I’m shy. I see myself as otherwise but I struggle with being shy on a daily basis. It’s a fight of who I am from who I see myself as. My mind races when I’m not talking and, yet, I don’t offer anything to say when I’m around others. I can barely keep up with my thoughts when my mind is engaged, but choose to keep quiet in unfamiliar settings. I don’t understand why I hold back so often but my body reacts physically, mentally and emotionally to uncomfortable or tense situations with slight anguish. Still, I don’t see myself as being very shy.
I know he’s trying to say something to me.
I can see his lips moving, and I hear noises coming from his mouth.
I hear a few words ‘funny’ and ‘the’ and ‘tonight’.
I wish I was better at reading lips.
We arrived at the Back Alley around 10pm last night and before I got there, I was excited to be going out but I was worried that the noise of the bar was going to be too loud. I have super sensitive ears and my ongoing tinnitus really affects how well I hear what’s going on and what people say.
It was a typical bar with typical patrons. Lots of twenty-somethings. All enjoying themselves, mingling and trying to figure out what to do next. I was probably the only one who decided not to drink anything at all. I had every intention of drinking before I stepped foot in the bar. Yet, as soon as I saw the crowd of complete strangers we were hanging with, I suddenly lost my thirst.
‘Are you drinking?’
‘Naw, I have to drive home so I won’t have anything’
That set the course for my night right there. I’m not quick enough to think for myself, that maybe having a few drinks would help me loosen up. I didn’t feel uptight by any means, but my body language sure gave off that vibe.
I don’t have any clue what I should say to these people. I don’t even know them. Besides, even if I do strike up a conversation, I can’t hear half of the things they say.
I knew she was having a great time and I hate being the buzz kill.
‘Go enjoy yourself, I’m fine. I’m totally ADD right now and am watching everyone.’
It’s not a lie, but part of me wishes I was better at approaching people without making a mess of myself verbally. I’m too self conscious about sounding stupid or looking stupid. So I watch people. I typically don’t stare at one or two people, I am constantly moving my head to the left and then to the right. My eyes wander the crowd, trying to understand what people are doing and saying. But I turn my head in just enough time to not even comprehend what’s going on.
There’s so much going on.
There’s too much to take in.
He’s going up to her.
He must know her because she responded right away.
Maybe it’s just that he’s cute and knows what to say.
That sign is so blue.
I have no idea how to approach someone like that.
Look at her, she’s smoking and looks bored.
Why is the ceiling so open like this?
That sign looks pretty cool.
Interesting, she couldn’t care less about him.
Why is she staring at me?
She’s probably just also making random eye contact with me.
I turn my head to the TV and watch it so that I’m looking interested in at least something. I don’t care that it’s Bravo or some other random channel playing some random syndication of some random TV show. It’s my distraction from having to actually make eye contact and talk to anyone.
‘Yeah, I’m fine. Don’t worry about me! Just go have fun’
It’s uncomfortable when people worry about me. By now the whole group of strangers notices how uncomfortable I look, again not intentionally. At this point, I can’t give in and order a drink. I still don’t want one but I’m pretty much the one person who’s not drinking in the whole city of Fullerton.
Am I ever gonna change?