I Have a Confession
(Originally from newsletter published on July 19,2022)
I have a confession. One that I’ve shared in the past. It tends to shock a few people. I’m an introvert.
It’s true. I can present in auditoriums and on stages in front of thousands of people. I've been told I make it look easy. My armpits disagree. And afterwards, I’m so relieved to retreat back to my vehicle, an empty office, or even a bathroom stall—anywhere I can be alone, away from the stimulation of being “on.” I still remember the day as a young professional when I could see my bosses’ shoes in the bathroom stall next to me. All of a sudden, she whispered, “I enjoy the bathroom because this is the place where no one can find me.” A feeling of comfort washed over me because somewhere deep in my soul, I understood exactly what she was saying. We could just sit, in this quiet, sacred place. With absolutely no expectation to be “on”. As I got older, I realized how much I need to be away from all of the commotion of the world to recenter. This desire for less stimulation hit me square in the face during July 4. The rest of my family adores the sparkle and booms of fireworks. I’d rather be far away from the explosions, smoke, and constant mom-panic about safety. This year, I sat on the floor on the inside of the patio door, close enough to enjoy the sparkle and soothe my mom-anxiety of safety, and just far enough away to be overstimulated by noise and smells. As a mom, my relationship with my introversion is consistently in renegotiation, especially in summer when my kids are home. Overstimulation is ALWAYS at my fingertips. Literally. My daughter is very physical; her love language is touch. She constantly wants hugs and her favorite way to wake up is to crawl into my bed, sandwich herself next to me, and rub her feet on my legs. On the flip side, too much touch makes me nutty, and often, I find myself “touched out”. Overstimulation also occurs when everyone is on their respective tablet (without headphones because who can find the headphones when they never get put back...), with the tv blaring on something else. To me, it feels like every theme song, sound effect and noise is crashing into something else. My first frantic words upon entering the room are often, “Can we turn things down?” And when my husband works for a company with a big promotional day going on (imagine what this large corporation might have delivered to YOU last week?!?) and had to work more than usual, my overstimulation was confronted by being the only parent at home more often than not for almost 14 consecutive days, leaving me utterly depleted. So this is my shout out to all the overstimulated parents out there. The ones who are doing their best to manage being “on” in all the places (home, work, camps, pick up lines, vacations, family reunions, weddings, sports, etc…). The ones who would love to plan another memory making weekend trip, if only it didn’t have so many details, moving parts, and questions to overwhelm the senses (not the mention trying to do all the home things that are needed to start another week…). Here’s your permission slip to check out, turn down all the noise, and let your mind be quieter for a little bit. It’s not a luxury; it’s essential. If you're struggling to give yourself permission, let's connect. I'd love to have an intimate, one on one conversation, to help you write you permission slip.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts
There's no resource that has helped me understand my introvert self more than Susan Cain's "Quiet." Did you know that if an extrovert and an introvert tasted the same lemon, the introvert would experience it as more sour? This is because introverts' nervous systems respond to stimulation more strongly. Crazy, and I finally feel like I understand myself! Here's a four minute summary of the book for those of you who aren't quite ready for this to be your next beach read.