Shy People and Artists – 02/19/24

I’ve begun to fall back into love with life. It’s easy to disregard everything that we’ve worked for… everything that God has given to us… we have it so good, really. If you’re going through a struggle, I can surely understand. At the end of the day, the best thing about life is the choice to come together.

This past week, I have been making an active effort of seeing people who I love. Even if that means I compromise the time I would use to work on my art… Who’s to say that I can’t make art with the people that I love?

I got booked to play Bookclub in Chicago once again over the weekend. I had an excellent time in the space, I’ve been experimenting with what makes the crowd work. Naturally, I am a shy person and that sometimes comes off as standoffish. It’s something that I work on. This actually is one of the conversations that I had with one of my more extroverted friends.

Shy People

We are both overthinkers, the only difference is that I am shy, and she is not. Shy is something that you can work yourself out of, but it is a really hard habit to break. Not a lot of people understand shy people, I realize. Let me describe to you my experience with being shy.

Ever since I was a kid, I would hide behind my mom’s back when she wanted to introduce me to new people. I don’t know why I was so afraid; I even remember thinking that it wasn’t much of a big deal and that I had no reason to hide. It’s just a behavior that I would use to cope with anxiety. I am an anxious person, and that is genetic and/or a result of my environment. Healthy thinking and prayer helps me fix anxiety. It takes a lot of strength to reinforce healthy thinking and push positive thoughts into the front of my brain.

People often mirror people when you talk to them. Sometimes I am too shy to show any form of emotion; enjoyment, resentment, excitement… etc. So, I just sit there and overthink. Perhaps this paints a picture onto my face that I don’t realize. I think being shy has a lot to do with anxiety and self-loathing, at least my type of shy.

So, I started making friends with more chill people who don’t project their anxiety onto others. I observed that chill people overthink too, they just keep it inside. I started doing this with a combination of smiling more and it definitely has created a warmer environment around me. That’s when I noticed that people match energy.

Shy people who show up to things is a funny paradox. I am one of those people, I will just show up to something and then sit around and wait for an opportunity to not be so shy… but usually there are none because you have to be the one with the initiative to make things happen. Shy people fear rejection and being put into awkward situations. The anxiety can be overwhelming, so it’s natural to pose the question of “Why did I even show up to begin with?” Maybe shy people feel obligated to show up, or they want to try to force themselves to seek out new experiences. Sometimes it’s just too much and the shy people leave the earliest. They just want to be comfortable.

This is no excuse to challenge yourself to take the risk on trying to reinvent the way you communicate socially. Try different things; whether it be smiling more, allowing yourself to laugh and tell jokes even if they don’t land… Don’t be ashamed of yourself when you try something new and bold.

So, the question is posed; How can I be on stage as a musician if I am so shy? I ask myself this all the time. I’m more comfortable communicating to a crowd when I am on stage or public speaking than I am one on one. Those things are two different skills. I don’t mind if people look at me, if all the attention is diverted on me, this is because it is deliberate attention, it is something that I prepare for before I do it. I already know what to say, what to do, how to work a crowd…

If it’s just one on one with people, I get too in my head about everything and that is something that I desperately need to work on. Nobody cares. Everybody interprets things differently. Just be bold and be yourself. If you aren’t rocking with somebody, then there will always be someone you can relate to later in the night.

Sometimes shy people want to be pushed. They aren’t going to push themselves to do something, although they want to. This of course, doesn’t make any sense but sometimes things just don’t. So, when you see someone that has a look on their face and isn’t talking to nobody, they could just be really nervous.

Creating Art

My friend from church and I went out this past weekend. I have never really been to church except this past year, and I started slowly growing in the church community. I understand now how important it is to do for my soul. I had one of the most impactful conversations with this girl.

We were talking about why God has called us to create art, as we are both artists. She told me that aspiring to have an acting career, or a music career is inherently selfish if you think about it because essentially, what you are asking for is to be put on a pedestal… for everyone to look at you and admire you. Yes, that is the point of being a public figure, and when you share your art with the world you are projecting yourself into the world, so it’s hard to establish that separation.

So, I asked her what the point is, and this is what she said.

The point of being an artist is to create spaces where there is inclusivity. Everyone is always talking about their purpose; creating art to provide a space for others to feel accepted… I mean that was my personal goal in middle school.

As a public figure, you have to accept that you are a leader. The buzzword for public figures now a days is influencer, but I wouldn’t even say that… You are a leader as an artist because you are nurturing a specific type of crowd. Take it from me as someone who has had a handful of different types of audiences; These audiences were cultivated by the lyrics in my music, the message I promote and the people I associate with.

I’ve found that my happiest audience was the one I found when I started just being myself and not playing too much into a crazy persona. I just started blogging and writing about how I feel. It was extremely difficult to start talking about my faith in God because it’s so close to my heart and I fear rejection. As soon as I started talking about whatever I wanted, I noticed that people started talking about themselves and relating to me. This is what I’ve always wanted, a space for people to feel accepted because all I want is to feel accepted. So, it’s mutual now, and I couldn’t be happier.

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