Thursday, February 18, 2016

I'm an Introvert and That's Okay: Or, #hidewrite

I’m currently reading the second edition of a really interesting book called INTROVERT POWER by Laurie Helgoe, PhD.

It’s taking me longer to get through it than I expected, but that’s because of my eyes giving me fits and also because I’m spending a long time thinking about each paragraph, each page, each chapter. You should see the notes in the margins, and the myriad Post-it flags sticking out from the pages.

As I read, I'm realizing how I’ve sold myself down the river and compromised who I am on so many fronts by not honoring who I am as an introvert, and that's not okay.

Are you an introvert? Even if you aren’t chances are you have one in your life (after all they do say opposites attract…) and you might find the book, and this post interesting.

I’ve realized that the reason I have been feeling so ready to jump out of my skin lately is because I haven’t been honoring my introversion. 

Especially here in the US there is a huge value placed on always being ‘on’, ‘out there’, and socializing. Even social media, which I find to be my favorite way of socializing with people if I’m going to do it at all, can be exhausting if you don’t set limits on how much time you spend on it.

I've been spending way too much time trying to be what I'm not and never will be.

So today’s post will be short, but with a message: introverts matter, and we're certainly not alone. We just need to look up once in awhile to realize it.

FYI: I’ve started a hashtag on Twitter for introverted creatives called #hidewrite. 

It’s for writers, of course, but other introverted folks (creatives are my inspiration for starting this, but I want to be inclusive) are welcome to weigh in as well as I post things that come to me or pass along information that I hope can help you feel less alone as you struggle through trying to get yourself 'out there' while also wanting to make a blanket fort and just call it a day.

I’ve held a few “pop-up chats” as I call them, spur of the moment things so far, and am trying to nail down a more permanent time for a weekly half-hour or so chat at this hashtag. 

But my main goal is for it to be an open hang-out for people to comment whenever they feel like coming out of hiding, whatever time zone they’re in. 

It may take you a little while to get a reply from me if you post when it’s the middle of the night here (or on the rare occasion that I go offline entirely for a few days to get some complete rest) but I will monitor the hashtag and of course if you tag me in your posts (my Twitter handle is @FebruaryGrace I will respond as best I can.

What is the purpose of hosting a chat that most people won't openly attend? Simply this. 

We are made to feel like outcasts for the way we naturally are, and I want to be one little voice out there whispering in the vast void that it’s okay for you to be who you are. 

You’re not only not alone, data mentioned in INTROVERT POWER says that up to half of the population is actually made up of introverts, just like us. 

We're out there, we're just lurking in the background of life, trying to go unnoticed. But if you're also trying to market a book, or show your art, or otherwise introduce your creativity to the world, this can be a really difficult struggle: the battle between our nature and things we need to try to do so people will know we're making beautiful things.

I'm hoping we can help each other feel a little better about our journey along the way.

So please feel free to lurk on the hashtag if you like, and also please feel free to put something out there too, if you feel up to it.

I plan for the next #hidewrite chat to be this coming Wednesday at 7:30 PM EST.

Until then, tonight at the wonderful weekly writer’s chat #Storydam they will be discussing introversion/extroversion in writers, they said they were inspired by my idea of starting #hidewrite! I plan to be there and I hope to see you there too. 8PM EST on the hashtag #Storydam.

I feel there is so much we can learn from and share with each other as introverts. After all, we may not want to be around people all the time, but everybody needs to know, at some point, that they’re not alone.

Dedicating this wonderful song to all the lovely introverts out there...