This is the message my iPhone deemed fit to bestow upon me this morning, complete with the requisite and offensive glare.
I was up. And I shouldn’t have been, considering that I had rolled into the house roughly four-and-a-half hours prior. Yes, I got home this morning at 4:45-ish AM.
I can’t remember the last time I talked to someone for…nine hours? Jesus. I can’t remember the last time someone wanted to talk to me for nine hours.
But last night, I talked to someone — pretty much nonstop (save an episode of Archer and a Kids in the Hall video) for nine hours.
I highly recommend this.
It was a week that embodied the practice of giving myself a moment.
When’s the last time you were kind enough to yourself to give yourself a moment? A moment of anything (except grief). We’re excellent at giving ourselves grief, a practice about as useful as an HTML handbook in Paris Hilton’s left hand.
Though I haven’t shared this with you — my community — quite yet, I’m in the midst of a massive rebranding project. My business (and I) have evolved to a point where it’s demanded, and that’s taking up more than its fair share of my mental energy. It was also a travel week, Boulder to New York City and back again, which energizes and drains me all at the same time. I’ve allowed (yet again) to have my life pulled in all sortsa directions and (yet again) not been kind enough to give myself a moment to just…be. Most of that comes down to the complexity of living as a fauxtravert.
Life as a Fauxtravert
On the surface, I’m an extrovert — social, plugged in, powered by the people who comprise my community. I’m jazzed by and through my interactions with them (that’s you). I can’t think of any greater gift than meeting one or many of you and learning about your lives, what’s important to you, and where you’re headed on your own journey around this carbon-fueled orb. You are where memories are made, hearts healed, broken, bent, and challenged…questions asked, thoughts provoked, and the stimulus for every great thing I’ve accomplished and might ever dream to. You.
In my soul, I’m an introvert — private, contemplative, feeling. Emotions and experiences hold more value for me than meticulous planning and strategy. I spend what some might consider a dizzying amount of time in my head. In silence. In rooms filled with nothing but the sounds of a playlist-du-jour and the tippity tap of a keyboard. This is where I recharge. Regroup. Steady myself for what’s next in my role as an extrovert.
So I came up with this word: fauxtravert. It’s the balance between living in public and recharging in private. It’s the state of being that reminds me when I need to recharge, when I’ve been too unplugged for too long and need to get out of my head and into the world. Being a fauxtravert is simply not being married to one of the other of the halves that make my whole. It’s acknowledging both — it’s the referee that keeps the shitty calls from happening mid-game that could give one of my halves more of an advantage.
But sometimes I forget that I have two halves. I fall so completely into one or the other that I ignore my need for and what I get from the other. As of late, I’ve been undoubtedly locked in my extrovert — speaking engagements, meetings, conference calls, every ounce of communication that comes along with my rebranding.
What I needed was some quiet. Some distance. And maybe you’ll know what I’m saying when I say: I needed to give myself a moment. I needed, most desperately, to be still.
Wednesday brought a shitfuckmonkey of a storm to New York City. It was 5pm — the end of the day’s conference activities — and staring me in the face outside of Javits Convention Center in New York was a dismal and dank display of unrelenting snow and slush. Of course, there wasn’t a fucking cab in sight because (1) nobody else wants to walk in the shitstorm, either, and (2) Javits Convention Center is a vortex — one of the only places in New York City where it’s nearly damn impossible to catch a cab, bus, or any other motorized form of assisted transportation. With both of these facts held dear, I did the New York thing — I bundled-up and headed East on foot, in search of a zone where the cabs were more like flies circling a bug zapper on a Georgia wraparound porch in August.
But there were no cabs a block away…two blocks…six blocks. So I settled in. Wet snowflakes splatted against my face and glasses. They landed on my tongue when I felt brave enough to ingest one that had floated through the dense Manhattan air. The wind and cold bit at my brain, clung to my jeans like a quivering three-year-old, and told me: just walk.
So I did. And by the time I reached the 42nd Street/Times Square subway station, I was almost sad to have dipped inside to catch the 1 train back Uptown to my friend Dara’s place. I’d just given myself the gift of recharging. Honoring my introvert and listening to nothing more than the sound of my heart, the churning of my thoughts, and the splush of my feet against the 10 blocks of pavement between the convention center and my train. After my train deposited me in shitfuckmonkey of a storm at 96th Street, I walked another 6 blocks back to my hostess’ ever-so-gracious digs and found myself with over 3 hours to kill before I headed out.
Continuing Stillness – With Added Brilliance
After stripping off every layer of clothing into a soggy pile, I ensconced myself in a pair of flannel jammies and called a friend. A new friend. One who makes me laugh, think, and never gives me a hall pass on my bullshit. I find he’s more like Jason in too many ways than I’m comfortable admitting — yet ways that offer an eiderdown of familiarity that make me smile at the most unexpected times. So there, while laying on a hardwood floor, I continued to feed my introverted beast and focus on someone else, a singular conversation. And I was able to breathe.
Giving myself a moment. Not thinking about being “on” the next day, which was when my presentation at the conference would be. Not thinking about emails in my inbox that were nagging for an answer. I was all of the things my extrovert dealt with and everything that my introvert loved being.
Our lovely, laughter-filled conversation was closed by my need to dispatch the jammies in favor of more appropriate attire. My friend Arik would be out front shortly in a cab, fetching me for yet another New York City jazz excursion. I hit the red button on the phone and turned my attention to my redheaded self. Girl Mode: Activate. Hair back, dress, black tights, yellow peacoat. And given that I wore makeup on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, it’s no doubt that I would wear shiny leather boots with 3.5″ heels out in a shitfuckmonkey storm in Manhattan. Arik arrived, offered me an arm to avoid seeing me sprawled in the city sidewalk slush, and we headed to a venue that would remind me exactly how little musical talent I truly have (it’s astonishing).
I cannot sing.
This is an inarguable fact. Aside from a ripping a Capella rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz,” there is zero musical talent in my body beyond the finger that clicks the “buy” button in iTunes. Regardless, listening to live jazz is transformative.
And I’m very, very good at it.
It requires a toolset of great breadth and depth, mind you. A chair or booth to support my body weight and fling my coat over. Some sort of rung or railing to prop my feet on. A table, no matter how small, to rest a glass. And my attention. The tricky part in all of that is my attention, without a doubt.
But that evening — a completely bleak weather evening — I paid attention. I closed my eyes and was spun up, slowed down, and serenaded by four men who had been doing what they do with their respective instruments long before I was ever an itch in my parents’ whozits and whatzits. Oddly enough I had an evening of sleep that followed filled with a beyond fucked-up nightmare. Thankfully, there was someone awake a thousand miles away who let me download at 4AM, which let me go back to sleep for a few more hours before having to relinquish my say to my extrovert.
Returning Home (in more ways than one)
The conference session was great, but all of Thursday was a day that belonged (and rightly so) to my extrovert. I was up at 3AM Mountain Time to catch my flight back to Colorado the following morning (Friday).
Every time I come home, I think of this song and it makes me smile.
Landed. Coming home. My fauxtravert’s favorite activity of all. It’s the one activity that every part of me loves — getting off a plane or coming off of some sort of journey and stepping back into myself in the place I love being the most. Which is maybe why I didn’t find it hard at 4:30AM this morning when I looked at my iPhone and realized Fuck – it’s 4:30AM. I’ve been awake for 25 hours.
Because when you give yourself a moment — or several — things that would ordinarily be difficult fall into the category of extraordinary. You find yourself in conversations and situations you never could have imagined when you’re stuck in the shit of one half or another of your life.
Being a fauxtravert — it fuels me. It’s the balance. And it makes the unimaginable — like walking through my front door at nearly 5AM after being awake for 25 hours — not just imaginable. It makes you wonder why you don’t do it more often.
As some things are simply quite worth losing sleep over, especially when you give yourself a moment to enjoy them.
If you want to catch up on this week’s happenings:
My friend Phil Gerbyshak published a completely free eBook this week called The Naked Truth About Social Media. Read about how to get your copy of it here.
This week, I welcomed Cori Padgett of Big Girl Branding to the blog. She dished on the complete shiznit of being YOU. And it’s awesome.
And yesterday, I woke to the realization that the national TEDx organization featured by TEDxBoulder talk as their “talk of the day” on their Google+ page. Humbled, honored, and still amazed at the entire experience of sharing at that event. I continue to be beyond grateful for everyone’s support, comments, thumbs, G+ shares, likes, reposts, and letting me know that I’m not entirely batshit crazy for how I feel about being “unpopular.”