We Are Not Born Shy: A Revolutionary Poem and Thought Stream

The following stream of consciousness was formed driving down I-405 after a business training on meeting people. It is the precursor to the poem which follows:
Tuesday Night Epiphany
We are not born shy! We stand up and scream and yell at the world and say “Take Notice of ME! I am important. I am somebody. I am vital to the universe. And I am the center of the universe!”
And somewhere in between we get that beat out of us, and taught “You are not the center of the universe.”
And if you take that far, you become shy. And if you take that too far you become insecure and die inside.

Inherently as babies, we stand up and say “Notice me!”

If we go back, we can ask, “What have we learned?” I can go back and say, “I learned not to be the center of the universe.” But somewhere along the way, I learned too much. I need to go back, not to being the center of the universe, but that I am part of the universe. What I do matters. What I do, I do well. And I unlearn the part that says you suck. And I unlearn the part that says you don’t matter. And I unlearn the part that says what you do is of no consequence. And I unlearn the part that says you are bothersome to people.

Yeah what I did might have been bothersome to some people and it might have been bothersome to one. But I’m spending 80 percent of my time worrying about those who think I’m bothersome and obnoxious. I’m spending 20 percent on the people who don’t think I’m bothersome, who really like me, who don’t think I’m obnoxious.
And that’s backwards.

To Julie, who planted it before that night;
To Richard and Craig, who taught it;
To Michelle, who scribed it right,
When I thought it;
And to Nancy, who signed
the last line.

We Are Not Born Shy!

Deep in a Metropolitan Café,
Music blaring,
Velvet lounge chairing,
I heard a voice that stripped away
Years of fears:

“We are not born shy. It is learned behavior.”

A moment to wrap
My brain, filled before with crap
About how I was shy, insignificant,
Around that thought, and recant
Past learned behavior.

And then the torrent
Of truth
Rolls back
The lies of my youth

And the thoughts flood
Through a waking dream
And washes the mud
Away in a stream!

“We are not born shy!”

We are born and stand up and scream and yell at the world and say:
“Take notice of me! Now! This instant! Today!
I am important! I am somebody! I am not a curse!”
We bellow out: “I am vital to the Universe!”
Not worse!
I am the Center!”

But somewhere in between, we
Get that beat out of us, and see
The truth: we are not the center, not first,
Of this vast cosmic Universe.

And some take it too far. Why?
We become shy.
And if we take it even more
we become insecure
And die

Inherently, as babies,
We stand up and say: “Notice Me!”

Now we have lost
That voice, but at what cost?
If we can go back
(and we should!), we ask:

“What have I learned?
As I for attention yearned?
Did I grab too much?
Did I grow out of touch?
Am I rightly and righteously spurned?”

“No! I can go back and say:
I learned not to be
The Universe’s Center!
But to be a part, near the core, is better!”

“I am a part of that Universe!
I bring wisdom, laughter, romance, verse!
What I do, matters! What I do, I do well!
I’m more than clatter, as far as I can tell!”

So I unlearn the part
That will laden my heart,
That covers me with muck,
That yells in my soul: “You Suck!”

I unlearn the part,
the idle, fetid chatter,
that wasn’t there at the start!
That now says: “You don’t matter!”

I unlearn the part that makes me wince,
When I hear it: “You’re of no consequence!”
I tear down the claim that says I’m dumb,
And that my ways, to others, are bothersome.

I recognize, and finally see,
That shy, bothersome, is not who I’m meant to be,
Nor what I should ever focus on;
No! That vision of self I distain and flee from!

Perhaps in mankind, twenty percent
Might have that thought, that bent.
Two in ten
Might repeat, again

As those who were prior obeyed once did:
“You’re self-centered! Juvenile! Like a kid!”
And I, willing to believe in that,
Spent eighty percent time trying to combat

The vision which less than twenty percent shared!
And I ignored eighty percent: Those who cared!
Who thought I was creative, intelligent, clever, lucent!
To them, that eighty, I gave less than twenty percent.

I was not born that shy way,
So now I can see
That I should spend my days
Creatively, as I please,
With the eighty percent
Of the folks who like me!

For if you surrender to the critical, lashing, self-defeating shy …
You die.

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4 Responses to “We Are Not Born Shy: A Revolutionary Poem and Thought Stream”

  1. Shannon Evans Says:

    From one of the 20% who think you are amusing, infectious, quirky, hard working, bright and just plain fun to work with…stop worrying what others think of you! That will only kill that which makes you “you”…besides, even the braggart is humanly frail and merely wears a mask to hide his/her own weaknesses and insecurities. They are NOT strong…merely good actors!
    Remember, you can march to the beat of a different drum. You just have to figure out how to stay in the parade!

  2. cyranowriter Says:

    Oh, dear… the math is off. I’m hoping that it’s 80% who think I’m amusing … etc. 😀 I’d better check the poem again. But, thanks Shannon and Richard, for your thoughts! Almost like a testimony! Although it is getting a LITTLE much! I was not REALLY asking for praise…just documenting my personal “ah ha!” But, thanks again… now if I can just manage to get my big head out the front door!

  3. Rich Trimble Says:

    Dave, be honest with yourself. Your percentage is probably closer to 98%, and the other 2% are simply idiots. – Love your energy, and your poetry!

  4. Nancy Says:

    Love it..this rocks, you rock and “self-centered” babies kick (baby) booty! We have a lot to learn from babies, as they are know the score….like you said, before we unlearn it all. But then again I am partial to babies. ;0)

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