Awkward Silence

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Disclaimer: this is from Pinterest. I didn’t make it, I know nothing about the dude who said it, and I don’t have a tumblr nor to I visit the site. I just like this quote.

Today I had a moment of “awkward silence” with someone, and after I got home I saw this quote. It made me feel better about myself and my social foibles. Why do we feel awkward about a moment of silence? Must every moment of time spent with someone be filled with speech? And really, if someone avoids you because you’re sometimes “awkward”, are they really the kind of person you want to be around? After all, a friend that you have to be interesting around just to keep their attention, isn’t a real friend. We’re all boring, guys. I mean, really. We’re all very interesting too, if you take the time to appreciate each person’s own unique qualities and interests. We’re all awkward in our own way, we’re all awesome in our own way.

Anyway, I’m sort of preaching to myself here. Don’t think that all my “don’t be ashamed of your social problems” talk is me speaking from a point of confidence. It’s a huge weakness in my life, but I’m working really really hard to heal it, with God’s help. Getting there slowly but surely. Sometimes I just need to type up a little pep talk to myself. Maybe one of you needed one too. :)

I learned a thing!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been trying to figure out one thing, one very simple thing that everyone else seemed to know about themselves, but I didn’t know about me….

What color are my eyes?

When I wear red or blue, they look blue and gold. When I wear green, they look green and brown (aka, hazel). With every different color I wear, they look totally different. They’re not hazel (brown & green) or green, because they have blue in them. They’re not blue, because they have hints of green and a good bit of gold in them….

If you’re sitting there thinking “Yeah, so? Big deal.” You obviously don’t understand my struggle. I had the hardest time filling out my drivers license application… “Eye Color:________” I DON’T BLOOMING KNOW. (I picked blue.)

Now, as an Ophthalmic Technician, I see A LOT of eyes. This has made me every more annoyed with my own eye color. I see people with BLUE eyes. Different shades, darker in the middle and lighter on the edges, but just BLUE. Or just GREEN, or just BROWN. But then I started to see this:

Sectoral Heterochromia

Sectoral Heterochromia

Sectoral Heterochromia is when a section of the iris is a different color from the remaining part of the iris. And it’s pretty stinking cool. But it’s not what I have. So I continued my search until I finally discovered it.

The great mystery of why my eyes are so hard to categorize…

Central Heterochromia

Central Heterochromia

Central Heterochromia

Central Heterochromia

Central Heterochromia

Central Heterochromia

Central Heterochromia. Different colors, focused in individual rings centered around the pupil.

I don’t have an eye color. I have three. And what they look like depends on which color stands out against what I’m wearing.

I HAVE NEW KNOWLEDGE. NEW UNDERSTANDING. I FEEL SO SMART.

Happy Independence Day, and enjoy this new random fact I have bestowed upon you.

Want more info? Click MEEEEE

The Gift of Personality Types

Another definition of “Introvert” is “highly sensitive person”. Not highly sensitive as in “Watch your step around her, you might look at her the wrong way and she’ll assume you hate her!”, but more like “Man, I don’t know how she does it, but she always seems to know when I’m upset about something, even if I try and hide it…”

Introverts, being quiet and more prone to thinking deeply about little things, often pick up on subtle non-verbal cues better than the average person. Yes, it can make us more likely to read into things incorrectly, but no personality type is flawless!

I’ve been reading a lot about the differences between the extroverted and introverted personality types, and I noticed a rather annoying trend. I seems to be that most of the articles written on the subject are basically trying to communicate one thought universally: “Be gentle with introverts, they’re fragile” and “Just learn to accept extroverts loudness and lack of sensitivity”. And that’s just not true! Introversion is a gift, not a curse, not a disability, not hindrance. Extroversion is a gift as well. Not a “con”, not a trait to be kept under control to avoid “damaging” the poor little introverts.

If the world consisted purely of the socialite extrovert, where would the mystery be? Who would you go to when you just needed to sit and talk about your problems to someone and have them listen without telling you about all the times that “same thing” happened to them?

If the world consisted purely of introverts, the world would be too quiet. Amusement parks would be far less crowded, and we, as a nation of introverts, would be all locked away securely in our comfort zones with no way of knowing the adventure waiting for us out there.

Extroverts can be great listeners. Introverts can be bold and adventurous. We work together, as differing personality types, to bring out the hidden qualities within each other. As an introvert myself, I love spending time with my extroverted friends. They gently push me out of my comfort zone, their enthusiasm for trying new things is infectious, they draw me into a brand new world of experiences. I would have to ask them what/if I do for them exactly, but from what I see, I think I help them learn to slow down their pace. They have to work harder to learn about me and it slows them down and helps develop their patience. They learn how to take pleasure in discovering things about their introverted friends, rather than just receiving offered information, as is often the way extroverts get to know one another.

