I’ve always been shy.
When I was 6, my dance instructor put me in the back row for recitals because I never smiled. It’s not that I wasn’t happy. I was happy, sort of, but I was shy and uncomfortable. When I was 10, a teacher suggested that I pull my hair back so my classmates could actually see me. I looked down a lot. I looked up here and there, but if people noticed me then I’d immediately look back down and hide under my hair. When I was 13, I dressed like a wanna-be-gothic-skater chick. Baggy jeans, black shirts and chain necklaces. But honestly, I was still a blonde-haired, private-school girl who never said any swear words (and never said anything, really). In high school, I swapped the Goth chains for cross necklaces, and traded in the over-sized JNCOs for Gap boot-cut jeans. Anything to blend in with the crowd.
While I never really wanted people to notice me, I remember the people who did.
The people who noticed me shaped who I am today, and no matter how awkward I felt in those face-to-face moments, I’m forever grateful for them.
Nowadays, I still look down a lot. Instead of hiding behind my hair, I’m under my phone. Or over it, I suppose? It’s a shame; really, because I’ve missed out on watching my kids laugh and play together. I’ve avoided getting to know new coworkers. I’ve ruined good moments to connect with my husband. I’ve neglected catching up with my siblings during the holidays.
I’ve even put people’s lives at risk while driving, all because I’m looking down at my phone.
I’ve always been shy. I’ve always avoided face-to-face interactions as much as possible, and that hasn’t changed a whole lot over the years. But I no longer want my insecurities or bad habits to dictate what I experience each day.
This new year, instead of writing down a lofty goal or making a stop-doing list, I’m going to be more intentional to live well and connect with others. My resolution? Do these three things every day:
- Look Up.
- Enjoy the Ride.
Whether I’m stopped at a red light, sitting at home with my kids, or shopping alongside strangers, I’m going to push my hair back, put my phone down and look up. Not because I want to make people uncomfortable, but I want to take small steps toward changing my self-indulging behaviors. I want to notice the people around me and be open to having real-life conversations. (Scary!) And then, I’m going to do what I never did on the dance floor: SMILE.
My hope is that maybe, just maybe, someone who doesn’t want to be noticed will remember the girl who noticed him or her anyway.
If I commit to doing #1 and #2 every single day, I hope #3 will just sort of happen—in the car and out of the car.