On Being an Introvert and NOT Suitable for…

…human companionship…

When I first thought of this title, I thought it would be: On Being an Introvert and NOT Suitable for Human Consumption. But we’re not cannibals, so I decided that wasn’t the right word and I changed it to Companionship. Or was it the right word after all?

I don’t mean that I think people will physically devour me, but when I am in a social situation, my fight or flight syndrome (quite well-honed after all these years, and quite potent), kicks in and I might as well be covered in vegan barbecue sauce with the world nibbling away at my sour self.

Last night we had two couples and their children over for the Super Bowl. These are good friends, one couple whom we see on a regular basis, the other couple pretty consistently. But all day leading up to the little party, I was on edge, grumpy and feisty. I cleaned and straightened the house and grocery shopped and cooked. My kids were well-behaved. My husband helped. There was no reason to be on edge.

No reason other than I have pretty significant, and deeply-rooted, social anxiety. I love silence. I love to be alone. I struggle with nearly every social situation I encounter, planned or otherwise. And though I initiated the party and was excited to hang out with friends, I was still anxious.

What did I do? Had a few too many glasses of wine, a typical coping mechanism of mine to loosen the lips and reduce the anxiety. The problem was, I loosened them a little too much and spewed nonsense and personal details and all kinds of strange and unusual things. I interrupted others’ talking, forced words out of my mouth in rapid-fire profession, and had nightmares all night about how I must’ve come across. Sometimes I don’t see how I have friends at all.

But I do because they’re awesome people who don’t seem too put-off by the manic energy that pours off of me in social situations. And thank goodness for them.

I wish my inner introvert could understand that I am not going to be devoured and consumed by social interaction. People are not going to destroy me. People are kinder than that. But as an introvert with social anxiety, I can’t always make my logical thoughts translate into my feelings and being the type of person I am, feelings control my actions. Not logical thoughts.

Wow, it’s fun to be me.

What about you? If you’re an introvert, do you have social anxiety? Do you feel like conversing and mingling with others taps into your fight or flight syndrome, making you act like a crazy person? Do you feel like you’re being devoured? Consumed?

How can we, as introverts, maneuver our way through social situations without feeling like parts of us are being chipped away? It’s all internal anyway. So, what do we do?

For one thing, we can surround ourselves with understanding, compassionate friends. I am blessed to say I have these. I may have been annoying last night, or obnoxious, or irritating. But, these are my friends and I have a feeling they will forgive, forget, and return again for another fun soiree.

If you have an experience to share, I’d love to hear from you. Knowing I’m not alone is one of the greatest feelings I could ever have.

Cheers! Tracy

 

Posted in friendship, Introvert, Introvert Problems, Lifestyle, Mental Health, On Being an Introvert, Social Anxiety, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Being an Introvert and the Trouble with Hello.

I haven’t posted in ages, it seems. Though I continue to weave my way through life on a steadfastly introverted path, I have been sharing my trials and tribulations with a therapist rather than on my blog, and that has been a great help. I hadn’t realized that a pervasive, simmering anxiety had settled into my soul until I was at the breaking point. So, instead of turning to blogging I turned to a professional.

Haven’t tried it? I highly recommend.

But seeing a therapist is not the point of today’s post (I can write on that later if interest sparks). Today’s post is about the trouble with Hello. Such a simple word but for someone like me, a loaded word that carries the weight of insecurity, social anxiety, the overpowering need to flee.

To others this hidden turmoil can come across as rudeness.

I promise, I am not rude, but the simple act of saying Hello (cue Adele’s husky voice), or the anticipation thereof, can send me shooting down side aisles, turning the other way before eye contact is secured, wishing I’d just stayed home after all.

But people don’t bite. So why be nervous or distressed over saying Hello?

For one thing I live by the illogical belief that no one knows who I am, that I am a shadow who moves through the world, not fully realized not fully recognized. People wouldn’t know me anyway and I’d just end up embarrassing myself it I said Hello.

For another thing, a simple Hello can catapult me into a…wait for it…a conversation. A conversation! An interaction between two people that should be pleasant and fulfilling. Why would I be afraid of this? Because typical conversation can be difficult for me. I don’t like the physical act of talking-my throat literally feels like it swells. My mind races in a thousand directions my mouth doesn’t keep up with. Then I spend ages after said conversation reflecting on everything I said wrong. I’m such a fool is a typical feeling that lingers once I have moved away.

