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You’re probably wondering: Holly, why did you go through the trouble of making this? What is the message here? Why did you reach out to me through a comic strip?
Let me start by saying: I chose this comic-strip format because I wanted to illustrate what goes through the minds of both the shy and the confident. I wanted to show you that there’s more beneath the surface. There’s so many words within that plain book cover. I also wanted my narrative to seem more natural and true to life - using everyday scenes that could happen to anyone. It helps inspire empathy. And let’s be honest, comics are more entertaining than essays.
Let’s get another thing straight: I didn’t just open myself up to you and be vulnerable for the fun of it. I’m attempting to persuade you (all of you extroverted people) that being shy is not such a bad thing. And I’m trying to inform you that shy people are misunderstood.
In Adiche’s TED Talk, she described the danger of having “a single story.” People tend to have a single story about shy people: that they are shy and nothing else. But what would happen if you made their identity two words and not one? What if you said: “she is shy AND funny. She is shy AND smart. She is shy AND caring.” How would you view her then?
I'm hoping I can help you see that: 1) No, your lab partner is not lazy and wants you to do twice the work in group projects. She is just afraid that she will propose the wrong idea or go about the subject all wrong. She is worried that you will reject her ideas. You could try to ask for her opinion and be kind and understanding. Giving lots of smiles and head nods makes them feel that you care what they have to say.
2) No, your classmate does not hate you and refuses to talk to you. He simply has a harder time reaching out to people and doesn’t want to bother you. In fact, he may be telling himself how cool you are and wishing that you would make the first move. Reaching out to shy people first is a kind thing to do. They may seem quiet and uninterested, but truly, they are thankful that someone shows them attention.
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