By Mari-An Santos


A child so anti-social that she didn’t want anyone’s skin to touch hers in a crowded jeepney. A girl so timid that she couldn’t be coaxed into joining parlor games even after all the other parents had stopped thinking it was adorable. A pre-teen so shy that she would read a book in the middle of a party that her mother had forced her to attend. That was me.

All I had ever wanted to do was write. That is, after my fourth grade teacher “discovered” that I could put words to paper and sent me, along with a select few, to a tete-a-tete with NVM Gonzalez. But as it turned out, it was not such a simple choice.

I had heard that college should be a time to build a network. But this quintessential nerd simply clutched her books and went to class early. I studied hard alright but did not make more than a few friends.

It was after college when I slowly came out of my shell. I learned how to approach complete strangers and talk to them without breaking into a sweat or walking away.  I have even managed to make friends from different parts of the world. While I’m still a long way from being the poster girl for confidence, I can hold my own in polite company.

My mother no longer wonders, “What will happen to this shy little girl?” Though maybe sometimes she wonders what has become of her.

Can you keep a secret? She’s still here.