Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Very Loud Introvert Post

After finally realizing that life wasn't going to stop and wait for me to write a blog post, I wrote a blog post.

*must get head around the idea that these things don't have to be 17 miles long and be the product of my own sweat and blood*

Right now, it's that time of night that the words are coming very quickly.  A time in which, if I were speaking aloud, it would be hard to tell that I am an an introvert.

I have a few revelations about introvertedness that are begging to be slapped onto a page. Or screen.

I am an introvert.
Easy enough.

Sometimes, introverts don't seem like introverts.  Also common sense.  (And the fact is, no descriptive personality word will ever eternally define a person.  Unless it's like, "human bean" - and even that's iffy sometimes...)

When two like-minded introverts enter into a conversation, they run the risk of becoming temporary extroverts.   Definitely not exaggerating here.  I'm talking like, shrieking, flailing, running in circles, loud arguing, heated debate, possibly exploding.  The possibilities are endless.  Now. Most of phenomena will occur because of a mildly aggressive attachment to a fandom.

I'm serious though.  When I start talking with an introvert friend, we almost always start /actually/ talking - instead of, you know, the "hiding behind a chair talking to the cat who's also and 'introvert'" talking.  We might even *gasp* interrupt each other...

For those of you who are MBTI nerds, two INFJs together can basically take over the world. xD ;)

I like talking about deep stuff.  And I cry as I do it.   So like, I love talking about myself.  Not in a narcissistic way or anything, but just, explaining myself.  It's like a one-sided therapy session with someone else present, an innocent bystander.  And deep stuff. I'd much rather skip over small talk and get to the juicy fandom stuff, the Jesus stuff, all that.

Often, however, as I talk about myself, something that's happened to me, struggles, strong beliefs...I sometimes randomly start crying.  Even with stuff that's not even that significant.  I've never known quite why, but tonight I had an idea....

I have a near-constant dialogue running in my head.  This is almost always fully functional (not to mention impossible to ignore).  BUT. There are some instances in which I forget there is a difference between my mind palace and the outside world...  Like when I'm reading.  (One reason reading is so calming to me - I can forget my own thoughts and just relax for once, enjoy a different world.)

The other is when I'm explaining something, especially myself, my thoughts, etc.  I think this is because when I do that, I have to look inside and bring out pieces to show the other person. In the process, I'm basically talking with my thoughts, instead of letting them get filtered through my mouth. It's weird how I literally forget to worry about their reaction, or have that dialogue going inside, constantly commenting on everything.  I just plow forward break down the walls in order to fully help them understand what I'm trying to say.

To some, this will make no sense. To that one person for whom I've just put into words something they've been trying to figure out for a while, you're welcome.  Let me know who you are.

I'm not sure why it's so important to me that they understand. - other than the obvious "human nature" part of it.  I think another part is helps me understand myself.  When I talk like that, my thoughts are finally able to organize and form a coherent /thing/.  I have revelations as I speak.  (The other way, of course, is writing it down. But you know...the paper doesn't react as expressively as a person does.)  Huh. I wouldn't have necessarily thought that talking aloud would have been the best way for an introvert to solve their deepest, most difficult problems.  But apparently it does.

Premiere Exhibit A: This Blog Post.  Thank you folks.  You've just been the recipient of Caroline's explaining herself to you in order to explain herself to herself.

Now go explain something to another human bean and BE ENLIGHTENED.

Were you that one person who related with all this?  xD  DOES ANYONE UNDERSTAND?  What do you do to understand yourself?  When do you pretend to be an extrovert?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

pens need more stamina

Flash post update: Life is dizzyingly busy and my Black Ink Pens are dropping fast.

Writing Labyrinth by hand is really taking a toll on the Black Ink Pen population.

In other news, my friend let me borrow his quill pen and ink, so I am kept occupied. For now.

4 gone in a week. RIP faithful ones.

Anyone else have this problem?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Story Behind the Title: The Drawing in of Breath

You might have heard of our book and wondered about the title.  "It's about breathing?"  "How can you draw wind - it's invisible!"  Hehehe...well, I'm glad you asked. 

Earlier this week, my friend Skyler and I published our first book together, The Drawing in of Breath!  It was quite a wonderful experience.  

Um. Maybe we freaked out. 

