Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Posts tagged ‘introvert’

Some of Us Are the Belle of the Ball, The Rest, Wallpaper

Still Wallpaper After All These Years

Created with CanvaEven though I have several decades under my belt, some things don’t seem to change. Men buzz around one beautiful flower, and completely miss the fact that there’s an entire garden to choose from. Maybe what attracts them has morphed a little, but they all still seem to want the same thing.

What they want, though seems to continue to baffle. It’s not necessarily the most beautiful, the one with the nicest car, the cutest clothes, or the perkiest chest. There’s something less obvious; less apparent which seems to have them flocking to the same women while the rest of us watch in bewilderment as one man after another is rejected. Only one can win the prize, and only if she’s willing and equally attracted.

Don’t get me wrong. I get that men, like women would rather not settle. They want what they want (or think they want) and the rest are, to them, second-best. The sad part is, (at least from where I sit) while they’re busy chasing that one perfect bud, they might be missing out on the one who would be a better fit if they simply took the time to get to know her.

To Stand Out, You Have to Be Outgoing

The one constant I do see is the outgoing, extroverted women (or the ones Created in Canvawho know how to feign extroversion) seem to be the ones attracting all the bees. The quieter ones who open up only once they’ve developed a level of trust are left alone. I suppose we’re not worth the effort it takes to get to know us. Getting past the hard outer shell many of us have developed after years of disappointing relationships takes a willingness to be patient and keep things casual for awhile.

A friend of mine says you have to “open the door” so to speak. What she means is you have to decide within yourself you’re ready to let someone get close. She believes that’s what attracts men to you. I thought I’d opened that door, but clearly, I’m doing something wrong because I can still stand in a group of women and watch all but me get asked to dance.

Don’t get me wrong. I do get my share of dancing in. I’m not a complete wallflower these days, thank goodness. But I’m never approached by anyone who doesn’t already know me like the highly sought-after women are. Even in our social circle, I’m rarely the partner of choice with the single men who are at least close to my age.

What Makes the Belle’s Stand Out?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jdigger/2593695245/in/photolist-4Xcnex-89c1Mi-6PhxAF-8k5tGb-eZv9F8-6Q9Cip-fvznVr-oS59Fx-p9xxvo-4XcoL2-YhazSs-eckQaU-6XR6Bq-c8srGY-c8sUpj-6NQ6uW-bHaZTZ-H63a9w-6NQ51E-RtAqRc-dqX6UE-H8mpPK-6NQ9Zs-am2782-bE6WWP-apHbbx-H6Hx9k-a5UVV9-oGpJfQ-4UukVQ-8CDidz-9ejRx8-dxcYpa-6aSmuG-Bc74B6-bs3pqK-TH3XaS-9TasQW-8krUQj-76xarF-6SKwpB-6aNcgX-tnZnJ-dxd8rF-5pMmja-8mMxEt-fpF95K-o4YT5J-o56aFP-ZZev1TI hear similar laments from other women, so don’t think it’s just me. At this point, there are several factors which could be contributors, not only for me but for some of my friends:

  • Quieter
  • What we wear (comfortable vs. sexy or cute)
  • Excess weight
  • Too old (guys seem to gravitate towards younger women for the most part)
  • Shyer (Less likely to initiate a conversation or eye contact)
  • Less engaged (I, for one tend to drift off into my own head)
  • Less energy

Whether it’s a combination of these factors and others I have yet to recognize, or a single one, I’m not sure. In all fairness, I don’t see anyone I’m immediately attracted to either, though there are a couple I find attractive without knowing much about them. But it’s more of a passing thought if I see them around rather than a deep desire to get to know them better.

Committed vs. Interested

Maybe that blase attitude is really at the crux of the matter. Women who want to have a relationship simply act more interested in the process. Once eye contact is made, they have a way of making each person they talk to, male or female feel special in their own way. Though I’ve been the recipient, I’ve never mastered that particular social skill.

I’m learning a lot about building relationships from a business group I’m in, and I believe it’s helped me make headway in my social circle as well. Still and all, I’m starting from a disadvantageous position so I have a lot of catching up to do. As I draw closer to the middle of my 60’s, the options get lighter. In the end, I try to console myself by saying how accustomed I’ve grown to being alone.

But do we really? No matter how many years we chase a career, raise kids, follow a passion, or for some, live the life of a free spirit, when we close the door at night, there will always be times we wish we didn’t have to close out the entire world. I believe most, if not all of us who are single wish at some point there was someone else on our side of the door who’s looking forward to our time alone together.

