Friday, June 3, 2016

TToT116: Talk Therapy. If only there were a therapist in this group!kh

This week flew by. Short weeks often seem to drag, but not this one. I blinked and it was Friday.

This was also a week where several pieces fell into place. Nothing major, nothing to jump up and down about, but a few appointments scheduled, some online stuff taken care of, a few menial tasks checked off the list. And many of these tasks involved interacting with people--speaking in front of a group, making phone calls--situations I usually try to avoid at all costs. But now they are mostly done. And I am thankful.

And that last bit reminds me of a series of thoughts I've been having recently. I was recently elected to a position in my chorus that requires me to be social, speak to strangers, address the chorus as a whole. When asked, my response was, "Don't you want someone who isn't antisocial?"

Antisocial was just a joke, but I am a very strong introvert. I hate crowds, meeting new people makes my hands sweaty, and I can count the people on one hand with whom I can have a conversation without a certain amount of physical and mental tension--the sense that I must concentrate hard on how I should act because any second I might inadvertently break the unspoken rules by following an impulse. All this, of course, leads me to feel exhausted after social encounters and often prefer time alone; hence, introvert.

But when I asked around in the chorus, I realized everyone there thinks I am an extrovert. I've been contradicted and told I don't know what the word introvert means! (Wanna make me furious? Insist you know me better than I know myself.) In a conversation at the bar after rehearsal one Tuesday, I brought up the topic and was asked, "So it's all just an act with us?"

Yes. And no.

It is an act because I put on a face for rehearsal every week. It's not a face I could keep up for a full day or night after night, but I can do one night a week for chorus rehearsal where all that singing is producing endorphins out the wazoo anyway.

But it is not an act because it is me doing it, and I do like the people I am with. I have learned and developed these social skills over the last 40 years, sometimes with very careful study.

And then there's the whole question of whether I ever was really as introverted as I thought or (and?) whether I just suffered from social anxiety. Where is the non-overlap between social anxiety and introversion?

And all of this makes me think of the persona I present via the blogosphere. Do I seem like an introvert? Probably not because I am not face to face with you. And those of you I have actually met (sob, not Christine), I wonder how you would categorize me.

And now that I've turned my TToT post into a talk therapy session, I'm gonna say there are ten thankfuls in there amongst the ability to be introspective, the acquisition and upkeep of worthwhile friendships, the regard of peers, and the expectation of intelligent and thoughtful responses, there's ten thankfuls. Plus all that stuff I took care of.

Oh, and Leo and I went strawberry picking.

Ten Things of Thankful

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  1. FRIST FRIST FRIST! And I'm sobbing too because I have not yet met you in person, either. Boo to that shit.
    There are definitely thankfuls in there and you know how I think about self-knowledge and growth and all of that. I think you have a beautiful awareness here. As for introversion, yes, I would put you in that camp. We could be bunkmates, but that would be totally out of character for either of us. Have you read Susan Cain's Quiet? Or Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe? Very interesting stuff and I think you would get much out of them.

  2. Having met you in person I have said and still contend you were one of my favorite people to meet. None the less I also contend that we are different depending upon our circumstances and how much we trust or dont trust the situation we are our comfort level. That said you are not a fake or putting on an act that Sarah is the Sarah who those people know and meets up and has fun with them whenever they do meet up... Im sure there is another Sarah that appears at funerals or parent teacher meetings or pot luck dinners... we are all a slew of different personas...all of them our own and all of them us.

  3. The introvert/extrovert question is easy to answer - where do you get your energy? From time alone, or from time with people? The extent to which you do either can vary and DOES vary for different people. Some introverts are very sociable and capable in social settings, but they get their energy from being alone. Some extroverts seem quite reticent and shy but they get their energy from being with people. What charges you? What refuels you?

    I GOT TO MEET YOU AND I'M SO HAPPY I DID! :D :D :D Glad your week went well, Amycakelet xoxox

  4. You are me. We met and it wasn't too awkward. I know just what you mean.

  5. My word, those strawberries look so good! I always forget to go strawberry picking. I know the best time to do it around here is around Memorial Day, right when we're at our busiest, so it goes right out of my head. Hopefully there will still be strawberries on Monday. I'm going Monday!

