I was asked to do a little exercise a few weeks ago to come up with some guiding words, desires and themes for 2014. If you’ve been following on my Facebook page, you’ll know that I don’t really ‘do’ yearly resolutions, so what I shared was what I’ve been guided by or am following through on for my current ‘period’. I don’t even do this by a year, I just wait until the impulse arrives, and follow it until it feels done. It works well for me, just letting it happen as it does without the pressure and external structure of annual, January-timed goals. Its a perfect mesh of three of the things that make me, me: introversion, intuition, rationalism.
I wanted to share two of the things I’m working through at the moment. First up, I want to connect more to myself, with the things I loved doing when I was young, with the elements of my personality I’ve been at odds with, and learning to embrace the me that maybe hasn’t been getting enough air time over the last few years. The first big step in that direction was Susan Cain’s book, ‘Quiet’ (you’ve heard my love for that before, over here, and I’ve shared more about what being an introvert means for me for recharging and relating to fiction and my condition ). I love the clarity this book gave me, and now I’m super conscious of nurturing my introversion. I make sure I have quiet time (this includes away from R), I make a conscious effort to read for love, I have been relating to my friends ‘Quiet’-ly: just one on one or not much more, in environments I’m comfortable in, and with no pressure. I’ve been drawing very firm lines on what is ok for me and what isn’t, because I know going with the alternative makes me the worst kind of INTJ – intellectually aggressive, calculating, cruel. I prefer to be a different kind of person.
The other side of this has to do with the things I love to do, though they are very introverted past times. I’m sure you’ve noticed I like to write – I started this blog around 8 months ago and since then, I’ve published almost 90 posts, most of which have been around 1000 words in length. Apparently, giving me a computer or pen and paper is just as dangerous as asking me to speak on something I’m passionate about – you can’t shut me up! Which got me thinking – 90 posts of around 1000 words each is a goddam book! 90,000 words. Hmm… So what I’m doing now is sitting with the idea, having a play with it, seeing how it fits. Maybe nothing will come of it, or maybe, in a years time, you’ll be reading my book. Who knows! Either way, I love to write, and I’ll be doing more of it in one form or another.
My other favourite creative outlet as a kid was drawing. The artwork on presentations, just for fun on weekends, or when my oldest friend E and I re-drew the map from The Hobbit’s inside cover just for fun in primary school. I’ve only just started dabbling with drawing again, but I’ve also started taking it a little less literally. As a decidedly non-visual creative, I actually wrote out the exercise in coloured pencils. I try and write by hand (its a beautiful part of the creative process), and just dabbling, trying and playing. Not for grades, or praise or anything external, just because I like it. I imagine, objectively, I’m not that good, but I enjoy doing it. Seriously, what better motivation? I get to take some time to do something by myself, for myself that I like, and all it does is make me happy (which is great for anyone who has to? gets to talk to me that day). Win!
The second element I’ve been working on is connecting. On a personal level, I’ve been developing new friendships and rekindling old ones that support my introversion (I talked about that a little while ago too!), but in a bigger sense, I’ve been connecting with all of you who read this blog, and with the others who follow me through Facebook. I’m feeling the ‘pull’ to go bigger, too – to connect with more people with rare conditions, with women with inherited bleeding disorders, with anyone who lives with a chronic illness to tell them I get your shit. I want to help you through it, and I want to shout it from the roof top for the people who need to hear our stories – the doctors, hospital boards, state and national governments, the patient support organisations.
I’ve been trying to use my usual time of pain and upset, my menstrual bleeds, for connection as well. I scheduled a couple of Skype dates during my last one – sitting on the couch is actually something I can do while unwell, so why not use the time for something useful? It was an amazing experience – I got to connect with people, and have a focus other than my difficult health issue, which perked up my mood and altered my experience of the bleed. Wins on all fronts, I say! The desire to connect might sound quite un-introvert of me, but I feel comfortable doing so in this space. The innate connection to the ‘why’, the reason for talking, sharing and making new friends is my own experience of my condition and my health. It has such purpose behind it, so speaking and sharing comes easier.
Keep you eye on this, I’ll be working on these two elements personally and sharing some bits with you through my blog and Facebook page (have you checked it out yet? Head over to https://www.facebook.com/mymissingfactor and hit ‘like’!). I’m pretty excited (and a bit scared) to develop these areas in my life, and I can’t wait to see what happens.