In a recent comment to a post of Robin's, our friend, Tanita Davis, shared a link to last Friday's Dear Abby column that could have been written by any one of us. It was a from a newly published introverted author looking for some advice about how to deal with the limelight. Unfortunately, Abby's response fell short of the mark. "Short of the mark" being a generous euphemism for crash and burned. Read it here.
I had a stab of deja'vu while reading Abby's response, recollecting all the bad advice I've been given over the years by well-meaning folks that were trying to help me "out of my shell." Had I the proverbial nickel from every person that was preoccupied with the separation of me from my afore-mentioned shell--well, I would be awash in the little suckers. And, may I just **holler** in a quiet way a moment here that being separated from one's shell is a very bad idea! Whenever I heard someone say that to me, I imagined being a tiny buck naked turtle body, sans the protective hood, all aquiver.
Which serves as seque to one of the worst pieces of advice I was ever given about overcoming my fear of public speaking. Which is not necessarily an issue for all introverts, but t'was for me, a shy introvert. Imagine everyone in the audience is naked.
Now, what kind of person or personality finds that soothing or calming in any possible way? Desperate to succeed, I imagined rows and rows of disrobed bodies and I found it only served to completely spike my blood pressure. A better visual for me is "Imagine everyone is asleep." Or even, "Imagine the entire audience is in a coma." Okay, now I can breathe!
Second worst piece of advice I've gotten? Mingle. This gems goes right in the "How To Torture Your Introvert" manual. Those not understanding the way we are hardwired falsely assume that it's the intimate one-on-one conversations that send us shrieking into the night. Better to flit around and don't get too involved with anyone, they suggest. Or, worse still, let me take you around and introduce you to everyone, so you don't feel so shy. Sure, and then why not just paint me with jam head to toe and sit me down next to a giant hill of red ants?
So, there's two of the Worst Pieces of Advice for Introverts, and let's hear some more! I want to get a good list going, and we'll post a link in our sidebar as a public service to us all. Tanita, thanks for inspiring this post! What have you been told in your life by friends, family, perhaps a colleague, editor, agent, or even Dear Abby?
And, let's all send out a giant, gentle mental net to the poor author that wrote the letter to Abby that she will find our community here so that we can all support her.
I was missing my grandmother bad today as I celebrated Easter. The woman could have written the book on dealing with shy, introverted children. Heck, she should have toured the country as an expert! Whenever she and my grandfather (or any relatives), would come to visit, I would race into my bedroom and hide in the closet. In the pitch dark. Better that than suffer the onslaught of all the hugging and kissing. After a while, Nana would tiptoe into the bedroom to bring me a cookie. She would hand it to me through the door-- vertically, not horizontally-- so I didn't have to open the door too wide to get it. Later when I would finally come out, she wouldn't make a fuss hollering "Well, THERE, she is!" She'd hardly look at me until I was ready. Loved her a lot. Miss her like the dickens. We need more like her. Let's be like her.
I read YA author John Green's An Abundance of Katherines this past week, and adored it much. I think my favorite part was when the main character and his friendgirl-turned-girlfriend were sitting together in this hideaway. The author used this marvelous convention to describe places in their conversation where they weren't saying anything, but they were saying everything in a non-verbal way. As in:
". . . "
" . . . "
I think this is so brilliant and while it wasn't specifically written as the language of introverts, I'd like to adopt it. It speaks volumes.
We have four volunteers so far to share their favorite indies with us in May. Any other takers? This involves going to your indie bookstore, taking a photo, and doing a brief interview of your bookseller. As Robin mentioned, in addition to bringing some much deserved attention to their fabulous work, those of you that nominate someone OR agree to spotlight their work for us will be eligible to be in our drawing to win a $50.00 gift certificate to Indie Bound.
Hope you all enjoyed a restful and renewing Passover and Easter. And, if your holidays were a tad low on the restful and renewing, do be kind to yourself and re-charge.
". . . "