Weird

Craig Owens: “Has anyone ever told you that you’re a bit weird?”
The Doctor: “They never really stop.”

- Craig Owens and The Doctor, Doctor Who (Episode: The Lodger)

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Part of what we loved about the Doctor was his zany weirdness. It’s part of what makes his character.

And if he was proud to embrace his inner weirdness, then so can the rest of us! :)

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Me Vs Small Talk – Round Three!

This is the third and final part of my Me Vs Small Talk posts. If you haven’t already, please read parts 1 and 2 :)

Round 3: I’m An Introvert But That Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Like Talking

So in Round 1, I explained how I dealt with (or didn’t deal with…) small talk. In Round 2, I pretended to be an extrovert in order to seem more sociable.

Now it’s Round 3. I’ve picked myself up from the ground, learned a few lessons and I’m ready to go!

In the Red Corner, we have Extreme Introvert, Lily. In the Blue, we have the notorious Small Talk.

The bell sounds. What am I going to do? What’s my plan, to throw in some metaphorical punches and take Small Talk downnn?

The truth is, I don’t have any real attack strategy.

What’s this? Has the Extreme Introvert given up already?

No, no! – I have no real attack strategy because I no longer want to attack. In the past, I’ve been so busy fighting against Small Talk, that I forgot to just ‘talk.’ Because that’s what small talk really is – it’s just talking. And whilst worrying excessively over my social paranoia, I’d forgotten that.

Definition of ‘talk’ : speak in order to give information or express ideas or feelings; converse or communicate by spoken words.

Of course I still get a little uneasy when a conversation doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, but now instead of staying silent or spewing out excessive words for no reason, I’ve found a happy medium.

Make an effort to contribute to a conversation but don’t force it. This is quite a big step from my previous “stay quiet ’til someone asks you something’ approach. Thankfully, from past experiences, I’m a little more knowledgable about today’s small talk topics than previously (at least enough to make it slightly more interesting than before!) Remember this is the start of getting to know someone. That’s what my aim is here, remember that!

If there’s a lull in the conversation, don’t fret over it. I still have issues with this one. Conversation gaps worry me a lot, but this is something I hope to slowly get over. But at least I can use it as a good indicator for how I comfortable I feel around someone. Ever heard of the not-awkward silence?

It’s okay to be quiet. When I became aware of my introvert ways, I used to apologise a lot for not talking a lot. One person responded “It’s okay, you’re just a quiet person, there’s nothing wrong with that.” It’s okay be quiet. I don’t have to be super chatty all the time.

Finally, talk when you want to talk. Listen when you want to listen. This is so obvious yet I missed it completely. I was just so caught up in ‘social expectations’ to realise it. It’s a common misconception that introverts don’t like to talk, but give us a topic that we’re passionate about and we could go on forever. For other topics, maybe we won’t say a lot, but we will certainly listen. You could be talking about something we know nothing about but we’ll listen because maybe we’ll learn a thing or two about what makes you tick.

It’d be a lie to say this formula works all the time. There are still occasions where conversation doesn’t flow. There are still times when I trip over my words or struggle to convey what I mean and panic when I’m not sure how to fix it. Pauses in conversation can still terrify me. Sometimes I say less, times when I say more. I still prefer one-on-one conversations more than large group ones, and therefore likely to remain in the background for the latter.

Buuuut, I think I deal with things much better than before and it helps me to meet new people, which I’m always grateful for!

So wait a minute, did you win this round or what?

I’m going to say YES! Because although there are still a few struggles, ultimately I manage Small Talk much better than I used to and manage to get away with seeming normal most of the time!

Important note: I am NOT a textbook example of an introvert, by any means. This is purely my own personal view and journey into introversion. I’ve also had general issues with ‘social’ – and if you add that to introversion, it makes a rather interesting blend of social struggles!

Hope you’ve enjoyed a little trip into my introvert mind :)

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“I like being introverted. I like being quiet. I like being thoughtful. I like being on my own and I hope if we met, you’d accept me for that.” – Charlie McDonnell

“I have to be alone very often. I’d be perfectly happy if I spent Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.” – Audrey Hepburn

“I also believe that introversion is my greatest strength. I have such a strong inner life that I’m never bored and only occasionally lonely. No matter what mayhem is happening around me, I know I can always turn inward.” – Susan Cain

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Me vs Small Talk – Round Two!

As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I consider myself a slightly extreme introvert. That means, if you look at the (imaginary/metaphorical) introvert-extrovert spectrum, I’m probably somewhere near the end of the introvert side.  One obstacle I have to tackle (and I’m sure my fellow introverts will understand) is Small Talk.

This is part 2 of 3, from the Me vs Small Talk series :D Click here to read Round 1.

Round 2: Let’s Pretend I’m An Extrovert

After a few years of realising how strange I must be when talking to Small Talk Experts, I decided to try something new.

I would be a pretend-extrovert for a little while.

