Yes, I’m using the 1983 Kajagoogoo song as an inspiration for this blog post. Deal with it.
As a child, I was painfully shy. My mom tells me that I wouldn’t speak my first word until I knew how to say it perfectly. I don’t think I ordered a cheeseburger at McDonald’s by myself until I was 8 years old. In second grade I was tested for developmental issues (without my parent’s knowledge) because I wouldn’t speak in class. They found out that my learning level was at the top of my grade. I had difficulty with numbers (and I still do). Sounds intrigued me. I learned differently. No one would challenge me to a game of Memory. Nothing caused me to be this way; it’s just the way I was born.
In many ways, I’m still a lot like that little girl. Although never diagnosed with it, I believe that I may have a mild form of Asperger’s syndrome. It’s taken me a lot of effort to overcome the shyness of my youth, and I still have a very accurate memory and fascination with sounds. I organize. I learned to compensate for my shortcomings with numbers — and do not ask me to complete a sudoku puzzle with numbers unless I can change them to letters or symbols. However, I still work every day on the shy factor. I tend to distance myself when in large groups of unfamiliar people, and often wait for the other party to make the first move. This allows me to read the other person and get a feel of how to interact with them and personalize our communication. I’m doing much better. Placing myself into new social situations, I purposefully make an effort to approach someone first. I’m still not a great verbal communicator, but I’m working on it.
Las Vegas WordCamp happens this weekend. I hope that my courage does not fail me and that I meet a few influential people from both the attendees and presenters. The day will come where I’m comfortable in that situation, but for now it still intimidates me. Hey, it’s a work in progress…