June 20, 2014

The Art of Shyness. ~ Heidi Hinda

Georgie Pauwels/Flickr http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/03/empathy-susan-frybort-poem/

“You’re not shy!”

An incredulous laugh tinkled after her comment, as if little fairy bells had lifted these ethereal words from her mouth.

We were seated outside on a bench after the show.

We had seen a production of Quarantine Theater, which had moved us with its human-ness and capacity for engagement, and the reality that we are all simply fragile and beautiful and boring and quirky—with a dash of hopefulness.

My cries to defend myself were met with diligent but loving dismissal and our conversation threaded itself into a different shape.

But I am shy.


I know, incredulous to the outside eye peering into this color-lead woman and her color-bled life. But it’s true.

I am shy.

Perhaps shyness grew on me, like moss to a rock, or a familiar item of belonging whose shape was forgotten over time.

Shyness is a beautiful quality.

It has a sweetness about it that is akin to the delicate beauty of a fragrant rose. A grace that glides with an adherence to the tenderness of a sensitive soul, and a depth of innocence that calls you to pull up a seat and lean in closer.

It’s fresh and youthful, and to the partial explorer, ripe with wisdom and insight.

Shy people tend to see things.

The observer who perceives, on the edge, like the silent cinematographer rolling an endless reel of real life action. The shy one doesn’t waste her words, using them in pieces, echoes drifting between words, between worlds, the quiet better serving their presence.

And yet we tend to overlook the shy.

In the blur and whirl of our super broadband speeding lives, the fast, the loud, the highest vibration in the techno-drenched world, the city chaos and the media illuminated image-soaked seek to be seen, and so we do.

The shy are in the spaces in-between, in the pause after the breath in and out, just a fluttered moment and there they are like dim bulbs quivering to reveal another reality. Hologrammed heroes of a mighty force for the imagination, usually highly intelligentsia with sorcery at their fingertips from all that seeing in the soul realm!

It can cripple us too, if we are neither careful nor carefree.

Too many tales fed so that we hang our tail all curled and hidden, for fear that it is seen.

Chronic shyness and the world looks over and we beam in redness.

Ill at ease shyness and all the “yes’” fade to “no,” until one day it comes to take our voice, the last bastion of an unspoken for life. Now maybe we don’t realize our voice has gone, until we open our mouth and all bird beaked we cannot squeak and most certainly would be unable to hold that operatic note. Damn.

Shyness stops us from taking risks, from stepping through the open door.

The beckoning of the seductive fingers makes us shake our heads and scurry back into the shadows. Hiding in the shadows, peeking out like a mouse to take air and glimpse the light when it’s safe to do so.

I could have been a contender. Oops, I mean performer! A staged life of dramatic swoops and life-changing words. Of the constant exposure again and again, the lime light they say, though I have yet seen an actor under such glare.

Courageous they are, the shy.

I think so.

I honor the courage of a divine kissed heart, beating its blood, red and hot.

Shyness makes one curious, makes one want to play out and be mischievous. Shyness, when held delicately like a dandelion, will blow its seeds to fly like magic dust across your path.

The shy may not have their tongue but their song may strike you with its melodic rhyme in other ways so you feel its touch against your skin long afterwards into the night.

They need watering, though, left in the sun for just the right amount of time before drawing them back into the safety of a shaded dark.

They need coaxing with words of affection and an empathic ear.

They cry for the feathered breath of a soul sensitive other, to listen in the doorways and lie close to hear the whisper of the trees.

Push a shy too hard and they will shake, like one of those wind up toys.

I think we ought to sanctify shaking, bring it back, out into the open, so all the hard-wired held armored can rattle their bones when the sliver of “eek!!” runs through them.

Salute the shaker in yourself, it’s beautiful!

To shake makes us alive, rattling with wild life force energy, just awaiting for the go to shoot its arrow of vitality and wow.

I bow to the shyness in me, for she is the miracle maker and holder of my soul. She is the one who prefers the hours of night and a small gathering of friends. She makes me laugh and points out the joy in the sublime, and the fool in the ridiculous. She hangs out in the shadows for they are full of shape-shifting oracles she can bring back out to play with.

She feeds my art. She is my artist muse.



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Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Georgie Pauwels/Flickr

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