It’s easy to paint the picture of the shy little girl.
I was that girl. Not with people I was very comfortable with, but with just about everyone else.
I remember being in kindergarten at the beginning of the school year and not wanting to speak. It was as simple as that. All the other children were playing together and I just didn’t want to speak, I couldn’t.
My teacher kept asking me questions and trying to get me to talk. I stared back up at her but didn’t form any words. She started to get agitated, she thought I was being disrespectful. I felt her agitation but simply couldn’t speak. It’s hard to explain what that feels like. Words simply aren’t an option. They’re just not there. All that’s there is discomfort.
And so she yelled at me and sent me to sit in the corner. Who knows if she really yelled in a way that I would consider yelling now, but in my child’s mind she yelled and it was traumatic. And so I wanted to speak even less.
I don’t have many memories from that age, but I’ve never forgotten that one. It was traumatic for me, from my child mind’s perception. It stayed with me for life.
I so remember being that shy little girl. Wanting to cling to people who made me feel safe and avoid all others. I wish I could go back to her and tell her that she’s understood. That’s she beautiful and she doesn’t need to talk if she doesn’t want to. That she’s perfect just the way she is and she can do things on her own time. But also explain to her, gently, that she doesn’t need to be so scared, that she’ll be loved and protected, unconditionally.
Some people grow out of being that shy scared child and for some it stays with them for life, no matter how much they’ve grown, adjusted, and learned to adapt. I’m not that same little girl anymore but she still lives within me. I spent most of my life resenting her and the ways she’s held me back. The more I resented her, the more my insecurities controlled my life.
I see now that I should have been loving her all along, that’s all she ever really wanted to begin with.
Were you ever misunderstood by a teacher because you were shy?
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