I was a painfully shy child. So much so that I cried if people even looked at me. I still feel a lot of anxiety when I know I’ll be in a social situation. I fight through it, but by the time I get home I just crash because it’s so exhausting having to keep it together. Though, I learned early on that I couldn’t embrace loneliness. At a job interview or when I worked as a sales rep, my career depended on how well I could communicate with a stranger for 10-15 minutes. Losing control for even a moment and turning bright red or getting too fidgety could mean not having money to pay rent.
Mila is a woman of few words. To be fair she isn’t even 1 yet and her vocabulary is limited to “mum-mum” and “da da”. But, as I’ve mentioned before, she is an observer. Some babies have so much to express. But Mila is most often slung to my hip silently watching the world around her. We sit in the coffee shop, and she doesn’t fuss or yell or babble. Instead she quietly, gazes out the window and watches the city worker hosing off the cobblestone in Pioneer Square.
When we take the Light Rail, we always keep to ourselves. Still strangers approach. They come up and begin to try and charm their way into Mila’s heart with something along the lines of “Oh hello little baby! what a sweet baby!“and are only greeted with a stern look and a raised eyebrow from Mila. She doesn’t feel the pressure to meet their energy and smile as big as they do. She hasn’t been taught social norms. So on her behalf I say something to imply she is either tired or fussy. When neither is the case. Mila is simply genuine.
I wish I could let go of the pressure to be polite. When a stranger says something rude or invades my personal space, I anxiously smile it off as to not offend anyone. I’m that sucker who gets caught on the phone with telemarketers for 20 minutes because I can’t bring myself to cut them off. If it were Mila, she would have just hung up the moment she got bored, thrown the phone and started chewing on the tv remote. Ok, maybe it’s unrealistic to be as carefree as an infant. But I’m sure there is a balance somewhere between the two.
This post is a part of the Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries