I wish I didn’t blush so much

"I hate being so shy"


Rachael, 22, is a student studying English Literature. She hopes to travel to Iceland one day and stalk Bjork.

My housemate likes to tell me that I’m the most unthreatening person in the world. Doesn’t she realise that under this veil of awkwardness and general quietness I have the skills of a ninja? But ninjas don’t blush. Or do they? Maybe the reason they wear balaclavas is because they are insanely bashful and if you were to remove it mid-fight you would see a blotchy, sweaty mess where their face should be. I hate blushing, in an ideal world there would be no blood vessels in stupidly visible places like cheeks and ears. Instead it would be discreet, like between your toes.

According to the NHS website, blushing is more common in young people due to anxiety and hormonal activity. Unfortunately these teenage feelings of self consciousness and anxiety seem to linger for much longer than necessary. Not only do blush attacks and shyness hound us in maths class and during taunts from playground bullies, they seem determined to stick around and rear their magenta, blotchy faces at graduation, slowly creeping up during an important presentation at work and then cruelly emerging again at your wedding.

As if turning an attractive shade of violent wasn’t enough I also seem incapable of standing up for myself and being more assertive. Last night, while standing in the mother of all storms, I came to the following conclusion: I am a mug. It all started when I telephoned for a taxi and was told to wait outside because it would be along shortly. Well it wasn’t. They lied. Standing in a dark corner just outside my halls of residence I was quite happy to use God’s name in vain whilst kicking a lamppost. But I knew deep down in my little mild mannered heart that as the taxi driver made his inevitable apology, I would grin and tell him how absolutely fantabulously fine it was and maybe even reassure him that I like the rain. And thunder. And lightening.

While being shy has obvious downsides, it’s quite clearly just part of human nature. People seem to be ashamed of showing their shy and meek side publicly. Be proud of your awkwardness! You only have to rummage around on Facebook for a short time until you find some person declaring that they are ‘bubbly’ and in their own words ‘craaaazy’. Crazy means a Bret Easton Ellis novel on crack, not staying up late watching repeats of Top Gear wondering where your life has gone. Being timid or shy or mute has never been high on the list of attractive qualities yet most people seem to suffer with it on some level. Those who don’t are probably lying or were created by Pixar and aren’t even real.

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Updated on 29-Sep-2015