We’re not opposites, trying to get along. We’re two sides of the perfect coin, learning how to be better versions of ourselves.

Extroverts, don’t apologize for who you are. You give us the gift of adventure! Without you we might never climb the mountains of the unknown. Thank you for giving us that extra little push to greatness.

Introverts, don’t feel disabled by your struggle to let people in, those who really want to know you will enjoy every minute of the adventure of getting to know your heart. They’ll fall in love with your mysterious charm.

Let’s work together to bring out the best in each other.

Goal !

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My healthy journey has been a bit of a rollercoaster. From being over 200 pounds back in 2009 while my Dad was in Iraq, going through a gluten allergy and becoming a gym rat, I’ve come a long way. In January of this year I weighed in a 185lbs. Not happy with that at all, I decided to devote myself to drinking more water, exercising at least 3 days a week, and eating correctly. Both getting enough calories and the right kind of calories. I purchased a Fitbit ChargeHR, which has helped me SO much to gauge how much I need to be eating, and how my exercise effects my calorie intake.

Yesterday, my dad and I got a new scale (our old one broke), we split the cost of Fitbit’s Aria Wi-fi Smart scale. It measures BMI and body fat percentage as well as weight, and uploads your weight progress to your fitbit dashboard automatically whenever you weight yourself. And today I finally met my weight goal! Officially within the “healthy” fat % and BMI range at 167lbs!

So pleased with my progress. Exercise wise, I only do about 15-25 minutes of cardio (Usually elliptical, arc trainer or stair climber), and then about 25-30 minutes of weight lifting and calisthenics (Such as assisted pull-ups, dips, squats, incline crunches, bicep curls, and other various leg, back, and ab exercises). Doing hours of cardio is not the answer, ladies. Just FYI. Building muscle is the key. Muscle will literally burn fat for you while you sleep. It raises your metabolism, allowing you to eat more and burn more calories just by existing. And unless you’re taking steroids, it will not make you look bulky or manly, I promise. I do a lot of different kind of incline crunches and ab work, building my core up, and it’s helped define my waistline a lot! I’m very happy with it. :)

Anyway, my next step is to continue to lean out more, tone up my thighs and arms a bit, and continue to get stronger. My goal is to be able to do 2-5 pull-ups with no assistance. Currently I use about 85lbs of assistance, so lifting just under half my body weight. Working up slowly to more weight.

My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I want to be healthy, strong, and capable of whatever task He sets before me. Because he doesn’t always move the mountains that stand in your way, sometimes He wants you to climb them.

Until next time!!

~TQG

The Science Behind the Trials of Introversion

I recently found this website called Introvert, Dear, and they posted this blog post today that helped me understand my brain so much. At risk of “stealing” their audience, please don’t just read the quoted portion here, but also click on the link and visit their site, even for a little while. Thanks!!

A co-worker appears out of the blue and asks me a question. Her eyes and tone of voice say she wants an answer now. Her request is easy, but my mind is momentarily paralyzed.

I start sentences then stop them. I hesitate. I say words that are close to what I mean, but not exactly. I backtrack.

My co-worker — an extrovert who always seems to express herself effortlessly — looks at me like, come on, spit it out. I think, if only my brain would cooperate.

Why introverts struggle with word retrieval

When we’re speaking out loud, we introverts may have trouble with word retrieval, meaning, we struggle to find just the right words we want. We may come off sounding like we don’t know what we’re talking about, even though we do. In social situations, we may have trouble keeping up with fast-talking extroverts.

Our brains use many different areas for speaking and writing, writes Dr. Marti Olsen Laney in her book, The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, and when talking out loud, information needs to flow between the separate regions. One reason why introverts struggle with speaking is that we process information deeply, which means information moves slowly between areas of our brain.

Another reason has to do with introverts relying more on long-term memory than working memory. Information stored in long-term memory is mostly outside of our conscious awareness. Like the name sounds, long-term memory contains information that is retained for long periods of time — in theory, information is saved indefinitely. Some of this information is fairly easy to access, while other memories are more difficult to recall. Contrast this with working memory (sometimes referred to as short-term or active memory), which is limited and retains information for mere seconds.

Again, like the name sounds, it takes longer to reach into long-term memory and pull out just the right word or piece of information. The right key or association is needed, which is something that reminds us of what we’re trying to recall. This, of course, slows down us introverts when we’re speaking.

If we’re anxious — which is how I felt when my intimidating co-worker approached me — it may be even more difficult to locate and articulate the right words.

Why it’s easier to express ourselves in writing

Introverts “often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation,” writes Susan Cain in her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

Introverts may prefer text messages and emails to phone calls. Many of us keep journals or compose lyrics, poems, or stories, and some of us make careers out of writing.

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The reason for this preference once again has to do with how our brains are wired: written words use different pathways in the brain, which seem to flow fluently for many introverts, writes Laney.

