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Winter to Spring

I know it sounds crazy, but I'm not all that happy that spring is here. Don't get me wrong; I like the flowers and the fresh air and being able to wear my normal clothes out again. But something weird happened this past winter. I decided not to care. Not to go out much. Not to force myself into things. Winter was the perfect excuse to stay home and save my energy for writing. And my goodness, did I get a lot of work done. It's amazing what you can do when you're not feeling drained from forcing yourself to be out around people.

I bet some people will think that means I'm "going backwards", because they think I should be getting out around people more. But it never feels like progress to me. It doesn't make me happier. Honestly, it rarely feels worth the stress to me. It's not worth the drained/depressed feeling I get afterward either. It is very nice to do things with friends and family from time to time, and I wouldn't want to stay away from being out completely or anything. But I chose what I wanted to do much more carefully over the winter. Which left me a lot more energy for writing. And now, I'm one chapter away from finishing Magic Inc.'s second draft and moving fully into the editing phase. I really think I'll be able to have the book completely done in a few months. As long as I don't have another emotional crash...

That's the other thing about spring; it leads to summer. And summer is not a typically good time for me. Neither is my birthday at the end of May. And I'm scared; I'm so scared. Last year I made it through summer and crashed in the fall instead. But it was horrible. It felt like one of the worst I've ever had. Winter allowed me to pull away from expectations and just focus on recovering. And I ended up doing more than that. The freedom from the whole "getting outside of your comfort zone" thing so many people preach actually granted me more progress. I work better when I am comfortable and not under pressure. That's just how it works for me.

But the nice weather is back, and so are the expectations. Not just from other people, but from myself. Winter is often about survival. Spring is about wanting more. And I do want more. I want to find Morgan. I want deeper friendships with people who understand me. I want my writing to reach people. But I may not get any of those things. At least not any time soon. There's a pressure building in me, whether I like it or not, for things to change. For finishing a book to be more than finishing a book. For it to be some kind of catalyst in my life. To break free of the ten-year cycle. I know who I am, and I know what I want. I want to move forward. But I need to move forward my way, at my pace. Towards what I want, not what others think is best for me. That's what winter taught me. To take better care of myself.

I decided at the beginning of winter to figure out what was good about it. To let time go forward and not fight the seasons so harshly. Now, I need to figure out what spring can offer. I don't know what that will be yet, but I don't want to forget what winter gave me in the process. I want to learn to appreciate each season for what it is and respect the flow of time, working with it instead of against it. Wish me luck.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 10th, 2015 11:58 pm (UTC)
It's amazing what you can do when you're not feeling drained from forcing yourself to be out around people.

I totally understand this. Do you ever feel a sort of shift once you step outside? Not sure how to explain it, but when you enter a room or a space with people in it, something invisible seems to change that you can feel. It might be energy of some sort. I know it's not imaginary because other people physically feel it in their gut or else translate it as discomfort.

I think, hope that perhaps more people are accepting that not everyone is the same, that some of us are a bit more introverted even though "extroversion" is perceived as "normal" or "better". I have it on good authority that some people expend energy around people whilst others gain energy. I don't know about you, butI've only gained energy around very few people in my life...like one or two.
I often think I seem more extroverted to people because I write to express myself but in person, I do a lot more silent observing. It's why I always liked journaling.

Congratulations on getting really far in your book! I know how that is where you have a big, productive phase and then...not so much. I was doing kind of terribly last year until someone told me not to "get out of (my) comfort zone" so much as extend it little by little, when and if it seemed to do good. The few times I didn't listen to myself when I thought, "Don't go out to the ______ tonight to meet_____and do_____" it went not so good. I think that there is constant pressure to go out and socialize even when you don't feel up to it. I do more now, like I am more comfortable but I went at my own pace until I felt less worried about it.
Aside from a friend who just came back from being abroad, I don't think I've done a whole lot of stuff this Winter aside from seeing family and holing up to brainstorm character stuff or play piano!

Spring does always seem really hopeful.

Good luck. :)
Apr. 11th, 2015 01:16 am (UTC)
Yeah, I feel something stepping into a busy room. There are definitely people who feel drained when around other people and other who feel energized from it. And I'm sure for some people it depends on the person/situation. I really only get don't get energy drains from being around my Mom and my therapist. Even spending time with friends that I love seeing (which happens rarely), I feel exhausted afterward. And going out in public is something I have to prepare for. It's like putting on armor.

I think I'm the same way! I can go on and on in text about my feelings, and even when I talk to people in person (according to my Mom) I present myself well. I don't feel like that second part is true at all! I am constantly replaying stupid things I did and said. I can get myself sick over something I did over ten years ago if I let myself.