The ill feelings that swell after a simple Hello can kick me in my gut and make me want to cower in a corner.

But I forget a simple Hello can lead me down an unexpected path of happiness and contentment and fulfillment the likes of which I would not get had I retreated to that dark little corner. The truth is, I enjoy people. Catching up on our lives. Sharing our concerns, fears, recent happenings. I especially like to hear people’s good news.

Last night I went to a party. My husband and I had been invited to this party for ten years straight. It’s a company party put on by one of our  friends who also invites non-employees like us to revel in holiday cheer. But this party is large-300 people-and I had such a fear of hours of chit chat I always declined the invitation.

Last night we went. And thank goodness we did, though at first I admit I was uncomfortable, looking the other way to avoid eye contact, sipping my glass of wine a little too quickly, hovering in the corner. But then…then…it happened.

A friend who I see maybe once a year looked at me the same instant I looked at her. Eye contact was made. There was no aversion now because her face lit into a smile and she started over.

Then…I felt nothing but joy. She not only knew who I was (remember my irrational fear I’m invisible?), but she was happy to see me. Conversation wasn’t uncomfortable like I always fear it will be and then other friends who I rarely see popped over and that was seamless and pleasant as well.

What was I afraid of? I don’t have any idea. I think the fear over thinking no one knows me, that I’m invisible, can be debilitating. Further, if I am recognized, the after-effects of an uncomfortable conversation can set the stage for all interaction going forward even when each interaction is different, unique, and like last night, enjoyable.

So I’m throwing out a challenge to all the socially anxious introverts out there, devilish combination that may be, to say Hello. During this holiday season of parties, good cheer, and peace, take the opportunity to interact with friends and acquaintances. To say Hello! I remember you…we met… Or It’s so nice to see you again! How have you been? Or, This is a great party. I’m glad traffic wasn’t bad…

Any small statement can ignite a pleasant conversation. Don’t be afraid like I am. Go for it! Throw that Hello out into the world and see what benefits you reap from it!

Cheers! Tracy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Christmas, Extroverts, friendship, Holidays, Inspiration, Introvert Problems, Introverts, Mental Health, On Being an Introvert | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

New Release! My Name Is Rowan is Available NOW!! Yeah!

I’m thrilled to share that My Name Is RowanThe Complete Rowan Slone Trilogy–is available now!

My_Name_Is_Rowan_Amazon

Interested in discovering a new YA series that is perfect for teens AND adults? Try this award-winning series.

http://amzn.to/1DeS4l4

Book #1, A Life, Redefined, won the 2014 RONE award for Best YA novel.

Book #2, A Life, Forward, is a finalist in the 2015 RONE award for Best YA novel.

The collection is complete with book #3, A Life, Freed.

This trilogy is gritty and edgy and will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotion.

Interested? Check it out and let me know what you think! I always strive to improve my craft and love hearing from readers.

Cheers and many thanks! Tracy

Posted in My Name Is Rowan, Romance, Teen Romance | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Being an Introvert and the Art of (Not) Talking…

It may seem odd, but I do not like the physical act of talking. This goes deeper than social anxiety or introverted awkwardness (of which I have plenty). It is a real, palpable fatigue inside my throat, a sort-of throbbing weakness that reminds me that the simple act of creating words in my head that arrange themselves in my throat and exit my mouth in actual sound does not feel that good to me.

Is this odd?

I was talking to my mom the other day about how much I detest talking at the end of the night. Unfortunately, my hard-working husband often doesn’t get home until late and the end of the night is the only time we can catch up. But I’ve been surrounded by three children and their friends for the entire day. I’ve ran errands and made phone calls and talked to friends. By the end of the night, I’m done with talking.

What I said to my mom was, “There are only a limited number of words that can come out of my mouth safely in a day.” What I meant was when my throat area starts to fatigue and I have grown tired of the physical act of talking, I start to shut down. Along the shut-down highway, my words get snarkier, ruder and all-around bitchier.

I know this about myself and try to reign it in as much as possible. Unfortunately for the ole husband and children, any conversation after 9:00 p.m. can be wrought with sharp, bullet-like, clipped words shooting out of my mouth. I want everyone to go to bed so I can settle into silence. Ah, the bliss.

But I have learned a couple of tricks, simple though they are, that help soothe my over-active throat, and help to keep my marriage going strong.

