Monday, October 29, 2007

Peel me down.

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I had a conversation with a friend recently, a friend whom I have only met twice when the conversation took place. He told me that he thinks that I was a shy and quiet girl when I was younger. The comment completely threw me off-course, and I was beyond shocked.

It is true.

I was a very shy and timid child, even in my early-teens. I remember being afraid to even greet my relatives when I see them, that was how introverted I was. I remember entering a story-telling competition when I was in Standard 1, and when I went onto the stage, my brain froze, and I forgot the story that I was supposed to relay. I was almost in tears, and my class teacher had to come onto the stage and gently usher me down the stage. Needless to say, I didn't win the contest. I used to be a mousy kid, and I didn't dare talk to guys. Hell, I was even shy to look at them. I was always in the more popular gang ('cause though I was shy, I still had my sense of humor, thank god), but I was always the least visible girl, the girl hidden in the shadows. I was plump, I was pimply, I felt uncomfortable in social settings.

But the thing is, no one could ever tell. I told this to Smalls, and even she was surprised; she said she didn't imagine me to EVER be shy. I think it happened some time in Form 2. And though I can't put a finger to when the process took place, but just one day suddenly, I was no longer mousy, I was no longer quiet, I was no longer scared. And though I won't claim myself to be a social butterfly, now, I am not afraid to meet new people (I revel in it), I am not scared of speaking in public (it empowers me to have people listening intently to me), I don't feel like a deer caught in headlights when the topic of the conversation turns to me (in fact, I like being the center of attention, heehee), I am not stricken with fear when I go to a party in full swing and I don't know anyone (I just go right up and introduce myself). I speak up. I take on dares to climb onto the stage in the middle of the mall. I have one of the loudest, most embarrassing laughter. I ... stopped caring what people think.

But, nonetheless, I was so thrown off-guard that someone could see through all the changes that I went through. I thought that my past was well-hidden, almost buried. And to have someone see through that, it is unnerving. I felt exposed, naked, vulnerable. I let out a nervous laughter after the punctuation of my friend's comment, but truth was, I wanted to hold him by the collar and ask him, how did he see it? Is it because I still have traces of shyness? Is it 'cause I am still gawky around people? Is it lurking in my eyes? WHY, HOW?

I never did ask him that question.

I guess partly 'cause I am afraid of the answer. But most importantly, it's the powerful revelation that it's all part and parcel of me. The fact that this mousy little girl, could blossom into what I am today, strong, confident, unbreakable; it is a magical process, it is an incredible feat. The fact that I have came a long way. The fact that because I was someone in the shadows, I am more considerate and kind to those who has less attention paid to them. The fact that I place utmost priority on confidence, and I always tell my girlfriends that confidence is the most beautiful thing that they could get their hands on. The fact that because I was once the ugly duckling who was shunned, I am more grateful for who I am today.

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The fact that with clarity, I realised that, this is me.


Anonymous said...

so well-written :)
and I can so totally relate because
I used to be EXACTLY like how you described your early years to be since I was little, and all through my schooling days.. things got a teenyweeny bit better in sec sch.. but yeah, I AM still very shy and not all that comfortable being around unknown people. I HATE being shy and mousy. and the worst thing is people tend to generalise, and have misconceptions bout me being very quiet & stuck up (which I dare to say i'm nothing close to being stuckup!) :(

so how did you do it? how did you actually manage to just get outta the protective cocoon that had been insulating you for years and completely transform into a bubbly extrovert ?

sorry bout the lengthy comment ! and your posts can be so inspiring and heartwarming at times, gotta love all of 'em! :)

Anonymous said...

*clutches hui wen

i used to be super shy too! i wouldn't even go to the shop to buy sweets cos i was too scared to talk to the auntie there wtf *big shiny eyes. and i have no idea how i got out of it and turned into the well rounded person i now am wtf wtf.

we have to talk on msn soon :(((

mizzvickz said...

wahlau. how did shy little hui wen grow up to become this TTM girl who is brimming with confidence! i'm glad you broke out of that shell because i believe that without your confidence, we wouldn't be friends today.

imagine if you were a shy girl. i'd have a hard time talking to you and getting you to open up! lol. but nowadays, i've never really met shy girls..but maybe that's bcoz they are too shy that's why i've never met them. wahahaha.

similar to you, i was a shy kid...but people will surely attest otherwise. HAHAHA..but they haven't seen my other side. in front of my friends when i was younger, i am damn brave wans..but outside that circle, i'm a chicken. talking bout chicken, i remember how i was so shy and self conscious that when my mum made me buy KFC when i was about 7 years old, i made her write down a list of what to buy so that i wouldn't have to speak because i was too shy and afraid of embarrassing myself by ordering the wrong things.

Until today, i still have my shy moments though. especially when i'm feeling uncomfortable around certain people.

miss vanity said...

nicely written! is it me or does ur house contain a collection of ppl who can write so beautifully ?!?

but in regards to your post i was actually quite the opposite. i used to be very noisy when i was a kid so much so that some aunty told me i should shut up or some monster was going to follow me around.

i think i got shy after that very traumatic incident.

mustardqueen said...

haha... at first i think What the hell since when manny's picture so out of focus one wtf!! oh then only I get... I think my case... It's reversed yet somehow related...

I'm super the very quiet-ness in person but I sound so blatant and "tak cakap reason" kinda person... tsk

Why ah... Why our personalities so different though we're from the same parents?

jmeei said...

Omg I had the story telling competition experience too when I was in primary school!

My mind froze over and I recited the story with the end first to the front so it didn't make any sense

Anonymous said...

I always asked how could a duck turn into a swan when they are different families. Then i realised the bloody bird was a swan all along. It didnt transform.It just grew up.

Totally random :P

I can hear your swan squawks from here. mwahs!

Anonymous said...

am i the only one who has been self centered and queenbee-ish since she was born?!

Anonymous said...

if its possible, you actually became more outspoken and extroverted. haha.. i mean since i first knew you in college ;D i dont think i was ever shy.. just quiet and reserved.. and good at getting my way. haha.. babe, my exams are over already.. wheres the sleepover you promised? tsk tsk..