Writerland, Chapter 57: For the Shy Ones

Writerland is a newsletter from The Delacorte Review whose mission is to help writers tell the stories they need to tell. I have always been shy. It’s simply part of my personality, a part of what makes me me. But the outside world has undoubtedly contributed to my shyness too. My first language is Spanish, and in elementary school, my classmates would make fun of the way I pronounced words in English. Feeling self-conscious and like I didn't fit in, I retreated behind books and played with dolls instead of peers during recess. I was the kid who dreaded being called on and who, of course, was always called on because I never raised my hand. I hated group reading because I knew eventually we would each be forced to read out loud and I would try to calculate which paragraph would fall to me and practice it over and over in my head, the pit in my stomach growing larger and larger the closer it got to my turn. I was woefully self-aware of how my voice would tremble when I spoke in class and I could feel my face burn as it got redder and redder.

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