Being an Extroverted Introvert

I feel that I’m a textbook extroverted introvert. I do love being around people, but all in all, it is draining.  Earlier in my social life (like around my college years), I was probably very extroverted, but over time things have changed.  I used to get energy from going out and being around people, but now my body just gets drained from doing this; Physically, emotionally, and most importantly mentally.  Since this happens, more often than not, I tend to shut down and shut the world out and not be seen for a good amount of time.  A lot of people don’t understand because they’ve only seen me when I’m out having fun and partying (I.E. only following my Instagram life) and not when I’m home in my comfy clothes doing nothing but watching TV and playing video games.

But when I do go out, I do have fun, indeed.  Most of the time, I have more fun than expected, and that’s normal.  However, I do tend to have anxiety that slightly fuels my introvertism (made up word), so there’s always these thoughts of “do these people really like me?”, “am I being annoying?”, “are they just inviting me because they think I’m sad?” that always plays in my head; and even though I went out and had fun that last time, I might stay in because maybe those thoughts played in my mind a little more and I just decide to stay home in my happy place, instead of just enjoying the moment for what it is.  My anxiety is probably another Blog post for another day, so I won’t get too deep in there.  But yeah, these thoughts tend to drive me to shut down, even after I’m already out having fun, and if I have a way to bow out of a situation gracefully, I usually take advantage and leave early.

I’ve had a lot of success balancing my introverted self, with my extroverted tendencies, but recently it’s been kind of hard. Ever since my birthday, I feel like I’ve constantly been on the run on the weekends when I’m used to just laying around.  I’ve been socially draining myself to no end, and I think I have like one more week where I have to find some energy to make it before I can chill out.  And yes, I will have fun this week, because I’ll be around people I love, but I might not be up for anything spontaneous or lengthy.  That’s kind of how this whole thing works.  I know most people won’t get it, and it sounds like I’m rambling, I’m sure, but I’m trying. lol

This post is not the end all, be all explanation of extroverted introverts.  Every EI person is different, and socializes different but I feel this gives a general understanding on how a good bit of us deal with social life.   So if some of your seemingly extroverted friends decide that they can’t deal with people and don’t want to go out or just want to stay in with no explanation, don’t get mad, but in turn understand that maybe they are drained and can’t hang for that moment.  A lot of times, I get the “but I just saw you out with so and so last night”.  Well then perfect, they should understand that last night my energy was drained and today is a recharge day.

This post is more of a personal response on how people have addressed me when my introverted side has popped up after being extroverted.  Plenty of times I’ve been accused of the general silliness of “Not liking people” just because I’m drained.  Don’t be that person, because you never know how someone who is an EI could be affected by it.

/rant

A Message to the Vocal and Silent “Me Toos” Out There

*trigger warning. This poem is about sexual assault. Please seek out help if needed. Please contact RAINN at 800.656.HOPE (4673) if you’ve been a victim of sexual assault. If you are experiencing a crisis, you may also contact 1-800-273-8255 or chat with them on their website at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/*

Dear “Me Too,”
Whether you said it out loud and proud
To show the world your survivor status and
Validate your suffering,
Like a tattoo carefully selected
As your own personal memorial of hope.
Whether it was with hesitation,
Softly wondering if your perpetrator
May be hiding behind a profile,
Much more likely than hiding behind a bush,
But your soul needed the community,
The space,
To say
To have recognized
Your “Me Too.”

Whether you wrote it angrily,
Fires burning in your fingertips.
Angry for missed opportunities,
Angry for missed connections,
Angry for violations against what was never theirs to take;
“Nos” that were laughed at,
Blood that was shed at someone else’s hands
For you to clean –
Alone.
Things stolen from you,
In the middle of a good time or night out,
In the safety of your home,
Before you wear old enough to even understand,
The value of what was stolen
Was more precious and more far-reaching than
You could ever know.
When you only knew how to trust;
And repetitive breaches of that innocent trust,
Left you full of dirty and confusing shame.

