Are You Sure You’re Shy?

When I was sixteen, before the internet was popular, I worked as a dishwasher for a woman who was verbally abusive. I’m talking cursing and put-downs and anything that came to her mind.

At the time, I was sixteen and homeless, and I needed the job. I also didn’t have parents or anyone to tell me that sort of behavior was unacceptable (especially in a work setting). So, I quietly put up with it. Guess I was shy.

This lady would scream (literally) at me all day, then would try to make amends at the end of the day. “I feel bad yelling at you!” she’d say. “Because you don’t yell back.”

I’d shrug.

“But you will,” she said with a glint in her eye. “When you break out of your shell.”

Well, months passed, and I didn’t break out of my shell, further cementing the thought in my head that I was shy.

We got a new waitress after a few months, and she was younger and really nice. Even during the rush hours, which can be very hectic in a restaurant, she never resorted to cursing or name calling. That was nice. We clicked, and we could work together and have customers in and out of the restaurant without barely a mistake.

I appreciated her respect and hard work, so I bussed her tables for free when I had a chance. Together, the restaurant ran like a dream!

One day we were chatting in the little alcove that was our break room, and the boss comes and looks at me like I had three heads. I was joking with the waitress, laughing, chatting, having an easy conversation.

I wasn’t shy.

I wasn’t timid, or introverted, or insecure.

I was simply not opening up for someone so unpleasant and rude.

I think she realized this, and I certainly did. My shell stayed on for her, but for the people who treated me with common decency, I was a good friend, a shoulder to lean on, even a bit of a jokester!

Now when people that I’ve known for 15 minutes ask me, loudly, “WhY aRe YoU sO qUiEt?” I just shrug. I’ll stay reserved, thankyouverymuch.

It’s only with good people that I really open up and blossom πŸ™‚

So… are you sure you’re shy? Timid? Quiet? Mhmm…

μ•ˆλ…•! Bye! Ciao!

jarilissima

8 comments

  1. Wow had a similar experience! I had an abusive mum and for the longest time until well in my late twenties, thought I was socially awkward, shy and introverted when I’m not.

    Guess many people clam up and retreat back into themselves when they’re faced with abuse / nastiness as a natural response to avoid further putting themselves at risk.

    Glad you worked your way through it and had the self awareness to see your true self! Also homeless at 16 and no parents?? That’s rough man.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry to hear you went through that 😦 I had an abusive stepparent (that’s how I ended up homeless, left the house as soon as I was able) and he always called me antisocial.

      I think you’re totally right. Definitely seems like a response to abuse.

      And thank you! It was tough but it helped me become a more resilient person πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! Home less at 16, that’s rough.
    You did the right thing when someone is rude – to not open up and allow them to fuel you into responding and acting the same way. You have a sensible head on you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. More people need to be quiet, shy, introspective or whatever you want to call it. I once had a supervisor who was a loudmouth, seeming always to want to be seen.

    Sometimes when you’re a lower-ranking or lower-grade employee, some supervisors tend to treat you as if you’re that age, even when you’re grown.

    I’m glad that you got the last laugh with yours, so to speak.

    Liked by 1 person

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