Similarly to what I assume is a great number of people, I was a pretty shy kid. Like, incredibly shy.

The kind of shy where you hide behind your mother's legs the moment any stranger shows interest in you and don't come out until they leave.

The kind of shy where you always had the hardest time contributing to discussions in class, even if you had something to say.

The kind of shy where you are incredibly soft-spoken and feel the blazes of ten thousand suns erupting from the top of your head to the tips of your toes when someone says "I'm sorry, I didn't hear you. Can you say that again?"

Consider this poem I wrote an Ode to Being Shy as a Child. Thank god I outgrew that. (For the most part):


My reluctance to speak was

Once like the thin film of summer dust

after a long hike to a place I don't yet know.


It covered everything.


It coated my teeth,

Grit together against the heat that rushes through me at

The thought of an opportunity to speak.


That unbearable heat caused many storms.

In the mighty winds and powerful rains,

My summer dust turned into a black mud.


It caked my teeth,

Pushing against my gums,

And sealed my mouth shut.


Black swampy muck clamped between my teeth

Forced its way down my throat,

Filling my lungs and cooling my heart in their marsh.


But then you came.


Not at all overnight but rather slowly, silently

Crawling, creeping.

Self-assurance.


The impossibility of speech

Gradually washed away with the warmth in your spring waters,

Pouring down my throat

Thick dirt turns to healthy peat in which,


My thoughts are planted and

Spoken.