Am I Shy Shelly?

Sometime in 1993. At a camping trip in Batangas when I was in third grade.

Sometime in 1993. At a camping trip in Batangas when I was in third grade.

Right when I finished my manuscript for Shy Shelly, my friend and author Robert Magnuson asked me, “Are you Shy Shelly?” 

Back in elementary, I was a quiet student who liked to study. I hung out with a small group of friends but many times I felt like an outsider. Appearing on TV and being the daughter of a teacher, I wondered constantly if people talked behind my back. 

To get rid of the intrigues, I swore to be ordinary in high school, to be the type of person no one would talk about or have anything bad to say about. And up to this point, I still struggle with holding back and braving life  because I want to be acceptable.

With all the popularity politics, gossips, bullying  and suspensions, what you go through in grade school can define you. That’s why I wanted to make a story that unraveled the drama of elementary life. Kids just don’t play jackstones or tinker with their tablets. They face real problems. They face pressure. They feel pain. Through stories, I wish to empower children in the primary years of their life. There’s so much that kids can do. There’s so much that they can be. If they don’t hold back.

Shy Shelly isn’t my story. But I am Shy Shelly. I am Shy Shelly because sometimes I just allow pivotal moments to pass me by. Thus I am also not Shy Shelly. She chooses many times to act with courage. As I write her story, I learn from her. Shy Shelly is also someone I hope to be.

The truth is there is a shy person in all of us who longs to be heard. Sometimes we stay silent. Sometimes we speak up. That is who Shy Shelly is.

June 6, 2015. Hanging out with the kids at the launch of The Secret Story of Shy Shelly at OMF Lit Bookshop

June 6, 2015. Hanging out with the kids at the launch of The Secret Story of Shy Shelly at OMF Lit Bookshop