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

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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

On Being an Introvert and Parenting, aka Not My Problem!

I have three children. If children are part of your life in any way (i.e. as a parent, aunt/uncle, grandparent, friend, work-related, etc.) you know that children are beautiful, energetic, powerful forces of nature.

When I look at my children, my heart sings. I literally feel a warming in my chest and a sense of peace and gratitude settles over me.

But they, like many of their peers, are in a massive amount of activities. And sometimes they are so busy I step in to help with chores, homework, basic simple functions to help them get through the day. And this is often at a detriment to my own sense of peace and well-being.

Well, no more, my friends.

I’m taking a step back, inhaling a deep breath, and I’m declaring, Not my problem.

I tell this statement to my children several times a week. It’s my attempt to break free from this hovering, smothering parenting and to instill a sense of responsibility, independence and confidence in my children. If I take care of their every need, from putting away all their laundry, to cleaning out their sports bags, to finishing their homework when they’re too tired, am I really doing them any favors?

I think not.

I’m definitely not doing myself any favors.

Okay. But what does this have to do with being an introvert?

Raising children is a noisy, boisterous job. It is a 24 hour, 7 day per week, non-stop roller coaster. We introverts need quiet and time alone. When an introvert has children, meeting our own needs can become too difficult to even fathom.

So my children are older…which means they’re busier. Our front hall is riddled with sports bags and stuff to donate to Goodwill.

FrontHall

In this picture are bags/equipment for 3 baseball teams, 2 lacrosse teams, swim and soccer, plus five bags of stuff to donate.

I can’t handle the mess. They expect me to clean out their bags, clean all their laundry and have everything in place for their next event, whether it be a playdate, a sporting event or school.

And guess who’s fault it is when something goes missing?

I simply can’t handle the nagging, the constant need to care for, the incessant demand for me to make their life easier.

So, I stopped. They have to clean out bags and put dirty laundry in the hamper. If they have not done these things, I refuse to go behind them and do it.

My son’s room is a disaster. He can never find his gym uniform shorts. What did I say to him? “I did laundry yesterday. If they were put in the hamper, they got washed, dried and folded. If they didn’t make it to the hamper? Not my problem.”

ChaseRoom

He has to figure out a solution. In this case he had to wear his younger brother’s too small shorts. And when he gets home from school, he has to clean his room.

With this approach, he is held accountable for his belongings. I am not his maid. And this works for me because it takes me out of the flurry. That flurry makes me anxious and yearning for a deep, dark hole to crawl into. I can’t stand noise. Once I say, “It’s not my problem,” I pull myself out of an overly stimulating situation that threatens my sense of peace and I teach my kids a lesson in responsibility in the process.

This approach may not work for you. That’s cool. I’d love to hear how you handle having children in your life. And because I have one parenting suggestion doesn’t mean I’m an expert. Mostly I suck at this job but I do the best I can.

And expecting my children to take care of their own belongings is certainly not revolutionary, but it is important. In this age of ‘our children must not suffer any ills or hardships at all!’, it’s important to get back to the basics. They don’t like it? Not my problem.

Cheers! Tracy

Posted in Busy Children, Children, Chores, Introvert, On Being an Introvert, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Being an Introvert…and the Throat Chakra

If you read my last blog post, you learned that I was going to a writer’s retreat this past weekend and that I was a little nervous. By now you should know (if you’ve visited this blog before) that social situations can bring out the awkward side to my personality and that is an understatement. Since a weekend-long writer’s retreat is brimming with new people, chatting, pitching, and on and on-aka social situations-I desperately wanted to make sure I enjoyed the weekend and got the most out of it that I could.

And on that last blog, I wrote about the book The Guru in You and how it was helping me relax my mind and curb my negative thoughts. What I didn’t write about were the other steps I took to set myself up for success instead of leaving with crushing embarrassment and overwhelming self-doubt.

Did it work?

Yes! It did!

I had a wonderful weekend. I would even say it goes down as one of my best and most memorable. I met so many amazing people, I’m still amazed. And I think I made lasting friendships. At least I hope so!

And…I pitched my new novel to two agents. In preparing for the weekend, this was another concern/consideration. I didn’t want to pitch like a flake or a basket-case or in any way come across as a weird-o. Actually, I might have done those things anyway. Hey, pitching is a very nerve-wracking experience. Luckily for me I pitched to two pretty darned awesome people that helped me feel comfortable.

But, I had also come prepared.

Now, here is where I get to the point of this blog. Thank goodness, you say!

By now you may have checked out Cameron’s book. But what else did I do to set myself up for success? I researched the throat chakra and how to open and balance this chakra to enhance my ability to communicate, not only in a personal way (talking to new people) but also professionally (pitching).

Here are two good websites: http://bit.ly/1DyE7YP and http://bit.ly/1JqGfGG.

The throat chakra, and I quote, “… is the energy center located in the back of the throat which allows you to communicate your thoughts clearly and courageously. It is how you give life to your thoughts, feelings, values, truths, ideas, inspirations and insights and it relates to all forms of self-expression, not just the spoken word.” (How to Heal Your Throat Chakra)

I needed help with this so I did several things: worked on relaxing my throat, tongue, jaw and shoulders; practiced deep breathing; meditated to calm my mind. All wonderful things.