Meeting the Right People in All the Wrong Places

https://www.flickr.com/photos/okfde/22290705021/in/photolist-zXKG1n-7eDmmQ-dxSTv-XJqQxC-36o7HP-ZLE8Ee-8EvfP6-b9LqR-7RWy3X-Ccanw-aQXebZ-b9ArD-HesSL-kqkjjX-4jNqxt-25Lcjuo-baU2C-7RWzFH-7RZPfJ-bEWeSi-7RZSiU-7RZMPY-kqkYsP-7RWyjv-mtriq-7RZNDd-aJcMBv-85TM3j-jgMYXB-qn2qTU-9PHTDC-v43fV-asGMVF-ohZjgx-cAtKLJ-4ieTRA-E4gQEV-dtHadk-dojJaJ-pUP9c1-7RZLRW-7RZU9j-7RZQKL-7RWEBp-7RZLdS-dnbXL-7RZSNs-7RZSRq-7RZNsU-7RZLvJI talk to one of my “Belle” friends a lot. She says I need to be more open to meeting people in off-the-wall places like elevators and jury duty; places others seem to meet. But I don’t feel I’m at my best in a crowd of people, or when I’m sweaty and wearing baggy clothes at the gym. I find it difficult to connect when I go somewhere for a purpose, or have to be somewhere I consider unpleasant. Instead, I’ll put headphones in my ear and hide out behind a book or a laptop. It’s my way of making the uncomfortable bearable.

My introverted self has compartmentalized my activities into “social” and “necessary”. Somehow, I’ve failed to build a bridge between the two. I’m not unaware the old men cranking away on the cardio machines are checking out everyone who walks by. A couple have tried to start conversations, or smiled and said hello, but that’s as far as it goes. I’m there to get my exercise in and go back home to work. And frankly, I have no delusions their friendliness is nothing more than that I’m there often enough to be a familiar face.

Not All Introverts Travel Alone

I know other introverts find someone who fits them. I can’t figure out how they manage it, but clearly they do or there would be a lot more people drifting around alone. My only guess is they grew more tired of being alone than I have, and took a giant step outside their comfort zone, socially. They learned to approach men they didn’t know while being friendly and open. Maybe they used the dating sites or something to help get themselves over the hump. The discovered something I’ve been unable to figure out. Which means there’s still hope for me and the rest of the women who feel like wallpaper.

Eventually, we’ll all stand out to someone!

Can I Help You?

Are you struggling to keep all of your entrepreneurial balls in the air? To stand out from the crowd? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Grateful for Every Kind of Friendship

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful my social circle has expanded, even if intimacy isn’t a factor right now.
  2. I’m grateful for friends who share their ups and downs. Even the ones who seem to have the best lives have their own stumbles and insecurities.
  3. I’m grateful for the strength I’ve developed while navigating my road alone. So much of that strength is in the relationships I’ve formed in the last couple of years.
  4. I’m grateful for the questions I ask. I don’t always admit I’m missing something until I take a good, hard look at the situation and how I do or don’t fit.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, dancing, joy, connections, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

What Else Leaves When Your Nest Empties?

Our Nest Empties of More than Our Kids

Although my kids moved out years ago (has it really been that long?) I’m starting to notice things I no longer keep in the house. I don’t mean the obvious like piles of laundry, messy rooms, and a sink full of dishes I didn’t use. No, I mean the more subtle things. The products I no longer use and the foods I no longer eat, the occupation of my space.

Here are a few things which moved out when my kids left the nest:

  • Ketchup
  • Goldfish (the kind you eat)
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Boxed macaroni and cheese
  • Random animals (guinea pigs, hamsters, lizards other than the suicidal ones I see once in awhile…)
  • Bagel bites
  • Games
  • Encyclopedias
  • Clutter
  • Constant noise of some kind
  • Arguments
  • Tension
  • Companionship

What Fills the Empty Space

I could go on, and it will vary from person to person. But what about what moved in when the kids flew the coop? Here are a few things, years later I’m still discovering and loving:

  • An entire house all for me
  • Peace
  • Tranquility
  • Silence
  • Clear space everywhere
  • A clean kitchen every night
  • Healthy food in my refrigerator and freezer
  • Keeping my own crazy hours without worrying about disturbing anyone
  • All the cats sleep with me

Adjusting to What’s Missing

https://www.flickr.com/photos/60740813@N04/34504735502/in/photolist-Uz4MJN-7H8hqz-r2covS-8wbGLH-8wcEVv-8weaum-8wcFMc-r2c6ww-r2iYrg-qmL3eU-8w9Dpr-r2jtjr-riJFWH-8wcT7A-8wcK8r-8wbRuV-8wcj84-8wanQx-8waPPT-8w9c4V-8w97ek-r2j3iV-riCAji-8w8skp-r2cTQq-8wfuwo-8waMUv-8wfDJJ-8wdgXY-qZq9cM-8wd2u3-8wfVzw-8wbq15-8w8bJP-8w9Wdc-8wcQdR-riF3r5-riJvW2-8wbTSq-r2cNH1-8wc6wN-r2d6wG-8wcM6o-r2jiHn-8wdexo-riJBiz-8bQ1eC-8wfeYo-riJJHV-8w9YqrStill, it isn’t all wine and roses. There are and always will be downsides to living alone. The biggest for me is being alone when I’d rather not be. I’m basically an introvert, so I’m not likely to just go out by myself to a place where I don’t know people to avoid being alone on a Friday night.

