Smile!" I screamed, as I whipped out my iPhone and clicked into the Instagram society of wannabe app photographers. I knelt down, strategically aiming my lens into the eyes of a tiny, pink cat-face... but much to my dismay, I was greeted by a stranger. "What's with the shy girl bit?" I asked, as she caught my eye with her smile.
I suppose she gets it honestly--the shyness, that is. I can remember standing behind my mother’s knees, peeking my head around the side of her leg as she spoke to countless, nameless, poorly dressed cashiers at the local Woolworth. "Knock it off!" she'd scream, while pulling me out from behind her, so she could look me in the eye while rolling hers. I'd sneak past her purse, bury my tomato-face in shame, and patiently wait for the conversation to be over (which, by the way, never seemed to happen).
About a year ago, I "friended" a guy I went to high school with on FaceBook. He was a football player, quite popular, but someone I didn’t know very well. After a few hysterical on-line chats and confessions of adolescent insecurities, he told me that I was misunderstood in high school. "What do you mean?" I asked. "We sort of thought you were a snob," he confessed. "A snob? ME? Are you kidding? I was the farthest thing FROM a snob!" I pleaded. "Well, I KNOW that NOW!" he joked. We laughed, but I was saddened by the thought of how much we all misunderstood each other back then, and I couldn't help but wonder what my life would have been like had I known how I was being perceived.
It's amazing how simple life really is and how complicated we all make it by being insecure. It's even more amazing how early in life those insecure feelings kick in. My daughter is four. From my observations, she seems to be quite happy and very well adjusted, yet when she walks into a room full of strangers; it is my leg she seeks for comfort. "It's okay," I whisper from under my breath, "You can come out when you're ready." Sometimes it takes her an hour, sometimes five minutes, but she always comes around... when she's ready... and not one minute sooner. Like mother, like daughter; neither of which knows why.