My daughter is a very personable little girl. Usually when you take children into new surroundings and new people, they get shy and cling to their parent’s leg. Not Cydney. Whenever she is introduced to a new person, she walks right up to them, points to herself and says “I’m Thindney!” That’s how she pronounces her name. She does have her shy moments. However, even when she’s shy she doesn’t hide; she still puts herself in the mix but just keeps quiet. Whenever we go to the park or baseball she walks right up to other kids wanting to play. Because she’s so friendly kids and adults play with her.
I love that she’s like that. I especially love it because (this comes to a surprise of many of my friends) I am a shy person. When in new surroundings, I am extremely quiet, reserved, and reading people around me at first. I try not to do it as much, but its something that has become a part of me. It comes from years of being seen as a little different growing up so I like to get a feel of who I am around before I “being myself.”
We all have little walls that we build up from years of life showing us that people suck. As a kid we all get teased for one thing or another that causes some kind of insecurity or cynicism. Those times of getting teased are really signs of rejection and being that we don’t know how to process that as its just “kids being kids” it becomes a part of us in the form of complexes. My daughter is extremely optimistic and thinks that everyone is great because she doesn’t know better. In her mind, everyone is just as sweet as she is and hasn’t experienced hurt. The one time I saw her feelings get hurt at a Super Bowl party a couple of months ago, I got a little choked up because she started bawling and then ran to a friend of mine for comfort (which I am NOT over yet). I had never seen my daughter emotionally hurt and it hurt me to see my little girl embarrassed when she was just being herself. People didn’t realized what they were doing. She was just in the midst of a bunch of adults who thought like adults and no one in the room other than myself was a parent so that gene hadn’t kicked in just yet.
That experience was a small glimpse into what I know will happen one day. Hopefully I can teach her that she’s awesome no matter what so she will only be phased by it but so much. Either way, some kid is going to tease her, some child is going to be an asshole and say something about her mother either not knowing hers died or will know that and say something foul anyway, a Valentine’s Day or two may be rough because everyone has someone and she doesn’t (but she has me!) and/or someone may break her heart and I will have to murder them because that is her birthday. There’s just going to be things that come along that will take away from her being the little girl that says “Hi! I’m Thindney” to birds and inanimate objects. I hate that.
I learned in my Educational Psychology class in college that most of the fears, phobias, and insecurities that children have are actually learned behavior that they picked up from their parents. I love that my daughter is so outgoing and sociable off the bat. I want her to keep that. Other than masking how reserved I am by nature (something I picked up from my father), the best thing I can do is just let her know is to hold onto that. When people do or say things, let that motivate you. In fifth grade, I was the only boy in my class who could sing. When the guys made a rap group I wasn’t allowed to be in it for that reason. That was one of the things that made me start rapping. I never wanted to feel like that again. I got really good at it, and I made a lot of friends and a lot of girls liked me later in life because I did it pretty damn well.
The other lesson I can point out is that no matter what anyone says, you can keep doing what you do anyway. I got joked on in middle school because I always told stories about my life as a kid. I became insecure about it, but I kept doing it anyway. 16,000+ reads in over fifty countries and six continents later, I’m glad I didn’t let that stop me.