I was an awkward teen. And shy. I suffered from acne. I displayed a full mouth of braces and jaw-moving rubber bands. I couldn’t make it through the school day without at least one outrageous blush. Talking to the opposite sex was a foreign language.
Thankfully as the middle school years came to a close, so did a tiny bit of my stunted social abilities. By eighth grade, I had become friends with a boy named Adam. Even better, our friendship turned into something sweeter. That is–until he broke my heart. Which you can read all about in How Being Shy Led Me to My One & Only: Part 1.
My later teen years proved to be less dramatic on the exterior front. I can look back at HS pictures and not cringe (usually). But still, things were not perfect. That blushing thing? It. Never. Went. Away.
In all fairness though, my firework shows became less moody, less frequent. I must have developed a bit of grit because by senior year, I could talk to guys. And laugh with them. I even had some guy friends. I had successfully dismissed my shy ego (thanks for the ultra-sensitive and introspective years, but I’m good now) and had allowed my more confident self to shine through. [insert singing choir of angels]
Things were good. Until they weren’t anymore.
My extreme awkwardness returned. And in only 6 short steps.
Step 1: Restablish friendship with Adam while hanging out with friends. Talk about my cold hands. Refuse to let Adam try on my mittens for fear of his large hands stretching out my favorite pair. Keep talking. Hmm. That’s right . . . I always DID like talking to him. I really CAN be my nerdy self around him and feel strangely good about that.
Step 2: Begin to cheer for Adam when he plays basketball. Realize I really hope he wins. Not because I care about basketball, but because I care about him. Wait. As friends, I mean. He’s a good friend.
Step 3: Tell a friend I sort-of, well maybe, okay . . . probably, fine–definitely like Adam. Despite my most intelligent reservations. After all, this IS the same boy who once broke my heart.
Step 4: Avoid Adam at all costs. Oh, and I mean AT ALL COSTS. When he walks toward me at school, turn the other way. Keep walking. Even if that means making a complete circle around the school and arriving breathless to my next class.
Step 5: Listen doubtfully as my friend explains Adam is interested in me but is extremely confused about my intentions–because he has this nagging feeling I am avoiding him (which of course I am).
Step 6: Feel an overwhelming urge to run away when Adam is in the same vicinity as me. Try to work the room so I won’t get stuck face to face with him. Turn bright red when Adam approaches. Lose my words when he asks me a question. Just–become a total disaster in his presence.
Now, let’s be honest here. Who wants to date THAT girl?
What? No takers?
Actually wait . . . someone must be confused.
“Excuse me, you’re only supposed to raise your hand if you–“
Oh, I see. I guess there IS one brave soul.
But that’s another story.