Tag Archives: Introvert

Sorry for myself

“Sitting back broken in spirit was just not an option”
Just read a very moving blog
http://ubecute.com/2014/09/10/the-story-of-a-girl-who-never-looked-back/
This line caught my eye.
A jolt.
The realisation that I really have been letting myself feel very sorry for myself of late and have been sliding down just a little too often and too far.

Time to dig deep once more and stop what has become a bit of a slide.

So many great and positive things going on when I take stock of my life – relationships, health, work – I’m lucky, truly blessed by the people and opportunities in my life and yet there is still a profound sense of melancholy. A familiar feeling.

Just four and a half months since mum died and it’s so raw still sometimes. A candle lit for her in a church in Sicily on my recent holiday and tears fell. The welcome and moving comfort of a stranger’s hand on my shoulder.

So that loss, that grief sits there, emerging strongly in moments and it adds to the melancholia that has been with me as long as I can remember, indulged sometimes, kept at bay and from spilling over most of the time.
I feel joy, contentment, love, happiness, achievement, relatedness, peace … All these so often and so deeply….And yet somewhere as a quiet backdrop lies the melancholia. An old friend now in many ways, oh so familiar, a smile of recognition almost when it pushes it’s way through the good things of my life to remind me that it’s still there.

So I stood last night at the door of my English pub bedroom for the night, here to spend an early birthday celebration with my youngest sister and my Dad, soaking in the sights and smells and sounds of an unseasonally warm September evening in Surrey and saw this:

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Luxuriating in the lush greenness and the warmth of the fading sun, feeling content and then a sudden being enveloped by sadness, melancholy. So there we stood, my melancholy and me for a while in the doorway, co-existing until time came for it to be tucked away before an evening celebrating a birthday of my much loved sister. Tucked away. Til the next time.

So reading Ubecute.com’s blog just now about a woman who’s faced massive life challenges, things I’ve never had to face, a humbling story, I’m reminded of how life is for me. I’m reminded of how while acknowledging and sitting with my old friend melancholy at times is right, giving space and time, exploring it’s twists and turns is all needed but letting it move right in and take centre stage as I feel it might like to, “just isn’t an option” for me.

Clutter

Where did all the clutter in our home come from? As part of my sitting with my feelings this weekend I took on to start a declutter while J is away and here I am on Sunday evening feeling somewhat defeated. Tons sorted, bin bags filled, a shredding frenzy and still there is more. Perhaps 3 months off work and I could crack it. Decluttering leave. Must be a category along with compassionate leave or maternity leave.

So much unneeded stuff. What was I thinking accumulating it all? Like molehills mounds appear in rooms. Clothes when the wardrobes are full, piles of books in the absence of bookshelves, things and more things, things that might come in handy one day, maybe. Things I have no idea how they got here. Unwanted forgotten gifts?

Stuff. Like my thoughts and memories. All cluttering up the corners of my brain and then the occasional avalanche when they tumble pellmell into my consciousness. A weekend of acknowledging, sifting and sorting. And sadness. Lots of sadness. Loss. A chat with my ex mother in law to express my condolences on the recent deaths in her family. That chat left me with a wave of sadness about my marriage to her son and the way it ended. Feelings all raw and on the surface again. Hard to believe it’s nearly 8 years ago now.

And I just try to be with the feelings and work my way through the clutter inside and around me. Getting there…

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Sitting with sadness

For the first time since my mum’s death almost four months ago I’ve had two weeks on my own at home, my partner off in Ireland for work.

I realise how much I’ve needed this space to sit with my feelings- not only the loss of my mum, the thinking about things that will never happen again, rerunning my last visit to her where she held my hand tight and returned a kiss unexpectedly ….but also the sense of responsibility for my father and the still broken relationships with 2 in the family. It’s a lot and it needs time just to quietly be and to do the things I know work for me in times such as these – lots of sleep, very very simple healthy food, swimming, walking, writing, reading, time to just be and think and lots of quiet.

A photo on the mantelpiece of my mum from a few years before her descent into Alzheimer’s. She is looking directly at the camera and is surprisingly relaxed and happy, usually one to avoid being the subject of a photo. It’s good to remember times like those as well as the peaceful times she had towards the end of her life. I loved just to visit and sit with her, doing the little things she seemed to like – putting on hand cream, brushing her hair, helping her eat a Creme caramel with gusto and just holding her hand as she slept. All precious times and feel good about having been able to go down so often in her last months in particular.

