Thursday, January 30, 2014

Finding the Real Me

 At age two and a half with my little brother Matt.

This post will be a bit self-indulgent. 
To my handful of readers, please feel free to stop reading and wait till the next one.
I rarely expound or write much in this space,
and in fact, there really is no rhyme or reason to my blog.
It has always been a hodge-podge collection of random things in my life.
I mainly write for myself because I find it rather therapeutic.
But recently I have discovered something about myself
that has been very profound and actually very freeing.
It has taken me over 50 years to realize this, accept and embrace it.
I actually owe this to my daughters who brought this to my attention a few years ago.
And yet at that time when they mentioned it to me I was actually quite defensive
telling them very strongly, 
"No! I am not!"
Then I came across this book and realized most certainly,
"Yes! I am!


Front and center at a 6th grade party

 Introversion may be one of the most frequently misunderstood personality traits.
So of course, my defensive reaction was due in part to that.
 I'm not shy, or a hermit, or anti-social.
Isn't that the description of an introvert?
Apparently I was wrong.

 Seriously, I can't believe I am posting this photo.
Who has a photo taken of themselves in a bathtub??
The back of this photo says I was in the dorms at Snow College
at an LDS youth conference (age 14).
I sure must have thought that tub was awesome or something...:)

During my youth I did all the typical things that would signal to those who knew me
that I was a very social person. 
I'm sure if you were to ask anyone who knew me back then they would perhaps
describe me as being very outgoing, friendly, involved.
And I was.
When I was little I recruited neighborhood kids to be in plays I directed on my front porch.
My brother even sold tickets.
Like many teenagers I was active in many things:
Sports, student council, plays, choirs, church activities, volunteering,
an after-school job, seminary council, dating, school assemblies, community events...
You get the picture.
But in the back of my mind I couldn't put my finger on why I always longed to be alone
after these activities and why I always felt so mentally drained. 

 In the dressing room at Sundance before a performance of 'Gypsy.'

These feelings became magnified as I headed off to BYU where I majored in Theatre.
Why would an introvert major in theatre and study to be a teacher?
Why would an introvert become an actress?

 How on earth could I be an introvert and sing and dance in front of thousands of people?
Why would I choose to put myself in those exhausting and daunting situations when all I really wanted to do afterwards was to be alone and read a good book, watch television or play the piano?

 At college I had several fun roommates and guy friends.
It was the era of 'The Disco' and the hot spot in town was The Star Palace.
During my first year in an apartment my very social roommates always wanted to go 
dance there and often they would even bring the disco to our living room.
I went a few times just to be nice, and even though I was a dancer, I never really enjoyed it.
It was loud, and flashy with strong smells of perfume and body odor. 
I smiled and tried to have a good time, but all I could think about was going home,
taking a hot shower and crawling into bed to read a good book.
If I wasn't in a play rehearsal, at work, or at the library,
I often felt trapped if I was at the apartment and they were pressuring me to join them.
Using 'homework' as my excuse I would hide out in my room.
At the end of the semester they made me a tee-shirt that read:
'Apartment Party-Poop.'
Yep, I guess that was me.
Truly, I couldn't figure out what my problem was.
Large social groups stressed me out.
I always felt most comfortable in one-on-one situations
or with just a few good friends.

 At the Rooftop Concerts where I ran the greenroom for the bands for two seasons.
Here with artist Caitlin Connolly, founder Courtney Kendrick (CJane), and photographer and founder Justin Hackworth.
(I absolutely LOVED this experience, but seriously I couldn't function for a week after each concert; partly because of some physical health challenges, but mostly because of this personality issue.)

My introversion has magnified and actually become more challenging as I've gotten older.
Sometimes it takes every bit of mental energy I can muster to attend a social event.
I would beat myself up and be frustrated because I didn't understand why it was so hard for me.
Ironically, several of my close friends would be considered extroverts
as is my dear husband who has patiently dealt with this for over thirty years.

Now, I haven't meant to make this sound like some awful curse. It isn't. 
In fact, I am so grateful I read this book because it has helped me understand why I am the way I am.
And I am okay with it.
And, apparently I am not alone and in some pretty good company:

 Some well-known introverts.

Here's what Emma Watson (of Harry Potter fame) has to say about it:
"I'm an introverted kind of person just by nature, it's not like a conscious choice I'm making necessarily. It's genuinely who I am. Have you seen 'Quiet' by Susan Cain? discusses how if your anything other than an extrovert in our society you're made to think there is something wrong with you. That's like the story of my life. Coming to realize that (being an introvert) about myself was very empowering, because I had felt there must be something wrong with me, because I don't always want to go out and do what all my friends want to do."

