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Confessions of an Introvert

An exploration of just what it means to be highly functioning introvert (most of the time)

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self care

Writing – a world for introverts

2021 has truly been a fascinating three weeks. And no, I have no comment on the political upheavals, I going to stick to just here, just now, just me.

My New Year’s Resolution was to finally take my writing seriously. I hadn’t fully realized just how much I had been missing until 2020 happened. I hadn’t realized how much previous trauma can repress the creativity. But slowly, with time and support, I have started to see more clearly what was holding me back for the past seven years. To summarize, what I would summarize as an abusive work relationship hindered me for several years, and just as I was starting to come out of that funk, one of my best friends died, and the story that was started that year had been meant for her.

I think (and I could be wrong, I’m not going to try digging through the cobwebs of my brain) that since Wendy’s passing, I only managed to write from start to finish one book.  That was three years of so little creativity.  I took to blogging to try and write something.  But even that took a back seat.  Then, as crazy as it sounds, 2019 started to wind down, but when 2020 started, I finally started to have new ideas again.  For Camp NaNoWriMo this year, I finally completed an idea.  The rough draft, Prefecture: Beginnings, went on quite a few detours since it’s original inception six months earlier, but it was a completed rough draft.  And quickly on its heels came Book 3 in Nora’s series.  Things were finally looking up, and then I went back to back in a steady four plus months of writing to wrap up two more series with first Scarlett’s Blood in the Night and then, finally, Caitiff Academy: Pandora.  The book whose main character had been based off of my good friend, was done come the end of 2020, and the sense of completion was so immense I cried.

Now I realize that I’ve branched off far from the usual topic on this blog, so let me circle back.  Most writers I have known, we’re introverts.  We don’t do well with expressing our views in public through conversation, and this has carried over to not always being able to express in private my thoughts even to myself.  Writing was the outlet that my entire life was there for me.  It offered up a way to share my view of the world, my frustrations, my passions.  And it had been dormant for nearly three years.  The ramifications of that were something that I didn’t even realize until I was finally able to break through.  

Another issue that affects both introverts and extroverts, but that from personal experience I can say really hurts hard for us introverts, is the loss of a friend.  We don’t tend to make dozens of them, and so one who was close, when they leave unexpectedly, can upend our lives in ways we never imagined.  With no outlet, I became that which exhausted me most, a shadow of an extrovert.  

I think what the moral of 2020 was for me, then, was more about finding who I was again, and that included being a writer and that most definitely included embracing being an introvert.  With my outlet of expression returned to me, I didn’t have to project back out into the cold, cruel world.  I can now take a deep breath, and go back to watching the world behind the pages of a book or the keys of a laptop.  For all my fellow introverts out there – know that you’re not alone.  We are not as trapped in the extrovert’s world as it might seem, not if we have something that allows us to find our own sense of peace.

Until next time –

L.E.

P.S. I know the image is re-used, but it has definitely become a theme.

The Little Things Can Make a Difference

I have often found in life that what goes on around me has a tendency to sweep me up in its path and overpower the vitally necessary “me time”. This has always been true working for quite possibly the most recognizable shipping company in the country, and I have learned in my multiple years with the company that I have to be the one to take that step back. If I don’t have concern for my own health and well being, no one will.

Now this all sounds so much easier said than done. And over the last few months I have definitely struggled. I struggled so much that I basically lost hold of that elusive need and fell into an overwhelming mess of stress, anxiety, and, on particularly bad days, panic. It was after a full fledged panic attack that I realized I needed to do something different. I needed to take that step back. I needed to take care of myself.

Well, flash forward almost three months, and the old pattern becomes something that’s almost too easy to fall back into. Working five days a week and stressing about work the other two is not a healthy way to live. I’ve managed with the help of some professional therapy and my rock of support to manage not to let work become a 24/7/365 issue. However, it didn’t occur to me until just a few days ago how truly far I’ve come.

Back in March, when the COVID virus was first truly starting to gain a foothold in the country, I was still having to travel for work. I wasn’t happy about it, and even though I was told I could still travel within a certain radius, I put a hold on that. I was too late. Somewhere in the midst of moving around for work, I had contracted the virus. It knocked me down for three weeks, and I still had lingering effects for months. Hell, I still do. In fact, just this last week I had shortness of breath from Saturday thru Thursday. So when it was announced that my department would be having to go to Oakland to help the center catch up on volume, I did something I had never done before. I said no.

Of course, in most corporate work environments, saying no marks you as not a team player. This usually means that those of us who try to please ourselves and our coworkers end up never really saying the word. We find ways to adjust our schedule. We find ways to make yes work.

I like to consider myself a team player. I’ve been the one to cancel plans and go where I’m needed. I’ve worked the job of two people to help others out. But when faced with the prospect of having to travel during a pandemic – a pandemic of a disease I have already suffered horribly from – I found it within myself to do what needed to be done. It wasn’t a big thing. It was a tiny word, as small as they come. And yet, somehow, it released a burden I didn’t even realize I had been carrying.

Maybe that’s what I needed to learn all along, that taking care of myself can be just as essential as helping out teammates. After all, if I’m burned out I can’t help anyone. If I’m sick again I definitely can’t be of any help, and then my long term health comes into question. It’s a vital lesson that it took me 34 years to learn. But one that I think we all have to if we’re going to keep our sanity, especially now.

No great recipes this time, but I’ve been feeling a need for comfort food lately, so maybe something along those lines later.

Until next time…

Taking a Moment

As an introvert, I am all for spending a majority of time either alone or with those who are my friends and family. In the current world we live in, being an introvert can actually be something of a positive. One of my friends asked me the other day what my boyfriend and I do in our free time. We then laughed – as all of us are considered essential workers – and free time is largely spent catching up on sleep over the weekend. When asked what I did for vacation, I happily said I stayed home.

What I did during vacation that helped with my anxiety, though, was cooking. I’ve been cooking homemade meals for the better part of the last three months, but last week’s vacation really pushed me to venture out.

The earliest challenge was a chocolate and espresso tart – when surfing the great wide world of Pinterest I had stumbled upon it and decided that was what I wanted to make for my birthday. Since I start my birthday on German time – owning to that being my birthplace – I decided the day before my official birthday to make this selection.

My favorite part of cooking is using a recipe as “more sort of guidelines”. Usually a first time I have to stick pretty close to it – especially when meat is involved. When baking, though, I can experiment a little more. Instead of using a food processor to grind up the chocolate cookies for the crust, I decided to use the pestle of my mortal and pestle. I don’t know what it is, but there is just something about grinding the cookies by hand that really puts me into a recipe.

Now there are hundreds of cooking blogs out in the world. I’m not trying to do anything so fancy as one of those. Cooking has become something in my life that helps me to deal with my anxiety, panic, and occasional depression. It was explained to me only this week that cooking offers an element of control in a world where I – and I’m sure many more – feel they have lost hold of their world. Even for an introvert with a currently small circle due to social distancing and the pandemic, I have still felt that I don’t have control over a lot of things. I can’t even bring myself to go to a different grocery story across town right now. But when cooking, I have control over a process from start to finish.

When making the tart, not only did I have control on the process, I could alter the recipe. I could prioritize making it for just myself (I did share with my boyfriend and our landlords, LOL). From start to finish, it was something that was just about me. And that feeling is amazingly empowering. Too often I think we get lost in telling ourselves that what we’re experiencing is normal, that we can just keep going. But sometimes we need to stop, take a moment, and address that we are important too. Life isn’t just about helping others, sometimes we need to help ourselves.

While this isn’t a food blog, I’ll still keep sharing some recipes – especially the ones I create myself out of boredom, curiosity, or lack of ingredients. But each time I step into the kitchen, I step into a world that this introvert can start to feel like the world is not entirely gone bonkers.

Until next time…

It didn’t turn out quite like the picture LOL

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