But also, there are some introverts who can sort of put on a more extroverted appearance. I don't know if you've heard of Quiet by Susan Cain, but it's a really interesting read. I don't agree with everything she says, but I learned a lot about introversion and extroversion from her book. I think she calls introverts who can "pretend" to be extroverts for short periods of time High Self Monitors vs. Low Self Monitors or something like that. But I've never been a person who could pretend like that. And I don't want to be. I'd rather be awkward and still feel like me. But I can understand that some people have jobs where they have to put on presentations and such and maybe that gets them through. It's just not for me. (And luckily, my "job" is to sit at home in front of my computer and do what I love!)

I like that way of thinking. I also more just extend out of my comfort zone from time to time. I mean, honestly, my comfort zone is basically my room. And my house. And my therapist's office. I don't really feel comfortable anywhere else. So, anything I do out in the world is going out of my comfort zone. And it doesn't really get any easier. But I gain nothing from trying to be what people think of as "normal". Susan calls it the Extrovert Ideal. But she does a pretty good job explaining that there are great things about introverts and that we need to realize that being extroverted is not just automatically better.
Apr. 12th, 2015 06:42 am (UTC)
"Putting on armor". I heard someone else say something similar and I wondered about them because they seem so friendly and sociable. Perhaps they are good at faking extroversion to get by?

I use to mull over things from childhood and think really heavily on things that I did felt/experienced to the point where I would stare at the far wall and zone out for an hour or two. I didn't even think it was odd until I stopped doing it and realized how much time I would spend brooding inside my own head.

I had heard of Susan Cain (through a Psych class) though I have not read her book and I went to her site. Hmm. She seems to be making a case for it being something that is only now being recognized as a thing to be addressed. However, I am fairly certain that "introverts" have existed since the dawn of civilization and comparing the oppression of introverts to that of women in general? Eh??

I have heard that quite a few actors are introverts. Imagine putting yourself out there for auditions. Yikes!

In an ideal world, nobody would do jobs ill suited to their talents and personality. I was laid off from a job with some other folks due to new management and personality clashes. I blamed myself for awhile even though I knew that those people were kind of horrible. I am proud of myself though for being honest and trying to live in integrity. That place made me wear so many masks. I am never ever going to work in a similar place again. I've wondered what it would be like to have writing as a job.

I don't know if you've ever tried those Myers-Briggs tests, but the "E"s seem to be awfully prevalent. There must be more introverts out there "faking" it. I can't believe that "most" people are extroverted by nature.

I also more just extend out of my comfort zone from time to time. I mean, honestly, my comfort zone is basically my room.

I am better now than I used to be, but I sort of turned my room into a sanctuary! I painted it dark purple and covered every square inch with pictures, posters, designs, cards with drawings and poems.
Apr. 12th, 2015 02:36 pm (UTC)
I think my armor makes me come off as kind of cold, at times. I'm sure I at least look very unhappy when I'm out. I try to smile at people, but it probably comes out strained. I could see how another person's armor could be the opposite: friendly and pleasant.

I try not to space out about the past too much, but I end up thinking about it a lot because it's the basis of my series. And I dream about the past all the time.

Yeah, like I said, I don't agree with everything Susan says. But the book really is interesting. You don't have to read it, of course. I just end up referencing her a lot when talking about introversion because that's where my information has come from. I don't think she's saying that introversion is a new thing. At least I've never read anything that seemed to say that. I think it's just that talking about introversion as something not to be fixed is new. But I have heard the comparison to oppression of women thing, which is an awfully bold statement that I don't really agree with.

I agree it would be great to see everyone in a job that suited them. But I think the problem is that some jobs have social elements forced on them that aren't entirely necessary. Like not having much privacy in an office situation. I don't like people watching me do anything. I know I would struggle to get any work done if I couldn't close my door and put on music.

I don't know. I see a lot of people on Tumblr putting their letters on their blog, and most of them seem to be "I"s. But maybe those are just the types of people I tend to follow. I'm an INFJ (http://www.mypersonality.info/fireflyslocket/), which is apparently the most rare? Like 1% of people? Haha. Also, my "I" is 100% on the scale. So, yeah. I'm about as introverted as they come!

Oh, man. I'd love to paint my room a soothing robin's egg blue or periwinkle. But I couldn't deal with the stress of having all my furniture moved out of the way to do it. I have two book cases, two DVD cabinets, a desk, dresser with a TV and a bunch of game systems, my bed, and stacks of books that don't fit anywhere else stuffed into my room. But your room sounds awesome!
Apr. 14th, 2015 05:13 am (UTC)
I believe in only smiling when you feel it. I notice that people in public (like when you stop off someplace to get something or are going through public transit) are fond of saying, "Smile!" to strangers, usually women. I never notice anyone telling grumpy, scowling men to smile. :P
I am of two minds, a) my inner voice wants them to bugger off, b) I figure that they are probably just trying to be friendly and this is their awkward way of showing it. I used to refer to them as the Smile Police. Smile, or else.

