Wednesday, January 5, 2011

You Have Given Me Value

My birthday is in August.  I had just tuned 5 when i started kindergarten.  As the oldest child I didn't have any social experience with kids my own age.  To say I was shy?  Understatement.

I don't remember a lot of my elementary years in school.  Probably because I didn't do much.  Just showed up and sat there.
What I do remember?

Missing the bus and arriving to kindergarten late.  With my savings envelope.  Do they do that anymore?  I don't think so.  Anyway.  I shuffled timidly into the room, chewing on my envelope.  I don't know if the teacher said anything to me.  She simply walked up.  Took the envelope.  And swatted my butt.  I never understood why.  I don't know to this day.

Second grade.  All the kids played marbles.  I got hold of a marble from an old Chinese checkers game.  I found the courage to ask to play.  I lost my marble first round.  Of course I started to cry.  Not sobby.  Just tears leaking out.  The older girl, bless her, didn't make fun.  She said it's ok, and gave me a different marble.  Even though she was so kind?  I never tried to play with other kids again.

All grades.  The oral book report.  I hated them.  I'd turn red, sweat, and when I spoke, it was barely a squeaky whisper.  And always the teachers.  "Speak up.  Start over.  Speak up!"  I  still cannot speak to a group larger than 4 or 5 without feeling I'm about to throw up.

I don't think I actually interacted with the kids I went to school with until 9th grade.  I had neighborhood friends, but usually they were a year or two behind me in school.  The kids my age lived farther away.  In the 9th grade, a new family moved in with a daughter my age.
 We were polar opposites.  I was the quiet shy mouse.  She was an extrovert.  Loud.  Confidant (or so I believed then).  And...obnoxious.  She was my best friend through high school.  I thought.  I was much older when I learned she wasn't that good for me.  The lessons we learn too late.

I still am not a very social type.  I have few friends.  A lot of aquaintances.  I'm sure it's me.  Not them.  I just don't let people in.

This past year, between Twitter and blogging and my addiction to TapTapRevenge on my iPod, I have met more people and made more connection with those people than the entire rest of my life.  It has also made a difference in the way I interact with the people I know "in real life".  It may sound like a sad thing. 
It isn't.  This is the first time ever I've felt socially accepted.  And I feel a debt of gratitude to my "virtual friends" for making me see my own worth.


  1. Wow...that was interesting. You need to start believing in yourself and when you see yourself as the person you want to be, so will everybody else. I'm so glad that you've come out of your shell online. Now go get em in real life. Do it for you!

  2. Lynn, I do find my online persona has begun to peek out in my "real" life. It's kind of exciting! Thank you for dropping by!
    And your support!

  3. I do agree on this - I believe I have much closer online friends than in real life. It's been this way quite a while.

    I'm happy, so I'll take it.

  4. Skater, do you find that it has made a difference in real life too?
    And thank you so much for commenting. It means a lot.

  5. I so know about that oral book report thing. Ugh. My trick was to go 2nd & get it over with. 1st was too much pressure & luckily for me, my BF liked that spot. If I waited longer than 2nd or 3rd I feared I'd throw up. I get the public speaking angst, I so do. Interwebz are so much easier.

    I follow your tweets and I'm always real happy to hear your voice. This New Year will be good to the both of us; I just know it. Yes, ma'am!

  6. I don't think it's made much of a difference in real life. Maybe a pinch but not a ton.

  7. LelisaP, yep. Book reports. A school generated torture.
    What's your twitter name? Thanks for following and commenting!

  8. Twitter and the internet in general gives us an outlet to make friends with people we wouldn't ordinarily have even met. It's great!

  9. Katie, yes! I've been amazed by the impact of social networking. It is amazing!

  10. Hi Renee. I can understand shy. I remember in 2nd grade the class did a spelling bee type of thing and having to do in front of others was really hard for me. I eventually came out of my shell... some in college and some in the business world before moving to higher education. Anyway, I do understand, and one can become at least a bit more outgoing with practice. Oh, and you should read my blog (three back) as it addresses how people online can make a difference. Have a great evening.


  11. Renee, I tweet with the same name as here (no caps in name). Some blogging software auto caps in spite of everything. We are following each other.

  12. I understand shy. I finally started to come out of my shell when I got my first job at 18, then even more after I graduated from college and worked at a financial institution. Basically, I had to "fake it till you make it," and didn't realize how far I had come until someone pegged me as an extrovert. Color me surprised.

    Coming out of your shell online is so much easier I think due to the anonymity we usually have as bloggers. But as you said up above, that persona can start to peek out in real life, and that's great. I've seen your handle mentioned so many times on twitter, I had to stop by and see what you were all about!

  13. Michael, thanks for stopping by. I'll go look up that post.
    I'm finding more courage to speak up as time goes on.
    Other than shy? I'm pretty normal.

  14. Leigh Ann, I get that faking it thing. But I am still far from extrovert.
    And online, the red face and sweating to show up. So it's safe to be me.

    And Thank You for stopping by!

  15. Such a beautifully written post, Renee, that so many people can relate to.
    I appreciate your friendship beyond words.
    Much love.

  16. Nichole, thank you for your friendship. It means a lot to me. Much love back to you!

  17. This is nice! I really think that the Internet and all this tweeting and blogging and community is a bit of an equalizer socially. We get to meet and chat with people we would never go up to in person, never even be in the same city with.

