Overcoming Shyness

May 26, 2008
By Allie Huggins, Katy, TX

Michelle was an honor roll student and had been throughout her entire life. She always made straight A’s, all the way through elementary and middle school, and now she was in the ninth grade. Although she enjoyed making good grades and being known for following the rules, Michelle has a secret. She had her eye on the ‘popular girls’ as long as she could remember. She desperately wanted to be like them. They always made plans for Friday nights and seemed to always be having fun. But, Michelle had a problem, one that was a little more known. She was kind of a little bit shy. Okay, maybe a lot.

Michelle was the kind of girl who sat in the front of every class and frantically took notes on every word coming out of the teacher’s mouth so she could study them, just in case they had a pop quiz on them later. She didn’t break the rules, she didn’t pass notes, and she didn’t even speak unless she was called on to do so by her teacher. Even though she knew the answers to practically every question her teachers proposed in class, she wouldn’t raise her hand. She preferred answering them on paper when the tests came around over verbally in front of the entire classroom. She figured there was no point. Someone else always knew the answer; why not let them give it a shot? After all, the teachers already knew that Michelle had the answers, and that was all that counted.

Then, one day in her science class, Michelle did something bold. Her teacher asked a difficult question that, of course, she knew the answer to. But, as always, she decided to let someone else have the glory. Only, this time was different. No one raised their hand. People chatted with their tablemates to try to come up with an answer. Michelle waited and waited. The majority of the ‘popular girls’ at her school shared that class with her, and she watched hopefully as they whispered, a very loud whisper, amongst themselves. Oh, how she desperately wanted to be a part of them, but simply didn’t know how.

She was in a dilemma. She had a choice to make. She could raise her hand and answer the question with the chance all those giddy girls in the corner would call her a geek and pick on her all the way through senior year. Or, she could sit there quietly like she always did, afraid of the thoughts and words of those around her, hoping Mr. Fraley would answer his own question.

She didn’t have much time on her hands, so, almost without thinking, she felt her hand shoot up into the air as the class fell into silence and al eyes were on her, quite possibly for the first time in her life. Mr. Fraley called on her with a shocked expression on his face. Everyone else in the room sat in awe, desperate to hear her answer. She gave it with a deep explanation using big words most of the class had never heard as they sat quietly, trying to figure out if she was speaking English. When she as finished, Mr. Fraley replied, “Very well done, Michelle. You are exactly right.” For the remainder of the class period, Michelle held her head up with a sense of pride and achievement.

When the last dismissal bell of the day rang out at the conclusion of the class, Michelle gathered her things and headed out the door to her locker. She felt a tap on her shoulder, and when she turned around, she was surprised to discover it was Brittany Medcalf. Brittany was the self-declared leader of all the popular girls who sat in the corner of her science class. As smart as she was, Michelle couldn’t figure out why someone with such a high social status would want to talk to her.

Then, without asking for an explanation, she received one. Brittany said, “Wow. You’re like, really smart… and… junk. Do you think I could make a deal with you?”

Michelle replied, a bit hesitantly, “Uhmm… sure… I guess?” in a very soft voice.

Brittany breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Oh, gosh. Thanks so much! See, you’re really smart. And, I’m, well… not. I was just thinking maybe you wouldn’t mind tutoring me? Oh, and in return. See, I noticed, you’re really pretty too, just naturally. I bet if I taught you how to do your hair and makeup, you’d be gorgeous!”

Michelle didn’t exactly know how to respond. She barely even talked, much less to one of the most popular girls in school. Sp, she rambled. “Oh my gosh,” she said. “I’d totally do that! What time do you want me to come over? Where do you live? What should I wear? And, wow, you’d do that? For me? Awesome! This is all just so-“

“Whoa,” Brittany interrupted. “Slow down. We’ll work it out, I promise. Call me later, ok?”

Then Brittany walked away with her friends down the hallway, leaving Michelle standing there, still in shock. She didn’t care if she looked stupid, frozen in the doorway to Mr. Fraley’s classroom. She was proud of herself. She finally mustered up the courage to talk to one of ‘them’. Not only that, but she would soon be actually spending time with BRITTANY MEDCALF! And this, to Michelle, was her greatest accomplishment ever.

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