Hey. How are you? Is there anything exciting or momentous going on in your life? I feel like I need to catch up with everyone.
I have come to the not-so-shocking epiphany that I am withdrawn by nature. A loner. A bit closed-off in many ways.
I'm an only child, an only child that moved around constantly and never learned how to set down roots or form long-term bonds with people. Having a single mum meant I was alone most days after school, once I was deemed responsible enough to be alone. That happened at an early age too, since I was a rather mature and intelligent little girl. I have always been smart-mouthed and sassy, but other than that, I was a good kid.
My grandfather and mother were/are absolutely fabulous in social situations. They always presented themselves well, were outgoing and conversational. My grandfather was an actor, a baseball star, an elected official, and a pillar of the community. My mom thrives around people, cares for them more deeply than I've seen anyone do, and is (sometimes unrealistically) generous with her time and help to everyone she meets. She's become friends with her doctor, her plumber, and her sushi chef.
Since these two influenced me more than any others, I learned these skills as well. I too am usually great in social situations. People find me fairly outgoing. I feel confident, proud, and capable at all my art shows. I even do great at public speaking. It doesn't really bother me the way it does others, and I'm always encouraged to do more of it when it happens.
Afterwards though, especially after my art shows, I crash, sometimes for days. It exhausts me. I want to just stay indoors and do nothing for awhile. I vow never to do things outside again.
The internet is a great middle-ground for loners. I adopted the lifestyle when I was about 17 and it has generally served me well ever since.
Even with the protection of a screen, I pull back every now and then. I withdraw. I don't believe in internet overshare as a rule, but it grows into a genuine problem when I fret over simple things like sharing my art and promoting myself. Which doesn't make a lot of sense for the girl who shines at her own shows and likes giving speeches to large groups of people. Bizarre right?
I don't understand it either.
Awareness is key. I've been cultivating skills to help me through the downtime. I've started automating status updates so that it counteracts the moments I feel withdrawn. I've pulled back from the online areas that give me anxiety (Facebook) in favor of the ones I feel more comfortable using. (Twitter, Instagram.)
There's something else too, that I think helps cure the root of this problem. I've been playing around with it, seeing how it works, measuring my own internal reaction to it-- which has so far been totally positive. The trick?
'Outward flow', I've been calling it. It started when I began tithing my income. Is tithing the right word? That sounds a bit religious. Giving to causes I believe in. (charity: water - because everyone needs clean water.) I felt stressed about how much money was coming in - so I started giving more away, to change the flow, and (not-so-ironically) change my attitude toward financial things in general.
I've also been trying to outwardly appreciate people more. People don't know when you're listening. They don't know that you like their stuff. How can they? I know I don't. I usually assume people aren't paying any attention to me. It often surprises me when someone responds. So, it's not rocket science to realize it goes both ways. If I want someone to know, I have to tell them. Usually this just means Liking™ their Instagram photos, their Facebook updates, and their Twitter musings. Simple, right?
Yet it's been profound. Why withhold any of that? Why not give freely, give more than even is necessary? I feel better, just by changing my outward flow. It cuts through that loner tendency, at least a little bit. It almost seems too simple. How can it make a difference? I'm not sure, but it does. It's a start.
And now I'm writing again. It's been a long time since I've written anything at length regularly. I drew inward a couple of years ago and never found my way out. I need to adjust that flow. It starts with a trickle, but breaks into a flood. At least that's what I'm hoping.
My solution for the moment, as far as writing, is to write and post publicly but not call attention to it. I'm not going to link it everywhere, I'm not going to use it in my overall marketing tools. I'm just going to write, and let it be where it is. If you know how to find it and if you're looking, you'll see it. If you don't, you don't, and I'm good with that right now. It's kind of like a journal, I guess. I'm happy to have those who would be reading anyway, those who want to know. Otherwise I'm going to enjoy the buffer for a little while as I get back into the swing of things.
If you have comments or anything to say, let me know. I'm here.