So lots of memories of moments with my mum that feel good just to sit with.

The family difficulties resulting from their ways of dealing with loss continue. Incredibly painful for me but I have just tried to keep going. In pain they have lashed out and excluded. And I just keep going trying to do the best by my dad and youngest sister – and for us the shared grief has brought us closer. Still unresolved with the other two despite my best efforts I just need now to step back and let time continue to pass. The realisation is that not everything can be fixed and may not be ever. That’s not an easy thought.

I’ve read so much about loss and grief and get the why … But it still makes it tough to be at the sharp end of the consequences of how others can deal with theirs. At a time I’d have imagined a pulling in, a strengthening of bonds, it’s been the opposite with them. Just need to be with that.

So time to muse and meditate, time to snooze and peruse books and podcasts, drink great coffee and feel my limbs stretch as I swim. Time to recharge and fill my being with positive energies and nourishment.

Just what I needed.

Ageing, introversion, confusion and appearance on public transport

Seem to have spent lots of time on tubes and trains this week.

Ageing
Twice today someone stood up to offer me a seat. As the working week has gone on I am wondering if I am looking greyer, more tired or just plain old – or is it that it’s Be Chivalrous day? It’s a moment that happens more frequently it seems and each time I am surprised to find myself being seen as the kind of age that needs a seat. Always that dilemma of whether to take the proffered seat or not and how to respond and acknowledge their kind offer when saying no. ” I am way too young for that” I feel myself tempted to say and luckily my reasoning saves me from doing that and thus that potentially awkward moment of them looking at me with disbelief. Like my grandmother who in her late 80s told me she still felt young and all I could think as a teenager was that she was a deluded old lady! Ah how the tables are turned now I’m sure she would think.

Introversion
The joy of the quiet compartment in the train down to Plymouth. The perfect spot for an introvert like me to get absorbed in thoughts and ideas and observe those around me. A posh young man in a striped business shirt arrived a few minutes ago, starting a loud conversation on the phone with someone about salmon fishing. All around me typical English reactions of no-one saying anything but sharing raised eye brows and tuts… Martyrs all….Just as I was formulating my words, a bold Spanish woman many seats away got up and firmly silenced the rule breaking young man sitting with his phone under a “Quiet Coach” sign. Relief all round and perhaps some like me thought they should have been as courageous as she. All that now we hear is the rustle of papers and squeak of cases as people get in or leave. Silence reigns once more.

Confusion
Where did coach B go? Passengers alighting at Paddington clutching their Carriage B tickets wandered fruitlessly up and down carriage A and C looking for it. An announcement finally that Coach B was now in fact Coach E and off they all scuttled both relieved and annoyed. Who needs it on a Friday rush hour? Messing with the alphabet like that.

Appearance
Twice on a tube this week I have watched young women expertly apply their full make up – even carefully drawn lines along eyelids and mascara applied faultlessly. From early morning pale washed out faces transformed into flawless beauties. Like me others watched their transformation with awe and wonder. Their confident strokes and applications, completely unaware of or indifferent to the interest they were creating around them.
Of course then being me with my imaginings I wondered whether the process is reversed going home. I just can’t quite see that ever happening – though I enjoy the thought…Maybe one day someone will.

Public transport. I love it.

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Acres of time…

I love that feeling of acres of time ahead at the start of a holiday. Even now with our 10 days in Greece nearly done there is a spaciousness still. So much time to simply sit and be.

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My favourite time, the early mornings as the low sun slowly rises, before the full heat of the day. A wander through the quiet alley ways of this tiny Greek island town, stopping to note the colours, a doorway here, a view over far away island there. And as I wander imagining all those people tucked up in their beds – some snorers, an arm round a loved one, some curled up like a ball, old and young, sleeping soundly still. There’s a peacefulness about that imagining of a town still mostly asleep.

Then down to the harbour for a cappuccino and hot freshly baked bread bought from the bakery and back to my still sleeping partner. A swim and a muse in the sun on loves and losses, on good intentions for my life back in London soon. And then finally he wakes and these precious solitary moments are done … Til tomorrow,

Weekly writing challenge : expectations versus reality

Expectations, the theme of this week’s writing challenge. So many ways to come at this. So here are 3

1. Not quite good enough.
The parental expectation, real or imagined, of needing to do just that bit better. Exam marks really good, but surely a little better might have been possible. Even now on my iPad scrabble game I eschew the option with the teacher – harsh she is. Even with the really high scores you can pull out of the bag just sometimes, the online teacher says “excellent” and then with an unwritten but understood “but” explains what word I could have put and how many additional points that might have given me.

