Monthly Archives: January 2012

Crab People (Introverted vs. Extroverted)

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People drain me. Physically, emotionally, figuratively… they suck.

I’ve read in several articles about people with introverted characteristics that this phenomenon isn’t unusual. Introverts can be socially outgoing, but we are inwardly super self conscious. For example, I LOVE to share or answer questions in my grad classes. I dont shy away from that. However, it may take me several minutes to formulate thoughts, to feel out the room, to make sure that raising my hand wont be construed as me being “pushy” or “dumb.” At parties, I’ll be fine (if not a bit of a background character), but I’m often full of dread in the car ride over or I will spend days in advance thinking of talking points and reviewing my friends.

It’s all soooo much to do and take in.

That’s why introverts lose energy from other people.

That's pretty accurate.

 

It doesn’t help when you are in a serious relationship with someone who is so clearly an extrovert. B, a great guy and all, is a bit clueless on my little introverted quirks. He doesn’t understand my need for space, privacy, warmth, and time outs from the world.

Most of all, he doesn’t understand that I process the world in solitude. I dont share, partially because I am terrified of being a burden. The other reason is because I know how much my own problems can overwhelm me, so why would I want to share these experiences and emotions with someone who is not actively involved?

When there is an issue to be dealt with, I go through stages: 1.) Outwardly emotional. 2.) Inwardly emotional 3.) Inner reflection 4.) Conclusion 5.) Resolution. If there is no answer to a question or problem, then I skip over conclusion and get to resolution. And from there, there is nothing left to be said. It’s done. The problem is that all but one of these steps is accomplished internally. So I often cannot address the reflections or resolutions I have made.

And it’s a communications break down from there.

I worry. A lot. I worry that I am unable to verbalize what emotions I have and when I have them. But I am even more worried that because I have built up this wall where people know I process emotions internally instead of externally, when I do verbalize what I feel… well, it’s not trusted or understood. Does that make sense? Probably not.

Here’s another analogy: You’re the popular girl at high school and you’ve made wearing pink the “it” thing to do. Everyone expects you to come to school in pink. One day, you decide to wear black and while friends see that you are wearing black, they think you are still wearing pink socks under your black pants or that you are wearing black as some joke on the goth kids. The point of you wearing black (to show that you are diverse in your choices or to get a point across) is lost because you chose to wear pink every single day since freshman year of high school.

 

Poor B has to deal with me flip-flopping on how I address my emotions. One day, I am sharing every bit of my day with him. The next, I am locking myself in my bedroom or sitting in my closet so I could have a moment alone.

(And this is when I tell you the horrible story about how I once laid under my bed for six hours straight after a particularly long day at work. Nothing was inherently wrong. I just wanted to lay under the bed and soak in the quiet and dark.)

But, the truth is that interactions drain me. Right now, if someone was asking, I’d say my stress level was at an 8 out of 10.

Look like Crab. Talk like people.

Why so high? I HAVE NO IDEA. All I can say is that my time around people has increased. And while none (except for a few dim moments) have been negative experiences, being around people for an extended period has turned me in to a complete crab-person. I’m emotional and uneven tempered, and I really just want to sit in my shell and listen to dance music (yes, I know…) till I feel better.

So, fellow introverts, how do you deal with your extroverted love ones? Are they soul-sucking hell beasts, too? Or are they understanding, lovers of crab people?

 

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Budgeting

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Last night was my first (real) class of the winter quarter. My one class is Budget and Financing for Higher Education Administrators. In other words…

Ok. Actually, it isn’t that bad. While my personality type demands that I should never be handed over a bunch of cash and asked to manage it, I do occasionally dabble in the purchases of my office.

It’s rare.

At least the professor is interesting. He keeps it very open and more of a forum discussion. Having a debate over if tenure helps or hurts university budgets was actually… uh… fun.

What wasn’t fun was after a 10 hour work day + 3 hour class, I came home to find my lovely, wonderful, amazing fiance wanting to talk about budgets.

To make matters worse… we’re talking WEDDING BUDGETS.