What to do when your mind goes blank

Memory is complex, and it uses many different areas of the brain. Our brains store memories in several locations and create links between them, called associations.

To yank something out of long-term memory, we need to locate an association. The good thing is, most pieces of information in long-term memory were stored with several associations or keys for unlocking them.

“If we find just one key, we can retrieve the whole memory,” writes Laney.

When you struggle to remember a word, a piece of information, or even what you did over the weekend (because that question often comes up in small talk!), try these things:

Be still and relax.
Give yourself permission to be quiet for a few moments. Don’t let the other person rush you.
Buy yourself time to process things by saying something like, “Let me think about that,” or “Hmm, let me see…” Or, give a nonverbal signal that shows you’re thinking, like looking away and furrowing your brow slightly.
Let your mind wander for a moment and go where it wants. One thought may lead to another, and one of those thoughts may hold the “key” to unlocking the words you want from your long-term memory.
If all else fails, and words escape you, don’t feel embarrassed — your brain is doing what comes naturally to it, and that is to pause and reflect. If you’re being quiet, you’re in good company with other deep-thinking introverts: Stephen Hawking once said, “Quiet people have the loudest minds.”

Then, try breezing over any awkwardness in the conversation by using humor to make light of your tongue-tied state, or say you’re a little distracted right now, and you’ll get back to the other person later — by sending an email or text.

When an introvert is quiet, don’t assume he is depressed, snobbish or socially deficient. Laurie Helgoe, Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength
Image credit: Deviant Art (Ezgi Polat)

VISIT THE SOURCE POST HERE!

Disclaimer: I have not read ALL their posts, nor have I read ANY of the books they recommend. Please don’t take this post as an endorsement of the books or of the content on their site, but merely an appreciation of this particular post. Thanks!!

Dance Gypsies

If you saw the previous post, and the POV video from the rollercoaster I rode on Saturday, consider this post “Part Two”!

After leaving Carowinds, we went to a dance hall in Charlotte, for some Contra dance! Contra is a very easy to learn, fun to practice dance– no footwork, just memorizing some terms and listening to the caller. It’s such a fun way to get out of your comfort zone. It makes me feel like I’m in the Pride & Prejudice days. ^_^ This time, there was a guy there who talked to me while we danced, gave me some pointers on how to improve my dancing, taught me a few new moves, and also gave me this bit of advice: “Dear, if a man tries to spin you, but is to lazy to lift his arm high enough that you don’t have to duck, he shouldn’t be spinning you!” Which really amused me. He was an excellent lead. Really understood how to make the lady feel guided and protected throughout the dance. Contra has a LOT of spinning, if your lead isn’t careful, he can literally spin you into a wall, another person, or trip you if he’s not leading well. It’s his job to guide you through the moves and use caution to avoid spinning you off into oblivion! Trust me, it’s happened.

Likewise, I reached a whole new level in my following. It’s taken me such a long time to learn how to relax and follow the leads direction, go where he sends me, stay loose and easy to guide. Yet, be aware of where I’m supposed to be, so that if he does have a moment when he forgets where to send me, I can give him a gentle push in the right direction. Sometimes that means literally grabbing his hand and bringing him with you to the next move, which really doesn’t come naturally to me at all. Maybe being tired and physically exhausted from a long day riding rollercoasters helped me be more relaxed in it all. Whatever the cause, that night was one of the best nights contra dancing I’ve ever had.

No obligation to watch this whole video, but at least watch the first four minutes. This is the actual dance hall I was at! :)

Learning to be Lovely

Just a quick note, God is doing SO MUCH in my life through my church and the Young Professionals group, working on my heart attitudes. Especially on my opinion of myself. He’s using others to help me appreciate who He created me to be. Showing me what it looks like to let your inner beauty show, and how to like what I see in the mirror. I’m learning to love myself for the first time in so long I can’t even remember. And you can’t properly love others until you learn to truly love yourself, seeing yourself as God sees you: perfect and breathtakingly beautiful. Loving the journey He’s taking me on.

A Mild Presence

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The world’s got enough “wild child” personalities.

What’s so wrong with being mild? A soothing presence in a world of tumult.

What’s wrong with being the one who leaves the party first? The one who listens more than speaks?

Maybe the mild ones get forgotten in a crowd, left behind by the thrill seekers and drowned out by the latest scandal,

but we anchor the world to reality.

All I want is to be a place to rest for those who are weary of the brutal tide of this world.

A warm ray of sunshine on a cool Fall afternoon.

A cool breeze before a refreshing Summer storm.

Just as I rest in the presence of God, I pray that others can rest in my presence.

Lord, please teach me to shine Your spirit into the lives of others.

You created me to be daring, Elyon. And being gentle and calm in a world such as this requires a fierceness of spirit that only You can provide. Give me a fiery passion for Your people, Lord, and grant me the gift of a mild presence.