Toot your horn…

In response to the Daily Prompt, Toot Your Horn“, Most of us are excellent at being self-deprecating, and are not so good at the opposite. Tell us your favorite thing about yourself.

My favorite thing about me is that I am not afraid to do things by myself. This started at a very young age. I was an only child for the first three years of my life and, even though my parents played and read to me, there were no kids on my blocks. Until I went to pre-school at almost five years old, I was only around other kids if my family when to a public place, such as the park or the shopping mall, or if we went to visit my cousins (three are older than me). I did many things as a child on my own, such as build with clay and play-dough, coloring, play with my dog, invent stories about my stuffed animals, and listen to my record player.Me and my childhood dog

As I got older, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I only had a few friends and none of them on my block. Luckily, they were walking distance when I was considered old enough to do so with permission. When I was at home I either played toys or games with my brother, read books, or watched television. Sometimes we would go to the park to play basketball or we would throw the baseball around in the yard. When kids did move in across the alley from us, they were boys my brother’s age.

I started playing tennis at age 8 and I got to be around other kids when I went to group lessons, but they lived in other areas and often knew people in the group already. Even though I was fairly outgoing around my family, I was pretty shy and nervous around people I didn’t know. Although I have mostly gotten over the nervousness, I am still shy as an adult despite working in a people-centered industry. I did get to know a few people through tennis but I would call us practice partners rather than friends.

Driving… one of my favorite activities

As an adult I have done many things on my own, including go to concerts, movies, shopping, out to eat, visited museums, travelled to other places to visit friends and family via bus, and lived by myself. Some of this took place in my pre-Boyfriend days but I have no problem doing these things when he is at work or tied up with other tasks. I often take my hour-long lunch break at work by myself so I can walk, run errands, make phone calls, or just be because I am otherwise in an office with 7 other people and in frequent interactions with customers by phone or in person. I have heard comments from people over the years who are shocked that I am not only ok doing these tasks alone but that I sometimes choose to do them by myself. This allows me to decide what I want to eat, if I want to listen to music, do I want to change course and go somewhere different that I originally planned for, and to just relax without having to choose my words wisely or having to agree with something (food, an opinion, etc.) in order to appease the other person. Sometimes we all just need a little time to ourselves in order to get back to business/life in a productive manner.

I am not opposed to socializing with others but, if you have ready any of my posts, you can understand how socializing can get complicated for me – I am as different from others as I can be alike, and my opinions do not always line up with those around me. Plus,  I need time to recharge after my people time, a somewhat introverted tendency that I have  started to attend to more than in the past. I like to think that I am independent, which allows me to grow and learn and discover before taking in the world around according to other people.

 

Learning About Myself

I was a shy kid who got teased. I had short hair for a long time, played an unpopular sport, and had a funny last name, all of which provided opportunities for others to tease me. I was talkative to the few friends I had and to my family, but I remained shy for a long time in a lot of situations until college. My roommate for most of college was very outgoing, and it was hard not to absorb a little of that when I got around a group of people. I thought I was an extrovert, partially because I was talkative in comfortable settings and because I work in a social services.

I am not someone who has ever had a large group of friends, like my brother does. Socializing with others comes very easy to him and everyone loves him.  I have mostly had a few people I was close with, and I still prefer to interact on that basis. I get lost in a big crowd, and still have trouble figuring out what to say to people I don’t know unless I can find a connection or it is work-related and I go into that frame of mind.  I went through a period in my twenties, like a lot of people, when I would go to bars and hang out but I still mostly spent time with people I already knew. While I did enjoy some of these times, I allowed myself to make poor or limited choices by not breaking away and branching out a little. The one good choice I made was to talk to the guy who is now Boyfriend, and it took me 20 minutes to think of what to say to him.

By Anneli Rufus
By Anneli Rufus

Boyfriend is an introvert but has a very warm personality. A few years ago he found out about a book called Party Of One: A Loner’s Manifesto by Anneli Rufus and recommended I read it after he did. It was a great book! I found myself intrigued and relating to some of what Rufus talked about. He then read Quiet: The Power of Introverts In  A World That can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I read that book, too, which kind of gelled with my interest in psychology. Over time, I’ve read a few more books about introverts and extroverts and learned a lot.  One I really like is Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe. While I can be very talkative and open in a comfortable setting, I still get nervous, I freeze, and sometimes I react by saying the exact wrong thing. I have learned that, even amongst people I like and feel connected to, I reach a limit and need time to recover and that it is ok to be “boring” and not join the group. After dealing with toxic people I feel stressed and anxious, which I notice more now than I did when I was used to chaos. Writing really helps, so does exercise, and also music, whether after work or other interactions.  I  believe that I am a mix of introvert and extrovert, and that’s fine by me.

By Susan Cain
By Susan Cain
By Laurie Helgoe
By Laurie Helgoe

Learning about yourself and what you need to be healthy and happy is very important. As I’ve written before in other posts, you have to choose wisely because some choices are long-lasting and expensive to change, such as a career path. Yet, sometimes you can scratch a certain itch in other ways, such as writing a blog when you have the desire to be a writer.   I scratch the athlete itch by working out and playing tennis when I have a chance.  I stay away from some social situations that are unhealthy or stressful  so I can be less stressed. I am still learning about myself everyday, and trying to improve for my betterment.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell