Saturday, June 30, 2007

People may surprise you

This column was in Saturday's Ledger & Times. It was inspired by last weekend.

I remember crying when my mom wanted me to walk on the gymnastics floor mat without her.

No, I wasn’t crying because somebody should have told me I wasn’t cut out for gymnastics. But rather because I was terribly shy. So shy, in fact, that sometimes when I saw people I liked in the grocery store I would hesitate to say hi to them.

My mom will still tell stories about me hanging on to her leg -- literally -- like I thought she could shield from me from the world.

I don’t really know when I grew out of this shyness. But I’m thankful I did.

But people who knew me then haven’t forgotten it.

Last weekend my central Kentucky friends threw me (and baby Cate, of course) a shower. Toward the beginning, all my friends and family took turns sharing a memory.

This kind of thing always makes me nervous. Maybe that’s just the shyness slipping back into existence.

But, anyway, when it was my mom’s turn, she reverted to my shy days. I think she likes to talk about it. But that’s OK because she always gets around to how I’ve grown up and grown out of that tendency.

So, the story goes ...

“Kristin was so shy as a kid. She didn’t speak to people and hung on my leg. But then she grew up and become a journalist. Can you believe it, she calls people who don’t want to talk to her?”

Ah, full circle.

Indeed I’m not shy anymore. At least not like that little-girl shy.

You’re not going to catch me volunteering to speak before a large crowd, or even a medium-sized crowd. But, yes, I will call people, sometimes even important people like a university president, state senator or big-business honcho.

And not only do I call them, but I always have a list of questions, sometimes the same one phrased a few different ways to make sure I get a good answer.

The morale of the story is sometimes people will surprise you. My mom finds joy in me gaining enough confidence to move beyond her leg and be the reporter on the other end of the phone.

So what if I didn’t want to be a gymnast. I found something that suits me better.

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