the shy writer raises her hand

I am a shy and somewhat anxious writer.

Not all writers are alike. Some are outgoing and extraverted. Some are adrenaline junkies. Some are self-congratulatory and aloof. Some are confident and outspoken. And so on. But the stereotype of the introverted writer who is more comfortable in her own company, sequestered in a cozy office surrounded by tall bookshelves exists for a reason. And I am one of those writers.

I’ve always wanted to be outgoing and more confident. I can even be outspoken sometimes, but often this happens in the pages of my digital journal rather than out in the world or even on social media. This has been a painful struggle for me lately, as there is very much I want to say and even rant about regarding the current political and social climate in the Untied States, as well as the state of the environment, First Amendment issues, and a good deal more. But I was raised to keep myself to myself, and unfortunately I very often assume I am wrong or uninformed and allow that fear to guide me instead of speaking out.

I don’t think it’s simply because I am an INFJ, or because I have dysautonomia and chronic daily headache/migraine—and the anxiety that comes with both. But I generally prefer a quiet, dimly-lit space where I can think and work in peace. Sometimes I get all crazy and go work in a coffeeshop, with my headphones on. And even though I’m on track to publish five new books this year and have a newspaper feature appearing every month, I still keep most of my thoughts to myself.

Several years ago, a friend described me as aloof, but in his mind he was paying me a compliment. He saw me as self-possessed and composed, when it was really discomfort and self-consciousness. I don’t mean to make myself sound completely neurotic. I am not a bundle of nerves who simply cannot handle the outside world. I do love the outdoors, and I enjoy the company of other people (in smaller numbers). I relish good conversation and fun physical activities.

But I am shy, and I get flustered sometimes. This is a long way of getting around to saying that there’s a great deal more I want to say and explore here on my webspace, though I’ve been hesitant to do so. The reasons for my staying quiet are not, ultimately, very good ones. As I experiment with being a little louder and a little bolder, I hope to work this ridiculous and unhelpful trait out of my system or at least loosen its hold.

Posted in thoughts from the spiral.

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