I read: Quiet and On Being, and what else is up today

I think I should start a podcast called “The Introverted Mother” where I spend the 30 minutes of airtime locked in a small, dark closet with headphones on, sitting in silence. I could call it “work,” or “a creative project,” but really I’d be recharging, as they say. Would you listen?

My husband has the day off work and is doing house projects while our 21-month-old daughter stomps around and yells out for “nummies” from Mommy. Since the hospital stay and the traveling husband and the upset schedule, the littlest one has been nursing like a newborn. Unlike newborns, though, this one can lay herself across my lap and pull at my shirt while whispering “nummies now.”

I am “working” right now — yes, on business stuff, but also on finding some semblance of sanity while my messy office’s door is shut tight.

I recently started reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Man oh man am I an introvert. And there’s nothing wrong with that, I guess — although there seems to be. Cain argues that extroversion is much more highly valued (at least in America) than introversion as evidenced by the open work spaces and the encouragement to collaborate. She even discusses how extroversion is supported in elementary classrooms.

I consider myself an irritated introvert. I remember going to a leadership camp of sorts in high school and being disgusted by the jumping, hyper, balloon-gripping greeters at the entrance. When my dad saw them, he just laughed and said, “Have fun.” That was the same leadership conference where every single audience member was instructed to stand at the end of every single speech that was given and shout, “That was O for Outstanding!” while making an “O” shape with our arms. I didn’t do it. I also convinced some of the people in my group that it was impossible for every single performance of every single speech to be “outstanding.”

The podcast I picked to hear this week is On Being. I am two years behind, but I remember liking it. And it’s produced here in Minneapolis, so there.

Let me know in the comments what you think of things.

2 Replies to “I read: Quiet and On Being, and what else is up today”

  1. Hi there Erin! You have some really interesting thoughts here about introversion vs. extroversion. I walk the line and honestly could go either way – on my Myers-Briggs personality I am literally right on the line. I enjoy people a lot. But I also get “peopled out” and need time to myself. I think it’s just less than people with a strong introverted preference. Just 5 or 10 minutes in little snatches and I’m OK. My husband is very introverted. One thing I’ve noticed about him is that he has a very hard time voicing his needs. Also I think it’s hilarious/ridiculous how that camp operated….”O for Outstanding.” Seriously! I have a really good friend from New Zealand and we have this joke – “O for Awesome!” I never went to summer camp as a kid but am almost certain I would have hated it. I wonder what Byron is going to grow up to be: introverted or extroverted. Sometimes he’s super outgoing and other times, he’s a total shy boy. Maybe he sort of walks the line like I do. Then again, he’s only 18 months old, so who really knows at this point. Take care and I look forward to reading the next post!

    1. I think Sam is taking after me. He is slow to warm up to people (though he is generally kind and happy, just quiet), but once he meets his one or two friends, he is very happy to engage and play with them. He observes for a long time before he participates. I like to observe my environment, decide what role I’m going to play in it, and then head in. Alice, I think, thus far, is an extrovert. She is really quick to wake up and is extremely happy and easy to laugh. She loves to be outside and she talks to everyone she meets. “Hi!” to everyone. I really like this book because I feel validated for being who I am.

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