Life is filled with in-between moments, those times when you find yourself wading through life’s water, having left one shore to get to another. You’re never quite sure how far off that other shore is; it can be foggy, or wavy, or cold – so you just keep wading forward with heavy feet trusting (and hoping) that you’ll get to where you’re going.
Even if you’re not sure where you’re going.
Sometimes it isn’t enough to just flip on the next Jennifer Aniston feel-good, stick your nose into the latest Dan Brown book, or turn on bubblegum happy time Katy Perry music. No, sometimes you gotta take a deep dive under that water you’re wading through to get some answers.
As a society, we tend to equate confidence with loudness: loudness of personality, of fearlessness, of bold spontaneity. We think of a confident person as someone who can march into a room and command it with his power and his presence. We also tend to equate loud confidence with success: someone who sees what she wants, then stops at nothing to get it.
But a loud approach to a confident personality doesn’t fit all of us. Sure each of us can fake it here and there, and adapt when necessary. But on a day-to-day basis, a naturally quiet person can get pushed to the outskirts of the room to hang idly as a wallflower.
Dear 16-year-old self,
Well well well. Hello there. How the hell are ya? Before I say anything, let me first give a nod to the elephant in the room; yes, it’s been 20 years since we spoke last. Are you mad? I could make up an excuse about how busy this whole being-an-adult thing is, but I won’t. I’m a shit and that’s all there is to it.
I did, however, want to wish you a happy Pride. I know you never went to Pride or had anyone wish you a happy one, but hey, better late than never, right?
And just like that, it’s been one year to the day since I published my first Strong Silent Hype blog. Saying thanks to my readers doesn’t seem to fully express just how great a gift you’ve given me by showing your support. But in spite of that, here it comes anyway: Thanks to you.
I came across a clever little figure of speech this week: Hiding your brushstrokes. It’s meant to describe the tendency for artists to hide the painful or tedious process their art goes through before it reaches their audience. When you read a piece of writing, for example, it appears clean, polished and smooth; however, everything about the piece of writing up until that point involved a lot of slicing, dicing, editing, various sets of eyes, and maybe even a few tears of frustration.
Before I learned what it means to be an introvert, followed by me realizing that I am one myself, I spent many years confused, frustrated and afraid that there was something wrong with me – that I was “oriented” differently than others. As a result, I used up a lot of my social energy pretending that I was more straightforward than I actual was, hiding the truth about the things I was attracted to, like alone time for example.
I once attended a professional training seminar that was focused on developing empathy skills that could be “leveraged in the workspace.” One of the teaching materials used was an exercise called The Good Listener Game.
I came down with a nasty case of writer’s block this week. It may very well have something to do with the fact that I spent last week spread-eagle, margarita in hand, on a beach in sunny Puerto Vallarta, only to return home to Toronto’s wet blanket of damp greyness and a sun that sets before the end of my workday.
Let’s face facts: introverts are cool. We brood, we are mysterious, and when we speak up (which isn’t often) people tend to listen. So it makes sense that some of the most interesting, compelling, and memorable characters in narrative history are introverted.