This happened around the time I’d just started university, so it was the perfect opportunity to give this a go. New faces who did not know of my previous history of social awkwardness.

And to begin with, this worked really well. I found myself conversing much better than I used to. I picked up tips from every conversation I made, made note of the kind of questions people often asked, and slowly became a decent ‘talker.’

There was just one problem with this. It was rather tiring.

Trying to think of something to talk about on the spot (often something banter-worthy or trivial). Then to continue talking about it for a significant length of time. This is all well and good if it eventually led to a subject of more substance, a topic where I can converse without worrying – in the world of conversation, this is my natural metaphorical habitat – but if the conversation was going nowhere and ONLY consisted of small talk, there was a danger of me running out of things to say.

Someone once said that introverts have a limited number of words a day before we start getting exhausted. If this is the case, then my limit was almost up.

There have also been occasions where I find myself saying a little too much. I must be overcompensating for the past :mrgreen: Again, a dangerous tactic. While I’m desperately churning out words, I slowly start to grow weary from over-thinking and over-analysing the best sentence to say next in a socialising point of view.

Introverts use up a lot of energy when socialising… And I was sure feeling it!

Aa it turned out, there was only so long I could continue with this charade.

Using this pretend-extrovert technique was a useful learning experience but I had to face facts – I am an introvert by heart. It wasn’t fair on anyone that I should pretend to be a social butterfly when I’m more of a bookworm. To hide this fact would be to deny my true self.

It should be noted that this stage occurred before I knew what ‘introversion’ really was. It was before I learned of the chemical explanation behind it. Because of this, I thought it was possible to ‘fix’ myself and make myself ‘normal’… it was quite a relief when I found out I already was (well, as close to ‘normal’ as is possible for me) :mrgreen:

Introverts are people who are over-sensitive to Dopamine, so too much external stimulation overdoses and exhausts them. Conversely, Extroverts can’t get enough Dopamine, and they require Adrenaline for their brains to create it. -
Carl King, 10 Myths About Introverts

So who won? I’m not really sure… I guess Small Talk still took victory because I was only lying to myself in this round. Lying is a little like cheating. Maybe I got disqualified this round? Which means Small Talk wins by default!

But this temporary step has definitely taught me a few tips to battle Small Talk. In the third and final round (which you can read right here!), I will write about what exactly I took away from this lesson and how I deal with small talk at present.

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A Child-like Perspective

I love that endless enthusiasm and Go Get ‘Em energy that children have.

Think about when you were 5 years old. That age when you thought anything was possible. Want to be an astronaut? Go for it! Become a professor? Let’s do this! You want to be a dinosaur, a Tyrannosaurus Rex perhaps?? Alright, let’s go!!

If you think about it, children are less susceptible to fear. Ever climbed up a tree? Did you ever slip and graze your arm? But you got right back up again, didn’t you, and climbed that tree all over again because it was fun and one fall was not going to stop you, right?

Actually that’s never happened to me either. I’ve been told I missed out on a vital part of childhood because I never climbed up a tree as a kid. I did, however, make up for it a few years ago and officially gained my tree-climber’s badge :mrgreen: And last week, I achieved Tree Climber Level 2 – which involved swinging off a branch and landing on the ground. It was a little scarier than I had imagined but once I got into the swing of things (no pun intended), I actually ended up doing it over and over again.

But here is my point. Most kids probably wouldn’t have been scared like I was, even on their first go. They’d just think “Cool, a tree! I want to climb it! Then jump off it!”… and they could do it without any doubts. And despite me also having the “Tree! Climb! Jump!” desire inside of me, I found myself slightly overthinking it – What if I fell? What if I hurt myself?

But once I got through that first jump, I realised it wasn’t that bad after all. In fact, I wanted to do it again. I wanted to climb higher. Jump further. Do a Splinter Cell style climb-across-the-branch manouvre and land like a stealth expert. (Though I probably was not quite that graceful! :mrgreen: )

It was a LOT of fun.

And I realised… I could do with adopting a child-like attitude to a lot of things in life. Whilst I was busy sitting on a branch, over-analysing the potential ‘what if’ scenarios that could unfold, a child would have happily went for it! A child doesn’t think about fear, they only think of what they feel like doing.

If this were a race, the child would be far far ahead while I’m still hesitating at the start line.

Don’t overthink it. Don’t let fear rule you. Even if I fell, I probably would’ve been okay. — If you want to try it, then do it!

Further to my point, many of us probably did fall out of a tree at some point. But for most part, we’re still okay after it. Then we try again because climbing trees is pretty fun – and sometimes falling is just part of that fun.

Maybe we should be more like children – forget about the ‘what ifs’ and play to our heart’s desire!

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Me: Trees are really fun, aren’t they?
Mum: (laughs) Yes, trees are really fun!

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Me vs Small Talk – Round One!

