Monday, September 17, 2007

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.


At 8:46 AM, Blogger gr said...

Dahling, I always think of you as BAWDY and then some.

At 11:39 AM, Blogger Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

A lot of shy people become big boisterous talkers when they are in their comfort zone. I know I'm like that. The father's comment probably says more about your relationship with him than it does about you per se.

At 4:47 PM, Blogger Mother of Invention said...

It takes a lifetime to really see what you are like with various people and that's just it - we're different with everyone. People in my group of friends or at school think I'm really outgoing and socially confident, a little wacky too. But put me in a room of people I've never met, say at a grad for my husband's adults he teaches, I'm shy and hardly say anything. I can't just come up and say, "Hi, I'm Dave's wife." I just hope someone will talk to me first. Depends on whether you're in your own element, I guess. Once I break in, I can be really funny.

(We see ourse;ves in the face of others" to a certain extent and maybe we have several selves.

At 8:19 PM, Blogger Irrelephant said...

You know, Mona dear, when you speak quietly people lean in, have to pay attention, give you their ears. Loud does not necessarily mean 'wise' or 'worth listening to.' *smile*

At 11:04 PM, Blogger Lucia said...

Let that bawdiness rip!

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Nancy Dancehall said...

"...giggled like I was one big twitchy nerve."

That sent coffee out my nose, you big loudmouth! ;-)

At 5:57 PM, Blogger meno said...

I am not shy, i am reserved.

People who know me would have a hard time believing this, but if i don't know someone.....


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