Tag Archives: Introverts

To Love Me…

To love me is to love quiet, time spent deep inside of thoughts. I often retreat into myself, thinking, thinking, thinking. As a kid, some days I would disappear, still present but without words. I do the same thing now. When summer comes, I climb inside my laptop and write. My husband is patient for me to come up for air, to talk, to notice, to be. He understands this is part of me.

I made a rule for summer. Night is free from writing, free from technology, save a few minutes here or there if something important arises. Otherwise, I’d be gone for days and nights, but still here, in my chair, trapped in thought.

I’m getting better at balancing introvert with extrovert, but quiet is my natural habitat and summer is my friend.

Is it the same for all writers? Or, are some of you the other way around, more outside than in?

Solitude.

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Saturday Song: Only Miss the Sun When it Starts to Snow…

Yes, two songs in a row, but you can kind of get the feel for the inside of my head right now. I’m deep in my book, deep in my thoughts, deep in the solitude of summer. Pleasurable melancholy, if there is such a thing.

Time to prepare for a small dinner party with friends, time to emerge from my inner world for just a little while.

What about you?

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Oh Public Speaking, I’ll Make You My Friend Yet.

Today was my big evaluation, the one worth all the jelly beans. Well 40% of the jelly beans, to be exact, but that’s beside the point. It felt big, it felt scary. My principal observed for nearly an hour and rated me on an intensive rubric, which will be used to help determine my merit as a teacher. All weekend I obsessed. I memorized my lesson, practiced by myself, practiced with my husband, practiced in front of the dog. You get the idea.

This morning as I drove to work I talked myself through my anxiety and realized I have some pretty good tricks for surviving public speaking (none of which involve imagining the audience unclothed):

1. Remind yourself that the audience is there because they support and care about you. When I remind myself of this, I am able to smile at observers who walk into my classroom. I used to avert my gaze and pretend these visitors weren’t there, but this only made it worse. A quick smile and eye contact do wonders. The best part is that usually a smile begets a smile, which reinforces the idea that your audience cares about you.

I use this same trick in dealing with parents. I tell myself that we’re there for the same reason– because we care about kids. Recognizing a common mission, even in challenging situations, helps a lot. And, if you have no evidence that your audience cares about you, telling yourself that you love and/or care for them, regardless, can ease tension exponentially. I use it on the kids (and their families) all the time.

2. Smile and breathe. It’s the moments leading up to public speaking that really get to me. If I can remind myself to stop, smile, and breathe shortly beforehand, I feel much more relaxed. I’ve heard this is because both actions send a message to the brain that there is nothing to worry about.

3. Time passes quickly. Public speaking is one of the few instances in life where I am happy this is true. Before you know it, the experience is over. And, best yet, it’s really only the beginning that feels uncomfortable, once you get going, it’s fine. Remembering this eases the torture.

4. Practice, practice, practice. That book I’m reading, Practice Perfect, provides great motivation for practicing whatever you can before the big performance. The section I just finished is all about how if you practice anything to the point of automaticity, you give your body an opportunity to take over for your brain. That was my goal in practicing my lesson repeatedly this weekend– auto-pilot for the brain does wonders when you’re nervous.

5. Ask someone to think good thoughts for you. This might seem silly, but I swear it helps. Knowing that loved ones are out there rooting for me around the time that I will be speaking is amazingly comforting.

So, there you have it. My favorite tricks for performance anxiety. Fortunately, I only feel nervous about speaking in front of people a few times a year, (next up, Saturday school where 60+ pairs of parent eyes will stare at me expectantly for an hour). Until then, I’m happy to have collected some secrets to ease the nerves.

As a teacher I spend a lot of time putting on a show, but sometimes the performances still make me nervous.

As somewhat of an introvert, I definitely picked an interesting career.

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For you multi-tasking introverts!

Awhile back, I mentioned a book that I was excited to start– Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.  Being a multi-tasking introvert myself, I have read only the first few chapters, while also balancing two other reads simultaneously.  It is interesting, I’m just not in a hurry to get through it– it’s more of something that I pick up for fifteen minutes at a time, then let digest and inspire before returning for more.

Last night, my dear friend Tanya, shared a link to a talk with the book’s author, Susan Cain, allowing me to multi-task while also listening, perfect!  If you’re interested in the book, this is a great place to start, just let it stream in the background while you’re doing your other browsing.  It will leave you feeling reflective and proud to be an introvert, (if you are one!).

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Three cheers for the introverts!

I consider myself a forced extrovert, otherwise known as an introvert.  I can force myself to be loud and outspoken, but it requires effort.  Granted, teaching has helped me to be more extroverted, but I’m still naturally quiet, reflective, and enjoy spending time on my own, (just not all of the time!).  I look forward to my quiet days at home with my computer and a blank screen for writing, (one of the perks of forcing myself to be extroverted as a teacher is that is buys me time to introverted on my breaks while everyone else is off working).  I often lose myself in my thoughts and have spent my life labeled as quiet.  I think that all of this earns me the title of introvert, at least to some degree.

Now, this is what gets me.  My whole life, people have confused quiet with shy.  In fact, I’ve confused quiet with shy, thinking that somehow I must lack confidence because I’m quiet.  Yes, there are times I am and have been shy, but a lot of what has earned me the label as shy is not a fear of speaking up or a lack of confidence, but rather a preference for quiet reflection.  I choose when to talk and often do not feel the need to add anything to group discussions, (unless no one is speaking up, then I feel the need to carry the conversation… I felt sorry for how much my fellow resident teachers had to hear me talk in seminar!).  This distinction is important because I have always felt that being shy or quiet is stigmatized.  More often that not, people have told me that I am quiet with a certain condescension, (or at least a perceived condescension).

Okay, now here is the kicker–  I think a big part of why I’ve forced myself to be more outgoing is because so much external value is put on being outgoing.  No one wants to shout from the roof tops that they’re an introvert, (irony intended).  Instead, it’s way cooler to self-identify as an extrovert, even when taking those silly personality tests that pop up in school and jobs.  Growing up I never liked it when I identified as an introvert on one of those tests; I’d actually find myself trying to bend the answers as to sound more extroverted while not technically lying!  Who am I kidding, even in recent years I have found myself wanting to fudge those tests.  We rank extroverts as better in our society!

Today I stumbled across a blog entry about a new book, Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.  Reading an interview of the author, I felt proud to be an introvert for the first time in my life!  I like that I am comfortable in quiet, that I lose myself in my head.  It is what makes me me.  I think that the world would be a better place if we introverts took more pride in ourselves, our true, quiet, selves…  If you want to borrow the book after I’m done, let me know.

My glasses and North Face down puffy vest are two of my favorite introvert paraphernalia… Okay, I’ll admit it, that was a stretch of a caption to justify including this picture in this blog entry.  It’s my favorite.  I’m obsessed.  Does being quirky come with being an introvert?
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