Uncomfortable Things.

??????????????May I start by saying I think we can all agree that introverts can be party poopers sometimes. I mean, I would know.

I’m talking the true definition of introvert/extrovert. It isn’t about who dances on the bar singing old Patsy Cline songs or who is out of their underwear and into their jammies at 5:15 P.M. It actually refers to how we restore our energy. Some of us require alone time to collect ourselves and some of us are energized by the company of others. (And most of us are a little of each.)

I love a party as much as anyone, you know, as long as there are dogs there, but I am an introvert. There are some high sides. I notice a lot of people who are good with horses are introverts–with a mind quiet enough to hear animals. Most writers are introverts–how else could they sit still so long? I’m the kind of writer that chuckles and gets teary and is totally spellbound sitting in front of my keyboard, typing away at all hours. With a couple of corgis. And a briard. And a few cats. Because I am fascinated with my own words.

Okay, seeing it written out like that–it does start to look a bit wanky. I suppose it’s time to mention the down side. I suspect Crazy Old Cat Women are introverts, too. I probably fit that profile as well, but I like to think I’m more liberal because I am so opened minded and inclusive where species are concerned. Horses, llamas, donkeys, goats…see what I mean? Right?

And it isn’t that I don’t enjoy being out in public–I do. And I actually enjoy meeting people and socializing, as long as a dog’s waiting for me in the truck and I can make an excuse to leave early to go and throw hay to the horses.

It’s just that I like my social life in moderation.

So, for me writing the book was the easy part, and this talking-and-promoting part is much harder. I am confident about the book itself, but other requirements unglue me. Which brings me to this week’s drama. I need a photo of me–a good one. I need a “head shot”. **pauses to hyperventilate**

And none of my out-of-frame selfies with Edgar Rice Burro quite fit the bill. Bad news for me. I have friends who just love the camera but I have no idea how they do it. And when I’m nervous, my chin quadruples, so I’ve got that going for me. Sure, I’m able to handle thousand pound horses using my breath, but a camera lens makes me quiver like a Chihuahua. There. I said it.

Who to ask? I ruled strangers out immediately. After all, I know my limits and I had some prerequisites. I hoped Sheri would help me. We met briefly a few years ago, but recently connected again at the courthouse where we are both following a horse abuse case. Then we became Facebook friends where I got to see her photography. She considers herself an “amateur hobbyist wildlife photographer” and her work is beautiful. She also photographs kittens for the Humane Society. That would be a real plus–I fidget about that much. Mostly I thought an animal photographer would be more tolerant in my particular case.

Thank you, Sheri! She agreed and we bonded over shared introvert experiences, as she set up and checked readings. My first prerequisite was that the shoot happen in my barn; it’s where I’m most comfortable. We stood in front of a stall so it would be dark behind me and she clicked away as I tried to look literary, as well as control the nervous twitch on the right side of my lip. The proofs looked good, so we spent the next two hours shooting horses and llamas and eventually my lip relaxed a bit more. Edgar Rice Burro volunteered to be Sheri’s tripod. It takes a village sometimes. The photos look great.

The Dude Rancher says I’m smiling like Kevin Costner, and since people seem to like him, it’s all good. I’m nowhere near as charming a kitten, but Sheri, you are a genius with all of us: birds, antelope, and even aging soon-to-be-published authors. My relief is as big as my gratitude. Thank you. And thank you again.

So check one more uncomfortable thing off the to-do list. One week closer to published and the finish is in sight. No, I didn’t include examples of the aforementioned wonderful photography. I’m working my introverted self up to that. I notice the balance between confidence and insecurity that seems to teeter and swing pretty wildly for me lately.

What intimidates you? Where is your safe place? Do you ever hear a small, still voice say, “What could you possibly be thinking?”

12 thoughts on “Uncomfortable Things.

  1. Wonderful Anna. Glad you got the photo shoot behind you. Is this for your inside-about-the-author-cover-page of your book? I hate having my picture taken. As a fellow introvert (must be why we get along so well), my safe places are a calm trail ride with my mare and watching a good show or movie on tv. Extroverts are great fun, but I feel like I need a nap after I’ve spent a couple hours with one.

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  2. I’ve scored almost in the middle on the Myers-Briggs personality test. One point closer to the side of introvert. I like people but they sure do drain me more than animals. I hear ya. And congrats on one step closer to being published. Can’t wait to read it. 🙂

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  3. Kris Bryant

    I can so totally relate to this post! All of it. And that part where you confess to really enjoying your own writing and then you said it sounds wonky? Well, it didn’t sound wonky at all. It sounded utterly normal – for an introvert writer. I happen to be one, too, so I would know. I love your sentence about wanting a social life in moderation. I’m not sure I would even want as much as “moderation”. Maybe extreme moderation? LOL! I can’t do pictures of me. I think I suddenly got fat and old overnight, because I certainly couldn’t have looked like that last week, could I? One tip I’ve learned, in case you ever need it again, is to make sure the photographer is shooting from above you, pointing the camera down at you. This streamlines the face, brings out any cheekbones (the only time I have any), makes your eyes more prominent, and hides the underside of your chin(s) completely. Shooting up from below does the opposite: creates multiple rolls of chin, enlarges cheeks to chipmunk size, makes your eyes look small and squinty, and shows the whole world what is inside your nostrils. Also, if you hide at least half your face behind a pretty animal it helps both physically and emotionally. I’m glad you got some great head shots. I hope you will post them at some point. Another tip: If you wait 15 years, you will think you look drop dead gorgeous in all of them (so you might as well post them now). 😉

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    1. Maggie Frazier

      You said it all! I guess now I know – I AM an introvert. Isnt it downright amazing how the fat & old appear overnight? Good idea about hiding behind an animal – pretty or not!

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  4. Pingback: The Irony of Memoir. | Anna Blake

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