Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What's one thing about you that's changed significantly since you were a child?
Besides getting (a little bit) taller, uh, weirdly I think the biggest thing that's changed for me is that I'm not at all shy anymore.
I also used to crave validation and attention from older people and authorities a lot. I am not 100% sure if my not feeling like I need that was a personality shift at all, though, since children are groomed to seek approval from adults, and once you start seeing yourself as an adult, you don't really have a model for that as much anymore. I at least grew out of it, but I do remember being really young and wishing I could be the so-called "teacher's pet." It was kind of an awful situation, because I was NEVER the teacher's pet even though I was kind of a nerd and a bit of a kiss-up honestly. They for some reason did not particularly like me. Same with leaders in groups like Girl Scouts or the camp counselor. They'd always buddy up with other kids who were more popular and self-assured. Adults in charge probably think they don't do this, but they do.
Which kinda brings me back to the first point. I did used to be shy. Other people were overwhelming and I always felt really exposed if I was expected to perform somehow, even if it was in regular person-to-person kid-to-kid interactions. I felt like if I didn't say or do the "right" thing I would get laughed at or rejected. Which is probably because that is exactly what happened. I took longer than most kids my age to formulate verbal responses, probably because I was afraid of other kids for a long time. Even when they were my age, they were always bigger than me, and often not nice.
However, I didn't struggle too much with communication when it was one on one with a person I trusted, and I really liked to have lengthy, in-depth conversations with other people who cared about what I cared about. I think my "performance" fear may have gone away when I joined the chorus and got serious about it in ninth grade. I can't tell if this fear was shed because of experience actually performing or if it was just increased maturity. It could have been both. What's interesting is how much positive feedback I got for my performances, and how that coincided with my willingness to do it.
Gee, you think? Kids who get laughed at and shamed for their input don't want to give it anymore, but kids who get rewarded for their contributions suddenly stop feeling afraid of it? You're kidding.
Anyway, today as an adult I'm not shy whatsoever. I don't find other people intimidating unless they're actually being violent. I don't ENJOY crowds of people, but I don't have problems functioning in or around them, and I also don't mind speaking or singing in front of groups. There's always a bit of fear of your presentation or performance going sour, of course, but I'm not afraid intrinsically of being in front of groups. And I don't "keep to myself" or refrain from opening up; I'm kind of an open book. You really do know what you're getting with me, and based on other people's reactions to that, it's apparently unusual enough that people often treat me like I must be hiding something.
Nope. Just not shy.