I'm not stuck up; I'm shy
By CECILIA TUCKER
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 24, 2001
You think I am so stuck up and arrogant. If you only knew how shy I really am. Not a day goes by that I don't hate myself for not being able to say a simple hello to you in the hallway. All around me, I watch people my age talking, laughing and hanging out with each other, and here I stand feeling all alone again. You think I am too good for you, and that I just don't want to be your friend. You think I have only a few friends because I am so smart, so cute or so rich. You are wrong on all counts. I am none of those things, because I know how I feel on the inside about my stupid life.
If I were as smart as you think I am, why can't I figure out a way to be more confident? I make occasional C's, and try my best. But I am a failure in communicating and connecting. Even if I did excel academically, what good does it do me to be smart if I can't share it with anyone and I can't communicate with someone about the simple things in life? A's are great, but they don't comfort me the way real friends would.
My grades are only a cover for all the other things in life that I do so poorly. Smart isn't a big help in class where I don't even want to raise my hand to answer or ask another question because I hear whispers when I start to speak. I am beginning to tell myself just to shut up, but then I just withdraw and become more shy, if that is possible.
I look at myself in the mirror, and I don't see cute. I see the inside of me, and I look incredibly ugly. I may look good on the outside, but on the inside I am all shriveled up, and I look so pitiful. There are days I feel insignificant and tiny like an ant and other days I feel unsightly and huge like an elephant. Never do I feel cute or good about myself. The clothes I wear and the external trappings you see are just that. If I am so cute, why doesn't that help me come out of my shell?
Every morning I struggle with my appearance. Sometimes I wish I had the guts to come to school dressed the way I really feel. That would surely shock everyone, but at least I wouldn't be a fake anymore. If only I could show the real me, I think I would be less shy. But no one would like that part of me either, so I better not risk that idea.
Yeah, I might be rich. I might have everything I need and most things that money can buy. But that is not my idea of rich. I don't have one true friend, no one ever invites me anywhere, and I feel close to no one. You think it's because I am stuck up. You think I am better than you are! Well, you are wrong again.
I am dying inside for someone to invite me over to spend the night. Do you know why I never invite you to parties? I don't have parties for my friends. Remember, I have no friends. There is nothing happening in my life to invite you to or to exclude you from.
Maybe I'm just as normal as you. But you don't take that into consideration, just because I'm shy. Because I'm shy, I don't want to talk to you. You don't know this, but sometimes I sit there and imagine you coming up to me and talking to me. I'm telling you, I'm not conceited. I am shy. I am boring. I am alone. Please look beyond my brain, my looks and my money.
Behind all that stuff is a shy, insecure person wishing for someone to notice.
* * *
IT! (Private thoughts of the Indomitable Teen) is written by Cecilia Tucker under the editorial guidance of a panel of teenagers (in exchange for pizza and volunteer hours). Tucker is a licensed marriage and family therapist at the Counseling Center for New Direction in Seminole. Comments are welcome. You may write c/o: IT!, Xpress, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or e-mail Floridian@sptimes.com. If you are interested in being on the teen editorial panel, please contact Cecilia Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's the rest of today's Xpress