Big News: Like An Introvert is MOVING!

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I’m actually really excited for this. I’m finally moving Like An Introvert to its very own domain name–no more “wordpress.com”! HOORAY!

This is a much-needed change, and one that I’ve put off for too long, for three reasons:

  1. It costs money to move to a self-hosted domain.
  2. I was spending money on Study Break, the site I started for Christian college students.
  3. I was putting all of my focus into Study Break.

But, after a lot of thought and prayer, I’ve decided to shut down Study Break and restore my focus to Like An Introvert, where I first felt my calling to writing. If you’d like to read more about why I’m shutting down Study Break, and read some pretty raw confessions by yours truly, click here.

So, here’s a few of the awesome benefits and changes I’m going to be making for the new site…

  • A New Look. Soft blue and neutrals…ah, nowhere near as busy as the theme on this website. It’ll make the site easier for you to look at and navigate. Including a new logo and graphics by my brother…he needed volunteer hours for a scholarship so I decided to make him work for me for free. 😉
  • New Commenting System. A self-hosted domain running WordPress allows me to improve the website in ways that a wordpress.com website won’t. The first way I’m taking advantage of this is by getting a new commenting system, allowing you sign in to comment with Facebook, Twitter, or OpenID. NO MORE shall you have to look at that intimidating and impersonal comment box at the bottom. And don’t worry, this system is legit–it won’t spam up your email or your Facebook. I hate that as much as you do.
  • Post Migration. What this means is that all of the posts from the current Like An Introvert site will be moved over to the new site. I don’t know if I’ll be able to migrate the comments as well (the new comment system might plop itself right on top of them), but I’ll do my best.
  • Other little surprises. Like I said, a self-hosted wordpress site allows me a lot more freedom for personalization. I’ll be adding and changing a bunch more little things to the site to make it easier for you to navigate and find what you need. And besides…I have to keep SOME secrets…;)

And, my favorite announcement yet:

The Email Club!!!

When the new site launches, there will be some fun stuff going on that will bring in new readers and commenters. But to show you all just how much I appreciate you for supporting me and my writing since the very beginning, I’d like to invite you to be one of the first to see the brand new site.

Click here to get early access to the new site!

Joining this email club means that I’ll send you out an email notification with access to the new site a week or more before it’s available to the public. Only the ones on the email list will be able to view the new website before its “official” opening–I won’t announce the link on Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else until later. And of course, I’ll have a new post or two rolling out during that time, and you don’t want to miss that…right?

Plus…I have a little thank-you gift tucked into the welcome email, and I’d love for you all to have it. 🙂

And another thing…the early access (and all of the new posts) will start within a week, so you’d better hop on it!

NEW! Affirmation Cards: Encouragement for the Heart

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Hey everyone!

I’m so excited about this. My mom is a fantastic artist over at Sparrow’s Journey by Heather Santos (first link is her blog, second link is her Facebook). She’s a self-taught artist, which is even cooler. She uses her art as an outlet for her thoughts and emotions…and it shows through powerfully in each piece she does.

She recently (January) made Truth Cards for the Brave Girls Club, which were sent to the Philippines as little notes of encouragement to women who were rebuilding their lives after being trapped by poverty (or force) into human trafficking. (They teamed up with Full Circle Exchange to help these women get into lifestyles and careers that would support their families and take them out of the sex trafficking industry for good.)

But as more and more of her customers in the U.S. started asking for these cards, she realized something…

Women and men EVERYWHERE need words of encouragement, just like these.

And that’s where I come in to the story…

She asked me to create some encouraging words to put on cards that she would paint the backgrounds for.

So I wrote down things that I need to hear, things that I’ve been told in the past, things that I tell myself every day to keep me going, whispers from my Creator that comfort me…and this is the product.

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There are several more designs (and sayings) available in her etsy shop (including some more suited for men). They are only $5.50 (free shipping!) and they make a great gift. My mom and her coworkers even handed these out to girls on campus on Valentine’s Day. She said they seemed happy and touched–and I’m convinced that they are keeping these cards close by, for reference. 😉

So if you know anyone who needs encouragement, or if you know that you need one of these around to encourage you (like I do), then consider stopping by.