But I like physical reminders, too. And since I’m a jewelry-loving kinda gal, I went to our local metaphysical store and snagged this:

NecklaceforBlog

Not only is this throat chakra talisman beautiful, but it really did help ground and calm me. I rubbed it between my fingers or simply felt the weight of it against my skin.

And then I purchased these beauties from Ten Thousand Villages:

EaringsforBlog

The color associated with the throat chakra is blue, thus the earrings. They fit the bill and they’re lovely.

I can’t say that these practices and jewelry had the power to make or break my weekend, but I do know they helped. They helped me remain focused on relaxation and enjoyment. And since I can say that I had one of the best weekends, something was working!

I encourage you to research the chakras. If one of yours is out-of-balance, there are many simple ways to rebalance and get back on track. And, if nothing else, you learned a few new ways to take care of yourself.

Cheers! Tracy

Posted in chakras, Coping, Introvert, pitching, throat chakra | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Being an Introvert…and Mental Violence

I don’t know about you but I beat myself up constantly. It’s become so typical, it’s a cliché. Only, it isn’t. It’s my life.

Now, I don’t beat myself up over everything. For the most part, I’m a pretty confident, chilled kinda gal. I don’t sweat much. Actually, I hate to sweat but that’s another story.

But the one thing that can send me into an insecurity tailspin is the ole social situation. Hey, this is a blog about introverts. Didn’t you expect that?

Anyhow, I realize, after reading a certain book that I mention below, that I engage in a type of mental violence toward myself after nearly every social encounter.

Mental violence.

Wow. That’s powerful.

And true!

Let me set the scene: My son started on a new baseball team with new teammates for him and new baseball parents for me. Last night was his first game.

It was six o’clock in the evening. The bleachers were filling with supportive parents, grandparents and siblings. I greeted one couple that stood to the side. All started off well. Then I found a spot to sit and plopped down in the middle of folks I’d never met.

I wanted to be friendly. When a very nice lady introduced herself, I started talking.

And talking.

And talking.

And talking.

Surrounded by a small group of people I didn’t know made me lose my grip. When this happens, the verbal onslaught ensues and I start sharing everything. I mean, everything.

The poor woman knows these things about me now: where I live, where my kids go to school, where they want to go to school, other teams my son plays for, my allergy problem, where I went to college, where I grew up, and on and on.

As I struggle to try to ‘fit in’ during these social times, I try too hard and my self-control begins to unravel.

This is so typical of me it’s not even funny.

Then I leave feeling like a complete fool…again. I replay scenes over and over in my head, chastising myself all the while.

Tomorrow I leave for a writers’ retreat. It’s three days, two nights of workshops, networking, pitching and all-around stimulation.

Oh boy. I have to start preparing now for how I’ll handle myself. These conferences completely overwhelm me, but I LOVE events like this. I just want to make sure I enjoy it and don’t undermine all the wonderful things that happen by spewing verbal tidal waves at people and then feeling so disgusted with myself that I don’t appreciate the amazing experience I just had.

So, what am I going to do?

For one thing, I’m doing yoga. I don’t have the attention-span for hour-long yoga, or the energy to go to a class full of dedicated yogis, so I do thirty minutes in my own home. I particularly like Clara Roberts-Oss. When she tells me to ‘sparkle out my beautiful fingers’, it makes me smile. You can find her bio here: http://lilavinyasa.com/ and her online videos via Gaiam here: http://www.gaiamtv.com/.

But there is more to my coping strategy and here is where I mention that book. I have started reading Cameron Alborzian’s The Guru in You. Even though I’ve had this book for a while, I have yet to move past the first three chapters. He shares such enlightening, life-changing advice that I want to make sure I fully put actions into place before moving on.

One of the most useful sections is the one on Mental Violence.

“Many times, when we’re under stress or feeling negative emotions, we may fill our heads with all sorts of mental violence.” An example of this can be taken from my story above. After the game, I went home berating myself up one side and down another, fretting over my lack of verbal control, what these parents must think of me, why I had to come across as so obnoxious…”

He suggests an exercise in the book of identifying these mental violence incidents and writing them down. When they next occur (for me, it’ll be during this conference or after it’s over and I’m struggling to come to terms over how abnormal I behaved), try to undermine it, or find an alternative focus. He suggests telling yourself, “There’s a better way.” This is to try to help us remove these negative (violent) thoughts from our heads. When you identify these harmful thoughts, use it as an opportunity to change the way you think. For me, it’s to change from self-deprecating thoughts to accepting, cherishing and appreciating the unique person that I am.

I strive to be gentle with myself; to allow my quiet self to shine while appreciating and cherishing those around me. I strive to leave a social situation without wave upon wave of regret, self-chastisement, and embarrassment. The social situation may not change, but how I view myself can.

You can find Cameron’s book on amazon and other fine retailers.

Cheers, Tracy

Posted in Coping, Introvert Problems, Introverts, The Guru in You, Yoga | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment