Los Cassettes de los Recuerdos: La niña de la Sonrisa

Juana Tostado

Shyness has been a huge issue in my life and it’s something that I think about constantly. Why am I shy? Why am I not like the typical teenager? Am I too fixated on my childhood? Did something happen back then which caused me to be shy? Last week, I watched two of my old VHS tapes from when I was around three or four years old. There were instances when I was shy, but there were definitely a few moments when I saw what I was doing and thought to myself, “I would never do that today!” For example. I was very surprised to find out that I enjoyed singing! In this post, I’d like to direct your attention to the cover photo. I think it may be one of the few pictures where I had a genuine smile. You could tell that I wanted to be there. My mom took that picture of me in my grandma’s garden.

Recovering this VHS footage from my childhood was a struggle because it was buried underneath many items that are currently packed away in a storage room. I also did some searching through many old photos of mine, and I found that indeed, I was quite the bold child that enjoyed posing for pictures. When possible, I will include a short excerpt from these videos. Also, I will provide a transcript if there’s any dialogue, because they take place in Mexico, so they’re in Spanish. I will also reference my art and call your attention to some ironic aspects that might otherwise go overlooked.

I’d also like to thank Rachelle and Jon for having a talk with me about being shy. I don’t know if they could tell but I almost cried. It wasn’t in a negative way though. I almost cried because I just couldn’t believe that someone that I just had met said that for that moment in time I was who I had to be and that I’m perfect just the way I am. However, I could not contain myself and when I got home I started crying. Perhaps this has to do with my shyness. I have low self-esteem and the fact that someone who doesn’t know me saw me in a more positive light than I see myself caused a tornado of emotions in me. There were just so many emotions coming at me at once. Most were good. There was nostalgia and happiness and a little bit of sadness. I felt that if I started crying I wouldn’t be able to stop, and I didn’t want that to happen so I refrained from crying.

As you can probably tell, I’d like to make this column very personal because I often have a hard time opening up about my feelings as shown in the text above. I’m really excited about the outcome of this column and the personal growth that I will get out of it.