by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
I’m headed to BlogHer this year and I’m a bit terrified. I wouldn’t consider myself a shy person, in fact, I most likely have the opposite problem; in a room full of people I can make conversation with a wall – which can lead to some weird looks. I’ll happily attend a party where I don’t know a soul, I’m not embarrassed to raise my hand in group settings to ask a question if I have one (even if it might be stupid) and I’m more than willing to share in a 12-step meeting (yes, I do go to them…frequently). Let’s put it this way, commercials for social anxiety meds, they’re not aimed at this gal.
I haven’t always been so outgoing, even if the trait may have been lying dormant in my nature. Grade school, junior high (or middle school as I’m told it’s called these days –which is probably for the best since just hearing the words junior high together in a sentence can give me a migraine) and high school were fraught with self consciousness over the pain of being different. I was teased mercilessly over the way I walked – very pigeon-toed and sway backed which has mellowed into a slight limp noticeable mainly when I’m tired. Depending on the school I was attending, I was given a hard time for being the only white kid, the only Jewish kid, the only kid who thought it was a good idea to wear a bandana on my head tied under the chin like a Russian peasant woman (to this day I’m still petrified to try and accessorize). All of these experiences led to a fear of even crossing a room in front of a group of people let alone speaking to people I don’t know. But as an adult, I decided to fight to flip the script and find a way to make my differences work for me. Stand-up comedy seemed like the scariest thing I could ever do as a person who didn’t like to be looked at so being a masochist, I decided I’d have to try it.