*updated May 2011*
Semi-public figure (author) and shy really don’t sit well in the same sentence with me. And though I know what I’m talking about, can confidently answer questions about everything from Forensic Linguistics to WordPress, I’m really quite shy.
There’s a myriad of reasons for it – to the point that I’ve got a biohazard tattoo as a bit of tongue in cheek fun about something very serious. I have a huge problem with my self-image.
Massive in fact.
That’s the first part of ‘me’ I hate – I’m a size 18 (UK), which to me, is about as overweight as I’m going to let myself get – I’m not happy about it by a long shot. I know other people have other barriers, and I ‘carry it very well’ (according to my beloved anyway) but I hate being overweight. I’m 5’5 or there abouts, so a size 18 is about a 40 round my waist, and more at my ample bust line, and lets not even talk about my butt…..
It goes deeper than that though – I’ve always hated the ‘me’ that stares back from the mirror at me. I struggle to understand why people like me, and am flabbergasted that my fiancée is still with me after nearly seven years of craziness. I have two beautiful children (we’re talking model level for my son and Hannah Montana lookalike for my daughter (just without the wigs and the odd teeth)) but I’m anything but pretty. People tell me I am, and though I’m aware arguing with them seems false and like I’m looking for compliments, I’ve always believed, always *will* believe that I’m adequate, average, plain and happy to remain that way. I’ve even got a tattoo that sums it up – a biohazard symbol on the base of my spine.
So yeah, I’m shy – and it’s one of the things I’d like to change in the near future. Writing isn’t the easiest thing to do when you’re shy – but the internet kinda helps.
One of the best things about the internet is I can do lots of my promotion online – when I’m talking about writing, I can do it online – or at a push, I can take part in teleconferencing. What I can’t currently do is stand up in front of people – there’s an open mic night at a pub local to the University that scared the living daylights out of me – to the degree that I haven’t ever been back. I’m not sure how I’m going to handle stuff like that in the future – it’s possible that I’ll just play the ‘shy recluse’ author, but at the same time, I’d really love to be brave enough to meet people who are reading my books.
It’s a long way off, but it’s one of the things that make me hesitate to keep pushing forwards with my books. I’m pretty certain one of my posts in the next week over at Writer’s Bookshelf is going to be about ‘fear’, but I’m curious about other writers and how they handle being shy.
Edit – I finally put up a photo of me online smiling and looking directly at the camera – it’s a big step.
Kai’s book, Glass Block, is due out in August.
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Kai is a writer, author and avid reader. A mental health advocate, Ludosport athlete and coder. She’s the mother of two young adults, owned by two cats, and lives with her beloved in the Cotswolds.