For my wonderful friend DOC this is our club!
Monthly Archives: May 2013
Sometimes the best way to fly is to close your eyes, open your mind, and spread your wings.
I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop (office away from the office) doing the research and observing that I so enjoy, when a rather boisterous friend came in. Apparently my expression was not as inviting as she would want, so she made a b-line to my table and said, in a rather loud tone, “What’s wrong with you?”
I met her gaze, smiled, and replied quietly, “I’m working on research for a presentation.” And returned to my observing of humanity and its interactions.
My response, apparently, bounced off her understanding like a bullet hitting a steel block, and she said in an even louder tone, “Why are you watching all these people?”
So much for my unobtrusive research! Again, I met her gaze, smiled (or grimaced, as the perspective might interpret), and asked quietly (yet insincerely), “Is there something you want or need?” She gave me a confused expression as though I had asked her to solve for pi to the 1,000,032 point. I even thought she had suddenly developed a tic of sorts, as if her circuits were shorting out.
She plopped down, uninvited I might add, in the chair across from me, almost toppling my coffee, leaned over the table to look right into my eyes and said, “Why are you always SO QUIET?”
By now, my head was about to explode, and I honestly tried to stop the words from blazing forth like a cannon shot, but they were out before I could manage, “Because YOU WON’T BE!”
Perhaps, it was because she got angry by that response; perhaps, she got her feelings hurt; perhaps, her mind imploded at the notion. Sara hasn’t spoken to me since.
I do enjoy the quiet. It’s like a vacation.
I have some favorite past times: reading, coffee, writing, coffee, thinking, coffee, dreaming, oh, and coffee. Hopefully you picked up on the theme here. I love coffee. Not in that creepy, “I Love You Man,” sort of way, rather an intense enjoyment of copious amounts of this dark nectar. My day begins with coffee and usually ends with it too. Not to mention the volumes between.
One might think that all this coffee would create indigestion or, at least, jitters. But I have found that it sparks my imagination and helps this introvert deal with the gaggle of extroverts. Let’s face it, it’s bad form to speak with your mouth full. Thus, coffee allows me the opportunity to sip and remain quietly within my own fortress, speaking only when I have something to say.
More times than not, I venture forth boldly to my office away from the office, get my juicings of that naughty bean we call coffee, find a table away from the herd, and ponder. Sometimes a thought will bing around my brain until it thonks firmly at the feet of my consciousness begging to be written down, much like a dog anxious to go for a walk.
The other day I witnessed a phenomenon that completely baffled and befuddled me. Yes, that would encompass any number of situations, but this one actually made me wonder about humanity. Whilst I was enjoying my much needed caffeine, a group of young people came in. I say “young” because they were younger than me and that could be quite the range. But they excited got their “coffee” amidst their animated discussions about who likes who, what teacher “sucks the big one,” how lame their parents/siblings/anyone not them were, and just as my mind began to reel from this cacophonous revelry, I noticed that their “coffee” was more cream and sugar than actual coffee. As a matter of face, it looked more like a milkshake that anything resembling the beverage I adore.
There was a part of me that wanted to run screaming from their proximity, but there was also a part of me that pitied these poor people who were enjoying their dessert beverage (I cannot bring myself to utter the word) with such enthusiasm. Ah life, thou hast dealt a vicious blow to this poor soldier.
Alas, I will get yet another cup and ponder a while longer.
‘Aloneness is an external condition: a person without other people. Loneliness is an internal state. It is a longing to be with other people. Loneliness is how you feel about being alone.’
I can tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I have been lonely. But simply because I’m an Introvert by nature does not make me automatically lonely. I embrace my alone time; crave it; require it, much as a person requires air to breathe. As a matter of fact, it is how I recharge and recover from interaction with others.
Introverts, as a group, tend to consider having nothing to do as a day well spent. We revel in the quiet and solitude of being able to have time alone to do what we need to do. I, for one, enjoy thinking quietly while engaged in some task that doesn’t require a lot of extraneous thought processes.
‘Introverts’ need for copious amounts of time alone is one of the reasons we don’t have a million friends. Friendships require time to maintain, and too many friendships take too much energy.’
Introverts aren’t afraid of people; we prefer a few close friends rather than a gaggle of acquaintances. We like solitude. Solitude…that’s what introverts crave! It’s how we regroup and unwind. It’s where we escape the awkwardness of socially required intermingling. It’s our Haven; our Fortress, if you will. So,itude sounds inviting, restful, tranquil, and even desireable.
We need a Fortress of Solitude. Let’s face it, Superman needed one.
Since yesterday, I’ve been singing “I’m An Introvert And I’m Okay” (in my mind). It’s a catchy little tune that has stuck to the walls of my noggin and resonates throughout every corner of my mind.
Honestly, I was truly astounded by some of the emails I received. People telling me that they, too, are introverts in an extroverted world. So while Dyslexics can “Untie” we, Introverts, can Unite separately.
There’s nothing wrong about being quiet and thoughtful. It’s usually a good idea to think BEFORE you speak (it helps one cut down on the amount of crow they have to eat later). Introverts are thinkers. We are ponderers. We are observers. We are unobtrusive. We are quiet (usually). But never underestimate an Introvert. As my Grandfather used to always tell me, if there’s going to be a fight, watch out for the quiet one.
Being an Introvert does seem to have a few drawbacks in that people sometimes think that, because we are quiet, that we don’t care or are cold-hearted, or even apathetic. Quite the opposite is true. We do feel, we do understand, and just below the surface is a raging storm of feelings we aren’t sure how to let out. We feel comfortable in our shell and letting feelings out is very uncomfortable. We do make good listeners though. We are like sponges sometimes, soaking up everything within range (which can be completely exhausting too, btw).
Please understand, I’m not and will never say, being extroverted is wrong, just as being introverted is not wrong. It’s how we are wired. For me, being an introvert during the high school years was absolute torture. As if being the “quiet one” wasn’t enough, add in acne, body changes, and an obnoxious elder sibling who took great delight in the fact of being an extrovert, and you have a completely miserable introvert. Because of being constantly told that I was “creepy,” “heartless,” “zombie-ish,” “stupid,” and the like, created in my mind a cloud of despair. Let’s face it, if you tell someone something enough they will begin to believe it (look at the advertisers who tell you that without their product you are doomed to look old and aged).
Introverts may be weird or odd or unique or just quiet and thoughtful. But the fact is, we are who we are!
This may come as quite a stunner to you, so please have a seat or hang on to something, I am an Introvert. Let that sink in for a moment, as your heart rate and breathing recover from that shocking revelation. A sip of coffee or tea would be acceptable about now.
Most of my life, I have been aware of this fact, but wasn’t really able to understand what it meant. I was told I was “stuck-up” because I wasn’t gregarious and loud. I was thought to be “odd” because I preferred the company of a few people rather than a group (or herd or gaggle or glaring). As far as I was concerned, there were only three types of people: Friends (who are close and few), Acquaintances (those with whom I would be polite and courteous, but not permit to get too close), and Strangers (those whom I would acknowledge with a nod or wave but little more).
It’s not that I didn’t like people (although some people I would rather enjoy life without), because I truly do like people. Okay, most people. Well, to be completely honest, only some people. I don’t enjoy social gatherings much; rather, I enjoy a quiet evening with perhaps a couple of people. Sporting events, for me, are to be watched from a recliner with snacks, or read about on the internet tomorrow.
Now, just because I’m an introvert in no way means I am missing out on any part of life. I simply enjoy life in a different way. Introverts love to laugh. We have ideas and opinions. We usually speak when we have something to say, not merely to fill the silence with noise. Introverts enjoy elevator rides for the simple reason that most people will FINALLY shut the hell up when the doors close. When I wander off to my favorite hiding place, I tend to read. If someone sits next to me and insists on chattering, thank you for ruining my little outing.
Introverts aren’t lepers. We’re people and we’re normal. We can be outspoken if we need to be, but we process our thoughts differently. We can smile, work the crowd, and even be in the spotlight; but we find such things tedious and exhausting. If I must “mix and mingle” then, trust me, I will need some peace and quiet to recover. Those who know me know that I tend to get grumpy if I am concentrating and get interrupted. They also know that until I have had quiet time in the morning, I am absolutely cranky and irritable.
Those who think introverts should just “come out of their shell” or “get over it” are complete idiots!
Here are a few things I have discovered on a website dedicated to Introverts:
Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.
Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.
Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.
Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.
Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.
Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.
Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.
Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.
Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.
Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.
So……sing it with me: “I’m an Introvert and I’m okay……”
Imagination. It’s something we all have, but not all of us choose to use it. Some are too pragmatic to enjoy their imagination, while some seem to indulge in the imagination quite a lot.
Imagination can be used for problem solving, as well as, creative outlet. The eyes take in and the mind begins to create through our imagination. In our imagination we can fly. In our imagination we can slay dragons without getting dirty. In our imagination we are the top athlete in every sport. In our imagination we are the best of the best. Our imagination is limited only by our……imagination!
Mark Twain wrote: “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” (Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court). What does this mean?