Being a shy show off

Being a shy show off

Me in 2008

I think that over a period of time I have realised I am a shy showoff. I have a blog and a YouTube Channel and only 2 weeks ago, I spent an entire afternoon walking around Newton Town Show asking strangers to dance in order to make a parody music video. Everyone was lovely, most people said yes and I did have a great afternoon.

For 7 years I taught ICT and this of course involves delivery classes to lots of groups of people and then more recently, my job involves giving many speeches to invited guests as well as speaking to groups of young people on a daily basis. So I do have experience of public speaking and of putting myself out there. But the confidence is made, not natural.

When I was a kid, I was very quiet and my mum would say to people all the time, “just leave her, she is happier just watching”. In fact, I remember being forced into going to a birthday party when I was about 10. The party was at a local social club and was for a friend of my younger sister. I felt very out of place as everyone else was a couple of years younger than me. When the magician on the the stage asked for volunteers and  for everyone to sit still, I remember sitting with crossed arms trying to look as uninterested as possible to slip under his radar… of course, he picked me. Mortification.

As I grew up, I was picked to play The Wicked Witch in a school production of The Wizard of Oz and then Snow White the year after. But I was still very quiet. In senior school, I had friends, but I doubt anyone would remember me – I just kept to myself and plodded through everyday. There was one pivotal moment though in music class, where Mrs Kelly was asking for volunteers to be in a drama and music production. I just couldn’t muster the courage to give it a go. I do feel that was a huge and defining, missed opportunity.

In 2016 I now have a YouTube channel which does mean I have to film in public and people often stare at me, I am sure wondering what the hell I am doing. The vlogging world hasn’t reached some  people and they can launch their WTF face at me regularly. It can be so embarrassing, especially in a public place to put yourself out there and do a thing that may draw all kinds of unwanted attention. I really have to tell myself that they will look at me for a second and then I will (probably) never see them again.

Of course, being on camera can dent my self confidence as I don’t always like what I see in the viewfinder. I am also perhaps 10-15 years older than some of the amazing vloggers that I watch and whilst my age is irrelevant to me – it’s hard not to compare.

In social situations, I often force myself to go and say hello to people, because otherwise I would stand in a corner avoiding eye contact (I have done this at many a meeting where I was supposed to be networking). I am very friendly, but find it hard to make friends – I guess no matter how confident I try to be, the shy part of me, is always a bit worried you don’t like me.

I saw Louise Pentland from Sprinkle of Glitter say something at VidCon that really resonated with me. She noted that she used to always say very negative things about the way she looked to herself, like looking in a mirror and thinking that she looked disgusting. She thought that she looked awful and everyone else looked amazing. I am sure a lot of us can relate. She tries now to NOT think or say nasty things about herself as she recognised that if one of her friends said it, she would immediately jump to defend. Good advice.

I am not the thinnest, most beautiful or perfectly moral person in the universe, but I do the best I can. I should eat less chocolate and exercise more, blah blah, but I try not to less my dress size define me. I try to be happy, but I do have bad moods and I try to be helpful, but honestly, sometimes I can’t be arsed.

I am a friendly person, with very few friends and I am working on that. I have been hurt so much, that it’s hard for me to know when to trust people – but I hope that doesn’t define me.

So my blog and vlogs are a way to express myself and in some ways I don’t care if people watch, as the creativity is the thing for me.  I find where I live now a very friendly place and certainly the Newton peeps on Twitter are so lovely and supportive. Yes, there are a million blogs and twice as many vloggers, but if I post something that either entertains and provides useful information to a few people, then that will be my legacy. Unless I accidentally cure cancer of course. Here’s hoping.

Gill x

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