2. An expectation that it would be forever.
I never imagined he’d break my heart and cheat on me with a twenty something year old, after being together for 22 years. Just never dawned on me. Ups and downs of course over those years but I was the woman he talked publicly of being the love of his life. He certainly was mine.
I’ve changed with this experience. Happy in a newish relationship now but with no expectation of forever. It’s a different way of loving.

3. Expectations of behaving like an extrovert
I love people, find them endlessly interesting. They just tire me. A typical introvert. A whole day with people and I ‘m running on empty. I watch with wonder at people around me who visibly get more and more energised when round others.
I deliver training, I give conference talks to groups of 500 people at a time, I do lots of one on one coaching and can just about hold my own in a professional networking event ( as long as I’ve given myself a pep talk first!) . But put a conference chatting drinks or meal event on after the talk and I’m lost. Just don’t know how to do it. The confident trainer or speaker they experienced turns into a shy person hoping the time will soon come she can slide away for some quiet recharging time ready for the next people event.
There are so many interesting bloggers on this world of introversion and it’s easy in this world to feel one of many. But at the conference events it’s hard to spot the fellow introverts as we ‘re all just trying to fit in and not be seen as anything but the extravert majority. So expert at that camouflage we can’t even spot the other fakers like ourselves.

Ah expectations. So many , so often, so problematic!

My ideal introvert day

Waking to a warm bed, my partner having crept out earlier and managed unusually not to wake me.

A sense of space and time as I look at the day ahead. Stretching out in bed, luxuriating. A great coffee sought and then back to bed with yesterday’s Saturday Guardian to peruse.

A shower with my favourite smelly things -choosing one from the large range to match my mood of the day.

Selecting one of my favourite bits of funky jewellery, each one reminding me of the place it was bought or the person who’d given it to me. Having time to muse on those thoughts as I select and put it on. And all the time in the background, no sounds except the distinct call of Australian birds.

Aware as I write here that my perfect day has that bit of England and the life I love here combined with so much of my Aussie life. This is a blog. Those things are possible!

After tropical fruit and yoghurt and more hot steaming cappuccino it’s a long and leisurely walk by the sea stopping to sit and watch and muse or take photos. And a swim in the sea water pool by Coogee.

Late Lunch in the shade somewhere that I can watch people and dream up stories of who they are. Something yummy and healthy that has been beautifully presented.

And then? More walking, a potter at home, writing or reading or playing with Photoshop and photos.

Ending this perfect restorative introvert day curled on a sofa with a beautifully shot movie with fabulous acting and a compelling story. Something for my brain to chew over as I head to bed and later be aware of my loving partner coming home – after a day that has fed my soul, if indeed there is a soul. Fed my imagination, recharged my batteries, given my body the good food and exercise it loves and had time to create. Perfect.

http://61musings.com/2014/02/21/my-ideal-introvert-day/

Written in response to the daily prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/daily-prompt-good-time/

Nothin’ but a good time http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/daily-prompt-good-time/

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/daily-prompt-good-time/

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Daily prompt ; don’t you forget about me

I read this prompt about what legacy you want to leave behind, how you want to be remembered.

So here are some photos to explore this…

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Why this one?

Taken just this morning in Plymouth my eye was drawn to the spaces between the uniform lines of the old train lines and the shapes of the cobbles – the green.

I’d like to be remembered by people who knew me at work as someone who looked between the lines, the expected. Someone who found and created possibilities. Someone who generated ideas and enabled new and unexpected things to happen with and for people.

Someone who made a difference.

And those who knew me in the rest of my life ?

