That message came across loud in clear in my developing psyche as I sat in the back of my parents' car reading that wonderful little book on our way to Charleston. You see I was shy beyond words at that time in my life. I never spoke up in class and only rarely spoke to my classmates. I was terrified that someone might make fun of me or, I don't know what I was afraid of; but I can remember that before that little book that I couldn't even buy the comics that I so desperately wanted.
After I read about Thomas Paine and realized that here was a man who ended up losing everything and still went on I just couldn't justify being afraid of asking a girl for her number or paying for a comic book. Hell, I couldn't justify being afraid of any of the things that terrified me.
I've spent the last twenty years confronting all the things that scare me. Sometimes this has gotten me into trouble (I've been shot at twice, and had multiple knives pulled on me), but more often then not it has put me into the sort of life that I wanted. I moved away from home into cities that I had never been to before. I got married and had a son. I've fought with Sony Movie Executives and won. I've met and spoken truth to politicians and C.E.O.s of fortune five hundred companies. But all that means diddly squat lately when it comes to talking to people on the internet.
Silly as it sounds my innate awkwardness and shyness have come back in a big way lately as I find myself stymied by my inability speak normally with people who can't see me and can't hear my voice. It's incredibly frustrating and I am in the process of breaking myself from this bullshit.
All the same it's pissing me off.