Rocking those introvert headphones ... Quietly

 

Talking isn’t the only way to be social

Women around a table reading

 

If you look up the definition of “social” online you’ll see the following definitions:

  • relating to or involving activities in which people spend time talking to each other or doing enjoyable things with each other
  • liking to be with and talk to people : happy to be with people
  • of or relating to people or society in general

Although the dictionary definition allows some room for non-speaking activities, I mostly hear the word “social” in connection with an activity that requires a lot of talking. This colloquial use of the word social can really alienate quiet introverts.

In her famous TED talk, Susan Cain describes how her family’s primary group activity was reading: “You have the animal warmth of your family sitting right next to you, but you are also free to go roaming around the adventure land inside your own mind.” But, she prefaced this description by saying “[T]his might sound antisocial to you,” as an acknowledgment that we aren’t used to considering something that doesn’t involve speech or direct human interaction as being social.

I find this view particularly aggravating when combined with the phrase “humans are social animals.” More than once I’ve read the phrase “humans are social animals” used to shame an introvert into making more time for talking with friends. Non-human animals like dogs and dolphins are social animals too, but obviously their ability to communicate is much more limited than ours.

Instead of viewing a chat with a friend as the only way to be social, let’s start realizing that going to the library, helping a neighbor with their garden, or reading in the living room with your family are perfectly healthy ways to be social.

Introvert Interview, with Anna Bishop

Welcome to our Introvert Interviews series where we talk to introverts from all walks of life about their experiences and their introversion.

Anna Bishop is a 15-year-old singer who will be releasing her first EP this Fall. She’s been singing professionally since she was 8 years old, has acted in both musical theater and dramatic productions, and does x-country running.

What’s it like being an introvert in high school? Anna Bishop an introverted student
Being an introvert in high school was slightly scary at first. All of the social expectations, academic standards, and athletic challenges can become easily overwhelming. However, once I realized that all of those worries were in my own head, I was able to relax into things more than before. Midyear, I found a group of girls that I felt really comfortable with, which made school a lot less stressful. But things are still hard, especially in the classroom. Most, if not all, of my classes have participation grades, which require a sufficient amount of speaking in class, and sharing thoughts. Personally, I find it extremely unfair to grade students on their level of confidence. In middle school, I was even more introverted than I am now, but in high school I actually have grades to think about. This continues to be an ongoing challenge for me.

Did you enjoy recording your first EP this past summer?
Honestly, I have mixed emotions! Although I have been recording for a couple of years now, this has been the longest amount of time spent recording at once. Being in the studio is fun, rewarding, and also very stressful. The turn out after a long session of recording definitely makes it all worth it, however, after several hours, I know that it is time to take a break. The intense focus that is required during recording is exhausting. Since I am an introvert, it is draining to have the spot light on me for extended amounts of time. I am glad that I did the EP this summer, but I am also glad to take a break from it, at least for a little while!

When did you first start singing?
I was in a children’s theater musical at age 8, after I went through a rough patch of girl drama at school. My mom enrolled me in several camps, thinking that it might take my mind off of school drama, and after that, I decided to audition for the Wizard of Oz, where I landed the pivotal role of a Munchkin… Anyway, I was hooked on musical theater, which started my phase of intense professional performing in musicals, operas, and dramatic theater.

Anna recording
In addition to singing, you also act in theatre productions, are involved in sports, and have written articles for @GirlZoneGZ, @MissheardMag, and Huffington Post @HuffPostTeen. What do you like to do when you’re relaxing in between all of your activities?
To be honest, sometimes it feels like I have no time to relax! But when I get the chance, I love to binge watch Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix, make music videos with friends, do makeovers with my sister, and spend quality cuddle sessions with my mini dachshund, Oskar. Although I don’t get tons of time to rest, I always make sure to have at least one hour a day of “chill-time”, or else I would probably go crazy.