Most of my friends still work outside their homes and often need a quiet Friday night to relax and detox. As I’ve been working from home and only seeing people when I wanted to, I’m usually in a pretty mellow state by Friday and wouldn’t mind some company of my own choosing. Nevertheless, most Friday nights I spend alone.

Other areas where living alone can be hard are:

  • No one there if you fall in the shower and can’t get up or even reach the phone
  • No one to hold you when you’re sad or lonely
  • No one to take you to the doctor or go get you soup if you’re sick
  • No one there if you need an extra set of hands
  • No one to help with the chores
  • No one to talk to when you don’t feel like being alone
  • Dinner in front of the TV or at your desk gets old after awhile
  • Cooking for one (need I say more?)
Empty Nest: A Blessing and a Curse

Needless to say, adjusting to the pros and cons once the kids move out for all us single parents out there definitely has its highs and lows. We learn to adjust to the lows and fill our lives with enough activity to keep us from wallowing. We learn how much alone is enough, and where it becomes too much to bear. Of course, pets are a huge benefit. Without them, I know I’d have crashed and burned a few times when life threw too many tough things at me, or gave me too much time alone.

You could say people who are extroverted have an easier time of it, but do they really? I have extroverted friends who struggle over the same things I do. Maybe they manage them differently, but you can only go out alone so often, even to crowded places without finding yourself in “lonely town” in spite of the crowds.

Sure, we chit chat on social media or talk to our pets. We may private message or text back and forth. But it’s not the same as human contact. It’s definitely not the same as having someone around at least part of the time who cares how you’re feeling, how your day went, and what’s making you feel anxious at times. Nor will it ever replace a good, old-fashioned, heartfelt hug that’s made especially for you.

The Beauty of Human Contact

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMy social circle; my friends are real huggers. We hug hello. We hug good-bye. We hug because we know someone needs it, or because we know they’re having a tough time. We hug for joy when someone has wonderful news. We hug for no reason at all. Still, there is the hug from someone who believes you are their moon, sun, and stars. It’s the most special kind of hug, and one I haven’t felt in a very long time.

How can you miss something that’s so far in the past as to have been forgotten or so distant as to be more a dream than a memory? Some things embed themselves into the very fiber of our being. We don’t need to remember. It’s just there. And it’s the single most unpleasant part of always being alone; of putting the key in the lock, knowing only the cats will be waiting behind those doors. Of getting ready for bed every night knowing you’ll fall asleep alone, get up alone, and maybe not even talk to a single soul all day long.

Wondering if Anyone Would Notice

Too many times when I’m feeling especially low, I’ll ask myself “if I fell and hit my head, how many days would go by before someone even thought to check and see why I was so quiet? How many days would I be off social media before someone thought to ask why I hadn’t made a single peep?” If the times I’ve been sick for a few days, or simply boycotting social media are any indication, it could be a while.

My daughter is used to me not answering her at times. She knows I get busy with my writing and thinks nothing of radio silence for a few days. At least I’m pretty sure she does. I have yet to get panic calls or texts asking why I haven’t been responding when I’ve been out of touch for a few days.

Lest you think I spend all my days having a pity party, it’s really not so. I have created an active social life with some pretty amazing friends. But that doesn’t mean there are times I wish I wasn’t so alone whenever the door closed and the lights went out. It’s human nature to be connected. Much as I proclaim my love of solitude as an Introvert, there is such a thing as too much alone time. There are times I miss the clutter, the tension, and having to wipe the ketchup off the counter because someone was too lazy to clean it up.

I miss having someone there if I were to fall and hit my head.

Finding Gratitude at Every Turn

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my amazing, loving friends.
  2. I am grateful for my cats who keep me company no matter what, and love me unconditionally.
  3. I am grateful I’ve learned to be more social.
  4. I am grateful I have an amazing gift in my writing which allows me to express things instead of burying them deep inside to fester and grow.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, hugs, inspiration, joy, dancing, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Being Single in the Safe Zone

Leaping Before You Look

A few days ago, I talked about asking yourself whether you were ready to open up your heart after, let’s face it, a long dry spell. I’m discovering that like everything else, it’s a process. First you have to ask yourself the questions. Then you have to answer honestly knowing there are no right or wrong answers here. And finally, you have to start the series of baby steps that will eventually lead you to your destination.

