A Summer of Friendship

Published on 5 September 2021 at 08:00

Those who know me, know that I am a shy person. It takes a long time for me to feel comfortable. And in 'me at ease', some recognize themselves at their most inconvenient moments. When I was still thinking of New Year's resolutions, one of them invariably was to work on my shyness. But I've always been like that, and over the years, the acceptance for the trait that I let get in the way for so long had grown.

This summer I was surrounded by people who were new to me, brought together by coincidences and things we have in common. And yes, also this summer, also with these new people, shyness played a major role in the way I connected with others. Over a week ago I met some of those beautiful, lovely people again in a place where each of us could be ourselves: we came together to be creative, all in our own way.

While the most beautiful creations arose around me, a small stage was opened. "Would you like to recite something from your book?" it sounded friendly in my ear. I reacted before I had really thought about what I really wanted. "No!" As quickly as I had uttered the one-syllable word, as quickly I regretted it. I am proud of my work and I like to share it with people, so why did I not dare to read my own words aloud?...

The person who asked me that terrifying question understood why I didn't want to and agreed to my idea that she would then read an excerpt from my book. "Will you come on stage with me? It's your work after all," she suggested. I felt good about that. And as the creative, nice people got closer and the mic was tuned, something in me changed. "Shall we do it together?" I asked her. I didn't recognize myself. But so it happened. I read a sentence, then she, then me again. And when the piece was read and the audience reacted, I felt proud. I did it! Thanks to the encouragement and support of those I had known for only a few weeks, but who supported me as if we had been through years of joys and sorrows together.

This is an example of friendship that we all long for as humans: with the right people around us, we bring out the best in ourselves. It is one of the many memories of the summer that is now behind us. A memory that, in my lifelong shyness, helps me grow into the person who I can also be.

- Pia Sophia


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