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

Do We Have to Draw You a Picture?

If you’re about ready for a laugh, I’m pretty sure you’ll find one somewhere in this set of introvert-related cartoons from artist Aaron Caycedo-Kimura.

Cartoon of solitary bird watching sunrise and thinking, "Catching the worm was great. But all this time away from the flock? Priceless."

But wait, there’s more! Here’s his INFJoe site, with more cartoons. What a coincidence – I’m an INFJ (except when I’m an INFP). And the blog theme he’s using (Dusk to Dawn) was the theme I used on my first WordPress blog. I especially like The Scope of Socializing. Also Awkward Walk. And Passing the Phone (somebody stop me before I link them all…)

Life is Weird

So, after two months of no activity whatsoever in my newly chosen career, I suddenly have two clients this week, and both seem promising – that is, both will be good to work with, and need ongoing services.

This is also a week when I’m completing a project that put me in a highly stressful construction environment for the past few months. With the jackhammers shaking the building, and constant voices of workers shouting to each other over the racket day and night, I’ve felt like I was in a war zone.

It’s great to get away from that, but there are endless closing details to manage. If I could, I’d have chosen to do nothing else this week. Instead, I’m doing everything else! I wasn’t sure I could, but I am.
Busy woman at desk with 5 arms, typing, filing, and answering the phone all at the same time
And that’s a general theme of my life lately. I’m scrambling to keep up all the time. Continue reading

I Don’t Mind Being Famous as Long as Nobody Knows Who I Am

These days, I am always running into things that scream “introvert.” The work of Korean artist, Jee-Young Lee is a perfect example. First of all, she has created her own artform. She builds the installations in her tiny studio, and then photographs them. The photograph, a step removed, becomes the art, not the original installation. Ingeniously introverted, no?
If that isn’t enough to convince you, click on the picture to see more of her work. She is in her own scenes, but always in the background, facing away from the viewer (and always alone). She reveals herself on her own terms, sans interaction.

Then I stumbled across this artist on SNL:
I had never heard of Sia before, and I couldn’t even tell what language she was speaking (Australian English, as it turned out). The contrast between the visceral creative force expressed through her voice, and her withdrawn physical presence was most intriguing. I felt like I was watching an avant garde performance straight out of the 60s.

What do you think? Am I just seeing introverts everywhere because I am one, or am I on to something?

Shyness vs. Introversion at College

I share this piece from a UK educator site with reservations, as it treats introversion and shyness as interchangeable throughout, which they are not. However, the author makes some good points, and the two sidebars (bottombars, really), one from an educator who proactively reaches out to all of her students (which is, after all, the job of every educator, right?), may be of interest to some of my readers, along with the comments.

No place for introverts in the academy?

1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back: HSP Kudos and Call-Outs

HSPs, attend. First we have this outrageously negative and misinformed post about sensitivity from a life coach and “mental health administrator,” whatever that may be. Scary to think she might be “administering” the mental health of HSPs by taking their money and telling them they aren’t trying hard enough to “get over” their obnoxious sensitivity. Hint: You can leave comments. I suggest being kind, factual and constructive, since she was none of these.

Don’t listen to bad-mouthing! You are beautiful!

Don’t listen to bad-mouthing! You are beautiful!!

Also, the Wikipedia entry on sensitivity has lately been labelled as a “fringe theory.” Admittedly, the article was not as thorough as it could’ve been, and I can only applaud Wikipedia’s general intention to improve the quality of psychology-related entries, but have they considered what the effect might be on a given population to have a category they identify with suddenly labelled “fringe”? The person who applied the designation admitted he didn’t have the time to follow up, which strikes me as highly reprehensible. I mean you, Genandrar!

Most of the criticisms of the article as it was in April, when the “fringe theories” tag was applied, have now been addressed, and I would suggest that it is past time for Wikipedia to remove that tag from the HSP entry. I would also suggest they develop a more sensitive way to improve psychology entries without dissing people. And what, pray tell, is “appropriate  weight to the mainstream view” (emphasis all mine)? With that kind of thinking, kiss innovation goodbye.

Inhale… aaaaaannnnd exhaaaale.
The universe is vast. Annoying humans are transitory.

By now, you are probably ready for this delightful post, chockful of suggestions for HSPs that are actually insightful and useful (take note, Faydra Rector):

When You Need Stillness

Love her image of the mind as a ping-pong table. I was just thinking, “this woman has got to be an HSP,” when she said she was. I do so enjoy being right :)

And on the introvert side, we have another charming post:

12 Problems Only Introverts Understand

It gives me hope that one day we might enjoy Friday dialogues like this one:

What are you doing this weekend?

I’m going to stay inside completely.

Oh, that sounds wonderful, I’m so jealous. I have to go to a party.

Oh, you poor thing. Take a hot bath and don’t call me after.

The Black Hole of Depression

scream faceRecently, a fellow HSP blogger raised the question of whether knowing one is an HSP might make depression a little easier to handle. In other words, could knowing you are an HSP help you to take a step back and become conscious of your own reactions and needs, instead of automatically acting them out? Continue reading