Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Community vs. Shyness

I'm a very shy person.

Quite a few people have laughed at me when I've admitted this in the past, but that's because I'm a complete nerd for social and communication skills, and thus have learned to fake it pretty well so far.

But the truth is, I'm a very shy person. I'm somewhat insecure. A lot of things affect this, mostly from my childhood (ahh, freudian), but that's irrelevant. The point is that I'm shy.

One of the Things(tm) about Leather is that it's very much about community. About being involved, about taking part, about serving and contributing to the community. That is, in fact, something I quite like about Leather, being that I am a bit of a bleeding heart case myself (which is probably why I attract girls and boys more than subs or slaves or other s-types).

But it's hard to get involved when you are shy.

It's not that I don't want to be - it's simply that I am shy. I'm a little afraid. It's also a lot of energy for me to be social, as much as I love it, it can be very draining.

None of this stops me of course - I'm very stubborn and when I decide I'm in something, I'm in, but doing something bravely anyway doesn't stop it from being hard.

I often come off as rather aloof in Leather social situations, because of my shyness. This is not intentional, it's just me struggling with my shyness. Sometimes the way I can deal with it all is to just be there in body, and keep mostly quiet. Other times I may do the opposite - for example, I write this blog, and I made it public. This is a way for me to be present vocally if not physically.

Shyness may not be very becoming in a Leather Sir, but each one of us is also a person, with our own personal struggles. One of mine is shyness.

One of the main things I struggle with is how to be involved with my community when I am shy (and also as a disabled man who cannot always get out to things, and as a trans man who is not always welcome at things). It means I don't make it to a lot of Leather events, and the ones I do make it to, I'm often very quiet, preferring to listen rather than speak (which is actually generally fine by me as I'm like that in most things, shyness or not).

Contribution is a tricky thing. I try and make it work. At present my main attempt at contribution to the Leather community is to try to be the best man I can be, to be kind and courteous, and to set a good example. To care for my fellow Leatherfolk.

And as with all things, of course, one must look to caring for oneself before that care can be turned outwards. This is also something that I've had to consider for the last couple of months, as life as been pretty crazy.

Shyness vs. Community will be an ongoing struggle for me, I suspect, but we don't grow as people without a little challenge!

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