Do you think your introversion has had an effect on your singing or acting?
If anything, I think it has made me a better performer. Being introverted has made me very sensitive to others, which definitely has translated through my acting. Singing and acting has also been a helpful outlet for me to express myself when I normally wouldn’t. For example, in 7th grade, I covered Taylor Swift’s “Mean,” bringing up the topic of bullying. There was some drama going on that year at school, and I hadn’t been able to vent about it, or confront anyone. So, instead, I channeled all of my emotions and angry thoughts into that song, and I got pretty fired up! Similarly, I sang a cover of “This Too Shall Pass,” by Tyler Stenson, and created a music video about bullying with all of my friends! It felt good to use my singing to express myself in ways that I normally couldn’t.

In your Huffington Post article, you wrote about how you find it rewarding to take risks and put yourself into situations that are often uncomfortable for a shy introvert. What was the most rewarding but scary thing that happened to you this past year?
Hands down, no doubt, x-country running! My parents forced me into it, and I cried… a lot… They thought that I would meet people, and that being active would lower my stress level all around; I was so mad! But after the first day, I had already met a really nice group of freshmen girls, and although it was very hard, I started to admit to myself that x-country was the right choice for me. Now, one of my best friends is one of the girls that I met that first day of practice. Even though I was scared, tired, and mad at my parents, I am beyond glad that I did x-country last year.

student cross country running
If you were able to travel back in time, is there any advice you would give to your younger introverted self?
My biggest piece of advice to give to my little, unhappy, awkward, shy, introverted 6th grade self, would be to RELAX! You are always going to be an introvert, and that’s okay. But if you feel unhappy, and you want to be happier, you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort bubble. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable, and it’s okay to feel scared. The most important thing is to push yourself into vulnerable situations, because most of the time, you will be happy that you did. On the other hand, it’s totally fine to stay in on Friday nights, or skip that birthday sleepover. You have to embrace your introverted self, and honor who you are, and be okay with it. I know that you sometimes you feel compelled to go that extra mile, but if slowing down feels better, then slow down! Be true to yourself, even if you think that you’re weird, or “different.” You got this, little, unhappy, awkward, shy, introverted 6th grade self! Now go do great things, because I know that you can.

Where can people find out more about you?
You can like my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AnnaJaneBishop

You can download free music on ReverbNation: www.reverbnation.com/annajanesmusic

You can follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AnnaJaneBishop

And you can subscribe to my Youtube channel: www.youtube.com/user/annajanesmusic

Introvert Book Club – September 2014

Highly Sensitive Person

 

September’s introvert book will be The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron (Tweet this)

Description:
Are you a highly sensitive person?

Do you have a keen imagination and vivid dreams? Is time alone each day as essential to you as food and water? Are you “too shy” or “too sensitive” according to others? Do noise and confusion quickly overwhelm you? If your answers are yes, you may be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).

Most of us feel overstimulated every once in a while, but for the Highly Sensitive Person, it’s a way of life. In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Elaine Aron, a psychotherapist, workshop leader and highly sensitive person herself, shows you how to identify this trait in yourself and make the most of it in everyday situations. Drawing on her many years of research and hundreds of interviews, she shows how you can better understand yourself and your trait to create a fuller, richer life.

In The Highly Sensitive Person , you will discover:
* Self-assessment tests to help you identify your particular sensitivities
* Ways to reframe your past experiences in a positive light and gain greater self-esteem in the process
* Insight into how high sensitivity affects both work and personal relationships
* Tips on how to deal with overarousal
* Informations on medications and when to seek help
* Techniques to enrich the soul and spirit” (taken from Amazon)

Links to the book:
From Amazon (affiliate link)
From the public library

How to participate:
Acquire the book, start reading it, and join the discussion on Goodreads, or on Twitter using the hashtag #introbook.

Happy reading!

Roundup of Introvert-centric blogs

We may often be verbally quiet, but there are plenty of introvert-run blogs filled with written thoughts and interesting insights.

