Those of you who read my post for World Introvert Day know that I’m as introverted as they come. Given the current lockdown situation many of us are experiencing due to COVID-19, I thought I’d take a moment to share some thoughts with you all about how I’m handling it as an introvert. You’ve probably seen funny memes proclaiming how it’s our time to shine now that social distancing and staying home are the new norm.
Yes, I’ll admit it’s nice having a legitimate excuse to not see people, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss some social interaction or visiting favorite spots. Much of my blog content centers around events and places, so when the mandate came for businesses to go dark and for folks to keep indoors, my calendar was wiped clean and future blog post ideas went out the door. What’s a goth introvert blogger to do?
My Pre-Quarantine Existence
You may be wondering if I’m an introvert that’s actually lamenting the fact that there are no upcoming social gatherings due to the quarantine. Not quite. I have to say it’s been a bit of a relief to have a break from them. This blog has been a double-edge sword, in a way. While it’s gotten me to write more consistently and stay creative, it’s also pushed me to network.
Oh, the dreaded networking! For years I’ve struggled to overcome my social awkwardness. Interactions can be difficult for me because I think too much about what I should say and how I should say it. Not to mention how I look and sound saying it. But there came a point when I knew I had to be confident and start introducing myself to people to get my name out there and to be professional.
The truth is although I love what I blog about, the process of writing about an event is more comfortable for me than actually experiencing it at times. I usually encounter big crowds and don’t know anyone.
Before Social Distancing Became a Thing
So, let me give you some perspective on what it’s like for me being an introvert who’s getting ready for an evening of socializing.
Days before an event takes place, I prepare myself for the social interaction, sometimes becoming really nervous and trying to talk myself out of going. There’ve been plenty of times when I’ve second-guessed attending something because I get anxious about mingling and meeting new people.
Then, when the day of a function arrives, I go and manage to navigate what’s happening around me. I take mental notes of what I want to mention in my write-up and engage with business owners and other creatives.
When I leave, I can’t help but replay each meeting or conversation I had, wondering if I sounded silly or was too soft spoken. My inner dialogue runs amuck asking questions like, “Why did I say that, instead of this?”
In the end, I’m always glad I went and excited to share in detail my experience on here. But, I’m also relieved once I’m back home.
Blogging in the Time of Corona
I ask myself constantly why I put myself through the social anxiety. Then, the “Stay at Home” order happened and suddenly, I don’t have to worry about being in socially awkward positions anytime soon.
One by one, events I expressed interest in on Facebook or bookmarked on Instagram announced cancellations. I’ll admit, I had mixed feelings. I mark these affairs in my calendar because they interest me greatly and I’m eager to go to them. But being home with nowhere to be, no set plans and nothing to prepare for has been a mental relief. Plus, in regard to my day job, working remotely instead of having to head into the office has been an added perk.
Right away, I started brainstorming how I wanted to spend the newfound free time during isolation. I took it as a challenge to get extra creative with blog post ideas since I wouldn’t be writing about events. This is an opportunity for me to think outside of the box. And, I have a list of topics that I’ve come up with over the past couple of years that I can now tackle.
I also realized that with much fewer external distractions, I could stop avoiding other writing projects I’ve had in the works. I have two fiction pieces that I’ve neglected because, one, I’m a procrastinator, and two, I dedicate a majority of my writing time to updating my website content. Now, I can draw some focus back to them.
Isolating and Reflecting
Writing hasn’t been the only activity I’ve been spending more time on. Self-reflection is an intrinsic part of introversion and I’ve been checking in with myself more. The world has changed drastically within a short period of time. Even when the Coronavirus crisis settles and we can return to a normal state of being, whatever ‘normal’ is for everyone, life will never be the same. These are heavy thoughts to ponder, especially for introverts.
We internalize our experiences and need the space to process what goes on in our environment. Marti Olsen Laney puts this perfectly in “The Introvert Advantage” saying, “Introverts walk around with lots of thoughts and feelings in their heads,” adding that we’re “in a constant distilling process that requires a lot of innergy.” Right now, there is an abundance of information released daily about the COVID-19 pandemic that’s heavy to digest. It’s easy for an introvert’s brain to go on overload.
I find myself overwhelmed not being able to be proactive and help those in need. It’s stressful not knowing how long the virus will continue to spread and wreak havoc. As positive as I try to remain, fear does creep in and I wonder how scarred the world will be once this is over.
I think about how the current global state is affecting the economy and small business owners I’ve met through blogging. For many, events are a significant source of revenue, not to mention an important way of bringing the community together. Will these establishments survive the lockdown? I don’t want to imagine not being able to return to these places because they’ve had to close up shop.
The Light at the End of the Quarantine Tunnel
Then I start to think about the amazing moments I’ve had because of my blog, and you know what? I miss those engaging interactions I’ve managed to have with people that share my interests. It’s why I’ve met artists, performers, designers, fellow Halloween lovers, writers and other creatives. Each event I’ve gone to has been a fulfilling, enlightening experience for me in different ways.
Yes, I’m not a fan of networking, and socializing in new settings stresses me out, but the thought of having places to explore for my blog when quarantine is lifted is a silver lining. I even look forward to seeing familiar faces at these events. Some of the people I’ve met are introverts too, so we can feel awkward together!
Meanwhile, I’m going to revel in these rare moments of solitude, quiet and calm. I’m going to unleash the creativity that’s been bundled up for too long. I’m going to focus on how I can improve and emerge from this a better person. After all, there’s nothing like distance to make the heart grow fonder.
How’s everyone dealing with quarantine and social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic? I’d love to hear, so feel free to share! Stay safe and take care out there.
For anyone curious to learn more about me and my introversion, read Being an Introvert: Me, Myself & the I Word.