This word makes me cringe. Something about the thought of interconnection with scores upon scores of other human beings… (Flinching. Cowering. Knocking it off and getting back to blogging.)
I am not the first person to wonder how I ended up this way. Sociability was the name of the game when I was young. (“When you were young?!” everyone shouts at the almost-twenty-three-year-old. Fine, fine, “up until about age seventeen”, is that better?) I loved hanging around people – friends, strangers, strangers who I would declare my friends simply because they happened to be watching while I dug a giant sand pit at the beach… I don’t know where in the world that girl went or why, but wherever she is, you can bet she’s not alone. Meanwhile, the replacement Danielle goes into a quiet panic (or, ahem, not so quiet) at the mere suggestion of being called upon to engage with an assemblage of greater than five.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’ve never really considered myself shy… until I just now double-checked the definition:
1. Easily startled; timid.
2. a. Drawing back from contact or familiarity with others; retiring or reserved.
b. Marked by reserve or diffidence.
3. Distrustful; wary.
(Thank you, my American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition. What I would do without you on my laptop, I shudder to think.)
Okay, fine. So I’m shy. Confident, chatty, and in no way afraid to be the one asking everyone to please settle down at the top of her lungs, but nonetheless shy. Crowds intimidate me. Instigating interrelation (which my dictionary tells me is not a word; “interrelatedness” or “interrelationship”, yes, “interrelation”, no; that’s a shame)… yeah, that makes my innards tremble.
Alas, no author is an island. Much as some of us would love to pack up our writing equipment, dash off a letter to our loved ones saying “See ya when I’m good and ready and not before!”, feel foolish for having packed our writing things only to have unpacked the items necessary to have written that note, pack everything up again, and hole up in some lovely hermitage with an inspirational view from the veranda, life just doesn’t work that way. People need people; deal with it, me. And I’m trying, goodness knows. I can do what needs doing, if I’m allowed to kick and scream and whimper along the way. “Noisily brave,” my tailor calls me. (You’ll be hearing much more about him in future posts, I feel I can safely guarantee.)
The happy news is this: Thanks to lovely options like Facebook and blogs, one can actually “interact or engage in informal communication with others for mutual assistance or support” (official dictionary definition of the verb “network”) without ever having to technically step out into that great, big, chancy world.
I can see it now, actually: What’s on your mind? “Loving the view from my hermitage’s veranda, insert cheery emoticon here!” Seven fellow introverts like this.