To Whom It May Concern:

Sometimes I’m shy, but the irony is that I want you to notice me.

I want you to realize that I am adorable and charming like that smiley, chunky baby that was in the checkout line in front of you, like homemade blueberry muffins, and handwritten love notes hidden in your coat pocket (not the muffins, the notes – that would be messy).

I know I take a little while to warm up, that I tend to be quiet and downright awkward at first, but I like you or at least I think I might.

I can fake outgoingness, pretend I’m an extrovert and take the first step to engage, but it’s draining. I wish you would talk to me, not just when I start the conversation but of your own volition because then I would be reassured that I am not pestering you, and that you want to get to know me too. Yes, I worry about that.

I’m not always like this… okay, maybe I am.

Put me in front of the classroom and I’m unstoppable, but I’m acting and at the end of the day I am completely exhausted. At a crowded party, I’ll be the one hanging out in the corner or in the kitchen doing the dishes. I can navigate one-on-one and small group interactions better, but even that gives me nervous sweaty armpits (eww), at least initially. I’m a high-strung, introverted perfectionist. It’s a challenging combination to overcome.

Don’t misunderstand, I love people. Bizarrely the more I like you, the harder it will be for me to talk to you. But once we get past the tongue-tied, self-conscious funk, I promise I am really pretty sweet and not nearly so sweaty (unless I drink coffee, but that’s a different story). Ask my friends… better yet, ask them how long it took for us to be friends, and then you’ll see what I mean.

But the truth is I communicate better with food. If you let me make you dinner, it’ll distract me from being nervous. Or dance with me. It calms me down. If you don’t dance, maybe we could go for a walk?

Because simply thinking about having to be “on” and social butterfly-esc 24/7 for the next 6 weeks at summer training/boot camp/teacher preparation intensive makes me all jittery and well… sweaty. And I wont even be able to hide behind the convenient icebreaker of having a genuinely extroverted and socially fearless child to drag me into -and mercifully, out of- group dialogue because my son wont be there.

Comfort zone, you’re about to get a workout. Here we go.

*This writing was largely inspired by my friend describing her own “sweaty mess” conundrum. Read about it here.

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