Here’s a few blogs from the so-called “quiet” crowd:

http://space2live.net – Brenda focuses on intimacy, relationships, and understanding your feelings.

http://theintrovertentrepreneur.com/category/blog – A blog that provides tips and insights for introvert entrepreneurs.

http://consciousintrovertsuccess.com/awesome-introvert-musings – Tanja’s blog posts are aimed at introvert business owners.

http://introvertdear.com – “The first online magazine for introverts and highly sensitive people.”

http://introvertspring.com – Michaela blogs about a wealth of different topics that effect introverts.

http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com – Susan Cain’s blog.

http://www.sheepdressedlikewolves.com – Andy’s blog is written for introverts and Highly Sensitive People (HSPs). He also has a podcast.

http://blog.sacredintrovert.com – Blog posts from the introvert community.

http://www.quietlyauthentic.com/blog.html – Catherine often blogs about finding your authentic center.

http://thebusinessofintroverts.co.uk – A blog for introvert entrepreneurs.

http://lonerwolf.com – Although now described as a blog for someone who “thinks differently and lives differently,” Loner Wolf started as a site for introverts, and still publishes posts about introversion.

http://61musings.com – The blog of a 61 year old introvert.

I hope you found a few new resources today. If there’s any introvert-centric blogs I missed, please let me know in the comments.

Introvert Interviews, with MaryBeth Schroeder

Welcome to our Introvert Interviews series where we talk to introverts from all walks of life about their experiences and their introversion.

MaryBeth Schroeder is a model, actress, and is currently writing and acting in a new web series called Casual Hex.

Are there any rampant misconceptions about actors (or models) and their personalities or temperament?Introverted model
People assume I am comfortable being stared at in my every day life. Whatcha doin? Stop staring. Ha! I’m totally cool with having attention on me if it is for the larger goal of a project or shoot or show. When I’m a piece of a storytelling puzzle, it isn’t actually about me. When I explain to people that I feel bashful or uncomfortable when they look at me, there is always a “BUT YOU’RE AN ACTOR! AREN’T YOU USED TO IT?” No. I’m an actor for a much deeper reason than “I want people to stare at me”. There have been times where I actually hide UNDER something until the time I’m ready to be looked at.

When I first started commuting on the railroad for modeling, there were days where I would just completely hide under my decorative scarf with my headphones and breathe. Then when the train arrived, I was ready to be super-fierce and show up to the casting and be “on”. I still do it sometimes. Whatever. I’m the ghost of public transport. I know a lot of introverted models who do their work and then go home to their nests, not concerned with attention. It’s a thing!

Do your coworkers respect your introversion?
These days I’m lucky to be surrounded by people who know many performers and understand that the variety is important. Any smart person seems to know that variety in temperament creates the best collaborative creative work.

Variety in temperament creates the best collaborative creative work. (Click to Tweet)

On the set of a television show once, I spent hours getting into full body makeup with another model who was full of things to say. By the time we finally got a break, I explained to her that I needed quiet time before we went on set to shoot. She was totally cool about it. I’m often in circumstances where people are spending long hours around one another and respect for boundaries is mark of professionalism. Everyone is working toward the same goal so there is a lot of fidelity between collaborative artists and comfort zones.

In terms of energy, how is modeling different from acting?
I’m deeply invigorated by the process that surrounds my acting work. I love the book work, I love the time I get to stew alone and make notes in my scripts. I even appreciate the weeks where I get submitted for 50 auditions, get called into 2 and book none. I love that flow and I’m comfortable pounding the pavement. It’s nice to get a script and bring myself into the audition room, do my work and then leave it there to let someone decide.

When I’m cast in something, I love that I can do all of my cerebral prep work. I get the opportunity to share my perspectives with people who value them toward the goal of the story. In my experience, getting hired as an actor also comes with the respect that my input is valid and essential. People seem to appreciate that I’m “all about the work”. I stink at small-talk, I don’t want to go out for a drink, I just want to find the connection to the other actors, the script, the intentions and make great stuff. Sometimes it can be hard to work on a project where the rest of the cast is super social and small-talky because all I want to do is the work.
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