I really, really do not mind talking wedding budgets. I’m not so indoctrinated to the wedding dogma that is TLC that I am calling platinum wedding shots, but really…

I love you, my darling, but I just spent an entire day staring or thinking at everyone’s money, but mine. Let’s not start.

That might have been harsh. While we have a vague understanding of how much we are going to be spending (*cough* too much *cough*), we do need to set aside a time to look at what our priorities are.

Do we want a house in 5 or less years? How about longer travel? What about kids?

All valid questions that we need to sort through, I suppose. But dear God, not when I just came from a budgeting course.

At this point, I think it would be more productive to throw money at a couple wedding vendors and tell ’em to run free with it. Ugly chair bows? WHY NOT. Overexposed photos of posed drunk family members eating friend chicken off of paper plates? GO FOR IT, REDNECKS!

At least I wont have to deal with a budget.

When and Where

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After B and I got engaged, we started the light wedding conversations all normal, newly engaged couples have. We seemed pretty much on the same page with all of the big things (including the highly cringe worthy budget conversation).

But, of course, we ran in to issues when we got to the “where.” I’m from a rural area about an hour and a half south of Chicago. My family is all located in that area. Traveling to and from the city is not difficult at all, but with gas prices being what they are and city traffic being, also, what they are… I felt pressure to have it in my hometown.

Having it in that area would save us thousands upon thousands of dollars. On the other hand, our selection of “unique” location spots would be limited to places with ugly carpets or views of parking lots. It would also force B’s significantly larger family to travel to an area where there were less hotel options.

Some hotel carpet patterns are enough to get me sea sick.

I didn’t want to pick sides. But I knew that one of our families would have to travel. In the end, we chose mine.

This decision wasn’t made without a ton of discussion between all, essentially, 6 sides. Having it in Chicago worked simply because we live here. Families not considered, we want to have a wedding that reflects our love, and the majority of that love was cultivated here. We also think it is a bigger draw to have people travel in to the city where there are a ton of hotel options, activities, and easy transportation methods.

Our second set of questions revolved around “when.” The original plan was to have an extremely extended engagement for January 2014.  Then we considered those we were asking to travel- my family. I grew up in a very rural area where snow plows are pretty much a myth. If snow did fall that morning,  we could call:

 

But how realistic is that?

So, we flipped. Spring 2013 would be too early to raise the amount of money we planned on budgeting. Fall would be both of our busy seasons for work. Summer’s too hot. We found one happy medium: September. With average highs in the mid 70s and lows in the mid 50s, I couldn’t think of a more perfect time in Chicago to throw a wedding.

Now that we knew the when and the where, we relaxed a bit. That was until I put in my first feeler email to a vendor asking about September 2013. The email started off with this paragraph:

Hi! My fiance and I are looking in to potential vendors for our 120-140 person wedding in September of 2013. I know that it’s very early in the game for us to be looking, but we’d like to get a feel of what our options are. Could you please send me more information about your space, including pricing?

In return, I got this back:

Michelle,
First of all, congrats on the engagement! What an exciting time! Secondly, you are not looking too early. September, by far, is one of our most popular months. Currently, we are booked up until August of 2013 for all Saturdays. We do have a couple of Saturdays open in September, as well as some Sundays.

I pretty much did a spit take when I read that.

The Knot had told me that I could relax for another 6 months. I didn’t have to scramble to do anything I HAD TIME! This vendor, however, threw me a major curveball. Not only did I have to start researching now… I also was already starting to compete for one of the most popular months in wedding-land.

Frack.

So, here we are, 20 months out from our wedding. That’s 626 days, to be exact. And we’re planning like it’s less than two months from now.

Brides of Chicago, you have been warned.

……………………….

In other news, I was the DJ at this Sunday’s Dance Dance Party Party. It was BANANAS. 32 girls were there. 3-2.  For the room that small and the crowds they normally draw, 32 is like inviting the entire Chinese population to move to Vermont. Either way, it was SO MUCH FUN. I’ve never sweat that much before. And it was, perhaps, because my music selection was stellar, as always. I did a Best of 2011 Dance Mix. Each song was either released as a single or on an album that came out in 2011 with one exception- a tribute to Amy Winehouse.

