On Being An Introvert: Fake It Till You Make It, aka, Surviving the 4th of July Party

I have finally come to a point in my life when I accept my introverted self, even celebrate it, and certainly no longer apologize for it. If I don’t want to go to a social function, I don’t. If I don’t want to talk after nine o’clock at night, I don’t. If I want to sit in the back of a room by the door during a conference, then spend lunch alone in my car, I do.

But I also do want to attend social functions sometimes, and I’m here to share with you how I handle those events. Because, yes, there are times when I want to go, I want to be social, I want to be liked and remembered, and I want to go home feeling a sense of accomplishment (because that is what every single social event is to me—did I pass or did I fail?).

What, you may ask, do I do to get my mental self ready for two-plus hours of socializing?

I pretend to be someone else.

This may rub some people the wrong way, but give me a minute to explain. I don’t always want to be the wallflower, the one who didn’t show, the one who left too early. Sometimes, for my mental and emotional well-being, I want to connect with other humans.

So I act like an extrovert.

Go ahead, mull that little idea over.

It can be an actor trying on a role.

It can be a beach bum trying on a suit.

It can be an introvert who wants to attend the party so she puts on her dancing shoes, dons her “extroverted” hat, and heads out the door.

What would this look like, you ask? Let me create a scenario:

It’s the fourth of July, the quintessential day for summer fun.

The scent of the grill firing up permeates the neighborhood. Children can be heard screaming either at the pool, or as they dash through the water hose in a backyard. People are either leaving homes to attend a party, or people are hosting parties at their own abodes.

Hot dogs

Wine coolers (does anyone even drink these?)

Potato chips

Fireworks

Most people I know would like to do something with friends or family on a holiday like the fourth of July. Most people I know, including me, wouldn’t want to be the person who stayed home alone because of the fear of the exhaustion that can come with a social event.

Here is your challenge (and this is what I do):

Get up off that couch, you lovely introvert you, and put on that extrovert hat.

  • Shower and get dressed in clothing that not only flatters and is breathable, but that you can also be comfortable in. I loathe uncomfortable clothes and will high-tail it away from any situation in order to change.
  • Comb the hair, brush the teeth, take a deep breath, release, then smile into the mirror. You think actors and actresses don’t try out their new roles whilst gazing at themselves in the mirror? They do. And you can too.

Don’t worry. No one will see you. This is your secret. This is your moment to be alone and try on a new persona.

  • Practice breathing. This is a big one. I tense my stomach when I’m in a social situation, and my breath is shallow to say the least. Sure, it helps my stomach look flatter, but it prevents me from true and proper, and relaxing, breathing. If you’re taking nice, deep and regular breaths, then you will automatically take your stress level down a notch or two.
  • Stop by your local alternative health store, book store, any store, and buy a crystal. My favorite is a rose quartz worry stone I purchased in Florida. It fits beautifully into my hand, and reminds me to breathe. To be calm. It also reminds me to love myself and others.

Those we’re socializing with are not the enemies. We are not the enemies.

  • Keep your head on straight. What do I mean? If you’re going to drink alcohol, think about pacing and your limit. Is it one glass of wine each hour, or one glass of wine for the evening?

Let’s be serious—alcohol can be a social lubricant, but it can also a) make you so tired you leave early, which we’re trying to prevent or b) make you start acting like…well…someone you don’t want to act like. Prepare yourself before you go. Sometimes sipping a cold Coke or Pepsi can be great in place of alcohol. A little sugar. A little caffeine. Keep yourself alert and on-track.

  • Have an escape plan. I find that if I know I can leave, then I am more prepared to stay. If you’re going with a large group and you’re all riding together, that can create a problem. Can you take a taxi, Uber or Lyft home if you need to leave? Can someone else give you a ride? Can you, and I’m shocked I’m saying this as someone who is socially anxious, go by yourself and meet others there?
  • Be realistic. In the end, all the preparation you do to try on the extroverted hat for the day will dissolve and you’ll be your beautiful introverted self once again.

And that’s the way it should be.

There is nothing wrong with pretending. We started playing make-believe as children and it is applauded as an important part of growth. You can also pretend as an adult, and doing so can help you create memories and have experiences you might not have otherwise had if you had stayed home.

We all want enriched and rewarding lives. I have cultivated my life as an introvert as quietly and appealing to my sensibilities as possible. But I also know when I need to force myself out of the house and into the middle of that party.

Everyone needs to break out of the mold, so go ahead. Try on that extrovert for size, and have a blast. Then huddle under your covers the entire next day, because in the end, you will always be an introvert and that is just fine, thank you very much.

Advertisements
Posted in Coping, Extrovert, Holidays, Introvert, Introvert Problems, Life, On Being an Introvert, Social Anxiety, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

IPPY Gold Medal Award-Winner

Hi folks, and a very happy Wednesday to ya. I just returned from two days in the famed New York City…

NYC

where I picked up some new hardware…

IPPY awards

My YA thriller, The Reformation of Marli Meade, won gold in the Best Regional Fiction category, Mid-Atlantic region. What does best regional fiction mean? It’s not about where the author is from (like I thought originally, I admit), but rather the content of the book speaks about the region in some meaningful way, all while wrapped up in the work of fiction.

The Reformation of Marli Meade is set in rural West Virginia, and is about 16 yr old Marli Meade. The story follows her as she tries to break free from her father’s cultish, puritanical church, in pursuit of the life of a ‘normal’ teenager.

It’s dark, realistic, frightening, and hopeful. Interested? Check out my website for purchase links: http://www.TracyHewittMeyer.com.

And here are two final pictures from the awards ceremony, because, why not? One is of me after I got the award. The other is of me biting my medal because, well, isn’t that what the olympians do?

IPPY 2

IPPY 3

 

Cheers! Tracy

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On Being An Introvert-Acquiring the Elusive Quiet Mind

I am the victim of the times–surrounded by constant stimulation, whether it be text alerts, social media, murmuring television or radio in the background, people talking to me, at me…the absolute dreaded phone call.

As someone who leans so far into the introvert category, I could easily spend a solid week (or more?) completely alone, without talking to a soul. I absorb quiet like a tonic I can drink, like a vapor I can smell.

I need quiet like I need food, water, air.

But I am rarely immersed in quiet. It is so rare, in fact, that I feel like my mind is under constant assault. And if I do stumble upon moments of silence, I’m hyper vigilant over what might come next–who will knock at the door? who will text and need something? who will send me an email with an invitation to a cocktail party I want to want to go to, but I likely won’t because of my social anxiety and my yearning for quiet?

I feel like I’m in constant chaos. Constant fight or flight mode, and it’s wearing down my mental fortitude.

Do you feel the same? How does being an introvert in a loud and boisterous world affect you? What are some tips you can share to help those of us struggling?

For me, my tips are to:

  1. Embrace silence at every possible opportunity. Turn off the radio. Close the curtains. Turn off social media and the internet (which though not usually creating too much noise, adds to the chaos of an unquiet mind).
  2. Go for a walk. This can be a problem if you’re like me and feel uncomfortable stopping and talking to neighbors. But I put my headphones in, sunglasses on, and I motor down the sidewalk with my pup, Lila. Plan for the worst-case-scenario (which isn’t all that bad, now is it?) and visualize yourself running into a neighbor and you don’t want to be rude so you stop and chat. It’s okay. Pat yourself on the back and move on (or run home and hide).
  3. Surround yourself with nature. No headphones. No cell phone. No noise other than the singing of birds, the chirping of crickets, the soft blowing breeze through spring’s luscious leaves. Sound poetic? It is, and it can work.
  4. When all else fails, take a bath. If you’re at work or school and a bath isn’t an option, plan for that bath. Visualize the steamy water. The candles. The soaps and lotions and loofahs. Think about what book or magazine you’ll read, or soft music you’ll listen to. When you get home, make sure you take that bath. If you’re surrounded by family or live with friends, see #5 which can help with all manner of noises.
  5. Get a noise machine. I have trouble falling asleep because every little sound jumpstarts my thoughts, my heart, my fight or flight syndrome (usually flight). These nifty little machines which you can purchase on amazon (therapists use them the world over to enhance privacy during sessions) will shave the edge off the chaos.

Please share your tips and tricks on how to survive in today’s chaotic world, and how you quiet your mind.

Here is a parting quote by Rumi, “Let silence take you to the core of life.”

That beautiful. That simple.

Cheers, Tracy

Posted in Coping, Introvert, Introvert Problems, Introverts, Life, Mental Health, On Being an Introvert, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Gold Medal Winner

I’m thrilled to announce that The Reformation of Marli Meade won the gold medal in the IPPY Awards, Mid-Atlantic Best Regional Fiction category.

ippy_goldmedal_LR

On May 29, I’ll head to NYC to accept the gold medal. How cool is that? In a business where I receive more bad news than good, I’ll take all the good I can get. And this is really good!

Interested in Marli’s story?

marli_meade_th_meyer_new_01_amazon

You can find the novel on all major sites, eBook, paperback and hard cover, or simply go to http://www.TracyHewittMeyer.com for links. What’s this book about? Why, I’m happy to tell you!

Here’s the blurb:

Born and raised on an isolated Appalachian mountain, sixteen-year-old Marli Meade yearns to break free from her father’s diabolical church but fears its clutches are so deep she may never escape.

When she meets local boy Nate Porter, though, she realizes the life she craves is worth fighting for even with the grave risk that fight would entail.

As her two worlds collide, exposing buried church secrets more sinister than she imagined and unknown facts about her mother’s death, Marli must decide if she has the courage to fight for her future or if time has run out on her chance to live.

Happy reading!

Cheers, Tracy

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Contest Finalist!

Happy New Year!! I’m thrilled to announce my YA thriller, The Reformation of Marli Meade, was a finalist in the 2017 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence contest, in the teen category.

Go, Marli!

Many thanks to Birmingham’s Southern Magic Romance Writers, and congratulations to all the winners and finalists. Onward and upward!

marli_meade_th_meyer_new_01_amazon

Available across all avenues.

Cheers! Tracy

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Release: On the Edge of Tomorrow

I’m thrilled to be part of this YA anthology, filled-to-the-brim with edgy YA fiction. This collection of short stories will make a fantastic present for teenage and adult readers alike.

Interested? Here’s the cover:

EDGE_AD_Tracy

Yours truly not only helped edit the anthology, along with YA author Sara Daniell, but also contributed a gritty story titled Tender is the Deception.

I hope you enjoy the anthology.

Cheers! Tracy

*Available where all books are sold.*

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Upcoming Event:

Hi folks! Long time, no blog-writing, that’s for sure. But I’m excited to announce a new event in my little future: a book signing at the Loudon County Library Eat Local, Read Local Festival and Book Sale. When? Why, this weekend, of course. Time? 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM. There will be TONS of authors, children’s and adult fiction alike, as well as food trucks in case you get hungry lugging around all those fabulous books (which will be for purchase by individual authors). What better way to spend a Saturday? Come say ‘Hi’!

Here’s the flyer for the event:

EatLocalReadLocal_HomepageBanner

Cheers! Tracy

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment