I’m Going on an Adventure… AGAIN!

Considering my most recent post (Let’s Talk About (Write About?) Selfishness), this probably won’t make sense, what with my argument about not doing things to challenge myself socially, but I still stand by what I said. We’ll just say this is one of my first steps toward implementing that challenge… though I committed to this adventure a few months ago and just immortalized the challenge yesterday… Anyway. Adventure! Again.

A little over a month ago, I went on a seemingly miniature adventure by comparison, in which I stayed overnight at an abandoned resort with fellow students from my school brought together by a passion to advocate for inclusion of diversity on campus. I was very anxious in the days, hours leading up to that adventure. And proceeded to be pleasantly surprised after the true adventure had begun. But despite this scary-turned-unforgettable experience being what it was, I’m still experiencing mass amounts of worry prior to my next big adventure even though it too is bound to be unforgettable. So what is this adventure at which I keep hinting? Well, I’m going to…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITALY

*insert envious gasps and celebratory music here*

I’m going to Italy for three(ish) weeks on a class trip that aims to simultaneously envelop us dear college students into the standard tourist-y routines typical of foreign visitors yet integrate us into the everyday routines and habits of the locals. Very contradictory, I know. But considering this is my second time overseas and the first time was with a very large group filled with only tourist activities, I’m actually really excited for the latter goal of this adventure: the integrating into native lifestyles bit. Well excited, relatively speaking…

This promises to be a unique opportunity not everyone gets offered… well at least those who don’t attend my school (it’s very common to spend time abroad at my university. I’m actually considered unusual for my lack of abroad experience.). It’s exotic, it’s timely, inexpensive (relatively speaking, from what I’m told). Which is sort of why I convinced myself to go. And while I was excited back when I committed so many months ago, now that the beginning of this adventure draws nearer and that more people know about it and the pressure to feel excited is heightened, I’m feeling somewhat less excited and more anxious.

Anxious about what’s going to happen while I’m Italy. What’s going to happen to the people I care about back home while I’m away. Whether I’m going to genuinely like and maybe even befriend the other people on this trip. Basically, all the big scary unknowns everyone’s so fond of fearing. I realize a lot of this worry stems from things I can’t control. And if I can’t control them, why worry? Well, doesn’t that just sound so easy? Yeah, on paper (computer screen?) maybe. In reality it’s not that simple. That’s just not how I’m wired; worrying is what I do.

I’ve been working myself up about this trip (clearly) and will continue to do so, even after the plane takes off, after we’ve arrived in Italy and settled into our convent-turned-bed-and-breakfast (so cool, right?!), after a few days of being enveloped and integrated into the Italian culture. But then, once the novelty wears off, the worry/anxiety will dissipate into their usual everyday doses, and I will begin to enjoy myself. Maybe even as much as everyone assumes. And I know I will–to some degree, if my track record is any indication. Everything usually works out just fine. I just have to be Quinn and dedicate ridiculous amounts of energy worrying until that sense of enjoyment arrives. Sigh, I’m so weird…

So yes: adventure. Woot woot! But fear not dear readers, for you will not be without my disorganized ramblings of a blog while I’m gone. This is an academic trip, as in while I’m in Italy I’m to be completing coursework, requiring use of my laptop/Internet. So… blogging! Funny enough, I’m actually required to keep a blog for my class to recount my experiences, so I may simply dual-post on my class’ site and here (though I think those posts will be significantly more academic than my informal ramblings. Hope that’s okay…). I can’t promise consistency nor my usual disorganization, but there will be a post at some point in the next few weeks while I’m away. At least one. Hopefully more. We’ll see… 🙂

Ciao, for now! I guess. That rhymed! Yikes…

Oh! And depending on where you’re from/when you’re reading this: Happy Mother’s Day! Should circumstances allow, do something for your mom. Talk to her. Spend time with her. Let her know you love her in some way. If it were up to me, I’d say we shouldn’t need a holiday as an excuse to do these things; we should be loving and celebrating the people we love regardless of the day. But if you need the excuse of an officialized holiday to call up your estranged mother to chat, then so be it. Hey, you’re making an effort. Go you! 🙂 Okay that’s all.

Let’s Talk About (Write About?) Selfishness

Specifically my selfishness. How’s that for irony? As much as I’d like this to be some phenomenal self-help piece applicable to all readers, I know that’s just not possible. So like most posts, I’m selfishly using my own experiences to maybe, kind of, on the off-chance, indirectly help one or two people in addition to myself. Yep.

Lately I feel I’ve been selfish (hence the theme of the post). Beyond regular human capacity. And I don’t mean selfish in terms of greediness or only looking to benefit myself, but rather placing my needs above the needs of others so as to ensure my personal well-being/stability. While of course, caring for yourself and ascertaining your own needs are met is vital to, well, living, I think there’s a limit to just how extensively those needs should be met. And I think I’ve exceeded my limit…

In former posts I’ve mentioned my introverted tendencies/social anxiety/simultaneous people-admiration yet fear of socialization; I’m pretty open about these aspects of my personality. But that wasn’t always the case.

Acknowledging my social anxiety in particular is an act relatively new to me. I just started coming to terms with it and talking about it a few months ago. And ever since, I haven’t been able to stop. This is great! I’ve become more self-aware, self-accepting. I’ve made great progress from where I was prior to talking. But now I feel I almost use this facet of my personality as an excuse. To do things. Not do things. To justify my periodical antisocialness. While yes, social anxiety can be and at times is in fact a valid reason for certain situations, I think I may be… taking advantage of this part of me. I think, ever since I’ve begun to talk about my social anxiety and come to grips with it, I’ve gotten so comfortable with this part of my life, I treat it like I treat all constants in my life–like a… security blanket. Like I’m just a little too comfortable with this part of my identity.