Do you ever have recurring dreams? Or do you remember dreams from childhood?
(If I am being nosey, you don't have to answer :) ).

Have you ever worked with telephones? I've done a variety for fairly short periods of time. Phones are the worst/weirdest. I don't mean like a phone tree or a call center, but just answering phones at a job as part of your routine. I'd be lying if it said that it didn't put me off phones a bit. But there is ONE good thing: you can make whatever face you like and nobody can see it. When I see people at a job looking listless, I feel bad, like someone is making them feel this way or when people jump to help you and they seem kind of jittery, I figure it's because they have a controlling boss who bores them silly with empty-headed speeches about customer service. Still, it makes for entertaining writing that other people with crappy jobs can related to. Perhaps I should give one of my characters a crappy job. :) I'll rescue you them from it though, obviously. :)

Yes! Closing the door is a must. I feel like I am a go-to person for the most random of things so if I don't close the door, someone is sure to bug me.

I heard that as well, that it is the most rare. We all took it and wrote a page about whether or not we felt it was fitting, for a Psych class. I got INFJ as well. I never thought of myself as "F" because I am in my head a lot but the description definitely sounds like me. 100%! Wow. You're a pure introvert. ;)

I painted it before moving in here awhile back so it worked out nicely. But now...I have about as much as you can possibly pack in here! It's pretty small but I have a bed, desk, piano and three bookshelves. So it's a good thing I like the color!

Apr. 14th, 2015 02:45 pm (UTC)
I don't think you should smile if you don't mean it either. I'm also against the whole "fake it 'til you make it" stuff. You can occasionally trick your brain into thinking you feel certain things, but that's not a good thing at all! Fake happiness will eventually crumble, and it could get into situations you don't really want. But I do like to try to smile at people, just as a sign of solidarity. We're all in this world together, and we're all struggling with something.

I have recurring themes in my dreams. Like, four years ago, my family and I had to clean out my Grandma's house after she died. It was a really emotional time, because she was like a second parent to me. More present in my life than my Dad. And she was a bit of a hoarder. Not like with gross stuff, just lots of things she liked to save. Like, empty jars and such. She lived in that house since her childhood, so she nearly had 88 years worth of stuff built up. Plus, stuff from all her kids and me. Because I lived there until I was nine. Anyhow, I dream all the time still about cleaning that house. But it's always with some vague awareness that the house belongs to someone else, and we shouldn't be there. The same thing happens with dreams about school. I'm constantly thinking, why am I back in school; I dropped out. And I often get into arguments with teachers and tell them I don't have to be there because I got my GED.

I've never worked at all, to be honest. Other than on my own writing. My Social Anxiety is just too extreme. I've never been out of the house on my own. Had to drop out of high school. Couldn't even get that GED until they let me do it my myself with the test-giver in a place I was comfortable: my therapist's office. But phones are the worst, I think. I'd rather talk to someone in person 95% of the time. The face thing is actually the problem for me. I can't get any visual clues off the person, but I also don't get to think out my response like with text. So it's the worst of both worlds. Haha.

I just looked at what each of the letters represented, and I agree with mine completely. I'm in my head a lot, too, but in the end, I make my decisions based on my heart. The in your head thing might be the "J" for INFJs. Yep, a pure introvert.
Apr. 16th, 2015 11:41 pm (UTC)
Nice icon! Again. XD
I have one a little like that on my DW blog that I should snag and bring over here. It's Draco from HBP like that one.

Yeah. Sometimes "faking it" can make you feel that if you just keep going through the motions that things will improve. It sometimes works, but probably only because something else is actually helping and it is sort of like a place holder to make you feel less insecure? I am not even sure how to phrase it. I am not into the whole "chemical" view of trying to combat anxiety because it's misleading. Chemicals don't make you, no matter what people say. There is no evidence that they create emotions rather than emotions leaving a physical imprint on the body in the form of chemicals. The fact that you can be self-aware of a situation and willfully attempt to change it demonstrates how the mind and the body are not one and the same or clearly definable the smaller you get (the atomic level). All of our physical processes in the brain at the tiniest level can be measured in terms of nanometers, which is located at what I refer to as Dodgy Central or the quantum level. All bets are off down there.

I see people with less anxiety once the problem is removed, i.e. the thing that is making you feel unsafe or fearful, but so many people are trapped in awful circumstances. :(

ack. didn't mean to go off.