Wow, though, this whole process has been great and fun and long and so worth it!  We're really excited to share this one with you.

This book is largely about inspiration.  Most of the poetry and stories contained aren't about it, but the book itself is centered around the idea. 

How many times have you sat and wished for inspiration?

Skyler wrote a blurb for the book: "Breathing. A constant among the living. Inspiration. A craving of humanity. We take these concepts and pour ourselves into them. Breathing in our uncertainties and our insecurities. Exhaling words of promise and assurance. We live in these words. Throughout this book you will find humor and sadness. Security and salvation. Apathy and sympathy. You'll find our hearts and souls spilled onto this paper.  We hope that someone will be inspired."

The Drawing in of Breath is about inspiring others, and it is also about our own inspiration.  Life. Love. Belief. Questions.  

What inspires you?

For a long time, I thought inspiration was something that came in bursts, and sometimes not at all.  It was a spark that ignited my creativity and motivation, something that drove me to stay up late into the night, that made me grip my pen until I couldn't let it go.  

But more often, it was absent.  Elusive.  I'd sit in its not-presence and wait.  It's hard to write without inspiration.  It's hard to make art, or live life, or laugh, without something to inspire it.

And then I read a blog post by the wonderful Emily Tjaden, who showed me the definition of inspiration.

Google it.

The second entry is literally: "the drawing in of breath; inhalation."  What does this mean?  It means that inspiration isn't as fleeting as we often think.

Inspiration, to the human as natural as breathing.  

It is constantly there with us, the fiber of life, throughout our day.  Inspiration can come in different ways - we may not always feel that wonderful spark - but there is always something to keep us going. 

This life is so vibrant.   So breathe!  Draw in a breath and hold tight to the knowledge that you are and will always be "inspired".  Put the pen to paper, open your mouth, take the book off the shelf - whatever you do to create - and start.  Don't wait for inspiration.  It is already here.  

You can order The Drawing in of Breath for $9.99 here on Amazon

Alternatively, if you live in the Kansas City area, let me know you want one, and I'll hand-deliver it next time I see you, signed and all!

Have an inspired week, everyone! :)

Do you ever feel like you're without inspiration?  What inspires you?

Monday, March 7, 2016

When Your Heart Has Fallen Away From Your Mind

I'm going to be very honest.  I've been distant lately.


Tired, stressed...running circles in my head with the questions I have.  Like my friend Carlyn wrote about, I've been feeling passive.  Very shallow in my life.  Physically and mentally exhausted.  Emotionally nonexistent, sometimes. The problem goes deeper - I can't figure out why, and then I don't have enough strength in me to get up and do something about it.  

For a while, I've had an intense internal conflict - good vs. bad.  My mind can't seem to decide whether it wants to be happy or sad.  So I'll sit there, weighing the choices, feeling like I should be happy but not quite wanting to.  

I've been reminded that self-pity can be dangerous.  It's so true, and I suddenly remember how much I feel sorry for myself.  Upset, regretful. Wanting people to see and care. It makes it worse though - it lets the negative side win.  When I let myself think or talk about feeling down, it reinforces those emotions and thoughts.  It's a hard habit to break but I want to try.  Annabel suggested helping others, and she's so right.  I feel most connected to God these days when I'm talking to other people, encouraging them...

I think I've reached the bottom of it, the main problem.  Because my head tells me I'm broken and that it's terrible and tragic.  But my heart won't hear.  It won't choose to care...and I don't know how to piece the parts back together. I believe that's the essence.  My heart has been separated from my head and...I can't breathe.  

The nerves don't transfer things like they used to, and my head can't remind the heart whatever I believe in and love.  I am quite literally broken in half.  Two parts of myself - which one has the strength to fuse everything back together?  Neither, I'd have to say.  Like so often, I think I need help from above.

But here, more questions arise.  Where do I find the voice to call for help?  Where do I find the balance?  Do I even have to call?  Do I just sit here and accept that I'm in a "dry place" and can't feel much right now?  Do I work blindly through until something sparks?  Or do I build a wood stack and wait for lightning to strike?

