. I really wanted to try to keep up with doing this weekly. Oh well - so much for good intentions.
I've been trying to think of what I want to talk about. I was actually inspired by a post on Nej's blog regarding Gen Y and rash over-generalisations. I was thinking how much of themselves Gen Ys put out there into the cyber world. When I set up this blog I cringed at the thought of putting my photo up. And then I began to question myself about that decision. There is something comforting about the protection that the online world offers. What I mean, is that even though you put your thoughts 'out there', you can remain anonymous. But I really like connecting with other people. I hate false, shallow relationships.
So what am I scared of? I was thinking about a story my Mum told me. We were one of those families who camped every summer by the beach. Apparently when I was about 18 months old, Mum had me down near the waters edge. People she knew came to say hello and catch up with how their year had been. In turn, they tried to also say hello to me too - all blonde curls and chubby cheeks. I, so family legend has it, threw my head down into the sand, simply terrified of these strangers. And so the ostrich gags began.
Shyness has always been part of me. I found certain things in school excruciating. I always sat towards the front over to one side of the classroom, growing my fringe long to hide behind. My heart would pound at the announcement that someone would need to read a chapter out loud. 'Don't pick me, Don't pick me', would rotate around my head as I slowly slunk down a little more in my chair. I had good friends, and could clown around happily with them. But as soon as something I was doing became more public, I would freeze.
The good thing about getting older, is that you learn to have a bit more confidence in yourself (if you're lucky!). In my mid twenties I broke up with my boyfriend who I'd been with since I was 15. I moved out on my own - alone for the first time in my life. And I began to figure out who I was....really was. The 18 months I was single were quite a time for me. I found how to be happy being 'me'. I ended up with a new job, that believe it or not meant that I had to give tours and help with classes in the library. The shy kid inside was still there - heart pounding - but able to face the terrifying fear of speaking in public. I realised that I was more terrified of being crap, than I was of speaking. I try to think about people who I have found inspiring or engaging. But some days the internal struggle between shyness and confidence is still there.
Perhaps it's an innate fear of being judged. I don't know. But one thing I've figured out is that no one is more critical of me....than me. Am I, in a way, my own worst enemy? Perhaps. Maybe it's a Gen X thing - hating yourself - or maybe it's part of having XX chromosomes? I know so many women who dislike themselves. But as the years tick by I hope that I will get over this too. It seems silly and self indulgent, and even though I can intellectualise those thoughts, I still have my moments when I don't honestly, deep down, think that I'm good enough. And now that I've written this - I want to kick my own arse!
So - in my first step towards combating that, I've decided to load my picture on this blog. I took this photo myself and maybe the reason I like it is that this is who I see when I look in the mirror. So - here I am. Andy. Nice to meet you.