I used to be extremely shy. When I was a kid I would blush whenever I met someone in my building. I was so anxious not to be impolite that I would say « bonjour », « goodmorning » a thousand times to the same person even if I met her or him a thousand times.
Then when I was 15, in 1978, I did an exchange programmme with a penfriend. Nicola Baines, from Enfield, a suburb of London and this stay in England was a revelation for me. « Who are you ? », sang the Who and I forgot about shyness, I could dance, I need not be ashamed of being myself in front of foreigners, in front of others.
In every shy person, there is someone wondering whether she,/he is doing things right, whether she/he is well dressed, whether she/he won't bore the listener. In fact this is a quite egocentric, and self centered attitude. Wondering what people are going to think of me comes before everything else. When I was younger, I hid this defect by looking haughty, which often people took for contempt.
To get out of this inner prison that brings only loneliness, I chose to become a journalist, and I must say this job saved my life. Being curious about others is a great cure for shyness ; you do not have the choice but to jump into the cold water and not care about the clothes you are wearing. You will get wet. I adored plunging into the other person psyche. I loved being transparent and have people revealing their life secrets to me. It was so pleasant to have a rest from oneself.
I got rid of shyness that way and if you ask most of my friends, they will tell you I am absolutely bold. I fear nothing. That is true. I travelled from shyness to bold creativity; my egocentricity was both a cure and a fuel.
The shy and egocentric person dissolved into writing articles, books and TV scripts. But what is bred in the bone come out in the flesh – I love that expression. You do not change the leopard’s spots. In French, ‘on ne change pas les rayures d’un tigre’ ( you do not change the tiger stripes) !
I still need a pretext to meet people and to rest my soul. That is certainly why I created that blog too, trying to kill two birds with one stone.
It has been a while since I observed people taking selfies – I used to do it some time ago when I was single, just to leave a trace of my passing, but this is frustrating, so I decided to start a new experiment to get me out of my own bubble. I encourage you to do the same. I call it « Younix » a contraction of you-and-I and pix and close in sound with « unique ».
Every day I ask someone to take a picture of me and I write a piece about that individual instinctively selected from among a crowd, who is for me no longer anonymous. Or I can also ask someone famous to take a picture of me.