I’m writing this at 3am. It won’t be published at 3am, because I’ll want to edit it or delete it, but it is being initially composed at 3am.
As we all know, most writers are introverts – some more than others. Some are so introverted you wonder how they can go grocery shopping on a regular basis. Others call themselves introverts and yet are the life of every party (then they go home and collapse, utterly exhausted and spent to the point where even their own soul wonders if it should leave to give the introvert some “alone time”).
What some don’t realize is the “introvert trap,” as I like to call it.
You’re an introvert. You don’t feel very comfortable around people or at events. You avoid said situations in which there will be people – sometimes this is because you legitimately can’t go, but over time your excuses become more and more… lame. Not going out becomes a habit.
It’s a surprisingly easy habit to form. If working out were this easy a habit, I’d have friggin’ eight pack abs.
We all know how hard it is to break a habit. Especially one that may not be the healthiest.
I’ve mentioned writer’s block a few times here. I may have also whined about the various methods I’ve tried to break out of it.
I recently stepped up as head of archery for a local group I’m involved in. I’ve done the job before – awesome skill with a bow is not a requirement. It’s more about the accurate and timely filing of paperwork, inventory maintenance and scheduling practices.
In truth, it wasn’t a job I wanted to do again. But it was a job I felt I had to do again. Head of archery means you have to go out and talk to people. Head of archery means you have to get out of the house. It means you have to go places, promote practices and events, have sunshine and rainbows streaming from every orifice all the time while you are in public view.
I cannot express how much I didn’t and still don’t want to do any of that (except the paperwork part – that I don’t mind so much). I look forward to practice dates with a small sense of dread. Even the turning of the season that will dramatically cut our outdoor shooting down doesn’t provide much cheer, because as archery captain I’m expected to keep the interest alive, somehow. Hold workshops or classes or alternative activities that are archery related.
I can’t explain why I felt the need to step up. There was the sense of responsibility even though I hadn’t been active in years. There was also the realization in the back of my head that I was having an increasingly harder time associating with people. Socializing.
I was never very good at it to begin with, but now I was so completely out of practice I didn’t even need my social ninja skills for redirecting conversation away from me.
I just didn’t interact at all.
It takes me a few days to work up the resolve to go grocery shopping. When I go to a physical store now, I move fast, grab what I need, and get out. There’s no lollygagging. There’s no banter at the cash register. I even avoid eye contact with the floor team. I don’t care if I’m lost because the store is rearranging – I will go home before I ask a sales associate for assistance.
Perhaps my atrophied social skills were behind my writing malaise? Perhaps I needed a schedule – one forced on me from the outside, since setting schedules myself wasn’t working. Things that absolutely had to be done in a certain time frame in order to kick my brain into gear.
I don’t know if it’s working yet or not. I’ve only held the office for 3 weeks.
There is some pressure to improve the archery program, and/or to change it in some way or other even though I informed everyone from the beginning that my schedule was going to revolve around my family, and their schedule is less than flexible. I feel the pressure to somehow be better than previous captains. To be original and inspiring in some way.
I also know that I’ve slid into a downward spiral since stepping up. I know that for a fact because I’ve started binge-watching stand-up comedy. Not a positive sign.
I know it’s made me look at my hobbies a bit more closely. Do I really care about this thing over here? Is this something I’m really interested in working on anymore? Do I really not care about X, or is the “meh” just me being dour? I would like to have Z, but I don’t know that I want to spend all that time on it.
So I suppose the forced socializing and external responsibilities have paid off in that I’m sort of starting to evaluate where some pieces of my life fit with others. Writing is still a biggie – I’ll sell my floor loom for spare change before I give up writing.
But for now, I’m supposed to relearn how to talk to people. I’m supposed to be focused on figuring out how people work together (or not) in groups and singly. I’m supposed to remember which foot goes into the social ghillie suit first. So that might be the biggest worry I’m wrestling with.
Hopefully it will pay off.
I guess we’ll see.