Perhaps this :

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A romantic and eternal optimist who lived a life without regrets.
Someone who brought pleasure to others, adding colour and life.
Someone who loved her friends and family, especially creating meals for others to savour round a dining table.
Someone who needed lots of quiet and space to be able to really enjoy her time with the people in her life. A contented introvert able to bring a sense of peace to others.
Someone who was always there for the people she cared for.
Someone who made a difference.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/prompt-dont-foget/

Weekly writing challenge : 1000 words

1000 words, a story, from one of these four photos. So went the challenge. A photo picked I start a story not knowing where it will go. Six o’clock on Saturday morning unable to sleep more and I am hoping enough words come to me

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The image in the flyer in her hands had promised serene days of solitude, quite and peaceful refection. People sitting or walking in gentle woods, by the ocean, in wooden meditation halls. She wanted some of that. It had got all too intense, the living together and the pressure to perform at work and be the motivator, the energiser, the leader. She longed for this. Peace. Beautiful nature. No expectations. Space. Time just to be. To be her.

The first evening, checking out her fellow meditators. A little getting to know you chatter, half heartedly carried out by people like her who just wanted the words to stop. Healthy vegetarian food on long wooden trestle tables. And after an introduction by the Abbot, a white Australian monk, once a rock musician, the silence started. Except it wasn’t. As people sat cross legged in the meditation hall, focussing on the breath, in and out, in and out, she became aware of the volume going up in her head, an endless stream of thoughts. So loud she wondered whether others could maybe hear them too.

Thinking, thinking, thinking. That was the instruction to tell yourself when thoughts arose. The idea being they stop the thoughts in their track. Not so. Not for her. They seemed to attract even more.

Paul. What was she going to do about his wanting to be part of every bit of her life, squeezing himself into the tiniest spaces. Even in the bathroom, door firmly closed she was aware of his singing along to the radio or still asking her questions. Why did he not understand that a closed bathroom door meant a pause in conversation? A tiny bit of me time. She’d started inventing reasons to pop to the local supermarket just to get that bit of headspace and yet even then he sometimes offered to come with her.

At first that day and night, day and night togetherness was so attractive. To be wanted and want, to be with him every free moment. She wasn’t even sure now when that changed, when it was she started to feel that sense of drowning. Just too much him everywhere and not enough space to be her. “We love breakfast in bed” she heard him tell a friend. That surprised. Because she didn’t. Findings crumbs in the bed was one of her pet hates. All that awkwardness balancing the tray. No she didn’t love it, didn’t like it even. Something he’d introduced that had now become something we loved. What happened to the her that had now been subsumed into a we.

Thinking, thinking, thinking. For a moment or two she successfully managed to follow the breath in and out and in and out. Moving in. She wasn’t sure any more how that had even happened. Some socks left behind one time, a toothbrush appearing unexpectedly in the glass in the bathroom and then it was a case full, some boxes and he was in. She couldn’t even really remember a discussion. No careful weighing up of pros and cons, her usual style for making decisions large and small. One day he wasn’t living there and it felt like the next he was. Where had her voice gone? How had she just let that happen? The whirl of love and sex and feeling special and somehow she’d lost her ability to say no, or even let’s just slow things down a bit.

Thinking thinking thinking. The bell sounded and silently off people went to cabins to sleep. If only. Sleep proved elusive. The thoughts continued at full volume.

A bell to get up. It felt like she had only just closed her eyes and sunk into quiet slumber. Reluctantly she got up and looked at the reflection in the mirror above the sink. Her pale tired face. How did she get to be 40 ? It had all gone by so fast. Half a life gone already if the statistics were to be believed.

It just hadn’t turned out as she had expected so far. No children. No albums full of births and first days of school, family holidays, proud grandparents. She felt she had let them down, her parents. The only one not to produce grandchildren. And she the eldest. She never had the shy but excited announcement. Never given them the pleasure of being asked to stay over and take care of the children. At the big family occasions she was only too acutely aware of the fact it was just her. But no more. Now there was Paul. She now had Paul to bring. There they both were in the big extended family photos surrounded by sisters and children and parents. At least it meant she no longer stood there alone, unsuccessful.

She was 40 and loved by a man called Paul who said he wanted to share the rest of his life with her. Was that so bad. Really? She had missed waking beside him, listening to his breathing, feeling his arm about her. She missed the sight of his clothes thrown into a heap on the floor in her tidy bedroom. She missed his smile when she came in from work and the hug that enveloped her. She missed him and the way he squeezed himself into every part of her life.

Bags packed, note left by way of explanation she left, heading back home. Our home. So what if she had only managed one night of a 10 day retreat. Her expectations of solitude and peace hadn’t been met. Nor had her expectation that she’d come back from this space to ask him to move out, to give her room just to be her again.

She’d come here to be alone and find herself again. And instead she’d found him. Right there.