GEEK LIFE: The Shy Girl
Many of you can probably relate to growing up shy and feeling awkward. I was a very shy and dorky child/teenager. I was quick to embrace “unique awkwardness” but my passiveness was a negative trait according to adults. I was told by teachers and adults that I needed to get over my shyness. That I needed to participate in class more, to speak up more for myself, and to talk more in general. It’s an overwhelming feeling to be forced out of my personality comfort zone and I spent most of my school days terrified of having to speak in front of a classroom.
Today,I am no longer scared of speaking out and showing off who I am. Just this past year, I’ve already done several live podcast shows with Defective Geeks. Overcoming my shyness was not easy and it took me years and years. I’m still shy in a lot of ways. The journey is different for everyone and I can’t give an exact guideline on a How-To NOT be shy. For me, it was a lot of different factors and experiences, plus just generally growing up.
I realized my leadership potentials during high school.On my sophomore year, my art high school moved to its own campus (we were sharing campus with a public high school) and the art kids were suddenly all stuck with each other — artists, singers, theater kids, dancers, etc. All the people that got picked on at public high school. Cliques still formed at our school and when all was said and done, there were still “popular kids”… but yes, we were a more open-minded and accepting bunch. I quickly found my group of friends who shared similar interests and we decided to start the Anime Club. I was the club president and this is how I learned how to run an organization and how to get people together. Having to be a leader is very challenging for a passive person but it is a great way to learn confidence.
If you are still in school, try starting a group or an organization that has something to do with your interest. Or join one and force yourself to get involved! You would be surprised to discover what you are capable of.
My high schools teachers also recognized how much I grew during high school and their encouragement helped me so much. I hope students these days are lucky enough to have the kind of teachers I had. Plus, everyone who was in my club were just great kids. Those were the days!
Yup. Cosplay. It helped me. A lot. Part of being shy is feeling self-conscious about yourself and how the public perceives you. The cosplay journey helped me let go of a lot of those insecurities. I went to anime conventions where I am surrounded by people who were exactly like me and accepted me. I suddenly discovered my showmanship. Running around in a costume is a full-time performance and it helps you realize that nothing else you will do in public can be as ridiculous as dressing up like an anime character.
Cosplayers can go either way: A) they can go mad with power over the sudden attention or B) they learn to celebrate a common interest and sub-culture, learning to appreciate another person’s hard work and skills and forming a supportive community. I was somewhat a mix of both because no one found me attractive until I stepped into the world of anime conventions. Thankfully, I didn’t go too crazy with the attention and ego. I am proud to say that I never made a bad decision as a cosplayer and instead, all my energy went into meeting interesting people and making friends. I had a lot of fun and never, never, never took it too seriously.
Cosplay pumped me with good self-esteem and I learned to be silly in public without caring what other people thought of me.
The interwebs is a double-edged sword because it can either propel a person into an introvert cave and make the shyness worse or a person can find their online tribe and their niche.
There was a time in my life when I met all my friends online. I still meet a lot of my friends on the internet. The internet did help me find my voice, through writing, sharing artwork, photos, fanfiction and role playing. My first venture in blogging or public journal writing was on LiveJournal. I learned to write what was on my mind and to share it with an audience. That audience validated my thoughts and thought me that what I had to say mattered to another person.
I manage to take that extra step and learned to bring that feeling of confidence into the real world. When used properly, the internet is a great tool for shy kids. Just make sure to not use it as a social crutch.
Treat Yo Self!
These turning points were gradual and scattered throughout my life. I am still working on a lot of my quirks even though I am 28 years old already. I still avoid certain situations that would put me in a position to talk to someone I don’t know. I have to mentally push myself to put myself out there, talk to new people and not be afraid that they’ll think I’m a loser…
The most important thing is to learn to appreciate myself and what I have to offer. I may be weird, nerdy, geeky or whatever label I am slapping on myself today but there is a reason why I’ve managed to accomplish a lot. And to realize that people like me for who I am. The best part is that I like me too!
When you appreciate yourself, you realize you want to share with other people. This is why I blog, I podcast, I put my artwork up and take photos (my mug is all over your internet). I am not going to cure cancer but if I can bring fun into another person’s life, then I’m good for the day.
It is not about popularity or success, it’s about the experience. The minute I opened myself up, stopped judging or criticizing — and just started doing, all that good and fun stuff came along too.
Changes can’t happen overnight but they won’t happen either if you don’t push yourself towards progress. Find your courage and be a positive person. The word “shy” is usually seen as a negative, but it doesn’t have to be. It does not mean you are a bad person either. I still get shy around other people too. Just never let it hold you back from missing out on something you might regret.
You are not alone in this and the Defective Geeks are here for you too! If you think you don’t have anyone else to talk to, e-mail us! We will always love hearing from you.