Because everyone deserves to know that they are loved. That’s what we humans were made for, anyways!

 

God and Depression: What Does the Journey Really Look Like?

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Recently, I’ve been going through something I’ve been graciously calling a “funk”. You know, it can’t possibly be depression; I have no reason to be depressed because life is going pretty well; it hasn’t gone on for long enough to really be considered depression; it is not as bad as other people’s so I don’t really have the right to call it depression. Maybe these were little lies to get me by. But now, I’m ready to look at it for what it really is.

I stopped writing. I stopped prioritizing my spending and my daily tasks, stopped thinking of my to-do lists. I stopped wanting to hang out with my friends, but they wouldn’t know; I was happy to see them all the same. I stopped enjoying my practice times, and didn’t really get much done. The house is a mess, the dishes are dirty. The bathroom needs cleaned and the laundry needs put away. I haven’t done my Stats homework in over two weeks.

There is no motivation. It’s not that I’m motivated to not do things, like those times when I push myself way too hard and I desperately need a break–when I’m burning out. There is simply…nothing.

I’m having a tough time explaining myself well, so here is an excerpt from a journal-like post I started to write the other day…(dont’ speed read over this. You’ll miss it.) Read the rest of this entry

Life is a Trade-Off.

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I knew it was coming.

It had to.

That special wistfulness of times past, the knowledge that this was really the last time, and there would be no more after this.

The romanticized versions in my head that ignored all of the frustrations, discouragements, and feelings of helplessness of the past two years.

I never thought I’d be here. I’d already thought that I’d never miss it; that when I hear of a game this weekend, I’d chuckle at how much I hated sacrificing my entire Saturday to do something I didn’t even like: watching football. And that I’d remember how much I loathed getting up early and ending up sick and voiceless the next day.

But it’s the school songs that get me. The ones I know with my heart and not my hands or lips. The ones that simply tumble out with the ictus of the drum major’s hands, through me.

Was it a family, but I just didn’t notice or partake? Could I have made a difference if only I didn’t believe that I was powerless? If only I didn’t listen to the wrong voices? If only I’d opened my eyes to the people who actually cared and wanted to see a change?

Did I waste my time and my potential by giving up and going through the motions–by acting sullen when I could have done much better by offering a cheerful spirit?

Oh, how I wish I could return. I feel a terrible debt to them, because I could have given so much more if only I had remained hopeful and persistent.

But regardless of my regret, my pride that makes me want to prove myself, or the what-ifs that swirl in my head, I’ve already made the choice. And now I must live with it. I must justify it…make myself certain that I chose rightly. For that is the human way.

Life is a trade-off. Time is a commodity, a scarce resource. In order for me to choose to capture one opportunity, I must give up another opportunity that I have never experienced, or one that I’ve had previously. I’m still not sure which is worse: the torture of not knowing what could have been, or giving up that which you already know. Perhaps it is both intertwined that torment me so.

When the mind and the heart are at odds, who is to say who should win? But the heart shouldn’t always win, and neither should the mind. One who only follows his heart may find himself in a sea of aloof impracticality, and one who only follows his mind builds walls that forget about feeling.

In this, I have chosen the mind: I must do what I must. For my education, for my marriage, for my health. And I must have faith that there are greater things waiting for me. I must trust God to “make all things work together for the good of those who love him.” And above all, I must make peace with myself.

I’ll  allow myself the luxury of sadness now, so it won’t tear me down in the months to come.

Perhaps I’ll entertain the bitter memories to prevent the nostalgia. Or perhaps I’ll preserve only the good ones, that I may have lovely thoughts to look back upon.

Either way, I know this:

I will continue.

Au Contraire, Rose

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Against whom, Rose,
Have you assumed these thorns?
Is it your too fragile joy
That caused you to become
This armed thing?

But from whom does it protect you,
This exaggerated defense?
How many enemies have I
Lifted from you that did not fear it at all?
On the contrary, from summer to autumn
You wound the affection that is given you.

Against whom, Rose,
Have you assumed these thorns?

I’m supposed to be writing a paper about this piece. Instead, I’m writing this.

If tears didn’t accompany you to the end of this piece, go back and listen again. And this time, let yourself feel.

 

Au contraire!

 

You see, I cannot write at this moment, because I cannot stop listening. Cannot stop feeling.

Not just because the music is beautiful. No, if it were just that, I wouldn’t have been so terrified to play it back in November. (My stage fright only comes when I don’t have adequate emotions to express.)

No, not that–but because I have finally understood what it means.

 

Au contraire!

 

Of all the moments in my life, these are perhaps the most beautiful.

 

Au contraire, Rose! No longer must you hold up your thorns to the outside world! I hold you now. Your thorns do nothing but hurt me…and hurt yourself.

No, my own defenses never protect me from that which I defend myself.

They only defend me from that which can protect me the most.

 

Au contraire! You are so wrong, my dear Rose…you are worth everything to me, please wound me no longer!

I am yours. And you are mine.

I am yours, and you are Mine.

 

What a Saviour I have, indeed–One who makes everything beautiful when I am so wrong.

And what a husband I have, indeed–one who reminds me of my beauty as I heal.

The Search for Identity

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Since I can really consciously remember (since middle school or so), I feel that I’ve been on this quest to understand who I am and how I fit in with the world. I know, that’s not at all unusual for such an age–but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Throughout high school, I wore the clothes my youth group wore. (I tried to make my boyfriends wear them, too. That was weird.) I dyed some of my hair purple. And later, I started dying it more natural colors, and I tried all kinds of lengths and styles. I hiked through some trails and tried taking pictures, thinking I could be a photographer if only I tried. I ate vegetarian because I wanted to be a health nut, like my dad. I played in the marching band, jazz band, concert band, church worship band…I played saxophone, and trombone, and guitar, keys, bass, and even tried drums. I was in honor societies and other clubs that I can’t even remember. All I remember is that I was busy, doing everything.

Some of that stayed. Some of it didn’t. That is normal–in fact, it’s what Erik Erikson, a developmental psychologist, calls that age from 12-18 years old the Identity vs. Role Confusion stage. This is the part of our lives where we form our identities, decide who we’re gonna be.

And yet…I had forgotten all of that stuff I did when we had started talking about the stages of Identity in one of my Psychology classes in college. I feared that I had been a case of Identity Foreclosure–where no exploration happens, a person simply accepts the beliefs of his/her parents without questioning, altering, or choosing. I mean, the people who do engage in identity foreclosure do tend to be very successful, happy, and have good self-esteem. But that is so frowned upon by our society–and I tried not to think about how “bad” I would be if that were true of me.

But, after more examination, it’s not–all of those things are typical of the stage of Identity Moratorium, the precursor to Identity Achievement. Moratorium is the period of searching and exploration before one decides on an identity; Achievement is the decision for that particular identity.

I do think that this stage extends into the college age–why else would people be hard partiers, experiment with substances, and try on different religions in college, only to turn out to be someone completely different after five or ten years? I mean, those are drastic examples–but this period is the time when we’re learning about what the world really is and how we’re gonna fit into it. Who we are, in terms of the rest of the world. The factors of finances, being away from family, doing stuff for yourself, and generally being alone weren’t previously there. And now they are, and you’re navigating them and trying to figure out who you are with them.

Maybe I’ve foreclosed on some things. I’ve certainly achieved some things. And…I think I’m still doing some searching on some things, too. I don’t think those stages are an all-or-nothing deal–one can only be “mostly true” for a given person…some are closer to those extremes than others.

So I’m not so sure that the quest for identity ever truly ends. Or maybe, I’m not ready for it to end right now. I’ve chosen some things and am dedicated to them, but I haven’t chosen on some other things. And that’s okay.

I don’t think it’s ever to late to discover.