Hi all, sorry for being away a bit longer than expected.
Things are kind of hectic in my 'hood, because it's apartment hunt/moving time! My ANR (Awesome New Roommate) and I have been hitting the ground running looking for a place, and as you can imagine, with my work schedule/band stuff on the weekends/various activities during the week, and her work schedule/various activities it's hard to go together. So I have had to modify a few things, such as updating the blog and time spent on the business to make room for ensuring I have a roof over my head come June/July.
As a result, my blogging won't be as frequent, but I will leave you with something that's been marinating in my head for some time now:
(For a good TED Talk on Introversion, Watch This One, by Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a world that Can't Stop Talking.)
I grew up in an environment with parents that always wanted the best for me. By the time I was 4, my father (a musician, of course) had me taking piano lessons; at age 7, I was in ballet. By age 8, I was in theater and the school orchestra. It wasn't too extreme, but I was a 'busy kid'. Don't get me wrong; I enjoyed most of what I was involved in--my parents were aware of my natural talent in the arts (music mostly, of course), and wanted to make sure I had a strong foundation. Kudos to them for allowing me to explore my dreams.
But believe me: as much fun as it was, I deeply enjoyed my time to myself. I read whatever crossed my field of vision (I have my mother to thank for that). The library was my best friend, and nobody could tell me differently. I had few friends; the neighborhood children were not bookworms...they loved playing outside for hours on end. I could only give them about an hour of my time before needing to go back to my room. For the most part, my parents understood and accepted this--I mean, I was a Straight A student that had a permanent position on the Honor Roll--but I won't pretend that I never fought their desire for me to be more extroverted. But I had to 'put myself out there', after all, if I wanted to be successful. Things only got more hectic as I got closer to graduation, and were the same way in college.
At my current job, most of the people around me are constantly interacting with each other, going to lunch together, sharing various aspects of their lives. Although I can be friendly, I'm perfectly aware that the relationship I have with them is primarily via emails and IM chats. At first I was angry that I wasn't included more, but my reasoning had more to do with validation that I wasn't some antisocial, unapproachable woman rather than an actual desire to be closer to them. I lived like this, feeling a necessity to be more social, more involved than I truly wanted. It wasn't until the last couple years (and especially when I got serious about my writing) when I was forced to really take a look at the quality of my life (and the people within it) that I understood what I had been missing:
A true understanding of myself.
1. I reeled myself in a LOT when it came to social activities; it allowed me to lose some unnecessary baggage in terms of friendships, but also allowed me to see my true friends. Time is precious; why waste it on meaningless interactions with people you can barely tolerate?
2. I learned to appreciate my desire to stay in rather than beat myself up about not going out yet again. I also learned how to control the situation when I do go out; I don't rely on anyone else for a ride, and I allow myself to people-watch without feeling like an outsider. And if I find that I'm in a situation where the conversation feels uncomfortable (for any number of reasons), I excuse myself.
3. I periodically assess myself to ensure that I'm doing exactly what I want to do, but also being aware of the occasional compromise. Am I inviting out a friend of mine because I truly want to see them, or is it guilt about us not hanging out recently? Sometimes I will help others out and accompany them somewhere because I understand how important an event might be, and I find this perfectly okay.
Life became considerably more manageable when I came to accept my true nature. And would ya believe it, writing became a helluva lot easier once I stopped obligating myself to see people all the time.
I believe everyone should take some time to think about it: Are you a person that makes you happy, or are you living by someone else's expectations of you?
Figuring out (one day at a time) the best way to be,
~Pusher. Of. Pens.~