Whether you wrote it softly,
Like a dull pencil,
Lightly tracing past hurts,
Or etching them into a computer screen
A faded memory;
That you choose not to make any bolder
Than a simple “me too.”

Whether you choose not to proclaim it all –
Unsure if your pain is real,
Still trying to find the strength to justify,
That you too were a victim;
That you were innocent
And instead are carrying the weight
Of the heavy shovel,
Digging yourself out of the infinite
Pile of mud and filth
Composed your misplaced and decaying
Self-loathing and shame.
Or that perhaps you kept silent,
Because those who have transgressed against you,
Still hold some shackles
To your existence,
Shackles of
Threats,
Fear
Anxiety
Violence –
And so to boldly, quietly, softly, or for others
Say “me too” could put you further at risk,
But you feel deeply connected
Inter-webbed
Bound
And so profoundly linked
To the women who are able to say “me too,”
That you continue to browse,
To feel the “me too” radiating from others,
That you can silently claim as your own.

To all of you “me too’s”–
I say to you, “me too.”
I say to us, “thank you”
Thank you for existing,
Even when existing feels like 100 small needles
Pricking your skin,
Never ending,
Always there.

Thank you for our courage
Our cracks,
That we sometimes see as brokenness,
That really showcase
Our humanity and ability to withstand pressure,
And still be works of beautiful art
In spite of, or perhaps because of our pain;
Our vulnerability,
For every silent, loud, quiet, introspective, outward cry of
“Me Too”
Is a testament to our ability
To try one more time for
Connection
Love
Trust
Healing.
Our tired, yet persistent
Voyages to contribute to a world,
That was so cruel to us,
But believe in magic,
Even on days
When we aren’t sure “magic” and “healing” are code for anything
More than a false promise to attempt a satiety
For something that was never meant to be a hunger.

Thank you.
Thank you for being in this world.
My hand outstretches to yours,
With no promises of complete restoration,
But with a promise of connection.
“Me Too.”

Wednesday Weekly: Straight Outta the UK

WW7

So I like to pride myself on listening to artists of the R&B, Hip Hop and Pop influence from many different parts of the world.  Some of my favorites come from the UK. So today’s playlist is dedicated to some of my favorite artists who originate from there.

I like to try and introduce new music to the masses so I hope you enjoy this one.  Most of the songs are R&B influenced with a few Pop/Dance tracks and like 1 or two Hip Hop tracks, just to give you an idea.  Just give it a chance and I hope you enjoy!

Spotify

Sorry to my Apple Music peeps, but this is going to be a Spotify exclusive unless I get a lot of feedback from the Apple Music users.

P.S. – I know my UK flag playlist art isn’t technically right, so if it offends anyone, let me know, but I tried my best in Microsoft paint. lol

Happy National Coming Out Day

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To the people who can’t be themselves…

To the people who are judged by who they love…

To the people who are looked down on as a lesser person…

To the ones who are scared…

To the ones who are depressed…

To the people who feel like they can’t smile…

To the people who feel like they don’t belong…

To the ones who cry every night…

The ones who feel like they aren’t enough…

The people who feel out of place…

The people who have suicidal thoughts…

To the people without a support system…

Just know…

We Are Here For You!

I don’t have a coming out story. I never thought I needed to officially announce it, and I kind of still don’t, but I know how important this can be for our people. I mean, when you think about it, I guess I “come out” on a regular basis (Note the irony of this whole thing).  Life as an LGBTQ person can be hard as hell and as you’re reading this, I hope your mind is actually understanding the words, rather than making judgments and assumptions about what I’m currently typing.

LGBTQ people face the challenges listed above on a daily basis just because of who we are and who we love.  Unfortunately, this personal aspect of life gets the negative attention of so many people in the world.  But living life should be all about showing and spreading love to others, not hate. Coming out is an important step in that, where we are finally open to loving ourselves as we are; and even if we don’t make a big announcement, it’s just as important for those times where we share it privately with family and friends.  Some of these challenges listed above can be caused by not loving who we are and this is why Coming Out is such an important moment. It’s a heart wrenching moment though, no matter how old we are because we never really know how people are going to react.

Yes, in 2017, we’re still worried about how people react, even if everyone seems to be “progressive”.  There are still evil people in this world that will wish the worst on us just because of this.  It’s still a real thing.

And as we get older and as we tell more people, that worry goes away, and we tend to not care as much for what people think of us, but that comes with time.  But even though that initial struggle is over, we still face challenges. Discriminatory, hateful, and judgmental behaviors are still no stranger to our community, as well as a slew of other BS that we have to fight through. And even though we feel like giving up, we keep fighting. We fight and fight until we win.  It’s worth it because WE’RE worth it.

It took me too long to realize that.

Coming out is only the beginning, and from there things may get harder, but they will definitely get better. I know that’s contradictory, but you’ll understand. When you can live life with no regard of what others think about you, and you finally feel that weight being lifted off of your shoulders.  It’s magical. I felt as if I have finally gained control of my own life.

It’s a beautiful moment.

So I’m standing here (or sitting, because I’m typing), as a member of this wonderful community. The one with happy smiling faces, that also tends to frown sometimes because of idiots who comment on news articles, to say that you are not alone and we are here for you!

Happy Coming Out Day!

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Wednesday Weekly: Crunk Anthems

WW6

So this weeks Wednesday Weekly is coming at you a little earlier than normal, because I know you all need a little CRUNK JUICE in your life this week and I DO WHAT I WANT (lol).  These songs bring back memories of High School and College that I will never forget.  I have NO IDEA how more people didn’t die after listening to these songs; Some are so angry, lol.   I was listening to this soundtrack at work yesterday and wanted to curse out EVERYBODY who looked at me sideways. So if you just need some “eff it” music for the day, a reason to “walk it out” or “2 step”, or you just feel like twerking in your office chair, this is the playlist for you!

