I confess, I’m a shy person. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned how to manage my shyness. I bet if we met at a networking event you’d never guess that I, Sara Mitchell, would rather be people watching than mingling. Down deep, I’ve always been too shy to say hi. I share this because over the years my shyness has served me well. Really, I’m not kidding.
Sometimes the right person can be right in front of you, staring you right in the face and looking you right in the eyes, but you’re not ready to see them. Let me tell you a little story with a happy ending and you’ll see what I mean.
Growing up Sam Mitchell and I were neighbors. We lived next door to each other from the first day of kindergarten until we walked across the stage at our high school graduation. We rode the school bus together, learned to drive together and even worked part time at the same little corner store. BUT, we never dated and we weren’t exactly what you’d call close friends.
Probably like a lot of teenagers I was a bit unsure of myself and didn’t have much self-confidence. My friends called me a bookworm because I’d rather hide out in the school library than go to a pep rally. I was SHY!
Sam on the other hand was Mr. Popular with a capital P. The boy crazy girls swooned over his curly blonde hair, hazel eyes and all American good looks. With his movie star smile and great personality, I knew we couldn’t ever be more than next door neighbors. He was too social and handsome and I was too shy. Once in a while when I was sure he wasn’t looking, I’d give him a side-way glance of appreciation, but that was as much courage as I could muster up.
After high school I went away to college out of state and Sam went to college not far from home. We waved to each other during holiday breaks and still worked at the same little corner store during summer vacations. Still, we never dated and only said a couple of polite words in passing.
Sam went into the service and I got married to a fellow I’d met in college. Years went by and my parents eventually moved away from the neighborhood. I lost touch with my friends.
Fast forward to my twenty year high school reunion. This is where the magic starts and I believe my shyness helped me be ready for the man of my dreams.
Let’s just say the twenty years between high school graduation and our reunion were good to me. I was teaching school and writing children’s books. I’d divorced my college sweetheart after I’d found a few too many lipstick stains on his clothing that didn’t match the my lipstick.
Deciding to go to the reunion alone was definitely coming out of my shy comfort zone. I was determined to make a statement – bookworms can blossom into confident butterflies. The day of the reunion I spent all day getting ready. I bought a blue silk dress that was the same color as my eyes. I got my honey blonde hair cut and styled and even had a professional makeup artist do my makeup. I looked good. I was exuding self-confidence.
Well, it turned out Sam came to the reunion alone too. In fact I guess I’d changed so much from the shy bookworm into a confident butterfly, that no one but Sam recognized me. We sat together at dinner and talked and laughed about growing up next door to one another. By the end of the evening he let me know in no uncertain terms he didn’t want to stay strangers any longer.
Suddenly the self-confident butterfly seemed to shrink back into the shy bookworm. When he asked me out to dinner, I gave him a bogus phone number. Yes, that’s what I said. I gave Sam a fake phone number. I was shocked to realize that when it came to Sam Mitchell, I seem to revert back to being a shy teenager.
A few days later a combination of guilt and better judgment kicked in. I was feeling bad about giving Sam the brush off. I garnered my courage, picked up the phone and dialed his number. I asked him out to dinner. Yep, I asked him out. I’m happy to say we got married five weeks after I made that call and yesterday we celebrated our thirty-fourth wedding anniversary.
Here’s why I am grateful for my shyness. As a teenager I wouldn’t have been mature enough to handle a long-term loving relationship with Sam. I didn’t have the wisdom to nurture a successful marriage. I needed time to discover myself. I needed to believe in myself. I needed to love myself enough so I’d be able to love Sam unconditionally. Today, we are enjoying our senior years in Happy Hills Arizona with our mini-dachshund Oscar. We value our marriage and we value each other.
Yes, I’m still shy, but I don’t think it’s from lack of confidence. I guess I’m basically a people watching bookworm. After all those years of teaching, I’m content to sit back and observe. You know what? Many of the personalities I observe eventually end up as characters in my children’s books.
Sam is still as social and popular as ever and that’s what makes our marriage so strong. I have my strengths and he has his. We complement each other’s personalities – that’s what a good team does. There’s a part of me that is still too shy to say hi, but I don’t care. I am who I am and at this point in life, I don’t plan on changing.
© Copyright 2018 SharonMichaels.com – All Rights Reserved
This is a work of fiction.
None of it is real. All names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
I invite you to get all four books in An Oscar the Doxie Detective Mystery Series. You will read more about Sara and Sam Mitchell and their crime solving mini-dachshund Oscar.