Thursday, May 24, 2012

Introverts exposed... oh wait, they always have been.

Anybody who kind of knows me, knows that I am an introvert.  In conversation, I do not defer to speaking, but to listening.  This doesn't mean I have nothing to say, it just means that I'm thinking and I will most likely say what I have to say if I think it should be said.  Sometimes I think certain things should be said and then realize, "Nope, that shouldn't have been said."  I make the same foot-in-the-mouth mistakes that Chatty Cathys claim to make.  I'm not shy, I just have less to say.  If I have something to say that I feel passionate about, I'll say it loudly.  However, I remain an introvert.

All of my life, I have been perplexed by people who say that I am "hard to get to know" (it's been said many times).  To me, I am more self-explanatory than most people out there.  But today, I had a refreshing realization -- those people who have said I'm hard to get to know are not fellow introverts... they're those people that every introvert relies on to listen to, absorb, watch, and love: the extroverts.

Last night, Caleb and I had a conversation about introverts vs. extroverts.  He had listened to a particular interview on this topic, and was sharing with me some of its insights.  One interesting fact was that introverts, being observers, have more blood flow to the brain because they're constantly absorbing and reflecting.  While extroverts react to the immediate and to their external environment, introverts are sorting thoughts and absorbing their environment before any external reaction even takes place. The interview even discussed how extroverts are typically confused by introverts (ha).  The most liberating fact for me was that, according to a study, introverts -- after being with a large group or in a crowd of people -- experience a chemical imbalance which can result in confusion, blurred thinking, and sometimes depression.  That is, of course, unless they have some time away to absorb all that they've taken in, to categorize it, and mull it over.  My eyes widened and I breathed a sigh of relief -- "I'm not a terrible person for needing a break from people!!"  I exclaimed.  The description of "post-crowd results" is exactly me.

I love being around people -- but I also like having a day or more between any large or small event.  I literally set aside days to NOT be out of the house or to not be with anyone but my family... and those days are frequent.  I do this, not because I hate people, but because I love them more when I've had time to chew on everything that's happened in the past 24+ hours.  And when I say "chew on," I mean that I'm sorting out past events, pondering what they mean to my life/theirs, recalling past conversations and connecting them with other thoughts, and coming to minor revelations such as this very blog post.

I know that God made each of us largely more complex than simple "introverts" and "extroverts."  I am also fully aware that many people have lovely blends of either quality... and some people lean more heavily towards one or the other.  I'd say I lean quite heavily introverted, while Caleb has a good balance of being introverted and extroverted -- I really don't think he is capable of NOT thinking (I am using "thinking" lightly here.  Quite honestly, he is always "heavily pontificating").  Caleb just categorizes and absorbs everything so quickly, he needs to be around people in order to have more things to absorb.  He's great like that.

I would like to end my thoughts with this: everyone is an open book, some books are just harder to read.  And, as Caleb clarified after I stated this, "To call someone a closed book implies that he conceals who he really is, when in reality, he is being as openly himself as an outgoing person."

So, which one are you?  Introverted or extroverted?  ...sorry I didn't spend more time on your coolness, extroverts.  This post was about "those quiet people" this time. :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summertime and the livin' is easy...

These beginning weeks of spring (or is it the beginning of Summer, Oklahomans?) have me thinking back on end-of-the-school-year bliss and happy summer days with Caleb.  The end of the school year meant finals week, and the days of summer with Caleb -- back when we were dating -- meant seeing less of each other but doing fun things when we did see each other.

I just couldn't get enough of studying during finals week -- loved it.  So much.  So, so much.  So did sister Jenny.

Jenny usually looked quite different when studying (picture butterflies and birds chirping)... except when she was deliriously exhausted.  As you see above.

Since I'm super lucky, my birthday always landed on finals week.  This was my first birthday with a boyfriend.  And that boyfriend happened to be my future husband.  

As you can see, we were about 10 years old when we first started dating.  Actually, this was my 20th birthday...

He was even cute back then.  Even when he was blurry.

And then there was that one summer when my sisters lived in a teepee for awhile.

And then there was that one time that I wanted to be a rebel, so I left my hair long and dyed it...  darker brown.  Risky business!!

Lookin' like a weird cakes.

The summer that Caleb turned 21 and had some wine and a tasty meal...

And, of course, the blissful summer of our wedding...

The best reception -- with our sweet niece, Lydia.

Sweet, sweet Charleston.

After all the wedding crazies, we just hung out in quiet little Stillwater.  There can't be a better summer than 2010.

And I can't help but look at my 2010 self and think, "You didn't even know what baby weight was... what kind of world was that?"  

And the summer after that I was pregnant... which was a wonderful, but very uncomfortable fact, with record highs in Oklahoma.  I'll spare you a picture.

Here's to another wonderful summer! And this time, we will spend it with our teeny sweetheart.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Hide yo kids, hide yo wife... Julie is here.

Scenario:  I'm in the children's section of Half Price Books -- Caleb is on the other side of the store with Alice. I'm dressed in sandals, black skinny ankle-capris, a t-shirt, and a striped headband, and I've got a stack of interior decorating books in my arms.  Needless to say, I look pretty threatening.  A little girl who's about 6 sits down nearby and eyes me.

Girl: Do you know where my mom is?
Me: (with concern) No, do you?
Girl:  Yeah.
Me:  That's good!
(I continuing perusing the shelves)
Girl: Are you a stranger who takes kids?
Me:  (laughing)  No, I'm not a stranger who takes kids.
(The girl looks me up and down, suspicious)
Me:  My husband is across the store with our baby girl -- I take that kid, but she's the only one. (I smile)
Girl:  Look at my book!  It has eyes on the front that you can move, see?  Aren't they funny?
Me:  Ooo!  That's pretty crazy!!  You should make them cross-eyed.

She's moving the eyes around when, a few feet away, her mother says softly, "Come here, honey."  The girl skips over and exclaims, "She said she doesn't take kids!"  I'm laughing, and look over at the mom with a smile... she does not return the smile.  She gets down on her knees, looks her child in the eye, and "whispers" seriously.

Mom:  If she took kids, do you think she would tell you?
(The girl's demeanor immediately changes and she becomes serious.  MY demeanor changes from lighthearted to seriously annoyed -- does this mom honestly think I can't hear her?  No.  I think I'm supposed to hear her.  I am the wicked kid-snatcher now)
Mom: Don't talk to strangers, okay?

I try again and look at the mom with a smile.  Nope... nothing.  My annoyance made official, I trek across the store to Caleb, share the story, snatch Alice, and we bring the whole fam to the children's book section.  Alice on my hip, I stand close to the mother and daughter, displaying how legit I am... how non-evil I am.  I think, "She has noticed me.  It's all better now -- she knows how psychotic she was being about the situation!  I've got my DAUGHTER with me and she sees me!"  Then her husband walks up.  Again, I'm standing right there and I KNOW she sees me.  The woman turns to her husband and, again, I can pick up on her skillful "whispering."

Mom: ...and she said that she didn't take kids.

Seriously.  She was for real.  I probably stole Alice just to look innocent -- and before you can blink, I'm snatching your kid up, in public, in front of the parents, in broad daylight.  I wanted to turn to Alice and "whisper," "Don't listen to crazy ladies who are moms to kids that are good-natured and friendly, but want to destroy that good nature by making them terrified of strangers!"

"Whispers" with a message to the bystanders.  ...Eh, I mean, with a message to the kid-snatchers.  Watch out, kids.  The Julie is here... and she's gonna getcha!!