Some things the book helped me understand:

Extroverts tend to gain their energy in social situations 
while introverts typically recharge through solitude and often feel drained
from too much stimulation.

The idea that introverts are anti-social or don't want the company of others
is completely false.
Introverts simply tend to enjoy social interaction in a different way.
Introverts DO like people, but they typically choose quality over quantity in their relationships,
choosing to focus on creating a smaller circle of close friends rather than
a large network of acquaintances.

I am especially relieved to have this enlightenment not only for my own peace of mind, but for more understanding of my children's personality traits. 
I have been guilty in the past of trying to push a few of them to be 'more social'
while being completely ignorant to their needs.
Now I am more empathetic.
No longer do I think I am strange or that something is 'wrong' with me.
I feel much more content to be my authentic self.
Thank you Susan Cain.
(And thanks to my 'daughters who shall not be named' for bringing this to my attention.)
"...and a little child shall lead them."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

London Wrap-up

 Our last day arrived and though we were tired
we had mixed feelings about leaving this place
we had called home for 10 days.
It's hard to describe, but something about London
just gets into your blood.

 One last ride on the tube.
Marble Arch, the home stop.
 One last walk by the arch itself.

 A fond farewell and flowers to our lovely landlady Gail,
and our comfy bed and breakfast.

I'd return in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Coryn featured on a popular wedding blog...

emily susan photography

This is kind of fun!
Originally Coryn wasn't interested in having 'bridals' taken.
But as the wedding approached she thought it might be neat
to have some taken as a surprise gift for her husband.
(She actually had a book printed and gave it to him on the wedding day.)
She found this wonderful photographer
and on a cold November day they went up to the mountains
and had this photo shoot.
Today she was featured on the super chic wedding blog

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hiking Hampstead Heath

 On a gray and rainy day we left the city, hopped on The Tube
and headed for one of London's best-loved green spaces.

 When we came up from The Underground this is what we saw.

 A quaint little village.
Hampstead Heath is the home to several British celebrities.
Elton John has a home here. 
Gwyneth Paltrow and husband Chris Martin raise their children here.

 Coryn, the professional photographer, found many locations for her artistry.

 And you just can't pass up the classic phone booth.

 The hike up to the Heath about did me in.
All uphill on cobblestone pathways.
But there were many reprieves of beauty to stop and take in.
 When we finally arrived at our destination it was well worth the blisters.
These are the grounds of Kenwood Estate.

 I love trees and pathways and they were a plenty.

 One of my own favorite artistic shots from the trip.
That's Coryn posing for me.
Seriously, isn't this so 'Secret Garden?'
 Kenwood House dates from the early 17th century.
Coryn toured the inside when she was on Study Abroad.
Unfortunately, it was under renovation while we were there
and not opened to the public.

 You may recognize this famous tree from various films it has starred in.

Here is a shot on a sunny day so you can see the whole scope of the grand place.

It was a filming location for this 1999 version of Jane Austen's 'Mansfield Park.'

 And it plays a prominent role in a scene towards the end of this film.

 The grounds are gorgeous.
Court discovered some interesting wild mushrooms on a path.

 Such a peaceful place.
And very few visitors on the day we were there.
We practically had the place to ourselves.
So nice after the rush and bustle of London Town.

 We headed down hill back to the village
and enjoyed looking at all the nooks and crannies.

 Many old churches.

 And always a pub on every block.
If you look closely to the left you will see the place that saved our hungry stomachs.

 And this lovely pink spot is the famous French patisserie, Maison Blanc.
Oo la la!

And before heading back we checked up on one of my husband's business ventures:)
(Yes...he is a William the 4th.)

Hampstead Heath was a wonderful breath of fresh air.

"He can't drive 55..."

 Happy birthday to my guy!
Seen here 50 years before this particular birthday.

Slow down, my love.
We want you here at least another 55:)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

"There are places I remember..."

 On our first trip to London we didn't do the Abbey Road thing.
But we decided since it is the 50th anniversary
 of The Beatles arrival in America, we really had to do it.
I actually remember seeing them on the Ed Sullivan show as a child.

 We chose not to risk our lives by doing the popular walk.
Too much traffic:)

 There is really not much to the place.
But obviously an iconic spot
and heavily visited by fans and tourists.

The famous studio. Still a working studio.
We saw people coming and going.
Apparently Sir Paul McCartney still records there.

 All up and down the block were graffiti writings by fans from all over the world.

 Corner building by the famous street.

 To prove I was there:)

 Saw this cool townhouse while walking the area.

 And we walked a few blocks to see Sir Paul's home.
This is actually his home in a quiet little neighborhood.
The gates were open and we should have 
invited ourselves to tea.

 On another day, Court and I ventured here.

 Authentic memorabilia of all kinds.