Please Don’t Call Me Shy

My high school classmates voted me Most Shy.

When I found out I was nominated, I did what any shy person would do: I campaigned. I told every one I saw, “Vote for me–Most Shy!”

The irony was lost on my classmates, but I did win. (Of course I didn’t vote for myself; I voted for a girl I had never heard of before. She should’ve won, but I stole the title from her.)

Unfortunately, the yearbook has no record of my winning because the boy that won Most Shy refused to have his photo taken. I’m not bitter, but if anybody on the yearbook staff had a sense of humor they would have at least included on the Senior Superlative page, “Not Pictured–Most Shy: Sarah Stinson and that one guy.”

I was just happy that I won something, but I’m slightly annoyed that people always equate shyness with being an introvert. I don’t believe they’re the same thing.

When I was in seventh grade, I remember telling a senior student* I couldn’t do something because I was shy.

She replied, “No you’re not. You may be quiet, but you shouldn’t be shy. Being shy means you close yourself off from the world because you’re scared to experience it; being quiet just means you experience the world differently.”

Since then I’ve refused to label myself as shy. And though sometimes fear wins small battles, I refuse to let fear ultimately keep me from chasing my dreams and living my life.

I love people and being around them! I just can’t be around people 24/7 or I get drained and cranky.

Sometimes talking to new people (especially if those new people are attractive guys) does make me nervous, but it doesn’t often stop me.

In a large group of people, I may not always add much to the conversation, but not because I’m shy. It’s because I love to listen and observe–and probably also because I’m a little proud and don’t like to add to the conversation unless I can be witty and make people laugh.

So this is just a friendly little PSA from an introvert who sometimes secretly loves being the center of attention: You can call me awkward, charming, witty or even quiet, but please don’t call me shy.

*I don’t exactly remember how old the student was, but I went to a small Christian school in seventh grade meaning the Junior and Senior high students used the same buildings. Memories are fuzzy, so I’m going to assume the girl that gave me advice that ended up shaping part of my worldview was at least 17-years-old.

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