One Word, Three Letters, and many meanings
S is for Social Anxieties that keep me from clubs, movie theaters, bars and everything that doesn't have to do with my job.
H is for holding back from being completely happy with who I am and not giving a shit what anyone else thinks.
Y is for....Yearning for the opportunity to break free and be Chris without any fear of rejection, judgment or criticism.
Yep, friends and neighbors. They call me "shy"....early and often. One of my favorite instances was when I was attending breakfast at a mentor's house back in my earliest DSU days, and his lovely wife noticed the quiet chubby kid perusing his mentor's study in quiet awe of his varied library of novels and historical texts. She said "You haven't said more than two words since you got in the door, how are you going to be a journalist and you're shy?" I chuckled softly and said "I think I can do it." Which has come to pass, as I am currently following my dreams and hoping they take me further than where I am right now.
However, that same drive to be happy and successful professionally has YET to transfer over to my personal life. I'm working on it, but clearly this shy thing apparently has a hold over me that I have yet to fix when it comes to social endeavors.
Case in point, a friend (who's birthday is tomorrow, but she was celebrating at some restaurant/club in Bladensburg Friday night) pretty much was strong-arming me into attending. My excuse for not having my face in the place? I had to work that night. Which is true...but the game ended at 9, and I was calling the hogs by 10:45. Great, right? For some reason, I feel at home in a gym or a stadium with hundreds to thousands of noisy-ass people, yet a club is a no-go for me. Why?
Then there's my unbridled passion for the fairer sex, but my refusal to approach a woman in person clearly leads to too much time chatting online and....yeah. You get the picture. I don't think I'm lazy, it's just less chance of being rejected and it HURTING chatting than it is walking up to a woman and then having her break down your every shortcoming in front of a crowd of people. Stupid logic I'll admit, but check the S again; Social Anxieties.
No matter WHAT women say, they have it easiest of all. They are the ONLY species who gets to pick and choose who they want to be with. A man will come up with lame pickup lines, pop all sorts of fresh breath devices and generally pull out all the stops just for a MOMENT of a woman's time. And even after a man's best efforts, it all rides on a simple "yes" or "no." That is damn scary.
While I've never been one to use pickup lines, I still have game that is unique: None. For all my wit and sense of humor, I literally cannot find a good conversation starter with a woman. For example, the closest city that isn't DC is Waldorf, MD. I've been there several times, covering high school hockey and browsing the shelves at Borders. And damn if it ain't no better place to meet a woman of substance than a bookstore. However, my last trip there, I drew blanks yet again. One attractive girl looked up at me from her book and smiled. Not one of those curt, lips curled tightly, fake-as-Pam Anderson's-breast smiles. A genuinely warm, sweet, approachable one, with her pearly whites on display. The weak, inaudible "hi" that I put out there as I walked by was embarrassing.
Not to mention the hockey rink where I cover games has a gym upstairs. I sit in the lobby between periods and chill and just WATCH a parade of fine black women walking up the stairs with their gym bags ready to keep that amazing form for some cornball who isn't me. Blah.
So clearly, this being shy thing holds me back. It stopped me from potentially having a good time with my friend and her clique and it's stopping me from at least improving on my conversation habits with women so I can set about the task of meeting ones that I could potentially have dates or maybe even relationships with.
I know what I have to do to get over said shyness, but can I do it has always been the question for me. I've always been a "I'll do it when I get to it" type, hence me taking six years to get my degree from Del State. However, I know as I get older, I know that women aren't going to sit around and wait for a man to get over his anxieties to approach them. The guys that are the aggressors get the women, and I can respect that. But what can one do when being aggressive has never been their style, in any form of life? What can one do when they're pretty much crippled by a frame of mind that leaves them afraid to even look a woman in the eye, much less ask for her phone number?
I guess like Bill Bellamy said near the end of How to be a player (Bad movie reference, I know, but work with me) "You either reform or adapt." I've got to decide which one will improve my situation without taking away from the unique qualities that those close to me say I possess.
And then I can put that three letter word in my past permanently.