'Tis the season for the world to begin their conspiracy to drive the introverts completely, raving, off-our-nut mad. That there aren't more of us now living in treetops or stowed away in caves is a testament to our extraordinary ability to endure!
The holidays can exact a great price. An introvert pushed to the limits of socializing beyond their comfort zone may get ill, depressed, angry, start to overeat/undereat, appear fussy/cranky/insane/asocial, and become the topic of extended family whispering and speculating. The more you try to withdraw, the more the extraverts want to pull you in. They simply can't believe that anyone can enjoy their full complement of fa-la-la during the holidays in any sort of isolation. Unfortunately, holiday happiness seems to have a mandatory composition of bodies piled high upon the couch-- and days full of endless group herding, movies, board games, e-games, shopping, noisy meals, more shopping, decorating, baking, and talking till people's tongues have nearly dried up.
In the way that it is difficult for people to imagine Christmas without snow, the kind that we have in Santa Barbara, it is difficult for people to imagine (or allow) family or friends to have a quiet, private holiday.
Try and imagine this work conversation--
ME: "Hey, Sam, what do you have planned for your holiday?"
SAM: "All the kids are coming home--and they're bringing friends from school. Sue's family is flying in from Maine and we've rented a bunch of cots for the house, and an outoor inflatable jumper for the kids. Tomorrow we're all going to take the trolley around town and do some caroling. I can't wait! What do you got planned?"
ME: "Jill is working graveyard Xmas Eve, so I'm going to rent The Bell's of St. Mary's, pick up some lasagne from Piatti's and have a quiet evening at home. I can't wait."
PETER: "Wow, Mary, that sounds fantastic!"
Yea, right. You know what is going to happen. Coworker Sam will have an anueryism when he hears my plan, and will not be able to take another breath until I've agreed to at least come on the trolley ride, if not come for a sleep over.
As a public service, I've prepared an INTROVERT'S WISH LIST FOR THE HOLIDAYS. You can print t this out and leave it around the house, your work, or mail to your in-laws. We're linkable too, of course.
1. Bose Quiet Comfort 15 Headphones. I think they should come as standard issue with every introvert's birth. Essential holiday weapon, er, accessory.
2. Bail Out Coupons: Good for a no-questions-asked bailout from any holiday activity. Yes, more than one will be required. Sets of five sound about right.
3. Silent Night Video Store: No overhead music, no DVDs playing, no shoppers allowed to conference call family members to assist in selecting films.
4. More holiday cards, less phone calls or emails that require acknowledgments. I'm pining for more cards--I completely adore them.
5. No singing chipmunks of any kind. Even ones singing Single Ladies.
6. Gift certificates for things that we can do alone. Uh, couples massage? Gosh, think I'll pass. A non-talking facial or any spa activity is good, and book or I-tunes certificates are most appreciated.
7. World End to the Infamous Extravert Gift Exchange where every gift is up for grabs repeatedly, and it is the loudest, longest, most ruthless activity I have ever participated in. I suspect this is a favorite holiday tradition at Sing-Sing or Atica.
8. Much more singing of Silent Night and much less of Frosty the Snowman. More Bare Naked Ladies, less Burl Ives. (But, that's just me.)
9. A Stealth Cookie Exchange that takes place in the dark of the night, and no one actually comes into your home, or you into theirs. You just leave snugly wrapped, delicious cookies and fudge on porches. You get extra points if you aren't detected. (I would be so good at this!)
10. Your idea goes here!
We want to hear your number ten, eleven, twelve. What do all of you need to get through the season? Robin and I will vote on the best idea, and the winner will recieve a ::special:: holiday package from us! Leave your idea in the comment section, or email me privately right here!
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I am off in a couple of days to spend three blessed weeks in Texas with my partner's mom, and her wonderful pups, Hank and Lucy. Said partner must remain at home saving lives, which she does extremely well and shouldn't be pulled away from it. My time in Texas is always seeped in quiet, with lots of acreage for contemplation. It is a gift.
Robin and I are signing off our live broadcasts until after the new year, but we will be running some of our favorite entries from past months. Robin had some great holiday survival tips from last year that should make a reappearance, especially for our new readers. We hope you'll keep coming by during the next couple of weeks, and we'd love to hear from you.
We will be back in the flesh on Monday, January 5th. We've got some great things planned for January, including an interview with an author who you're NeVeR going to believe is an introvert. Don't miss it!
Wishing you each long stretches of silence, and deep pockets of joy--
Mary & Robin
Mary & Robin