Back in August, I had posted a blog about shyness -- an issue that I feel receives a lack of empathy.
Now, as I watch people make resolutions for the new year, it reminds me of a resolution I would always make due to the reality of not being accepted for being the shy and quiet girl... I would vow to break my shell of shyness.
My shyness was often picked on by not only my classmates, but my teachers, too. And the bullies among them found an open playground in me, because of my shyness. I was laughed at, commented on and ridiculed, just because I was myself and not a loud and noisy drama queen.
In elementary school, I was the student who completed homework on time and always followed instructions. However, the feedback I got from report cards and parent-teacher interviews never reflected that. Instead, my grades were weighted down due to not being the loudest kid in the class. No matter how hard I worked for my grades, it never seemed good enough compared to the students who would not put in as much effort but rattle about whatever little they knew. It eventually came to a point where a teacher referred me to the school's guidance counselor, stating my shyness was a problem that needed to be "cured."
My teacher in middle school said, "You will never get anywhere being shy," and my teacher in high school repeated those same words to me. Initially hearing these words hurt me, but at a young age I was determined to prove them wrong.
Every day I would come home from school, watch the Ellen Degeneres Show and think to myself, 'Ellen presents herself everyday with confidence to millions of people. She is often silly, but always her natural self. And her audience and viewers continue to like her for who she is. She would talk, walk or dance in a manner that I would never dare to. Yet the more she did it, the more popular she became.' Watching Ellen made me want to be fearless like her, and so I decided to enter my school's first speech competition. On the day of the competition, I went on stage and recited my speech on "chocolate" to a crowd of 400. As I glanced at the crowd at the end of my speech, I saw faces staring in awe. That day I went home with the first prize and left my teachers and classmates wondering how a "shy girl" could ever do what I had done that day.
Little did I know, that day was the first of many. For the rest of my schooling years and also in high school, what was thought to be impossible became possible, when I became the anchor of my school's news broadcasting team -- a position that called for the "loudest" and "yakiest."
I do not look back with disgust at the teachers and clasmates who saw my shyness as a flaw, but rather I thank them for what they did. In a way, they challenged me. Also, had I not come out in the open and discussed my shyness in my blogs and forums, I would never have realized the number of people who could relate to this simple personality trait. It turns out that one of the teachers who told me I would never get anywhere being shy admitted to me that she herself was very shy as a child.
There are many children in America right now who are going through the same situation that I went through not so long ago. And I hope they read this and my previous blogs where I encourage all parents and teachers to let children know that there's nothing abnormal about being shy. Lastly, to anyone who is shy, you are not alone. Shyness is what you feel, not who you are. So if people laugh at you, laugh a little with them and laugh a lot at yourself... Oppa Ellen Style!