The things you can’t shake

We all have them. That childhood fear we’ve taken into adulthood. I have a few.

Fear of having a really lame costume at Halloween.

Fear of heights. (Actually, it’s not really heights. It’s a fear of falling. I’m clumsy. Stairs are dangerous. So are rock cliffs.)

But the worst? Fear of saying something stupid and looking like a moron.

I am shy. You may not realize this from my posts on the interwebz, but that is because I don’t have to look at you when I’m writing I have the ability to edit. A lot. And prolly not enough.

I’ve always been painfully self-conscious. I’ve always been highly self-critical. Hell, if I say it first, then when you say it, it can’t hurt, can it?  As a kid, I was mostly afraid of messing up, making a mistake. Then other people would laugh at me or think I was stupid. I was also known as “the smart one”, so, no pressure, eh?

The combination is lethal as a kid.

In a recent Facebook post, a high school friend commented that they thought I was really quiet – and that is all they knew about me. My closest friends knew I was a little silly, but I don’t think anyone else did.

They didn’t know the smart aleck. That only showed in college, and more as a defense mechanism, initially, because I was still self-conscious and shy, and getting people to laugh, even if it was due to a self-deprecating comment, was about all I could manage.

Flash forward twenty or so a bunch of years later, and not much has changed. I don’t do well with change, even if it is for the better, because I take comfort in the familiar. (Which is why I stayed in a job I was really unhappy at for so long.) I’m still really self-conscious.

The people who know me here in the UK would possibly disagree; however, making the move here – being one of the few Americans in town (read: having a really obvious not-local accent) – puts you in a fishbowl, and there isn’t the opportunity to be a wall flower, as too many people are curious about you.  I’ve really, really had to work at talking to people – even though I want to – because I worry that they won’t get me, and mistake my self-conscious stiffness for snobiness.

Moving here has done the most to shake my self-consciousness. While I won’t be making public speeches any time soon (don’t look for a vlog, either, until I lose 2 stone), and I’m still very much prefer to be a behind-the-scenes gal, I’ve come a long way.

Its been sink or swim, baby.
I’m dog-paddling.


  1. Nadine Harrhy says

    I love your non-local accent
    I love the fact that you make me giggle
    I love our coffee….(hot chocolate with homemade marshmallow) mornings
    I love how warm hearted you are
    I love your CONFIDENCE
    I didn’t know the Jenn from years ago but I, and many others from your small welsh village like the one we have now x Nadine x

    • Ok, I just got all blubbery and teary eyed.
      Sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me!
      Thank you, darlin’. The feeling is totally mutual!!!

      (even on the days when the puppy you talked me into is weeing up and down the hallway.)

  2. Fear of falling and fear of loud noises are instincts all babies are born with.

  3. I have the same problem, shyness that leads to silence that can be misinterpreted as snobbiness or as airheadedness. Most people in my high school just assumed I was an airhead which I suppose is better than being a snob, though not much.

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