Being an introvert of the slightly extreme variety, I can find this “small talk” stuff a tiring process. It’s also a pretty hard thing to explain to people unless they’ve been through the same thing themselves.

My relationship with small talk has been a long and harrowing road. Though I think I’m better at this social world skill than before, there are occasions where I just think to myself “Wow. I really don’t know how to be a person, do I?”

My journey crossed over three significant stages. And what better way to describe these than a Street Fighter / Tekken Style fighting match… between me and Small Talk!

Round 1: Please Talk First. I Don’t Know What To Say

Ah yes. The beginnings of my career in “small talking.” It was not the best. Awkward, confused, unknowing of what to say next – that was me in all of life’s small talk situations.

At this point, I had no real experience of truly interacting with people socially, outside of my own close circle. When it came to strangers, I was at a loss. I mean… How do you talk to people?!

In these situations, I would hope endlessly that the other person (let’s call them Person A) would talk first. Preferably in question form. You might think, wouldn’t I prefer to avoid small talk altogether? Although I’m not one for small talk, I still like getting to know new people and I admit small talk is a good way for start things off. Besides… it’d be impolite for me to just run away from you, for no apparent reason.

This could go either one of three ways.

Outcome 1: Person A would continually speak, whilst I listen and respond every so often. I kind of like this outcome because it means I don’t have to do much. And hopefully Person A doesn’t notice I’m not saying much. I feel some people get a little unnerved when I stay quiet or take a while to respond (which actually makes me more nervous). In this scenario, I can relax a little because Person A has decided to take lead and has accepted I’m not much of a talker. Thank you, Person A.

Outcome 2: Person A would ask a lot of questions. This is potentially a good outcome. If Person A asks a question, this gives me source material for what to respond with and in turn, I can add further input of my own – successfully enhancing the conversation. This is the most ideal route for me, because Person A might have acknowledged I’m not a big talker so is helping me along. I feel much better this way because I’m actually adding input and it’s not a one-sided conversation for them. Thank you again, Person A, for dealing with my inadequate social skills.

However, things can also turn the other way. Maybe Person A has asked me a question that I have no idea about. Maybe I end up taking too long mulling over my response. Maybe they ask too many questions! This makes a little uncomfortable because it feels too unnatural. Like an interrogation more than a conversation. Or another things that happens is, I answer the question but nothing more comes after it. Back to square one. I wish I knew what to say next.

Outcome 3: Person A thinks I’m either bored or I don’t want to talk to them. No, no, no, no, no! In my head, I’m screaming It’s not that I’m uninterested, I just really don’t know how to act in these situations, I’m sorry! I would say this out loud too but would that seem a little weird? Try as I might to redeem myself, think of something good to say, I usually end up with zilch. Then what follows is a long moment of awkward silence. I glance around, looking for something to talk about.  If I’m lucky, I find something. Otherwise… nada.

Ultimately, Small Talk usually wins this one. I’m so bad at conversing!

But alas, these were my very early days of small talking when I wasn’t even aware of how socially inept I really was. Next week, I’ll be posting Round 2 where I adopt an entirely new approach.

:)

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Deal With Our Emotions Like Grown-Ups?

“We should deal with our emotions like grown-ups; push them down deep inside ourselves and ignore them for the rest of our lives.” – Gumball, The Amazing World of Gumball

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Perhaps I’m finding meanings that aren’t really there, but cartoons really hold some gems of inspiration!

What I love about the process of “growing up” is that it’s a process of becoming yourself; you find out who you are and who you want to be – then being that person! But one sad reality is… most people, as they grow up, forget what it was like being a child.

I find many grown-ups like to hide their emotions. This isn’t entirely their fault, it’s just the way society has taught them to behave. Don’t cry, you’ll look weak. Don’t get so excited, you’re not five anymore. Society says to us “don’t share your feelings or you’ll get judged.” Is it any wonder many of us don’t like to share our feelings?

At least children know that if they feel a strong emotion, then they should do something about it. I’m sad, I must cry to alert someone and get support! I think maybe adults should do the same (but maybe without bursting into tears out of nowhere… breaking society rules is one thing but society may not be quite ready for that yet :mrgreen: )

I sometimes think children are more real to themselves than most adults are. Maybe we ought to take a leaf out of their book :)

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Ariana Grande’s Problem in 20 Different Styles!

So a while ago, I wrote this post about Katy Perry’s Dark Horse covered in 20 different styles by Ten Second Songs.

Well, here’s the same guy doing it all over again – except this time with Ariana Grande’s song ‘Problem.’

My favourites this time round are: Elvis Presley, The B-52s, Green Day (which is spot on!), Gregorian Chant (teehee, unexpected!), The Andrews Sisters, and James Brown (who I haven’t actually heard of before).

The only ‘problem’ with this cover is whenever the original song comes on the radio, I always expect it shift styles after the first couple of lines! :mrgreen:

Happy Monday! :)

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