Too shy


I've been trying to work out exactly when this photo was taken. My best guess is the summer after high school, before university. I would have been nineteen and just returned from summer holidays with my family in Port Moresby to start an arts degree in Melbourne. So it would have been March 1982, more than half a life time ago. There are not many pictures of me from this time as I was so painfully shy. This one must have been taken in one of those photo booths in the city, perhaps for an identity card. It is not the sort of thing I would have done for fun. My first thought on seeing this photo is youthful innocence. But when I look closer, I see behind the shy good girl face. At high school I was a good student (except for maths), a boarding school prefect, someone trusted by adults. But I also smoked cigarettes, told lies, got into scrag fights with other girls, incited acts of rebellion in other students, played around with boys and broke whatever rules I thought I could get away with. And due to my shyness and perceived goodness, I got away quite alot. There was even one occasion I remember when I came forward and owned up to an act of wrongdoing and wasn't believed. Someone else copped the blame and the punishment. Luckily it was a really good muck-up* so I didn't get in trouble with the other girl as a consequence. Shyness and goodness are not the same, but for some reason the shy are often thought to be good. It's a bit funny when I look back on it now but at the time it was a peculiar and sometimes painful type of enclosure.

Check out other self portraits of enclosure here.


*muck-up, a boarding school term for an organised prank, joke or some sort of chaos involving a number of girls and often undermining the authority of the mistresses. The best ones were where the rules were followed but made to look ridiculous. One incident that comes to mind was a boarder's weekend excursion to a big park in the middle of winter. It was freezing outside and we were not permitted to wear trousers. So word went around and we all dressed in the most clashing and non-matching outfits of skirts, dresses, stockings and accessories that we could put together. No rules were broken so no-one was in trouble, but I can still see the tight lipped rage on the mistresses face.

7 comments:

  1. You're so right about perception and you DO look totally sweet and innocent in that photo. I'd look at that girl and think she never stepped out of line. :-D

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  2. I think this rates among my favorites I have viewed this week. The color of your hand holding a black and white photo of yourself is intriguing. And, yes, you sound like you were a bit of a naughty shy girl. Pretty girl, too.
    Wonderful SPC post.

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  3. Wow-I did a lot of the trouble but was a little more outgoing-I guess it would have been nice to get away with it once in a while:)

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  4. I can see what you mean...I would have trouble believing this girl could be anything but sweet and perfect.I have the exact opposite problem. People thought I was MUCH worse as a teen than I am.
    Isn't it interesting how looks influence what people perceive?
    GREAT post

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  5. Wow, great pic and great story!!! I was the total opposite ... looked like a punk (shaven head, ripped jeans...) but was pretty straight edge (no smoking, tanning, etc). Amazing :)

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  6. That hair must have been a huge handicap in a scrag fight. I can feel myself wanting to grab handfuls of it and I've enver been in a scrag fight in my life.Hmmm...actually yes i have. But I wasn't very good at it.
    Great picture and intriguing site. I really need to stop clicking links on other people's blogs...there's so many exciting concepts out there!

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  7. Great to combine the past and the present for your enclosed self-portrait ... isn't it strange to look back and think about who you *were* and how you were perceived: the inside and the outside, as it were.

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