"Hey, speak up!"
"Needs to participate more in class."
That was me.
"Excuse me. Where did you get those great leggings?"
"I just had to say, I like what the color of those earrings so with your eyes."
"I couldn't help overhearing..."
"That car was just tearing along without looking- are you okay?"
"Nice to see you!"
"Hi, are you all here for the newcomers' workshop?"
"Well, when I was a kid..."
"I was hearing that it was taking up to an hour."
"I was just tell someone that..."
"Are you new to the area?"
"Oo, that's a great tie/skirt/pair of earrings."
"Welcome to the dance! I'm so glad to see you all here tonight."
This is me now.
Yes, whereas I used to barely be able to speak to a stranger without feeling like I was on fire, now I chirp right up on a regular basis. Sometimes I rattle on at length. Sometimes I strike up conversations with perfect strangers. At the cheese counter. In the checkout line. In the line to vote. Leaving a shop. I can accost someone at will.
Is this a talent or a failing? I get mixed reviews.
My husband admires how I can strike a conversation and find a connection with almost everyone (if they cooperate).
Many new dancers find me friendly and encouraging.
One parent's group at the park thought I had a lot of gall to break into their conversation.
And the woman standing next to me in line to vote might have found me friendly, talkative, political, intrusive, entertaining, wearisome. Maybe all in succession.
"Oh great. Now she won't shut up."
I know - I'm a piece of work.
But it's a work in progress.
Some days I find myself with an ungodly amount of confidence and cheer. Other days, I feel overwhelmed entering a shop and don't want to talk to anyone. Some days I revel in being on stage leading a whole crowd. Other days, I'm convinced that everyone hates me.
I'll take the confidence where I find it, thank you. Such an exhilarating feeling. How can I turn that down after so many years of being relatively mute?
"Wow! You look great in that color!"