    I am so, so, so sad you were gone when I was in DC. As I told Kristi, I know several people who live in the DC area, including two people who we've known most of our lives and were in our wedding, but with such a short trip, I didn't even tell them we were coming. There wasn't time to see them all. And yet I told you and Kristi. That's how much I wanted to meet you both. :) Someday. I doubt it's the last time I'll be heading to DC.

    You and my Bryan are a lot alike. Social events are not his favorite thing in the world. No one believes me when I say it. When he is at the party or wherever we are, he is personable and funny and chatty. However, it is not his choice to go. He is not a fan of meeting new people. Which makes it difficult for me who will talk to anyone, anywhere without a second thought. It's why I went to England three days before him when we went on our anniversary trip. I got to spend two days with my friend who was temporarily living there and I got to meet Lizzi. While he has nothing against either person, getting together with people he doesn't know well just isn't high on his list of things to do. I got to have fun without worrying about how he was doing.
    Well, how's that for a tangent? :)

  6. I absolutely hate crowds. HATE and my sister wants to take me to some crappy art crap thing today and I'm avoiding my cell like the plague. It's literally making my armpits sweat. This is why I have no friends. OMG.
    But being in places that make me feel comfortable or around people I know, I can function better. Places I don't know like crappy art crap places...eff that.
    I think the internet makes us feel better because ummm we aren't face to face and we are in the comfort of our own homes. I'm awkward as all heck in public. I really am.

  7. Feeling a sisterhood right now! Just because you can make yourself function in society the way that society prefers to relate does not make you an extravert. It just makes you a tired, yet socially successful introvert. Go home, pull the shades, turn off the phone and recoup! I get you, sister!

  8. You know what I've found? That in some ways, it's easier to meet blog friends - I think we know so much about one another before meeting that there's a level of comfort from shared vulnerabilities that takes longer to achieve with friends in real life. And I know what you mean about people saying "are you faking?" I love parties IF I know people there. I can't stand them when I don't. I tell friends that I'm actually really shy and they never believe me. The pull and the push of intro and extro... it's fascinating and we all just do what we do. Speaking of, I think I'm getting more socially anxious the older I get. Confidence maybe that I'm older and uglier? I don't know. Something. Let's play with the kids together so soon please.

  9. I'd categorize you and an adventurer and having a boldness to your personality. :) Bold in the way you do things so intrepidly.
    But you struck a chord with the introversion thing. Okay, between you and me (and the "anonymous commenters here"), I left that school on Haywood Road because it - or maybe education in general - was driving me crazy. Coordinate an after school program? Have fun with young kids? Sure, why not?
    I like my job. I'm thankful for it. But going from central office to the school where the kids are to the church site where our program is, to having my own office next to the dean of education at WCU? The pressure is more than I like - most of the time. Dealing with hiring (and firing) college students, dealing with 50 students in K-8 and all their parents and all the administration and school officials and so many people day in and day out...I'm like, OMG...PLEASE, can I just write? Please? LOL. Anyways, I hope you're doing well. Sending hugs and love your list of thankfuls. :)

  10. Mmmm, strawberries!

    I'm not much of a fan of crowds either (they make me twitchy and the other word that rhymes..) It's not so much a matter of not being able to be sociable, but it is an effort to do so. I get where you're coming from - really I do.

  11. Do you seem like an introvert? Yes. No. Maybe. I don't know. Define "introvert." I'm not too good at this group therapy stuff! :-)
    I can relate to a lot of what you wrote, though. I enjoy getting together in small groups, but I also often just want to find someplace quiet in large crowds. I've been known to have fun with improv, while simultaneously being terrified that I was pulled on the stage. If I had to categorize myself, I would say introvert, too. (I'm not sure if this response can be called intelligent, but it did take some thought!) :-)

  12. I am shy. Some people meet me and are surprised when I say that. Depends. I do like this online and blogging thing, too, because it helps with the awkwardness of a group of people. I feel self conscious. I don't know.
    I do know that fresh strawberries are delicious. Strawberry season is one of my favourite times of the year. MMMM.

  13. since everyone is offering their views and such, mine would be (from the Doctrine): clark with a (significant) secondary scottian aspect?
    funny about the 'the person who writes the blog' concept. I'm so much better not-in-person! lol used to be that the phone was my favorite, but I totally need to include this here blogosphere, here for 'the-place-that-I'm-as-much-me-as-I-am-inside-my-head-only-outloud.

  14. Those strawberries look delish!!! Sounds like you had a busy week, good work on getting it all done!


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