The Unedited Introvert
So… who is the ‘unedited introvert’?
Well, it’s the me that’s typing this, from the library, on a day that I’m not meant to be writing blog posts.
But I just finished listening to episode #125 of Tara’s podcast, which couldn’t have come at a better time. Before I forget the words floating in my head, or lose the urge to hit publish, or edit it to the point it loses all impact: I’m getting it down.
Backing up a bit: I should start by letting you know that recently I’ve been moving away from Instagram. I think most of us can agree it is the most ‘edited’ form of social media.
One of the core features, photo filters, pretty much sums this up. You can make your watery bowl of oatmeal look delicious. You can adjust the exposure just enough to make your selfie blemish-free.
More and more, scrolling through my feed leaves me feeling… depleted. Worse, is the feeling I get by only showing the prettiest cups of coffee and glorious seascapes and sunrises I occasionally catch.
It shows you about… 4% of my world.
How can I put more of the unedited me into my feed? Do I need to? Does it scare me too much?
I’m still undecided, but I think I’m getting closer to my answers.
The WHOLE Picture
I’ve also been getting closer to my online community, the League of Creative Introverts.
When I see these brave, creative, funny innies show themselves – and not just the edited version – on the Facebook group, it reminds me of where I’m failing.
It isn’t so much a mask: generally speaking I am a happy clam, go-getting, cheerleading ginger.
BUT. That isn’t the whole story.
For one, this is a relatively recent evolution of myself.
Most of my life I’ve found it hard to smile. Felt most comfortable in dressed in black. Drowned the world out with loud, angsty music and violent horror films.
Does this sad, angry little girl still exist in me? I’m sure she does. But where is her outlet?
A Blank Canvas
I’ve also found myself in a new city. Brighton lives up to it’s name: it really is a bright town with wonderful, smiley people, coloured bunting and more fudge shops and tea shops than any place actually needs.
With that, has come social experiences with brand new people, who don’t know how angsty I was as a teen, or how angry I was with myself even a few years ago.
I have a blank canvas.
I can be whoever the hell I want to be. Whoever I need to be, in order to be accepted and loved and feel connected.
So who is that person?
She is the unedited introvert.
Of course, there is such a thing as oversharing. Tara pointed out that we have, throughout history, been presenting our best selves in certain situations.
Getting dressed in your Sunday best for church. Making sure your hair was in order on school picture day.
Nothing wrong with that.
After all, a lot of these new people I’m meeting, online or offline, are clients or potential clients. They don’t need to know about my digestive issues (though, I guess one of them – a nutritionist DOES hear ALL about that…)
They just need to be reassured I am who I say I am. That I’m friendly, reliable, communicative and good at time keeping. Sure, I’d like them to think I’m creative and intelligent and original… but that’s where I let my work speak for me.
On the flipside, there is a segment of people who deserve (as Tara put it) to know the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff.
The unattractive stuff: the emotional battles, the inner turmoil, the stuff that we ALL struggle with.
To know: I’m REAL! I’m with you on that. YOU are not the only one.
This segment consists of my close friends, my family. It’s the new acquaintances in Brighton who are becoming my legit friends. It’s the people who reply to my emails. It’s the League.
Living the dream?
One of the problems I see coming up over and over again, in my own head as well as others’, is our inability to stay out of the COMPARISON TRAP.
The Comparison Trap
It started when we were babies.
We see something someone else has, we like the look of it, we throw a fit because we don’t have it. That’s what is still happening in our heads! We just stifle it and channel it into something else.
Which might be overworking to exhaustion, trolling other people out of jealousy, or giving up on our dreams because we can’t possibly get that thing.
The Coffeeshop Dream
A friend recently commented how great she thought it was I got to trot out and work from a cafe every day. Don’t get me wrong: I love that. I live for that!
But that isn’t me from 8-11am. That me is sat in sweaty gym clothes (splattered with remnants of breakfast usually) in my very tiny room with wonky floorboards and windows that rattle in the wind.
That isn’t me when I tally up the amount I spent on coffee last month and decide to budget so have had to move to working at the library (free, no coffee purchase required) in order to stick to that amount.
THIS is what we’re missing online. The truth that there is, in any industry or creative endeavour, a side of it that is utterly unsexy.
We don’t have to stop being humans when we ‘go online’.
So How Am I Showing My Unedited Self?
Well, it starts with this here blog post.
Now, my blog is a place for me to help. It’s to inform.
I’m not planning to gratuitously share my inner thoughts if it’s completely unhelpful and irrelevant here, but there will be more #realtalk scattered in.
2. Some social media
I’m still undecided about Instagram: I just know I’ll be using it less.
Twitter is still my go-to. I can make esoteric, sometimes useful, never as funny as I think, comments without attaching a picture of my coffee or how my shoes look on a tiled floor… (I’m @creativeintro)
The League of Creative Introverts Facebook group will be my other place. It’s for paying members of the League only at this point, but if you want to try it out for a month, you can do so for $1 if you go through this link.
3. The Inner Thoughts of an Introvert
Finally, regular readers might know I journal a lot. Some of it isn’t too bad (other bits are streams of consciousness I barely understand…)
I’ve started to take sections of it each week and collate the useful stuff into a kind of… memoir.
It might be totally painful to read – but if you’re at all interested in the inner thoughts of this unedited introvert mind, you can get those weekly instalments if you sign up here.
So… What Now?
Do I expect everyone to go out airing their dirty underwear online? Nope. That would be gross and pointless.
What I would like to do is hold myself accountable. I really respect people like Tara Swiger (Meg Kissack is another gal doing her thing and totally rocking radical honesty) and hope that I can do my bit for my tribe; my League.
Sharing the side that isn’t polished, perfected, poised. I find it helpful when others keep it real, so hopefully you’ll find it helpful when I do.
No questions today, though any comments are very welcome.
It would be pretty awesome (IMO) to see more people, especially those who write and talk about what it’s like to run an online business, to show a more unedited picture.