It’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for
Girl-child was at a multi-girl play date yesterday, at the 2nd grade equivalent of a Party House. All the neighbor kids are magnetically drawn there, and the parents of Party Girl are of the hip, laid-back variety, something I wish I could be if it wasn’t for all the damn stress.
I go to pick up Girl-child at the appointed time, and I start chatting with the father of another 2nd grader, who I’ve known for a few years in the Circle of Girls that we’ve grown. He turned to me and said, “When we spoke on the phone last night about the play date, I wasn’t sure if you said you were busy or not. You’re a rather soft-spoken person.”
That threw me, and while the blush descended up my face I blurted out, “Well, I guess I should speak up then!”, and giggled like I was one big twitchy nerve.
Being called “soft-spoken” really bugged me. Still does. Because in my head, and with my friends and family, I can be anything but. Or so I think. Am I really so different from an outside view than I am from the inside? I have been habitually shy since birth, but have largely overcome that. I politely hate to interrupt the conversation of others. And while it’s true that I have a soft voice, it’s not that soft (although Girl-child can yell at her brother louder than I can…or do).
I don’t want to be soft-spoken. I want to be bawdy, and have a voice, and be heard, and have people nod at my brilliant opinions and laugh like a bloody stupid hyena without feeling self-conscious. And I do that, sometimes. But apparently not enough. And that reminds me, another parent this summer called me “laid back”. She has no idea how much I squelch the stress inside, I guess.
The thing is, if I were to change, to suddenly chatter-out all the thoughts and ideas in my head, to shake with fervent conviction at some point I was trying to make, to chat with every parent waiting outside the school with this-thing-and-that-thing, it would not only take a hellova lot of energy from me, but freak them out by my change in behaviour (“Is she on drugs? Too much caffeine? Who pulled her string?”).
Maybe I’m lazy. Or maybe that’s what this blog is for. I dunno. I'm just stunned at my own inability to judge how people see me.