Interesting. I used to dream all the time about my grandparents house until they both had died and then it stopped. Though I had one where I was there and strangers were living in their place. They didn't speak aloud but were apologetic like they didn't know why they were there. I was waiting and finally someone told me that my grandmother wasn't coming. That's really interesting about your grandmother's room! She must have had some neat things.

I'm sorry. :( So do you have to go back to school then?? My dad did that. He moved over here from England, hated the school system and quit at 16. He took the GED. He had only ever gone to all boys schools with strict rules and a very orderly environment. Over here, he went to a HS in the Bronx. :S

Hmm. I am all too good at getting visual cues.
That sounds so hard. :( *hugs*
Apr. 17th, 2015 03:27 am (UTC)
That's kind of like when I'm coming out of an emotional crash, and I try to stay distracted as much as possible while I wait for things to calm down. I think brain chemistry is part of the problem, but it's not the whole story. I may be introverted, easily stressed, and hyper-sensitive by nature, but a lot of my Social Anxiety issues come from years and years of being targeted by bullying. The situations are what usually trigger the brain chemistry getting out of whack.

I'm in a very good situation compared to so many people, but even I would feel much better with a few shifts in my life. I'll always have some issues to deal with, but if I could find the person I could connect with on the deepest level who loves me as I am, I know I'd feel less terrified of... well, just about everything.

She did have a lot of interesting stuff! Her parents actually ran a store out of the house when she was a kid. So, there was a room in the house she still called the store, and it was where she stored stuff. Hehe. It had the old shelves and everything.

Oh, I'm never going back to school. I couldn't even handle cyber school. They say that they can cater to your needs better than regular school, but that was not true in my experience. I tried that when I first dropped out. There was one counselor-type guy who was really nice and supportive, but then they got a new director and things changed, and well, it didn't work out. So, I just waited until I could get the GED. And now, I'm done with school for good.
Apr. 21st, 2015 07:02 am (UTC)
:( Sorry about the bullying. When I was nine, these kids would ask for the change from my lunch money every day and I saw nothing weird about it so I just gave it to them.

but if I could find the person I could connect with on the deepest level who loves me as I am, I know I'd feel less terrified of... well, just about everything.

This! I used to think that everyone was looking for this, but now I am not so sure. Connecting can be hard or it can be the sort of emotional commitment some folks are not prepared to handle; kind of scary in a way. Intense.

School is very in vogue now. I sort of hope that it changes in future. College can be good for some things but it is out of control, a big industry that often churns out anxious people who have never truly been given the opportunity to ponder what it is that they wish to do with their lives outside of pressure and trends and other peoples' advice. I am sort a ferocious autodidact. I've been teaching myself random things since I was a little kid. My first big obsession was ornithology. I read whatever books I could find and I would keep a notebook for observations of the birds in my neighborhood. Later it was astronomy, marine mammals, foreign languages.

I didn't have too hard of a time though this one huge classroom was a bit wearing. I would always sit on the outer edge because the middle was way too claustrophobic.
Apr. 21st, 2015 04:35 pm (UTC)
I crave that intensity. I know it's not for everyone, but I've always been someone who feels things intensely, and I'd have to have someone who could match that.

There are some things I wish I could take classes about. Studying literature would be very interesting, at least. I wouldn't want to take any writing classes, though, because I just don't see writing in a technical way. I don't want to be told HOW write. I already know my own style, and I only improve by continuing to work on it. So, yeah. I don't feel like I'm missing out on so much. It just depends on the person and situation what they can get out of traditional schooling.
Apr. 24th, 2015 01:14 am (UTC)
I crave that intensity. I know it's not for everyone, but I've always been someone who feels things intensely, and I'd have to have someone who could match that.

I agree. It's not always so easy to find. A lot of folks run in the opposite direction when they come face to face with someone who makes them feel that way.

I loved studying literature! (at university)
Not writing expository essays though. o_O They are ridiculous! The format is very formulaic and dry and repetitive, and frankly stupid. :)
They definitely preach how to write essays, and well, everything else. I took a Creative Writing class. That was cooler than I thought it would be! In mine, they did not so much tell you how to write but you could print copies of a short story and have other people give feedback. You could even choose a nickname for more anonymous criticism and it had to be kept respectful and actually helpful.

Traditional schooling is sort of overrated unless you have a great teacher and you can have that outside of school as well.
Apr. 24th, 2015 02:31 am (UTC)
Ugh, I was always horrible at writing essays. And that was just in high school. I would just want to learn and take things in but not be judged. I don't care about grades or degrees. It's the learning that's important.
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