Laughing at myself

Me and the Should Monster

Me and the Should Monster

I’m sitting here this morning laughing at myself.  You can identify with this feeling, I’m willing to bet.  I’ve just had one of those light bulb moments of clarity and my head is wobbling between “I am brilliant” and “I can’t believe it’s taken me all these years to figure this out”.  You have to love those moments, don’t you?

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Here is how the day started out…

I had a fitful night because I found myself spending time with the Should Monster.  You know the Should Monster, that ugly little guy who rides on your shoulder, constantly reminding you of all the things you should have, could have, would have done if you were the highly functional, rational person you claim to be.  I know that when the Should Monster is active it really means that I’m avoiding something.

The root of the Should-ing turned out to be simple.  I have to go in to The Office this week.  Yes, time to pretend to be an extrovert.  I’m good at that, and I can handle the energy drain better than I would have before I raised my introvert consciousness.  So I kept picking at the annoying, itchy scab of Should that was keeping me awake and irritable.  The answer is…

I don’t know what to wear.

I am so tired of looking frumpy, which is how I feel when I go in to the office.  I don’t have nice office clothes because I don’t need them.  But I could have nice clothes if I really wanted them, so why don’t I?

My cat came and settled down on a shopping bag that has been lying by the door in my office for so long I have ceased to wonder why it was there.  I used to be a champion pile maker, having stacks of things everywhere (and, yes, I always knew where to find things) but Cee has pretty much broken me of that habit and my office now just has a couple of very, very small piles of books.  Three piles.  Maybe a foot high each.  So to have something else lying about, and have it been there for so long that I have ceased to notice it, made it quite suspect.  When it crinkled under Charlie’s weight I really began to wonder what it was and why I had deliberately ignored it for weeks.

Scarves.   Scarves I had ordered.  I was happy when they came but they have lain untouched since that day.  Why?

That’s when the light bulb went on in my head.  Because they’re new.  No on had ever seen me wear them before, and people were going to comment.  They always do.  And you know what that leads up to…. Small Talk.

I hate wearing new clothes because that draws attention to me and I get sucked into small talk.

I loved it when I was a kid because I went to parochial school, which meant I wore a uniform every day.  I could always blend in.  That was comforting.  We moved for my senior year of high school and I lost my uniforms.  Horror of horrors.  Now I was being judged all the time and my introversion showed quite plainly.  Thank goodness it only lasted a year and then I was off to college.

Fast forward to now.  So here I am, burning up all this perfectly good energy by stressing over having to wear real clothes to the office, leaving my comfy sweat pants at home.  And someone will say how nice it is so see me again and then compliment me on something new that I’m wearing and after I say thanks I won’t know what to say next.  (Yes, I can compliment the speaker in return but that just delays the inevitable.  I’ve tried it.)  Then the typical embarrassing dead air hovers between us and I don’t have a script ready.

And now I’m feeling silly, but that’s OK.  I like it when I figure out this old baggage and can finally let go of it.  The Should Monster doesn’t look so scary any more.

Maybe someday I’ll have this all figured out so that I can handle wearing crazy clothes and funky stuff, letting my personality shine.  I’ll either figure out what to say after “thank you” or be comfortable with the silence that ensues.  I will be bold and comfortable in my introversion and ignore all else.

chris Clown 300x300

Clowning around

Me in my balloon hat

Me in my balloon hat. See, I do have a sense of humor.

P.S.  I wanted to start the introvert writing prompts today but I don’t have it ready yet.  Stay tuned, dear friends…..

Hi.  I’m Chris.  I’m an introvert.  Look for my ongoing series celebrating introverts (Sunday), writing prompts for introverts (coming soon, I promise) and introvert cartoons (Thursday), plus anything else interesting that I find in the meantime.  Come and share with like-minded introverts.  I also contribute to the new food blog Three’s Cooking, learning to cook from the heart, for the soul.

24 thoughts on “Laughing at myself

  1. Discovered today the indisputable fact that I’m not, after all, an introvert ! I realize that my tendencies like not wanting to be in groups of people and so forth aren’t so much introversion as simple intolerance. [grin] This will not surprise you, CD !
    So you must remove me from the group database: I’m a bloody fraud. So much so that I managed to fool myself ! – is that clever, or what ? :green:

  2. You have reminded me of my school days and how I dreaded having a haircut because while we all wore the same uniform a haircut would always result in some degree of attention, which I hated.

  3. I have my own style of dressing that pleases me and sometimes causes compliments. I don’t handle that well. My usual reply is a simple “Thank you” and then I change the subject immediately. In the area of clothing, I am not introverted. In social situations involving more than five people, I am. It always seems that everyone else has something to say that needs to be said often, and I am always a conversation behind and too late to add a thought. Saturday night was typical. I was invited to a dinner party of ten. I knew three of the guests; the others were strangers to me. Everyone was convivial, charming, funny. I never got a chance to open my mouth. One of the new people to me, an outgoing, talkative, lovely lady looked over at me twice and asked if I was all right. With a smile, I assured her I was. And so it goes with an introvert.

  4. I never realized until reading this why I tend to downplay my new outfits–wear something old with them, avoid bright colors, etc. Wanting to avoid interaction based on them makes perfect sense as the reason. Thanks for the eye-opener. 🙂

  5. I totally get this, and have been trying to figure out the dichotomy of buying beautiful things hat speak to my heart, but then not wearing them. I must own 25 scarves, but seldom wear them. I fall in love with hats, and they sit on the shelf, or on my car seat. I once bought a beautiful cape style flared coat. I can still remember how beautiful it was, a gorgeous shade of purple, and I didn’t have the money to be wasting it. Never wore the coat. This was in the mid sixties, so you can see this is something that has stayed with me. Who remembers a coat they bought in the sixties? I have spent many years trying to figure out why I can’t let who I am inside show up on the outside. I hope I get there in time. I read all the purple hat stuff, but it just doesn’t sink in. Surely we’re not meant to just blend in forever?

    • I so relate to this. I adore beautiful fabrics and have bought lots of scarves and hats and coats over the years, but just can’t bring myself to wear them. I have settled on earrings as my “thing” – they are small enough not to stand out too much, but let me indulge me need for something lovely.

  6. It’s ridiculous how much i can relate to you. I always thought these little things about me were the deepest and darkest parts of me that nobody would ever understand! wow. And reading this satisfies me because now i know i have a valid excuse to be this way.

  7. Probably a little more on the extrovert side myself, but I still remember walking into my Grade 11 English class wearing -eeek- glasses for the very first time and feeling like all eyes would be on me.

  8. I used to struggle with compliments so much! Being a model in my youth & a good looking woman most of my life made it especially difficult. Somewhere over the past couple years (since menopause has plagued me) I learned the secret of accepting the compliment & moving on. I think the secret here is not to stay in one place too long, keep moving – organize a file, straighten something, pick up the phone, whatever – so when I receive the compliment I can say thank you & just move on. Maybe this would work for you?

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