Monday, September 10, 2018

A Needless Construct

We ate the rest of it in silence, enjoying the feeling of the cold morning air and hot food in our bellies.

That's one of the things I always appreciated about him. He didn't insist on small talk. He was just perfectly happy to sit quietly in your company, if that's what the situation felt like. I asked him about that once, in fact, and he said that he always thought of small talk as "one of those needless constructs we all inflict on each other to reinforce the idea that we belong".


Excerpt from Commune
by Joshua Gayou

 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Being An Outsider

... there are so many issues at play in Hunchback that continue to be relevant today... the ridicule and torment in all its forms of those who are different from you. I think we can all relate in some way to being an outsider, or feeling or appearing different from other people.

Excerpt from the program material for
The 5th Avenue Theatre's production of
The Hunchback of Notre Dame



I went to see this musical recently, and I thought it was an interesting version of the story. In this show, a deaf actor played the role of the main character, Quasimodo, and he performed mostly using sign language, which is appropriate considering Quasimodo was also deaf.

Although there were many touching moments in the show, what I related to most was how communication barriers can isolate you and make you an outsider. Aside from his physical deformity, Quasimodo also had an inability to communicate due to his deafness; the real barrier, however, was that he was shunned because of it. Although I was never shunned for being an introvert, I was made to feel that my differences in communicating were somehow wrong.

It's nice to be reminded that, even in the old stories, there are people who find strength and rightness in simply being who they are regardless of how they're treated.

 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Master Of My Domain

After all these years, I've finally obtained the domain, extremeintrovert.com. It was once owned by someone else, but I recently saw that it became available and I happily snatched it up.

I know it's silly, especially considering my lack of upkeep here, but I enjoy the acquisition nonetheless.

So, this is where I am now. Maybe I'll get around to changing my email address at some point, too.

 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Let Them Enjoy My Introversion

Lately I've been wondering if I've grown too old to care how many times a day people make note of my quietness (among other such things). Does it bother me any more?

Maybe I'm numb to it now, but it still happens as much as ever. Really, it's crazy.

Most recently, after I asked about some colleagues overseas, questioning whether they were excited about taking on a new project or not -- because, to me, they appeared irritated -- I was told that, yes, they were very excited, and that it's just a cultural thing. They're like the Japanese, I was told, very reluctant to express themselves. And then another colleague chimed in and said, "Oh, so, they're very much like Zeri."

Or, when I decline to join colleagues for lunch outings (which -- to be fair -- I do try to join in on every so often), someone will joke about how much I dislike them or about how mysterious I am. My colleagues like to propose ridiculous theories regarding my taciturnity, such as me being in the witness protection program, or that I'm an undercover agent, or worse things.

Most of the time now, I embrace these images. Let them enjoy my introversion. I do.

But, now and then, I hear people talk about other so-called-introverts, and I'm reminded about why I should care. I still hear people say things like, "He started out as an introvert, but then he overcame his shyness whenever he chose to." And then I cringe inside, because there's nothing to overcome. There's nothing to improve. And I want to rant... but I won't.

Such things remind me that I'm not too old to care. As much as I embrace my introversion, and as much enjoyment as I (and others) get out of it, there are still too many people who see it as something to be fixed.

 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

On The Names Of Things

Being at a startup, I get a small-but-not-insignificant chance to influence how things develop, and a chance like that cropped up recently at my office in Seattle.

"What should we name our conference rooms?" my boss asked everyone.

There are two conference rooms in our office, and there are -- so far -- only eight of us on the team. I chimed in a couple of times, but none of my suggestions stuck, despite how excellent they were.

Instead, the team settled on the names of astronomical deities, or some such nonsense. The chosen names were meant to convey the size differences between the corresponding conference rooms, one tiny and the other less so.

Not very imaginative. That was a few weeks ago.

This week, for some reason, has been heavy on meetings for me, and while we were about to convene in one of these conference rooms, I said, "We should have named the rooms 'Ugh and Oy'".

My boss said, "No, we need to be more positive."

Clearly he doesn't feel the same as I do about meetings.

 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

On Where To Begin

"What are you, antisocial?" someone will ask.

"I'm not antisocial," I'll say. "I'm just unsocial."

There's a big difference, although many people don't see it. I tend to avoid too much social activity (by my standards), but I have nothing against being social now and then; in fact, I enjoy the company of others.

Explaining such nuances doesn't always help. It could be due, at least in part, to my failure to explain things simply. But there are also other barriers.

Several acquaintances, in my opinion, don't believe in introversion. Some of them even claim to be introverts, but when they tell me that they were able to practice over the years and change, I realize we're talking about different traits. These acquaintances are the kinds of people who think everyone should be treated the same, and everyone should want the same things, and they take offense at anyone who spurns those ideals. Children shouldn't be treated with special consideration, they say, because you'll end up raising a bunch of babies. And adults should, of course, be given even less leeway.

I can see their point; in fact, I agree to some extent. And that's why I do my best to avoid too much social activity. It's up to me to look after my own well-being. Not the system I'm part of. Not my acquaintances or friends or family. I don't need others to treat me differently or to understand me. As long as I make sure to treat myself in the way that I need, then I'll be okay.

It's always worthwhile to try coming to an understanding with others, but that's a huge task, and not always a pleasant one. Creating an environment that I can thrive in is much more important. As they say: start with yourself.