Monday, 16 April 2012

The quiet one I'm not.

In an interesting little twitter conversation this morning with Bonnie Burton and another person on Twitter that I don't know about this book You-Can-Draw-Star-Wars I rediscovered that side of me no one seems to know about. The shy me.
I'm shy but no one ever believes me because once they get to know me I don't seem shy at all. Well like most things there are two sides to the person that is me. ( actually there are more but let's keep it simple for now).

Yes, I can be vivacious and out going, chatty and vibrant but if I'm in a situation where I admire, like, look up to or otherwise would like to talk with someone I don't know at all all of that arrogance and bravado flees rapidly. I don't do well at parties where I only know one or two people. I'm mistrustful of social situations because I'm different than the average crowd my age.

I'm 46. I'm married. We don't have kids and we never wanted to. We live in a house big enough for a family but it's just the two of us, my art studio, our computer room, our books and stuff and costumes and dvds and so on. We are both geeks in the truest sense of the word. We like science fiction and fantasy. We met through a Star Wars online chat club, our vacations are spent either doing 501st stuff or sci-fi conventions or medieval events ( SCA). When we talk to the normal people at parties we get looked at as though we come from another planet. I've learned over the many years to just keep my mouth shut because the average person doesn't get it and we are freaks of nature to them.

It's even harder for me because I like to talk to people, I like to share ideas and get into discussions and I especially LOVE meeting people who are into geeky stuff, are artistic and so on but man it is hard for me to go up and say hi. Sweaty palm, racing heart hard. So I tend to admire from afar.

At jedicon a couple of years back Denise Vasquez and Randy Martinez were guests. These two people are  great artists and really nice folks and I must have walked by the table they were sitting at, drawing and talking to people about 100 times but never once stopped to say hi or ask the questions I wanted to ask...why? Because I'm hard wired not to bother people. Because it's painfully difficult for me to break that barrier.

Occasionally I do it, and meeting to and speaking with Japanese artist Tsuneo Sanda was one such moment and it was glorious. Even better was keeping the contact up on Facebook because he is just brilliant. But actually making face to face contact is very difficult. Being in a room full of strangers is hard. I'd rather be the girl in the corner watching than take that 1st step which is daft and I do know this but some times, more often than not, getting over that hump is just too hard. I'd rather watch than be rejected or told to fuck off or what ever horrid situation you can think of.

We were at a BBQ a few years back with some dear friends of ours. they get us, they accept that we do stuff differently but the people we met at the BBQ well their faces when we talked about our plans for that year's holiday ... we might as well have been from Mars.  You could see it plainly as we talked they shrank back from us, their eyes got that glazed look and their body language said... ohmygodgetmeawayfromthesepeople. That sense of you are one not of us has been a driving theme my whole life. At that point I close ranks and shut off from the world, I place a nice smile on my face and chatter about mindless stuff I forget 5 minutes later.  At this party we kind of walked away and shortly after that we went home because it's just not fun being with people who think you are freaks and get all judgy because you do stuff that isn't what they think of as "normal".

But really I'm that one people point as really odd, does crazy things and has strange hobbies. How many times in my life I have heard the sentence "You're so weird."I lost count a long time ago.  So I spend a lot of time on my own and I'm perfectly happy with that. I don't mind being on my own. I can be social when I want but honestly I like the quiet time too.

I don't know where this comes from except maybe being bullied and teased a lot as a kid probably didn't help. I developed the arrogance / weirdness armour. I'm British and Canadian and I moved a lot to places were I was an outsider and that was made abundantly clear ( ask me about the time the Patey boy broke my pinkie finger because he hated the way  spoke). I've been a fish out of water my whole life. So I tend to react to situations in one of 2 ways.  I'm either unspeakably shy or I am just a shiny bright bouncy light bulb babbling away about all sorts of shit. I sound like an annoying know it all or so I've been told.

When I do get introduced to people I never know what to say after hi. What questions to ask. Where to go next. I don't do small talk well and I don't ask personal questions of people I don't know well not because I'm not interested but because I feel that if people want to tell me about themselves they will, if they don't then maybe asking is being intrusive and rude.  I want to launch into great and deep conversations right out of the gate. I want people to talk to me not at me and vice versa. I don't care about the weather or what car they drive. I don't want to scratch the surface I want to dig up the floor boards. But since mostly this is socially inappropriate I stay quiet.

So we go to conventions but I mostly watch from afar and I don't ask the questions I really want to ask, or ask for autographs, or say hi, or any of those things because in order to do these things I have to get my fear of rejection under control and while occasionally I manage that, most of the time I take a deep breath and walk the other way which is sad. When I tell you I'm shy it's the truth but probably by that point we've become friends so you won't believe it anyway.


  1. many of the above things could have been written about me. :-) I know exactly what you mean!


  2. I think many people are shy we just cover it up well because shyness and introverted people is something society doesn't quite accept or understand.


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