    This is a great, heartfelt post!

  18. Sherri, thanks! It is a little miracle kind of thing. And for me I think, therapeutic.

  19. Renee!
    The community of bloggers/tweeters with whom we spend our virtual time are some of the most valued interactions I've had all year.

    It's not sad. It's beautiful.

    And we are lucky to know you!

  20. MaryP, thank you! I've so loved meeting/interacting with this amazing community. I feel blessed and very lucky to know so many wonderful people.

  21. What a very sweet endearing post.

    I have found the blogging community and Twitter, etc. a very accepting and safe place. So glad that you do too!

  22. I think that is awesome.People dont seem to be as judging and more accepting of everyone. The internet forces us to get to know someone fro whats on the inside ; the personality and mind.I think it works much better at getting to know the real person.


  23. Personally? I find nothing sad about the fact that I have made unbelievably close friends with people I have met only on the internet.

    Nothing at all.

    I have real life friends. But not many.

    I don't trust people very easily. And I am a very private person.

    Many acquaintances. Not that many friends.

    I love the freedom the internet gives me to connect with my words. I am at my very best with my words. I say what I mean with my written words. I am truly me when I write.

    I am more comfortable writing than I am talking.

    Not that I don't like talking. I talk a lot.

    But when I write, I am more able to capture what it is I mean to say.

    And I feel a real true connection to others who use their words to truly express themselves.

    That's not sad.

    That's magic.

    It so is.

  24. Tonya, thank you, and I agree with you. I do feel safe here. It's a wonderful place to be.

  25. TruthfulMommy, I think that here, people aren't as worried about being judged. So they open themselves up more. There are no preconceived expectations.

  26. Kris, yes. Magic.
    Words have so much power. To make one laugh or cry or think.

    And that is the magic.

  27. Oh Renee...this is beautiful. I have made some amazing friends (you included) since I started blogging. My online friends mean more to me than some of my IRL friends. I'm more honest with my online friends...I don't know why that is, but it's true.

  28. Natalie, I understand!
    In real life, I think we have preconceived notions of the face we meet. And try to be who we think that person expects us to be.
    Online, even with pics and avatars, it's different.
    We find our inner voice here.

  29. Better late than never - so glad you've found some great friends! Just found you through Pretty All True

  30. Lady Estrogen, thanks for stopping by! I am a late bloomer for sure.
    Off to read you now.

  31. Hi Renee!

    I am stopping by via Kris at Pretty All True...

    I too am shy and quiet. I have IRL acquaintances but not many friends. I have made more friends online than I have ever in real life.

    It's easier to be me. The me that I want everyone to see and know, online. I have met some amazing people online. People who I cherish and carry close to my heart...

  32. Stasha, thank you for stopping by.
    I too feel like I've made closer connections online than irl.
    At my age, I'm not so quiet anymore. But I still don't let people close.
    I do find my online self sneaking out in my real life once in awhile though.

  33. I love the people I've come to know through some ways they get me better than the people in my real life...
    friends are friends, it doesn't matter if a screen is between you!
    Beautiful post, I dig honesty...

  34. I am so glad you were able to finally find a place to feel accepted. The blogosphere is truly a welcoming and accepting place. :)

  35. Holly, thank you. The one thing I really try here is to be honest. In this blog. And when I comment. In "real" life, I sometimes hide my feelings too much.

  36. Gigi, yes, I think this is the most supportive venue I've ever seen. The people I've met, and that means you too, have been so caring and helpful.
    Thank you for stopping by and saying hi!

  37. I was that kid who quivered in fear at the mere thought of an oral book report! And I too have found more acceptance and friends through Twitter, blogs, and Facebook than I ever thought possible.

    Love this post - you've captured my thoughts so much more eloquently than I ever could have!!

  38. That's pretty cool. The great thing about virtual friends is that they usually go beyond the superficial and see who you really are: you can only hide behind a pretty avatar for so long.

  39. i can definitely relate to this. there is a bit of safety in front of the computer screen. It's ironic, but true. I am a lot more comfortable writing my true thoughts and feelings than I am speaking them to people I really know.

    However, I do find that through writing I am learning to express myself much better in real life as well.

    Great post. :)

  40. Ameena, thank you! I'm finding that I'm not the only one that feels this way.
    And that? Makes me feel even cozier.

  41. Pop, thanks for stopping by. I think by writing your feelings, you let more of your real self out. And finding that self excepted is a good feeling.

  42. Grace, yes, I have found that I'm relating better irl since opening myself here.
    Thank you for stopping by :)

  43. I am so glad the virtual world opened up a part of you maybe you weren't even sure existed. I am so glad it did. So glad. And even more glad we have met through this world.

    Much love to you!

  44. Cheryl, much love in return.
    I think it has opened old memories and dreams.
    And a whole world of wonderful people I'd have not met elsewise.

  45. I agree that there are things that make finding friends online a little bit easier. We don't see all the visual cues that make us different. Instead we have to pay attention to the words.

    These online words have power I think.

    that is all

  46. PBJ, yes. Words have much power. And when they are the only link to people, I think they are more carefully thought out. And because of the thought? You bring a bit more of yourself out.