As I write this, the last option seems the most true.  I need to move.  I can't stay here.  This dark, thin place is not a place for staying.  God, I know I can't light that fire in myself. I can't tie my heart strings back to my head.  Build a wood stack and wait for lightning to strike.  I bring the firewood; make things ready, spend time with you; wait.  You bring the spark.  I just have to trust that the cycles of nature that move mountains can make it rain, too.  

I've also realized that I have made "work" a massive idol.  Homework, self-assigned deadlines, personal projects and goals - they have become my world.  I shed tears over them, worry about them, put my life and heart on hold for them.  Indefinitely?  I've taken this idol and tied it to my heart like an anchor and thrown it into the ocean.  

And it is oh so hard to drag it back up out of the water again.  It's been buried in the sand at the bottom, made normal and engrained in my life, so much that I forget why I do it. Why I keep heaping sand on the pile, keeping the idol secure there in my ocean like it's a lifeline.  But really, it's like I'm throwing dirt on my own grave.  

I must find a way back up.  To get out of this sluggish water, so I can breathe properly again.  Cut the strings, Jesus - tie them back to you.  Call back my heart and my head.

I understand the battle better now.  The constant decision between joy and sorrow.  For my heart and mind have been separated, and I've blocked the glue that's supposed to hold them together.  I thought I could hold my head up, leave it on the surface like a bobber to mark my position, so that everything looked fine - then go exploring with my heart.  I thought I could take a small stroke down into the ocean, away from the light - just for a moment - to see the bottom, to explore.  I guess...I took more than one small stroke.  

Over these months - maybe a year - I've dived down deep.  Found an idol down there and tied my heart to it.  (The glue would stretch, right?)  I sunk lower and lower.  Funny thing was, I thought I was going up.  Perfect grades, good friends, a busy and successful life.  Sounds good.  Healthy.  These are great things.  It was easy to believe that I was going towards the light when I threw my heart at them.  

But ignore the late nights.  Ignore the stress and irritation.  Close your eyes to the tears, because these are just side effects.  Just tiny inconveniences, not long term, that must be overcome.  Until they started to disable me.  Too tired, too stressed.  Working harder to keep up with the "standards".  If I complete my to-do list, I'll finally feel good.  Then I can be happy, carefree.  But until then, just gotta plug through. 

And then I just couldn't. I got to a point where I physically and mentally could no longer maintain the demands I'd built up for myself.  I simply couldn't keep playing the deadly game, courting the idol.  There reaches a point for every human being at which they realize that they are not invincible.  The longer it takes, the harder it hits.  Not that I had exactly been thinking I could do everything....but I hadn't hit a limit yet.  

So my heart finally broke away.  I was so tired, depressed, and without hope.  I'd gotten pretty far down into that ocean before realizing I was going the wrong way.  (And I know I saw it before this point...I just couldn't let go yet.  I didn't have the strength to try to reject the idol.  It was so heavy.)  It was pretty hard to breathe down there.

I think God caught my drifting heart and ripped the string off.  The fake-anchor-idol is beginning to fall away.  And it hurts.  It hurts when he does that. I've been grasping at that still-sinking idol for the last two weeks, even as God pulls me gently back towards the surface.  It's hard to let go of a "life".  But that wasn't a "life" worth living.  

My heart needs to be connected to my head.  I need to have feeling there that matches with my thoughts, that makes sense.  That is deep and rooted in faith.  There will always be battles - both within me and outside - and I want to have my head on my shoulder and my heart nearby.  I don't want to worry so much, work so much...I want to rest more, enjoy more.  Stop letting "work" be my priority.  There is so much more to life...

I learn as I write.  It's one of the main reasons I do it.  My heart is often changed by the end of it.  Earlier in this post I asked God to cut the string.  To light my fire wood with an electric spark. To make it rain, because I wasn't feeling anything and a good rainstorm might feel good to the skin.  I wondered how I could ever find the voice to call out for help, and how to balance waiting and trying.

I think he's already cut that string now though.  The climax of the last few weeks could be equated to the pain and danger a diver goes through when rising back to the surface from a very deep place.  It's dangerous.  If they rise too fast, it could be fatal, so they have to do it in stages.  Life is dangerous.  I've been moving up, slowly, to someplace with more light.  God's started something in me.  I believe he will continue it.  I guess it's time to start swimming now.  

~Love you all! 
Caroline M

What are you anchored to right now? What is God using to call you closer to him?