Confessions of an Occasional Introvert

Sep 2, 2015 by

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.

awesome shoebox greeting cardIt was somewhere in that weird time of not knowing myself very well that I lost my audacious, and sometimes I’m still not sure I have it back.

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.)

calm down it's Jesus

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.

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  1. I just downloaded Periscope last night!! I think I might love it. What is that about us? It’s like performing in front of our own bathroom mirrors or something. Of course, I haven’t broadcast yet. I just love the idea :) And I want to join your next broadcast. Which means you might have to text and tell me when it is because I’m not sure I have my alerts set correctly. How is that for lame?

    • Will do, Mama! I did one last night and told myself the whole time that I was never doing it again. Then while getting ready this morning I couldn’t stop thinking of ideas for it. I do NOT know what’s going on. I’m assuming it’s a phase, like John Michael’s obsession with HyVee brand cheese crackers called Penguins. It’s weird; they’re like his happy place.

  2. Carol York

    So what does it say about me that I’ve done several broadcasts already, but deleted them almost immediately for fear of the inevitable judgement? I’m pretty sure no one wants to hear what I have to say…and that they’ll be glad to tell me about it if I leave it out there.

    I’m so proud of you for embracing this new medium and taking us on the journey with you. You make us brave by proxy. :-)

    • Oh, Carol! It means I’m NOT ALONE. The sheer panic I feel to submit myself to human inspection like that! But if you surf around on Periscope long enough, you see that the people who feel they have this thing down are few and far between. Everyone else is just giving it a go. I’m going to start using mine to let people introduce themselves. And I’m going to be brief. They say the longer you stay on the more hearts you get, but I don’t think that’s the way to go for us newbies.

  3. I’m digging Periscope, too, but I haven’t broadcast myself yet. It is weird, though. I was watching one the other day and the person commented on a comment I made and I felt like I was exposed! Like, what? he saw me?! Then of course I couldn’t type a response fast enough for him to see or for it to matter and that felt another kind of weird. :)

  4. You’re pushing Char and I into Periscope Seren. I think the fear associated with live broadcast is synonymous with that one dream of finding yourself at school in your underwear. I liked your scope last night about a mission statement. I think it is like finding clothes in your backpack before you step into class—not sure how I got on this dream analogy but I’m rolling with it. It helps bring focus to such a broad concept.

    Thanks for the push. I’m glad you are unleashing the extrovert.

    • Well this is super helpful feedback! It is EXACTLY like that dream. And that was definitely, exactly my goal with the mission statement bit – to help us novices feel equipped to push start. Don’t you two EVER stop periscoping.