  • A scarf wrapped snuggly around my throat, warming my skin and deeper. I find this soothing. When I took a 4 hour train ride to RWA in NYC recently, I traveled alone (on purpose) and brought a scarf. I nestled into my window seat and wrapped the scarf around my neck, nurturing the area that would take the most abuse during a vibrant, brimming-with-people conference. On the train ride home? Same thing. It worked wonders.

scarf_blog

  • think about my throat. I practice relaxing the muscles there. (Yoga always helps-relax your jaw and that can set off a chain reaction to the throat. At least for me.)
  • Tea. A warm cup of tea can internally do what the scarf does externally. My favorite tea-in-a bag variety is Yogi tea. I also love loose teas. They smell divine.

tea_blog

  • Fight for, arrange for, plan for long periods of silence-complete and utter silence where the lips don’t part (except to sip that tea!), and the throat isn’t working in producing floods of words. I love silence. I love to sit in silence and be silent. When my three children are in school all day, I relish the days when I have no one to talk to (when there are no errands to run or calls to make). I make a point, on these rare days, to be silent–utterly and completely silent. It really does help.

Does anyone else have a physical reaction to talking? If so, share your tips. I’m always open to new ideas!

Cheers! Tracy

Posted in blog, Introvert, On Being an Introvert, Silence, Talking, Tea, Throat, Throat Health | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Introducing the My Name Is Rowan Trilogy

I’m thrilled to share that the entire Rowan Slone series is up for pre-order as a trilogy!

Here is the cover for the trilogy, compliments of Blue Harvest Creative with their always-magical work!

My_Name_Is_Rowan_Amazon

What does this mean, exactly?

Well, it means that all three books are now available in one compilation. You can order them separately, or, now, together. If you pre-order the trilogy, you get it for a discounted price of $4.99. On the release date, the price goes up to $5.99.

Further, $1.00 of each sale will go toward The Butterfly Project, an organization that strives to improve the self-worth of girls everywhere. This includes helping those who self-harm, something Rowan struggles with throughout her story.

Want to know more about The Butterfly Project? Find information here: http://bit.ly/1KDE7A2.

When is the release date?

August 27, 2015.

Where will the trilogy be available?

Amazon, including kindle unlimited.

Interested?

Here is the pre-order link: http://amzn.to/1DeS4l4.

The trilogy will also be available in paperback.

Ready to discover a new award-winning series AND contribute to a great organization? Pre-order now!

Many thanks!

Cheers, Tracy

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

On Being an Introvert-And the Crash and Burn

Have you noticed how I haven’t posted in awhile? It was always my intention with this blog to write when necessary, when I needed a good dose of self-reflection (which, I hope, leads to self-acceptance). And since I haven’t written in awhile it means I’ve been handling the noise of life pretty darned well, thank you very much.

And…here we are. I’m back on my blog yearning for a little understanding of my introverted self, and, yes, acceptance of the way that I am.

Summers can be difficult. During the summer, the kids are home…all the time. Summers are for barbeques, family trips, vacations. Summers are not, at least in my life, for quiet. And I need quiet. So easily do the unsteady scales tip that I have to do due-diligence and monitor my introverted self for impending meltdown mode.

This time I just didn’t see it coming.

We had family in town. I don’t think I saw my need to be alone and regroup hurling toward me because I was having so much fun. I loved having my brother and his family in town. The kids were happy and getting along, thrilled, really, to be together. My heart was full with love for these family members and eagerness to absorb every smile, eruption of laughter, sweet hug because I don’t get to see them nearly enough. And when you don’t see someone enough, you don’t want to carve out time for yourself to recharge, especially when the visit is only three days.

Fortunately, I didn’t need alone time while they were here. The day they left and the house returned to quiet, though, I lost my head.

And that’s where I am now.

Crash and burn, baby.

You don’t know pissed off like I am now. But why would I be pissed off? Nothing has happened to make me angry. The reason is because my reserves are depleted. They are so empty right now I’m in a deficit.

And guess what? There is no Monday morning when I can take the kids to school and come home to a quiet house to recharge. They don’t return to school for another two months.

Ugh. This is the problem with summer, isn’t it? It’s supposed to be the time of rest, relaxation, vacation, etc. Often the preparation for this rest, relaxation, vacation time can leave an introvert not recharged but pooped out. (Yes, I did just write that word!). Exhausted. And, like me, pissed off for no reason.

