Shyness Is Nice But…

By alison July 26, 2005 3 Comments 7 Min Read

By Miss Kerry Stewart-Haynes of The Faded Parasol.

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Today I made fairy floss

(Cotton Candy/Candy Floss)

And, quite simply, I had the most fun I’ve had in a long while.

(Sad but true). You see, I’m one of those parents who put their name down on the volunteer list for school camp and kindy roster and, in this case, on the fairy floss stall at my son’s school fete.  And then for several days before the event grapple for a plausible reason to get out of it.

As I was officially feeling ‘SOS’ (sick of self) for my lack of enthusiasm; for the lack of gusto with which I faced these things … I decided to throw myself wholeheartedly into the whole experience and look forward to the fact that come Sunday P.M I would have mastered the art of turning fine particles of blistering hot sugar into a deliciously sweet treat!

(I should point out that although I’m admitting to feelings of ‘volunteer remorse’ you would never know it ~ once I actually turn up to the event,  I am recognisable by the brightness of my smile and my enthusiasm.  As best I can, I try to keep these negative feelings private…I don’t want my children growing up with a crummy attitude).

I was presented with a choice ~

‘Do you want to take the money or spin the fairy floss?’

And in that instant I made a decision which would change the way I view things forever!

The whole time I worked the stall there was a queue a mile long (not really but for the purposes of highlighting the fact that I had an audience, let’s just say there was a crowd gathered).  Gasp!  I would normally freeze under the gaze of such attention. 

Making fairy floss takes a level of skill I’d never before respected ~ it’s all in the wrist ~ and if ever you’re faced with this challenge yourself the best advice I can give is turn the stick in a clockwise motion while moving anti~clockwise around the bowl.   Oh and occasionally look up and around yourself… at the ravenous little faces eagerly licking their lips awaiting the product of your newfound skill … or at the whirly thingy ride that you would never let your own child on (try NOT to focus on the vomit factor.  I was never one for the wild rides ~ give me the ferris wheel or an old fashioned carousel anyday).  I suggest this occasional distraction because ~ and trust me on this ~ although pink is absolutely my favourite colour ~ staring into a spinning bowl of it for long periods of time is not good for your brain.

By the end of my rostered period my hair and clothes were covered in sticky pink thread and when I licked my lips I could savour the sweetness of my experience over and over again (actually, if I’d licked just about anywhere on my body I could revisit the moment!).  My arm ached from spinning and my head was spinning from staring at a pink bowl for an extended amount of time but, if only in my head, I was doing the secret happy dance.

I realise that some will think my exuberant glee utterly ridiculous but for me ~ ME who spent a large part of her life crippled by shyness; fear of failure; fear that trying something new may result in looking like a total idiot ~ this feather in my cap is much more than just a sweet new skill.    Although I have worked as a Flight Attendant and have otherwise yearned to be the centre of attention, I have also cringed at the thought of public humiliation and therefore remained largely in my safe (but somewhat claustrophobic) little shell.  Today, this old dog learned a new trick but more importantly, faced the personal acknowledgement that the only real shame is in not having tried at all.

As I close, I’m reminded of an old Smiths verse:

Shyness is nice, and
Shyness can stop you
From doing all the things in life
That you’d like to.


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  1. Nancy says:

    Oh, the memories! I worked the cotton candy booth at my daughter's school once. It was hard and hot and sweaty and sticky………and delicious! I had a "hair net" of fine pink spun sugar…my clothes were glued to my body and I was the sweetest gal alive! Thanks for the memories!

  2. amy says:

    Kerry! You're a "DELIGHT" GOOD FOR YOU getting out there and trying that! & Thanks for sharing that sweeeeeet story…and lucky me;) I can actually see you doing this! I sure do miss you! Your boys are very lucky to have you as their mamma! Speaking of this very sugary treat..I've had an incurable craving for the fluffy floss lately and buy the pre-packaged bags of it for eating while watching television at night! No lie! I think I really am part "ant" all of the sugar I crave lately! xoxoxo

  3. Savannah says:

    That was a yummy description… And the first time I'd ever heard cotton candy called Fairy Floss…. oh, my…. I always loved it, but now! I'm totally enchanted…. nomenclature semantics is my WORLD! Thanks for the cool description and the truths… Trying new things is so vital to our passion for life.

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