Because I’m so comfortable and so easily able to justify my behaviors or decisions by my anxiety, I easily refuse to take advantage of opportunities (big and small) that hold the potential to sprout my growth socially. Because saying no and staying with what you know is so much easier than the alternative. Than trying something new. Or even not so new.

Ever since coming home for the summer, I’m finding it harder and harder to be the person everyone is expecting–the person I want to be. I want to be a daughter, sister, friend, student, employee, writer, explorer, investigator (and probably more but this list seems long enough). But I’m also introverted and socially anxious. And those bouts of reality combined with my aspirations don’t always work. It’s not impossible, no, but it is… a challenge. Or so I seem to think.

It is a challenge to be all this, all I want to be, but I think with my comfort in excuses, I’m exacerbating this challenge into something bigger. So as to simply not do all I want to do and to give up. Well, my version of giving up, which isn’t very similar to most peoples’ interpretation of the idea, but… And (in a very roundabout way) I think that’s selfish. I’m using facets of my personality and meeting the needs of those aspects to not do things. And that’s not okay.

Take_Care_Selfish

Oh good… Silver lining

I need to find a balance, a way to somehow be all that I want to be yet still care for the parts of me that need extra TLC (i.e. time alone/away from people). I just can’t get too CAREried away in the process of caring for my needs. Ha… that wasn’t funny. Sorry.

This potential balance achievement is going to be a journey–not so easily completed. Maybe not ever completed. Maybe full balance isn’t possible, but rather a trial of give-and-take that varies each day. I guess there’s one way to find out.

Alright dear reader(s) who were totally helped by my rambling bout to self-discovery: remember, take care of yourself. Meet your needs. But… don’t forget about those needs you share with others. Those need tended to too. Ha! To too. Yikes, I need a good laugh… And less ellipses.

I realize this is not my usual posting time. Don’t worry, we’ll return to regularly scheduled programming; I already had a post in mind for that but I was feeling really passionately about this topic, ergo the gift of extraneous blogging. You’re welcome! 🙂

Why is Peopling So Difficult?

Also, why are so many of my posts titled with a question…usually beginning with “why”? I guess even as an English major, having concrete answers for the seemingly inexplicable provides solace… at least some of the time.

As human beings we crave social interaction (which I affectionately refer to as “peopling” when in verb form)–to some extent. The drive to be social brings us together, it evokes a commonality among humans. But that extent, the degree to which we crave and seek out social endeavors divides us. We have different preferences, different means, different limits to how we choose to fulfill our socialization need. And in recent weeks, I’ve begun to notice how easily my need is met by such minuscule human interaction.

I am an introvert. This is nothing new, and I fully accept and embrace this about myself. Introversion is awesome! And rather refreshing in such a social society. But my level of introversion seems to be rising more and more lately. I’ve been told I’m personable, easy to talk with, and generally appear as an outgoing individual. Here would be important to note that in these instances when I’m commended for my above-and-beyond social performance, I’ve only had to be social for a short while. Also important to note in these instances are the additional factors come in to play: a) I’m in a good mood and/or feeling socially at ease, b) the other person/people is/are intriguing/pleasant and we thus are able to connect, c) I enjoy the surrounding environment/situation eliciting the social interaction, and/or d) all of the above. But all of those factors, even combined, can only amount to Pleasant, Social Quinn for so long. Or apparently not so long.

Jane_Eyre_CAPTION

Jane Eyre understands. Select the image to learn more about the inner-workings of an introvert.

I’ve come to find through my college and work experiences my absolute maximum capacity for social pleasantry is about a day… if I have to be around people the entire time… and can still find a few minutes to escape for introversion solace. So technically not even a full day, really… Yikes.

Don’t get me wrong: there is an abyss of resources out there (i.e. the internet) advocating for introverts (their well-being, habits, problems in extroverted societies, coping mechanisms, self-love, etc.), and that is AWESOME! But those resources only get you so far especially when you’re going about your introverted existence. It’s one thing to read and talk about, but another to actually do (as is the case with pretty much anything). Especially when other people are involved. It’s like that society-wide instruction that encourages everyone to embrace their true selves. Yet when they comply, they get scorned for trying to be too much like their true selves, too individual and not enough like the “true self” society already has outlined for its occupants.

Society

Introverts have gained a massive following in the past decade as more and more people are coming to grips with this facet of identity. But that doesn’t mean everyone is entirely on board with the concept. I don’t mean they aren’t willing to accept, they just don’t appear to fully… understand what being an introvert entails. If they did, they wouldn’t continue to push introverts out of their comfort zone, asking them to spend so much time peopling even after trying to set the record straight on the concept of an introvert. Or maybe they still would. Pushing us introverts out of our comfort zone and all that.

While I’m perfectly content with my introversion, I work to embrace it, why push me to my limit? I suspect to expand my horizons, maybe even extend my limit. But asking me to repress my introversion for a little while longer kind of challenges my efforts to embrace it, like even my extroversion, as sporadic as it is, still isn’t enough. And I find this rather frustrating. Kind of like I find people frustrating sometimes. Thus, lash out via the written word to the internet…

…I don’t think I really conveyed anything coherent in this post other than my struggle with extensive socializing and apparent disdain for people (even though I’m interested in studying them???), but consider it an elaboration on the title question, “Why is Peopling So Difficult?” Maybe you have an answer or insight you’d like to share. In which case, by all means share–I (and fellow introverts alike) would love to hear.

I hope your week has just the right amount of peopling in it. Until next time… 🙂