Knitting a Prayer Shawl

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Early on in my Christmas shopping, I decided that I wanted to knit something again. Last year, I knitted a very simple scarf for my aunt. This year, I wanted to get more ambitious. I instantly thought of my grandma, who is constantly complaining that someone or some animal is stealing her favorite shawls and blankets.

I found a pretty simple pattern and picked out four balls of yarn that matched the colors of her living room furniture (tan and burnt orange). The day I brought home the yarn, I noticed a different pattern on the back of the yarn ball. It was for a “prayer shawl.” As many of you know, I am not religious… at all. However, my mom is.

My mom has been through a TON this year. But she’s made it out and is doing dramatically better. I know that her new found faith has played a big impact in her life. So I decided to revamp my original plans and use the yarn to make my mom a genuine prayer shawl. It would take a LONG time (3 months, to be exact), but I finished it.

The pattern was pretty simple:
Tie on 84
Knit 4, purl 3
I measured it out around myself and then added a little bit more so it would fully wrap around the shoulders.

In order to be a prayer shawl, you actually had to add the prayers. Since I dont believe in a conventional God, I sent out good thoughts, my hopes for her, and my hopes for her family after I finished each row. This took a bit of time, and after 100 rows or so, you really run out of ideas for wishes and prayers… but I made it.

Here’s what it looked like:

I'm a HORRIBLE model, so I cut my head off of one shot.

The shawl took a ton of patience, something I do not have. But it really made this Christmas a more spiritual one for me.

In other Christmas recap news, I ended up with some pretty awesome stuff… engagement ring included. But I did end up making two big purchases for myself. One of them was a new computer, which I just got on Thursday, thanks to B’s brother. The second one was an Xbox. I’ve been wanting one FOREVER! I ended up getting Portal and Fable 2. It was a pretty exciting holiday, to say the least!

Now, it’s on to wedding planning. We think we’ve got the location down (just have to sign the contract) and I’ve asked a friend of mine to be my Maid of Honor (a sort of shared title with my sister, who is my Matron of Honor). I’ll share both of those details soon.

Starting Over…

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Whenever I see those two words put together, I instantly start singing some John Lennon:

I really wish I could write an awesome post about how I spent my holidays healthy and fit, getting in 3 miles every day on the treadmill (or even better, outdoors) and lifting weights like a mad man. I wish I had pictures of how buff I am now or how great my butt looks in two size smaller jeans.

But, I bring you nothing but a scale reading.

And it ain’t pretty.

It’s 6lbs uglier.

Even for photoshop, that's a pretty ugly scale.

So, what does a girl do when she’s gained 6lbs in less than a month?

Eat chocolate?

Nope.

Cry into her pillow?

Uh... creepiest pillow ever.

Get pissed off?

Yep. That’s it. I’m going to get pissed off. And then I am going to go to the gym and freakin’ work the crap out of the free weights. Maybe I’ll even torture the elliptical with my added 6lb weight. Either way, I am going to move in to the kitchen and actually watch what I put on my plate. Take that plate. I bet you dont like being a victim in a Sting song.

Oh, and I joined Weight Watchers. I swore I would never do it, but then I started seeing and hearing more and more success stories that were close to home. I do like the points program so far. It’s fairly simple and it does make sense (though I still dont agree with how they give diet soda no points but juice 1 or 2).

In other news on the home front, Ms. Greer has left us. She was adopted last week and was picked up on Sunday morning. I cried and spent the day feeling empty over her loss. She was such a great dog. She was truly the “Right dog, the wrong me.” And while I almost lost it this morning when there was no dog licking my ankles at 6am to get her food ready, I am so grateful that she was picked up by New Leash and was given a great fur-ever home.

We thought we would have some time between fostering again, but there seems to be a need for a foster transfer. So we are meeting a new potential pup tomorrow. I hope she’s as good as Greer (and equally potty trained).

I really have more posts planned with wedding details and my crafty-Christmas. But for now, this covers it. Have a happy (and healthy) re-start!