Most of us don’t leap from deciding to give relationships a chance to jumping with both feet into one. Like diving into a swimming pool that isn’t heated, we start slowly, then work our way up to the scarier parts. But how slow is slow?

Once you’ve decided to lower your defenses and take a look around to see what’s out there, how do you actually go about it? Lists? Online dating? Speed dating? Just looking around wherever you tend to spend time (hopefully not the office!) to see what, or rather who you might see? Do you set certain criteria? Single, employed, and with a pulse are usually a good place to start.

Safety First…But Not Forever

If you’re like me, whether consciously or not, you look at the safe ones first. What do I mean by safe? They fall into several categories, the most obvious being currently attached. I look at those because I’m watching how they treat the women they’re with. I learn a lot about how I want to be treated from them (and how I do NOT wanted to be treated as well. One in particular comes to mind. He was feeding his lady popcorn in the middle of a crowded bar! Yikes!) I can watch and learn without worrying about engaging my heart just yet.

Another safe one is someone who exhibits some of the traits of one of those exes you’d like to forget; those red flags that will always be show-stoppers. One of my big turn-offs is someone who drinks excessively. One or two drinks is fine, but beyond that, my red flags are waving like there’s a stiff breeze…50 or 60 miles per hour worth of stiff. And if a guy looks like Adonis, I might enjoy looking, but you’d better believe that’s one I’d never touch. I’m simply not the arm candy I believe they’re looking for. But a girl does enjoy a little eye candy now and then. It’s not just for guys, you know.

Turning Research Into Action

Observing is all well and fine, but there comes a time when you have to decide you’ve put in enough research and start putting pen to paper, so to speak. The question is, how do you know when that time has come? Or more specifically, when you’re ready to venture out past the safe zone. Dipping your toes into the shallows is one thing. But diving in with both feet, oblivious to possible rip tides is quite another.

I suppose several factors will influence the decision. First, how long you’ve been out of the water. Second, whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert. As an introvert, I’m far more likely to take the safe road where people are concerned. It takes a concerted effort or stuffing a sock in the inner voice that screams Danger, Will Robinson! Moving forward will lead to certain psychological annihilation! or something equally dramatic and patently unlikely. But my panic buttons are set at a very low level when it comes to humans in general and males who might upset my status quo in particular.

Assuming we’ve gotten past the first two without incident, there’s the twin factors of opportunity and mutual attraction. When you’re in your 20’s, 30’s, and even 40’s, opportunities are still fairly plentiful even if some of those opportunities are 20 years older than you are. But by the time you hit your 50’s and 60’s, especially if you’ve been in dry dock for more than a decade, not only have the opportunities dropped into the single digits, but there are scores of women on the hunt for an unattached male who are both aggressive and persistent. If you haven’t developed these qualities while sitting on the bench, those few opportunities shrink even further.

Figuring Out the Logistics, Or Finding My Own Crooked Lid

Of course, if staying safe is your intention, none of these are bad things. There’s no charge for looking, dreaming, or even engaging in friendly, commitment-free conversation. Just remember the huntresses are locked and loaded and unless the man is especially wise to their wiles, he’ll be in a relationship before you can say “would you like to meet me for coffee?”

Yet I do see women re-entering the dating game with some success. I can only wonder which of the factors helped them get past the initial dunking with a willingness to splash around for a bit until they got used to the chill and started actually enjoying it. Did someone catch their eye and make them see possibilities? Did they find someone in their usual hangout/group with whom they felt comfortable and connected from the start? Did they haunt online dating sites, sending pokes or messages or whatever the term is these days? Or are they just braver and more socially aware than I am such that they figured out the rules to the dating game and entered with some tools I lack?

Being the inveterate optimist, I prefer to believe a granny-ism a friend once shared: There’s no pot too crooked it can’t find its lid. I think we stay in the safe zone until we recognize our own particular crooked lid, assuming we’re not one of those afore-mentioned huntresses who truly are just looking for someone who is unattached and has a pulse and a job. If you ask me, it’s worth the wait to find that one who makes your heart sing, keeps you laughing and makes you feel cherished. For me, settling for less is not an option. Single will always beat settling, any day of the week.

Stay tuned as I’m not done researching this one. I’ve finally moved on from Google to actually observing the world around me. I might even start talking to men I don’t know, or don’t know well! (or I will as soon as I can get my tongue untied!)

Gratitudally speaking

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful for the lessons I’m learning.
  2. I am grateful for friends who offer examples, insights, and encouragement
  3. I am grateful for my curious mind.
  4. I am grateful for increasing confidence and a little bit of recklessness thrown in for shits and giggles.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; opportunity, lessons, challenges, friendship, love, joy, signs, wisdom, confidence, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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