Spotify
Apple Music

Being Diagnosed with Diabetes Made Me Feel Like a Failure

My name is Lee and I have diabetes. I was diagnosed 1 day before my 30th birthday, after spending the last 6 years trying to so hard to evade, what feels like to me, a death sentence. My mom has diabetes. My dad has diabetes. Many of my aunts and uncles do. One of my grandmothers did too. There are likely undiagnosed folks in my family who never go to the doctor. The genetic marker is pretty strong and perversave in my family. And yet, getting this diagnosis left me with feelings of extreme guilt, failure, and self loathing. I was literally disgusted with myself and still struggle with these feelings, although with food, being more active, and small dosage of meds, have managed to get my numbers into normal ranges for non diabetics. And I feel the need to explain all of that to you, so you don’t think I’m a failure or disgusting too. Which disgusts me even more. I am overweight. I have been for awhile. I haven’t been in what doctors describe as normal weight ranges for my height since I was 17 or 18. I have lost weight, but losing weight is difficult for me. I am pretty active, I eat well 65-75% of the time, and so simply changing those things, without dramatic changes, makes it harder for me to tip the scale. I could definitely do better (oh shit, there goes my self loathing trying to explain to you so you don’t judge me). To lose weight, I need to dramatically change my diet, workout sooo much, and I have done this a couple times… And passed out or almost passed out a couple times. My doctor at the time, who has been my favorite doctor ever, and the first to ever tell me this, told me that maybe my body was happy at then 191 lbs (after passing out and injuring my knee, which meant less intense exercise & fighting depression/anxiety, I put on 20 lbs and was devastated, so I went to see her) and that I should learn to accept me. Maybe for once in my life not think about food or dieting. At that time, I did not have diabetes. I was pre-diabetic, 5 years earlier, but had completely turned that shit around. I was stunned at her suggestion, every doctor before her had treated me as a walking case of disease. I wasn’t sure what to do with that info and to be honest, was still completely scared of gaining weight and diabetes. Fast forward to a move to Wisconsin 1.5 years later, and I’m sitting in a doctor’s office hearing that my A1C is just barely over the marker at 6.6 and I’m diabetic. I felt the warm rush of shame over me and felt the heaviness and largeness of my belly, the jiggle of my arms, and the enormity of what I must do to overcome this. I was exhausted. The doctor was amazing. She was reassuring. And so kind. But I was just so mad at myself. Let’s stop here. Maybe you’re struggling to understand why this had such an impact on me. So I’m going to explain. “Diabetes” is a marker for the overweight woman who tries to love herself. It’s ok to love yourself, so long as you’re healthy, and also let’s not forget that weight automatically makes you unhealthy in everyone’s eyes. Doctors have spent many an appointment blaming any illness you have on weight. I also watched my mother’s struggles with weight and diabetes. How I was afraid I would lose her so many times. How she was mistreated and abused, and I vowed to never be that way whether it was consciously or not. And here I am, diabetic and a bit overweight, and with a touch of self loathing. Despite all my efforts – being strong physically and mentally, that I do workout, I walk everywhere, that I can keep my numbers under control – that all people will see is a failure who got diabetes. Similarly, how people blame people for having certain mental illnesses, I see people doing that with Diabetes, especially type 2, and I have internalized these messages. I’m not proud. But it helps me understand where these feelings come from and deal with them. Wanna know something heartbreaking? If you Google depression or shame and diabetes, you will find tons of articles and support groups about these two co-occurring diagnoses. When I first was diagnosed I searched for this support. I needed to know I was not alone. And so many people carry the shame of the diagnosis. We know when people ask “type 1 or 2” they are sizing us up to see if it was our fault or not. People live in secrecy and tell no one (one of my tactics) for fear of judgement. And then if you already struggle with body image and/or weight loss, there is an additional complexity in that relationship. The added pressure of judging every bite into your mouth adds an additional element of self deprecation. Every person who loses weight and you cannot seem to budge the scale adds another layer of shame. Every fat shamer on body positive websites who states you are promoting obesity, heart disease and diabetes. And I can see why people give up altogether on managing it; this is exhausting. I, myself, have not stepped into a gym in 2 weeks. Sure, I’m still averaging 3-4 miles of walking each day, lifting heavy things, went to a kickboxing class, running, and my blood sugar levels are doing great. Fall is here, so my running season is about to pick up. But I am feeling the shame. Everyone around me seems to be dropping pounds and everyone celebrates that. But losing weight is increasingly becoming harder for me. No one is gonna celebrate that “hey, I’ve not lost a pound, despite lots of attempts, but my blood sugar levels are normal and I’m healthy, despite being my heaviest!” Someone, somewhere will try to give me weight loss tips, further reinforcing my fear that is what is important, reminding me of failure. But perhaps, someone somewhere, will also be inspired. And begin to come to grips with that you can truly be healthy at any size. And larger bodies can run and move and play. And even if you do get a disease, it doesn’t mean it is your fault, and you may manage it wonderfully, and still have a larger body. And that’s ok. Cause that is where I hope I’m headed. And so for that reason I say, “hey, I’ve not lost a pound, despite lots of attempts, but my blood sugar levels are normal and I’m healthy, despite being my heaviest!”

Random Thoughts: Things I’ve done this year

Traveled to Myrtle Beach

Fell in Love

Traveled to Wisconsin

Traveled to SeaTac

Gained 20 pounds

Passed out at an Airport (Sorry mom nothing serious! lol)

Fell out of Love

Broke Someone’s Heart

Finally Admitted To Myself that My Heart was Broken

Traveled to Fort Lauderdale

Traveled to Chicago

Traveled to Indianapolis

Overcame Depression

Partially Realized my own Worth

Saw Logic

Traveled to Southern California

Traveled to NYC

Turned 30

Traveled to D.C.

Added my Mom on Facebook

Saw Bruno Mars

Became Emotionally Invested

Saw The Suffers

Broke Someone’s Heart, again 😦

Realized Life is Precious

 

Even though it’s only the beginning of October, this year has been one of the best years of my life. I love to enjoy these thoughts in the moment, because who knows what will happen tomorrow.  In regards to these memories,  there are definitely more events that have happened, but I think these outline the milestones of my year.  Some of these have very detailed stories behind them and maybe one day I’ll share their details, but for right now I’ll just let you ponder.