When I Was Younger

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When I was younger, I was painfully shy and overly sensitive. I was always afraid I’d say something to make me look terribly stupid, and it didn’t take much to make me cry.

I’m still an introvert and far too sensitive for a forty-something, as I never did grow a thicker skin. (Fact: crying in the business world is generally unacceptable, so if you are thin-skinned, make sure you get a job that gives you an office with a door.)  The thought of public speaking makes me want to hurl. And since I’m still afraid of sticking my foot in my mouth, I’m going to be quiet until I get to know you better. (And if I’m not quiet, I’ve either had a few drinks or will be replaying everything I said the next day in horror.)

When I was younger, I worried too much about what other people thought of me.

I thought I was over all that. That I was more mature, and more confident than that.
That if I found MY people, it wouldn’t matter, because they would get me.

As it turns out, I STILL worry about what people think, and I hate it.  The logical part of my brains says that if they are judging me, I wouldn’t want them as a friend, anyway. The sensitive side of me is simply tired of talking to the dog all day and wants to know “what’s wrong with me”, if one overlooks the fact that I’m shy and anxious and talk to my dog all day…

Oh. I see…

When I was younger, despite the shyness and the fear of public speaking, I did like attention. (Don’t we all, really? Could you just shower me with attention from behind this bathroom door, please?)

I supposed that is what made me agree to be in the pantomime at my kids’ school when we lived in the UK. (How was I to know that I was cast mainly because the idea of an American playing Ali Baba was hilarious?)

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When I was younger, I was a skinny little twig of a girl. When I was a little older (but younger than now) I complained to my trainer about my fat knees as I made fun of him for messing up the count to 100 as we did crunches.

Fat. Knees.

What was I thinking?

Now that I’m older, the knees are the least of my worries and I’d give anything to be able to do 100 crunches in a row and work out in bike shorts and a the cropped, fitted workout top again. Not that anyone actually wears them any more, bless our little ’90s hearts.

When I was younger, I wanted to be a writer and illustrate children’s books. I would draw pictures for friends and sell them for a quarter. I don’t know what’s more ridiculous – that I sold pictures, or that my classmates paid anything for them.

Now, I have a blog and a lot of dreams and a loud, annoying inner critic named “Babs” that I battle with daily. Overly critical me hardly picks up a pencil to sketch any more because the blank page terrifies me. The last thing I drew that I was happy with was the zombie and parts for the  “pin the body part on the zombie” I made for the fourth grade Halloween party.

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I can’t rest on my laurels, though, because if my daughter asks me to draw her an elephant, it’s still never the right elephant.

When I was younger, I was a bit of a dork.

I guess I kind of still am now.

Really, not much has changed from when I was younger.

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Mama’s Losin’ It
This post was inspired by a prompt in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop: Write something that begins and ends with the words “When I was younger.”

Comments

  1. Don’t worry about being a dork. All the best people are. 🙂

  2. Fat knees? Don’t you just want to slap our younger selves for the dumb things we said? I was extremely shy too, but over the years have worked my way out of it. I’ll always feel uncomfortable I think, but I’m much better at hiding it now. My oldest got a double dose of the shy/sensitive gene. It’s like you just want to turn off that over-thinking section of the brain and just relax already! Seems impossible sometimes.

  3. Janet M. Ameday says

    You might have considered yourself a dork and painfully shy, but you were always considered by others(me) as introverted and unusually intelligent. After all you were the oldest in the family, and your class was rather small in grade school. This made you appear just intelligent and shy.

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