This is the story of how I went from being so shy as a child that I ran away in tears after introductions to a confident public speaker and performer as an adult — and a few tips so you can be more confident, too!

As a young child, I had a lisp.

I struggled to pronounce s’s. They mostly came out as a “th” sound. I know many children slur their s’s when they’re young. It’s usually adorable and eventually they grow out of it — no harm, no foul.

It may not have been such a big deal for me either, if it weren’t for the fact that I was a debilitatingly shy child and my mom made the cruel, cruel choice to name me “Tasia” (pronounced like Fantasia).

Or, in the words of my timid former self, “Tay-tha.”

Every introduction ended with me running away in tears after repeated attempts to tell an unsuspecting stranger my name. They couldn’t help that I have an unusual name or that I couldn’t pronounce it correctly for them. Many of them tried really hard to figure out what I was saying, bless their hearts.

But, alas, the damage had been done. These traumatizing experiences resulted in me withdrawing even further into my turtle shell. I turned to reading for comfort (more on that another time) and shut myself off from most of the world.

I eventually had speech therapy, which corrected my lisp, but I remained incredibly shy. So much so that I was often bullied and eventually my parents made the decision to remove me from public school and enroll me in a charter school with stricter regulations.

Fast forward to middle school. I met the loudest, CRAZIEST girl I had ever known…

Her outer-weirdo matched my inner-weirdo and we became best friends for many years. She managed to pull me out of my shell and help me become comfortable in my own skin, even around other people. I began to lose the fear of being bullied and, eventually, joined her in her crazy antics.

True story Once, while helping my friend clean her room, I decided to start putting on EVERY hat I found, ending with a swim cap. I looked like some sort of weird, cone-head alien. Then, I proceeded to dance around like a maniac. Like no one was watching.

Turns out, someone was.

Some of my friend’s neighbors happened to be part of the “popular” crowd at school. They definitely saw me as they drove by on their ATV. While I was dancing like a fool and looking like a weird alien-baby.

Shy-Tasia would have been mortified and run away crying. Confident-Tasia made eye contact, laughed, and waved.

For those of you who are shy, introverted, or have ever struggled with bullying or confidence, you KNOW how big this is!

Since then, I have chilled out a bit and learned to be comfortable in my older, more mature skin. I still have moments when I feel shy, but I tend to overcome them MUCH more quickly than I used to.

I was crazy shy. Now I’m crazy confident. But still mostly introverted.

TL;DR Here’s how to go from crazy shy to crazy confident:

🤗Embrace your quirks

🙈Accept that no one cares

😳Realize not all awkward silences are your fault—or, even, awkward