Believe it or not but I used to be very shy. Anyone who has known me for any length of time realizes that I am outgoing, I appear very confident and definitely bossy. I like to believe I am organized but I also know that I carry this to the point of organizing everyone else around me too, like I said…Bossy, with a capital B.
As a child I grew very tall, very quickly and always appeared older than my actual age, my playmates were usually much smaller than myself even though we were the same age. This caused many adults to tell me to “act my age, a girl of your size should know better”, etc. This caused me to be rather shy and afraid to speak up because to do so would mean ridicule if I said something considered childish.
When I was around seventeen the fashion was to wear very high heels and I strutted around on my stilettos, feeling very glamorous. In the same era was the highly backcombed hair do’s that added to my height. I remembered one evening, getting on the local bus, to meet friends in another town. I was dolled up in all my best and feeling really on top of the world. The bus was quite full so I had to stand and I overheard one woman saying to her friend “look at that poor girl, such a shame she is so tall”. I looked round to find the unfortunate giant and realized she meant me. My ego deflated faster than a balloon hitting barbed wire, and I felt big and clumsy. How easily we let other people’s thoughtless words affect us.
Shortly after that I met Dave, all six feet three of him, even in my highest heels, he towered over me and made me feel cherished and protected. However, this big, gently guy was also rather shy and people tended to put on his good nature. As I grew to love him I felt angry when I thought he was being taken advantage of and this brought out my own protective instincts. I came out of my shell and started to speak up for the both of us.
Marriage and motherhood made me more confident and over the years, as Dave held back in making decisions and planning for the future, I took over and became the bossy person I am today. Growing up with a grandma who expected me to “get on with things” had taught me to be confident in running a household and many other things that came my way and it seemed natural when people started to ask me to take charge of this, that and the other.
While our children were small I stayed home to care for them but financial reasons forced me to work on the evenings, once Dave was home from work. I had a number of part time jobs, one of which was to sell Tupperware, which was a fast growing business at that time. Standing demonstrating the various items built my confidence and I really enjoyed selling the product, a little later I got a job going door to door arranging appointments for a sales representative to call and try to sell massage chairs. These jobs were all cash sales and really improved our income as well as my confidence.
Our daughters joined various groups and organizations and I quite often found myself heading this or that committee. I was happy to do this and my confidence grew with every new commitment.
As I aged I backed away from many of these volunteer jobs and when Dave and I moved to Oliver, and had our own business, I had less time to commit to the community. However there was another voice living inside of me that had its own opinion.
Quite often when sitting in a group of people the subject of some project or other will come up and volunteers will he asked for. I sit quietly hoping to be passed by but a voice will speak up from the group and say they are willing to do this. Looking round, to see who is speaking, I realize that people are looking at me and that my inside voice has committed me to an unwanted job. This happens time and again and my inner voice gets me into all sorts of situations I wasn’t intending taking part in.
I am trying very hard to rehearse saying “let me think about that” but the other voice has a mind of its own. There must be a need in me to be in charge, a need to be bossy, I love to be active in the community, but have the fear that this other voice will eventually have me committed to a facility for the insane. I believe that is where people eventually finish up when their inner voices completely take over. I will probably volunteer to run the basket weaving class!
Editor’s note: Thanks to Pat Whalley and Tony Munday for standing up for their community and organizing a great parade this year.