Confessions of an Occasional Introvert
I used to be an extrovert. Audacious, someone told me once. And they said it like this, “You used to be.” My college years weren’t the happiest in my many happy moments on the planet. I’m not sure I can even tell you why that’s true except that I felt I wasn’t living up to expectations in my faith community I’m not even sure the community meant for me to feel. Plus, I was totally lovesick and not sure I would ever get to be with the object of my sickness. Michael and I eventually found our way to each other and to this married life thing that did lead to my happiest moments on the planet. And I slowly, slowly (have almost) figured out how to have expectations for myself, do my best to stick to them, and not totally stress when I’m – shocker – all human about it and stuff.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer, after the first week or so of trying to breathe again, I shared the crap out of that situation. That’s when I first started writing online and sharing pictures and saying out loud to an unknown number of people, “Here’s how I feel on the inside about things.” Every time cancer showed up again, I was in your face, keeping you up-to-date, thanking you all to pieces for every prayer and good thought toward my total recovery.
After that boatload of sharing, coupled with what I now recognize as totally routine post-treatment letdown, I tended to close in. It is so hard to return to real life after walking through fire in public like that. My recliner, a book, and a chick flick just looked so, so comforting and easy.
After experiencing this roller coaster a couple of times, I learned something about myself. I am neither extrovert nor introvert through and through. I like the big sharing moments a lot, especially if they are celebrations. But there is an introvert in me that sometimes feels one embarrassing moment away from all-out agoraphobia forever. (Agoraphobia: recliner and chick flick to the end of time. no outside, no people. no life.)
This is an interesting split personality to have when you blog and write books and want to matter in the world. If you listen closely, many famous actors have it actually. They really did go into the biz because they loved to act and not because they wanted us all to know where they buy their jeans.
My blog has been much more sporadic the last few years. I think I was in a very lengthy introverted stage. I was trying so hard to be a writer behind the scenes – finish that totally marketable book, basically – that I felt more and more shy of using words anywhere but in that private, book-writing space.
Now. There’s a new social media platform out there. It’s called Periscope, a way to “explore the world through someone else’s eyes.” Whereas on twitter, you spend as long as you want composing the perfect comment in 140 characters or less and then publish its polished self to the web, Periscope (also owned by Twitter) makes you hit “Start Broadcast” and conduct LIVE VIDEO for anyone in the world to see. AS you do it, dorky moments and all, “Uh….I can’t figure out how to stop this thing.” (This happened to me. TWICE.)
Anyway, I don’t know what it is, but Periscope has unleashed the extrovert in this introvert. The introvert gets massive butterflies for half a DAY before I finally have the courage to broadcast, and then she swears to herself this medium isn’t for me. And then the crazy extrovert immediately has five ideas for the next several times she will do it.
I don’t know if the extrovert will win. Periscope is live and crowded and maybe more for speakers than for writers. But I do know it has unleashed the audacious in me. I’m on a mission to eventually someday (not tomorrow, dear day job people, I love you) but someday have my own career – designed, scheduled, and imagined by me. I have ideas again, hope again, plans again; and they are audacious.
I really love that word. I don’t think I’ll let it go again.
P.S. the pics in this post are the front and inside of a birthday card by Shoebox that nails it.