Our Society Hates Introverts

Okay, hyperbolic title, you say.  Maybe.  Sorta.  True?  Somewhat.

Okay, hate is a strong word. Perhaps I should say, our society tends to favor extroverted traits. Hell, I’ll let Susan Cain say it better than I can:

I like that she points out up front that introversion is not the same as shyness. I grew up shy, and I do have social anxiety, which may contribute to my natural introversion to some degree.  That said, my introversion may also be informed by the fact that I grew up an only child, in a rural area, and thus, had to entertain myself and develop interests which I could fully immerse myself in, such as writing, drawing, etc.  These are generally solitary pursuits, which I cultivated in hours spent alone in my bedroom.

Being a child of the 80s, there were no cell phones, no internet or social media. There were long summer days spent reading, and long winter nights spent drawing.

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Yup. I’m an introvert, who just happens to have social anxiety issues which cause me to be relatively shy with most people, until a pretty visceral level of comfort develops, if it ever does. I don’t “hate” people, I just dislike being forced to interact with others unless I choose to do so. I prefer my own thoughts, company, etc. generally speaking. As Susan Cain points out, introverts are at our most creative and “switched on” when we’re in the environment that is best suited to fostering those aspects of our selves.

I also happen to be a leader in my workplace, newly appointed to supervise my team. Whoa boy. I feel perfectly capable doing the job, and I do feel like I can be a good motivator and leader for the group. True to form, for me it’s more about developing a relationship with my team through my personal interactions with each member of the team. I much prefer one-on-one interaction to group settings.

For some reason, society deems it better to be outgoing, talkative, assertive, and so forth, than to be inward, quiet, and calm. Perhaps people don’t quite know what to make of someone who keeps to himself and doesn’t feel the need to blather on and boast all the time.  Blah, small talk – don’t even get me started on that one.

For me, a great evening would be a quiet night in by myself, or maybe with a really good friend (at most, two really good friends) with a movie, maybe some wine, some good food.  Just chilling.  I’m a total homebody.  Sure, I did more than mine-and-your-mother’s fair share of partying when I was in my 20s.  But I simply prefer a good Netflix show or a book to a night at the club.  And, here’s the takeaway, readers – that’s perfectly okay.

Sometimes I feel bad for “not getting out more” or some other such nonsense. Introverts shouldn’t shame ourselves, or be shamed by others who may not understand why we enjoy our quiet activities. We should work to foster understanding, by explaining our interests to others, and also by listening to our extrovert friends and loved ones, and trying to understand their interests. And most of all, we shouldn’t really worry about it, or let ourselves be pressured into activities that we aren’t attracted to. Sure, in life, we all have to make compromises sometimes – such as my job role, or going to a friend’s birthday party at a crowded restaurant when we’d really rather be at home with our cat watching Downton Abbey or painting our hallways – whatever. You get the point.

So, if I decline an invite, don’t feel bad.  it’s not you, it’s me.  No, really.

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When the Scheiße Hits the Fan, You’ll Want to Be Wearing Your Raincoat

 

I haven’t had the willpower to blog much in the past couple of months…there has been so much going on – and I don’t use that term generically, at all – I couldn’t even begin to relay it all to you here. 

So maybe I will, in some retrospective blogging.  For now, I’ll just jump to the present.  I’m having an extremely difficult time concentrating on anything today. 

April was a very difficult month for me.  May was much better.  June seems to be a relative mixture.  It started out okay, but the past several days have been a little trying.  Not sure how to put it in a “pretty” perspective, so I’ll just blurt it out (in keeping with the ‘present tense’ theme) – I have some mental health issues that are beginning to become a very visceral part of my life, and I’m at the point where I need to do something about them.  Well, something more than what I’ve attempted thus far. 

One of my “issues” (I dislike that catch-all terminology, but don’t have anything better this morning) is that I seem unable to complete things (like blogging) for more than a short burst of time (see my January – March postings in this blog’s lifecycle), without going on to another project.  I seem unable to reconcile all the parts of myself, as just one example, to only one all-encompassing blog.  I have a multitude of blogs “registered” on WordPress, although it’s only this one I’m really using.  Well, that’s not true.  I have another blog geared only toward my mental health journey, also on WP, but registered under its own credentials (as opposed to ‘undeniablymaybe’).  I don’t think I’ll disclose that url just yet…

That’s part of the problem.  I don’t know if I’ll keep this blog, that one, or abandon it all (yet again, as so many times in the past).  I even started a tentative new one yesterday (not on WP) – my word, this is getting out of hand. 

*sigh*

For years, my friends have poked fun at me for my supposed inability to keep the same phone number, email address, etc. for more than a few months’ time.  (I’ve had my current cell number for over a year, I think – victory! ha)  What they never understood (mostly because I never acknowledged it, let alone shared it with anyone) was that it was something beyond my scope of control.  Some sort of compulsion, I guess…with each new chapter of my life, or each new (rapidly shifting) change of course for my lifepath or grandiose new idea (!), I apparently have a deep need to encapsulate that with some sort of cyber-branding.  A snazzy new email address to match the “new” me!  Perhaps a new blog to show everyone “what it’s all about!”  A new number – well, that was usually me just changing carriers, either because my bill got out of hand and I had little other option, or because I hastily changed to a) get a coveted phone, b) “start fresh” with a new provider, or c) some twisted mix of all of the above. 

*sigh, redux*

This is but scratching the proverbial surface, dear reader(s).  Perhaps more will come… shall I stay here and press on? 

Just to give you perspective about the wild instability of a) my mind, and thus b) my life, here’s a fancy-schmancy little rundown of the general Awesome!™ ideas I’ve had in say, the past two weeks:

  • Move back to Oklahoma
  • Move back to my hometown or another small town in Oklahoma, specifically
  • Move to New Mexico
  • Legally change my name to something “Native American” (actually, I wasn’t being too stupid about this, I was at least going to use some Choctaw names/words – my natural family has Choctaw roots in there somewhere)
  • Legally change my name to something else not Native-inspired
  • To start smoking again or to not start smoking again (don’t really want to, but been craving the act of smoking lately, probably as some anxiety-release)
  • Deciding to live in a total state of positivity at all times (actually worked for a blissful week)
  • Deciding I no longer want to use curse/swear words (still a noble idea I may indeed work on, although yesterday on the drive home from work I had some weird compulsive urge to repeatedly say/shout things like “F*#kers! F*#k! Motherf*#ker!” – that was a new one)
  • Move to the desert or somewhere really remote and live in a yurt or something similar (I think a lot about moving, but this is nothing new.  I’ve literally spent the bulk of a day’s minutes consumed with these thoughts, to the point of total exhaustion.) 

I guess that’s the gist of it.  By the way, when I say “ideas I’ve had” I don’t mean just passing nonsense whilst staring out the classroom window type of daydreaming, I mean putting some actual energy and hours into the consideration and planning it would take to actually go through with these things.  Is that enough to possibly illustrate the fabulous complexity of my life?  “LOL”  I’m not trying to play the world’s smallest violin here, I promise.  I guess I just needed to get that out, and although it makes me a teensy bit squeamish to do it here (as some people who know me IRL read this), whatever.  I’m tired of living behind the stigma people put on mental health issues.  Mind you, I’m not going to broadcast them via a flashy slogan’d tee-shirt or anything, but it is what it is.  Like my penchant for chocolate and foreign films, it’s simply another part of what makes me…’me.’ 

That said, it’s also really fucking intrusive to my life.  (Whoops!  $1 in the swear jar!  Hmmm…no, I don’t have the money for that, nevermind…)  Basically, I stopped blogging a couple of months ago when I pretty much had an intense meltdown, or what I like to call a little “psychotic break.”  Some people around me may not have noticed much, for example at work – but that’s probably because I did my absolute darndest to avoid being around anyone for more than oh, 5 minutes at a stretch. 

Blah…so there you have it.  More Than You Ever Wanted To Know!™  Brought to you by undeniablymaybe.  Suh-weet.  Actually, maybe not, since you read this blog.  You must be idling away the hours minutes seconds of your day here for something.

Shall I go on?

Incidentally, this is probably always good advice to heed. Just sayin'...

I Hate Feeling Powerless

I have no idea where to begin tonight’s blog.  My next ’30 Days’ topic isn’t one I want to tackle right now – not hiding from it, just one of those I don’t know how to write about and would rather skip (but I won’t).

This morning was weird.  My other half has been hormonal lately.  And no, I’m not being chauvinist – there’s WAY more to that story, I assure you.  We’ll get to all that another time – over tea or something.  Anyway, she even cried a little as I held her in bed.  She’s in a complicated place at the moment.  And I don’t think there’s anything I can do about it.  And I guess that has to be okay.  One thing I’ve been trying to work on within myself is realizing that when someone around me has a problem or brings a problem to me, I don’t have to take it on and immediately try to help solve it.  Sometimes the best (and/or only) thing to do is simply listen and be there for moral support.  I don’t even have to proactively offer advice, only if asked.  Most people who are just being dramatic bring you problems because they’re hoping you’ll give them advice on how to fix it.  People who are legitimately hurting from something may not even want advice – even if they feel like they do – but rather, may just want someone to vent to, or someone to give two shits for a moment.

So far I suppose it’s working, because I am catching myself thinking about offering a solution, then realizing that I don’t have to and taking another tactic.

But, all in all she’s fine now.  She had a good rest all day (she’s a night owl) and is currently listening to Arabic music and doing a little living room dancing.  This is part of why I love her.

We had a little talk about a big topic we’d been entertaining last fall.  It came up this morning, after I was supremely inspired by a friend’s post on Facebook about an adventure.  I won’t go into any more detail just yet, as I don’t know where (if anywhere) this is going yet.  Anyway, the talk about reassessing that situation turned into not talking about it right now because we don’t want to just “talk about talking about it.”  If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.  More to come, in some fashion I’m sure.

That turned my mood right around this morning though, after getting that dose of inspiration from my friend’s words.  I sent wifey a text, and a suggestion to discuss this evening.  I went from my solemn, blue mood to a much happier place.

In other news, the weekend’s almost upon us.  I need to get BUSY with some creative projects on my plate – I’ve been asked by a friend to do a commissioned piece (paintings), another friend to work on an image for an outdoor sign for his restaurant, and I have a poetry/art book project I’m in the middle of, as well as editing photos for a photography book.  Ugh!  I wish I could devote my full-time attention to these matters – but then, I’m sure most artists do.  But, alas, I must keep a day job.  Luckily it’s one I do well and like, so I ain’t complainin’ too much.