Happy 2018!

Acting “as if”

Recently, Jack decided to list the ways that he and I alike. This surprised me because, more often than not now, he’s rolling his eyes at me, so the fact that he wanted to, not only acknowledge the ways that we’re similar, but list them, made me swell with pride. Here’s what we came up with:

  1. We’re both left-handed
  2. We both have light-colored eyes
  3. We both choose Sour Patch Kids over M&M’s at the movies
  4. We both are early birds
  5. Neither one of us really enjoys rollercoasters

And then, I added, “and we’re both shy.” As soon as I said that, Jack looked at me like I had garlic growing out of my ear.

I think it’s well-documented that both Jack and I are introverts, but I don’t think that Jack has ever thought of me as an introvert. In fact, the day that we were coming up with this list, was the same day that we had more parties to attend than I care to discuss right now (introvert hangover still in progress) and he’d seen me (seemingly) effortlessly glide around all of the parties, talking with people, laughing–appearing, by all accounts the well-adjusted, party-loving extrovert.

When he looked at me funny when I told him that I am shy, I quickly added, “But I’m really good at pretending NOT to be shy.” At that moment, he got really still and quiet and I saw the proverbial “lightbulb” go off above his head.

I don’t think that it had ever occurred to him that he could act “as if” he wasn’t shy.

Acting “as if” is a fancy cognitive psychology idea that really just translates as “fake it ’til you make it.” In other words, what I explained to Jack that day was that yes, I am very shy, but that I can also pretend that i’m not shy when I need to–like at parties. Honestly, that’s probably what often causes this “introvert hangover” that I feel after being social, but it also gets me through a situation and, more often than not, I end up enjoying myself.

The thing that’s really cool about acting ‘as if” is that it applies in most areas of life: I think at every job I’ve ever started, I’ve acted “as if” for the first few weeks. Every time I’ve joined a new gym, I’ve tried my best to act “as if” and walk around like I know where I’m going, know how the machines work know what the classes are all about.

It also works in sobriety. Those first couple of years, I did a lot of acting “as if”–acting as if I WASN’T miserable and searching for a way to figure out who I was. I did my best to act like a secure and sober person and guess what? I turned into that person. How cool is that?

Happy 2018!

Anatomy of a Girls’ Night Out

…when you’re the sober one.

Girls' Night Out

6:01pm: Naturally, I’m the designated driver, so I pull away from my house to begin the rounds of picking up the girlfriends/neighbors. After briefly cleaning out fast food bags, a lone kid’s sock and an empty yogurt tube out of the back of my car, I head out. I choose the most offensive, misogynistic rap music available for the car trip to the bar/restaurant, because–no kids.

6:30: We arrive at the restaurant and, after exiting the car, compliment everyone’s respective outfits, unsensible shoes and lip gloss application.

Time to order drinks:

I order a water (whomp, whomp).

Paula orders some type of strawberry/lemonade, (with vodka) fancy-pants-looking, umbrella drink.

Amy orders a Crown and Coke

Renee nurses one glass of red wine over the course of the whole evening (how’s that even possible?)

Discussions ensue about weight loss/exercise, food, husbands, sex, traumatic birth/breast-feeding stories–you know, pretty par for the course for moms on a wild night out.

9:37pm. As we’re all winding down; yawns are replacing our guffaws, and we’re about ready to head home, Alana–the chronically late one, bless her heart–texts: “I’m 11 minutes away! Can’t wait to see you all!”

Collective groans, muttering under our breath and yawns ensue.

We rally and greet our intrepid friend with hugs and a photo op. God love the young one whose kids are away at camp and is able to stay awake past 10pm.

Girls' Night Out

What do your Girls’ Nights Out look like? Are you ever the Designated Driver? Do tell…

Happy 2018!

How I know I’m an introvert

I’ve known for quite awhile that I’m an introvert. As a kid, I was often called “shy” or “a snob.” But, as I got older (and after the Myers-Briggs confirmed what I already knew) I finally had a name for who I was. It was refreshing to find that there wasn’t anything wrong with who I was.

introvert text

Believe it or not, a lot of people don’t know if they’re introverted or extroverted. I don’t believe that anyone is 100% on either side of the coin, but here’s a list of my personality quirks that are aligned with introvertedness.

So, you think you’re an introvert…

I’m a planner. I live and die by my calendar–my paper and pen calendar, none of this iPhone calendar app nonsense. I always have running lists and to-do’s ongoing in my various notebooks. I rarely can handle flying by the seat of my pants. It stresses me out. I need to know what to expect and plan accordingly.

I’m a writer. Writing is the best way that I know how to express myself. If we were to have a face to face conversation, I’d either clam up or fumble and stutter my way through. I’m just not articulate on my feet, but given a few extra seconds to backspace through a poorly-chosen word or colloquialism, I’m much better.

I have lots of extroverted friends. If I was friends with only quiet, reserved people, I’d be bored out of my mind. I greatly enjoy being around people who keep the conversation flowing, laugh loudly at my under-the-breath remarks and get the party properly started.

I crave alone time. Being in a large crowd, mixing and mingling and having to be “on” for long periods of time stresses me out. This is not to say that I can’t do it. I can host a party for 50 like a champ, but after being in a situation like that, I need to “actively introvert.” Actively introverting for me, looks like hanging out in my room alone (except with a cat or two and the dog), watching trashy tv and regrouping. Another way I like to reboot is by going to Target alone. I don’t mind being around people when I’m “actively introverting,” but I just don’t want to have to interact with them too much.

Crowds aren’t my favorite. Being in a large crowd, with people invading my personal space all willy-nilly, drives me insane. I’ve been to many concerts, where you’re packed into the venue like sardines, and inevitably, the girl next to me has long hair that she keeps tossing in my direction. Her hair gets stuck in my lip gloss and that almost sends me straight over the edge. (It’s one thing for your OWN hair to get stuck in your lip gloss. Totally different situation when SOMEONE ELSE’S hair gets stuck in your lip gloss.)

Meeting new people is awkward. You see, I really super-suck at small talk. I either don’t ask enough questions (which comes across as aloof and uncaring) or I go too deep, too soon (which…well, creepy). The pleasantries of “where do you live?” “how old are your kids?” “what do you do?” wears thin with me quickly. I tend to either not ask those important things or dive immediately into questions like, “did you have a vaginal birth or a c-section?” Inappropriate. But, those are the things I want to know…not how long you’ve lived here.

Go around room...

These are only a few of the traits that I have that would fall on the “introvert spectrum“–which I’m calling a thing, whether it is or not. I have others but…guess what? I also have some extrovert characteristics too.  Luckily, we’re not all made by a cookie cutter and we’re each unique and quirky.

So, tell me…what traits do you have that are introvert or extrovert?