Negative Emotions Are Key to Well-Being

Hah, I knew it! In this Scientific American article, a psychotherapist discusses the benefits of “negative” emotions, and the risks of repressing them. Maybe we should stop calling them “negative” and instead refer to them as transformative. What’s that you say – “transformative” could apply to all emotions? Exactly.


When Opportunity Knocks, but it Isn’t Looking for You

How about those women’s marches? I feel better about my country than I have in months.
View of the January 21, 2017 women's march in a major city with protestors filling the street between tall buildings and holding signs
As it happens, I didn’t attend one. Pop-up protests over the past few years have been a major source of stress in my life, and I’m pretty angry about that. The same few demonstrators show up to anyone’s march, looting, breaking windows, vandalizing random cars, and stoning police. Not a constructive way to espouse a cause. I depend on public transit, and a few dozen demonstrators can close it down for hours. As I result, I have often been stranded far from home, in the middle of a very tense situation, lugging 30 pounds of perishable groceries.

Because of this, I am on alert lists for the bus company and police department. Which is how I heard about the women’s march – the bus company sent out an advance email about expected service disruptions. Other than that, I saw only a TV commercial, which surprised me. Protest marches advertise? That’s new. But given aforementioned experiences with protests, I wasn’t intrigued enough to find out more.

But on the day of the march, when texts from the police department started coming in with massive numbers, I realized something different and historical was happening. I briefly considered going, until I got a text from the bus company saying they had completely closed down bus service to the downtown core. I texted back “completely unacceptable!,” but I was relieved from the decision of whether to enter an intensely crowded, noisy situation where my ability to retreat would’ve been severely limited.

Maybe I would’ve risen above the limits of sensitivity on the group high. Then again, I tend towards disturbed-hibernating-bear syndrome in January, so maybe not.

But even from my armchair, it was pretty cool. And the more I learned about it, the more amazing it got. It wasn’t just the massive turnouts in major cities. There were also hundreds (not an exaggeration) of marches in smaller towns, and even tiny villages, some of them in very bad weather and/or unfriendly environments.

I’m something of a coward about putting myself physically and visibly on the line. I’ve found some peace with this reluctance, now that I understand it’s a pretty natural reaction for an HSP introvert. There’s more than one way to be an activist. Still, I respect people who expose themselves in that way, even if it feels less risky to them than it would to me. If you participated, thank you. A lot. Thank you for showing me I wasn’t alone.

But this post isn’t about that. The rest of it isn’t, anyway :)

What’s New – or Not – with Me

My self-employed career isn’t going well. It turns out there is a fatal flaw in my business plan (this is a figure of speech. If you happen to be comparing yourself with me, I don’t want to deceive you into thinking I have anything as organized as a written plan). I’ve done a really excellent job at finding people I emotionally resonate with as clients. Over and over, they tell me they chose to work with me because they felt I understood them.

And I do. They are people who are going it alone, carving out their own career niche, plus a few passionate bloggers who just have to write. Like me. Most of them are struggling financially, also like me, with a very limited budget for things like… my services. I have done an excellent job of finding my peers. At creating myself an income, not so much.
Continue reading

Happy World Introvert Day

Yes, there is a day just for us!

A vintage illustration of a woman seated at a desk with paper in front of her and a pen in her hand, staring thoughtfully into space

Introvale is a State of Mind

Green letter M logo of Medium.comI’ve been hearing buzz about Medium here and there for awhile now. If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s a newish online sharing platform meant for deeper, more thoughtful articles and responses than social media and commercial sharing venues typically offer.

Social “Medium” for Introverts

That sounds like something designed by (and for) introverts, no?

But I’ve been scrambling to make financial ends at least wave at each other from opposite ends of the block, so it wasn’t until tonight that I finally took a look.

I didn’t look far before I found Multitasking is Killing Your Brain. Hah! I was right! It’s a den of introverts! Here I was thinking Introvale was a physical space. Silly me.

A straight road across a wooded plain appears intermittently between the trees

Quiet Revisited

The cover of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan CainJenna, my comrade in bloggery over at The Wishing Well, just published a post about Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. To my great surprise, her reaction to it was very different from mine. Since I had recommended it to her enthusiastically, I started out writing a reply in a comment, but it became way too long, so I’m publishing it here.

Wow, did we read the same book? Before I read Quiet, it had literally never crossed my mind that I was an introvert, much less an HSP (which Elaine Aron believes Susan Cain also is). I thought I was an extrovert inhibited by a tendency to isolate. I defended this, extolling the joys of solitude, as I still do. However, before I read Quiet, those joys were seriously undermined by my secret fear that solitude was an unhealthy indulgence, an escape from my shameful inability to interact “normally.” Whether it was my failure to produce extroverted bubble and bounce on command, or my persistent inclination towards behavior I had been taught was dysfunctional, I was coming up short no matter what I did. Continue reading

SensitiveType on Facebook

My brain is abuzz with all of the things I read and see that I want to share with you. The backlog is getting too huge to ever catch up, though, so I set up a Facebook page where I can post things that don’t make it into a SensitiveType blog post. Check it out (there’s also a link in the right sidebar).
A screenshot of the SensitiveType Facebook page

In Stitches

Meet Michelle Kingdom, another introvert artist with a new twist on an existing art form.

An embroidered panel of a woman in a field of flowers, carrying a sewing machine;

Her horizon seemed to her limitless

She doesn’t say she’s an introvert, but when she talks about the privacy of her unique art – well, we can read between the lines. And once you see her images, and her titles – which are a very important part of her work – there can be no doubt. Those who think of introverts as loners may be surprised that most of her pieces include more than one person, and that even when they appear to be inwardly focused, she portrays them as interconnected.
An embroidered picture of several women facing away from each other, but with threads connecting them at the feet, hands and heads.

Duties of gossamer

An embroidered image of a middle-aged woman standing with her eyes closed and hands folded. There is a large circular hole in her middle, through which you can see a smaller, younger girl in the background. Tree branches covered with white blossoms frame the woman's head and shoulders.

Little by little there was scarcely anything left

Sometimes, the carefully chosen titles say it all. Other times, they are intimate, yet cryptic, implying unspoken details beyond the edges of the scene, or multiple possible stories, with the context left open for the interpretation of the beholder.

Most intriguingly of all, these works are tiny, barely as wide as a woman’s hand.

I’m such a wordy person. I always have been. Words pour out of me like spring snow melt racing down a mountainside. Which is why I understand so very deeply and completely all of the things that words can’t do.