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Posts Tagged ‘introvert’

carpenters-hurting-each-other-1971

Quite possibly my earliest music memory involves the song “Hurting Each Other” by The Carpenters. I distinctly remember hearing the song, probably played from an album in my mother’s vinyl collection, while my sisters jumped on my parents’ bed, and I sulked quietly by, studying the wooden bedknob at the footboard. At least, that’s how I remember it. I don’t know why I was sulking, or maybe I was just indulging my overly serious and melancholic side even at the ripe young age of three years old. Who knows. But when Karen Carpenter belted out the lines:

“Can’t we stop hurting each other?
Gotta stop hurting each other
Making each other cry, breaking each other’s heart
Tearing each other apart.”

I knew that this song had a very distinct relevance to my life as the youngest of eight. Being a toddler, I could only think of it in the most literal aspect of course. But it did make me wonder for the first time if we might stop our sororal pestering and pinching and biting (guilty), and just be at peace and get along for once.

Nearly three decades later, we still haven’t quite gotten the message, but I suppose that is pretty standard for most families. πŸ™‚

Now that I am grown and have a turntable and Carpenters albums of my own, I still can’t listen to one without getting that funny little lump in the back of my throat. Be it nostalgia, the persistently relevant lyrics even decades from my first listen, or the simple fact that it is darn good music, I can’t fight my emotional attachment to these songs. I’m sure they will be something that I return to time and time again for all of my decades to come.

And in case you haven’t had the pleasure, or simply need a refresher, please enjoy this performance and feel free to make your own music memories:

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You may or may not have noticed a couple of things around here lately:

1. My apparent absence, and

2. A brief change of layout followed by a return to the tried and true.

It’s true, I haven’t been blogging much this summer. Not because I’ve been absent, but because I haven’t felt much like sharing. Selfish, I know. But sometimes it just feels right to keep things to yourself and enjoy your thoughts and moments in private. Even blogging can be introverted sometimes.

I’ve also been fretting a bit over the format of the blog. After years of my favorite “theme,” as WordPress calls it, I switched to a new layout that I thought would make my photographs stand out more. It did, but at the entire cost of anything resembling an aesthetic type format. I have since realized my foolish ways and made a mad dash back to my good old trusty layout that just seems to fit like an old comfy shoe. In the interest of making an effort to write more (rather than just post pictures), I think it was a wise decision. And since a good relationship inevitably involves compromise, I incorporated a Flickr stream update to the right sidebar, to showcase my photography for those interested.

I’m quite comfortable with the results, and I look forward to being more diligent in updating you on my daily not-so-innermost thoughts and musings.

Happy blogging.

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Yesterday I took an online personality test. Apparently, I am a “very expressed introvert.”

Surprise.

It’s true, I’m about as introverted as they come. Almost.

What makes me an introvert? Well, it’s an actual, physical, psychological need for alone time. It’s also the fact that, even though I enjoy companionship, I almost always have a more profound experience when I am alone. I can enjoy visiting the art museum with another person, but when I’m there by myself I am able to slip into a kind of reverent coma where my awareness is heightened, and the art really speaks to me. But not in a schizophrenic kind of way.

Being an introvert can be pretty amazing as long as the elements are right. But it’s not always easy to find that balance. I think that a lot of introverts struggle with our ability to be so self-sufficient. It makes us feel different, or that we are somehow not normal or missing out on this great and wonderful thing called a social life that everyone likes to flout every chance they get. It doesn’t help that introverts are often stigmatized as aloof, anti-social, or shy. I don’t consider myself much of a shy person anymore. I have little problem with approaching someone if there is something specific I want to ask or say. The thing is, I don’t usually have much to say.

After taking the test last night, I got curious about introverts, and I did a little research. It’s something I could write about for a while. There are a lot of introverts on the internet sharing their experiences, and it can be quite enlightening. One article I read, however, really struck a chord with me. You can read the entire article here if you’re interested, but this one sentence sums up everything I’ve ever felt, without consciously knowing it, about the inevitable anxiety caused by communal mingling:

“What I dread is the feeling that my natural mode of social interaction isn’t acceptable.”

The times I get really wrapped up in social anxiety, feeling shitty about being introverted and wishing everyone would just vanish into thin air—parties. Most introverts avoid parties like the plague. I know I do. I’ve been to very few non-family parties where I did not feel like the sky was caving in on me and sending me into a head-spinning panic. The key term here, is non-family. I’ve always thought it interesting that I can attend any party with ease and joy, no matter the size or the number of people I actually know, as long as there are family members present. I have no party anxiety; it’s all cool. I can attend a family gathering that is raucous as all get-out, and it may give me a headache, and I may need to step out for a bit to get away from the noise. But still, it’s all cool. The difference is that my family knows me. I know they know me, and they know I’m not being anti-social, or stuck up, or scared to socialize. I can spend an entire length of family gathering sitting in a corner not talking to anyone, and that’s cool. I could spend that time prancing around the house singing Raffi songs, and that’d be fine too.

The point is, I’m completely comfortable when I’m with people who don’t expect anything from me in a social sense, and who I know won’t judge me on how I choose to socialize. And yes, sitting in the corner watching other people at a party is a form of socializing.

For me, the ideal party would be one where I could have a nice comfortable seat in a corner, perhaps with a little reading table set up, and a magazine or maybe a sudoku puzzle to keep me busy when I tire of people watching. The guests would go about their business, but not ignore me. Sometimes they would stop by to say hi to me, but of course they wouldn’t stay for too long unless they had something really captivating to talk about. I could slip out and go for a walk whenever I wanted, and when I came back my little spot would be waiting for me to ease back into. I wouldn’t have to be directly involved with anything, but I would be made to feel like I was still a part of everything.

And I think that is, in a way, what every introvert wants out of life. The space to be removed and occupy herself as she pleases. The occasional pleasant interaction. A feeling of belonging and being a part of the group, but no feeling of obligation to involve herself directly. If that sounds aloof or anti-social to you, well, maybe you’re an extrovert. πŸ™‚

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