I did take a bath earlier but that’s not enough. I need hours of quiet now but I won’t get those hours of quiet until school starts when I can once again immerse myself into my writing and reading and general quiet self.

So, what is an introvert to do in the meantime? How do we cope when we can’t have our basic needs met the way we want to?

We have to get pretty darned good at recharging when we can. Sometimes this really sucks, but it’s the way it is. We have to be…dare I say it…flexible. Take those coveted five minutes if that’s all we have and make the most of them. Take a bath. Take a walk. Shut the door to the office and watch trash television. Do something. But while you’re doing that something, do it all the way. Shut off the yearning for more time, the resentment over the noise and busy-ness. Lock away the dissatisfaction that summers often don’t turn out the way we want them to.

Always remember, you will get quiet time again. At some point. Your needs will be fully met eventually. We can’t always control the here and now. So be efficient in replenishing your resources and know that you will eventually have your stores back to full and you’ll feel better.

If I had taken moments here and there over the weekend I wouldn’t be so angry now. I don’t want to look back on this fabulous weekend with any resentment and I don’t-even now as I’m shooting ocular darts at my hovering husband. But I do wish I had taken my own advice. Maybe then I wouldn’t have crashed and burned.

Cheers (dammit),

Tracy

Posted in Children, Extroverts, Family, Introverts, On Being an Introvert, Personalities, Summer survival | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

On Being an Introvert…and Raising an Introverted Child

I’m not old, not young, hovering somewhere in the middle where I have earned the right to be confident and comfortable with my introverted self. Not to say that I am, but I’m gliding along the road of acceptance every day.

But I’m finding it’s not so easy–this accepting thing–when it comes to my introverted child. When I see her exhibit many of the traits I did as a child/young lady, I cringe. Sometimes I want to shake her, change her, tell her to Be social! Talk! Make an effort and you will be rewarded with countless friendships!

Why would I want to change her, though? If I’m okay as an introvert, why is it not okay for my daughter to be one?

Because we live in a society that values the extrovert and I want my daughter valued. It’s not always easy to teach a person that value must come from within.

This week the widely-anticipated movie Pitch Perfect 2 released. My Facebook page was overrun with pictures of large groups of teen/tween girls huddled outside the movie theatre, huge smiles on their faces, reveling in the fun of being part of the gang.

My daughter wanted to go to the movie with me.

Just me.

I would’ve done the exact same thing. In fact, I spent as much time with my mom in my younger years as I did anyone else. I am comfortable around her, relish the simple silence between us, savor the ease with which we let each other just be. There was no work in the relationship. There isn’t now either.

But why did it bother me so much that my daughter made the same choice I would’ve twenty+ years ago?

Because my brain is still so ingrained with the ‘squeaky wheel-syndrome’ that I don’t want her to be like me. I guess there is still a part of me that is insecure with who I am, that thinks there is inherently something wrong with me and that I’m just not good enough.

I’m not talkative enough.

I’m not outgoing enough.

I’m awkward.

I’m uncomfortable.

I just suck.

Hmmm…these are not things I want my beautiful daughter to feel. Ever. But in such a loud, outgoing world, it’s hard to settle into the quiet self and feel that doing so is okay.

We went to the movies, just the two of us, and had a wonderful time. I told myself to enjoy that time with her (which I did), to not worry about her being like me, to take a deep breath and try and let a sense of peace develop.

I love her so much my heart aches. I don’t ever want her to hurt, to feel insecure, to feel not quite enough like I do and have most of my life.

Being an introvert is not always easy. Raising introverted children is, arguably, even more difficult. Seeing your child struggle is far more devastating than your own struggles.

But she had no struggle yesterday. I did. Because, if she continues along this introverted path like I have, she will likely experience many of the issues I have and I cringe at the thought. I projected all of my feelings onto her and if I’d have voiced these feelings, I would have led her to feel exactly all the things I don’t want her to feel.

I kept my mouth shut.

So, as I try to raise a confident, self-assured young woman who knows what she wants and is not apologetic about going after it–even if it’s opting to see the latest and greatest movie with her mom and not friends–I try to remind my own tender self that I am okay just the way that I am. And that she is okay just the way she is.

Isn’t that really the point?

Cheers, Tracy

Posted in Introvert, On Being an Introvert, Raising an Introverted Child | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments