In defense of introverts

introvert textLast week, in an attempt to keep me reading and clicking and clicking and reading until I looked at the clock and realize 30 minutes have passed, BuzzFeed posted a list of 21 Texts Every Introvert Has Sent. As the dictionary definition of an introvert, I found this list all too relatable and can attest that I’ve sent all these text several times.

But after I got a good laugh out of the list, I started to think about my own introverted tendencies and the bad rap us quiet types tend to get. I’ve been shy since I was young. (Except in school. That was the one place where I loved to shine. The only thing strong enough to take on my shyness is my love of learning and type A overachiever personality. It’s the same reason I chose journalism as a career. I love finding and telling stories to strangers. As long as it’s not my story we’re talking about.) When company would come over to our house, I would stay in my room for as long as possible, mentally preparing myself to go downstairs and face people—usually people I was related to.  In one of my lesser moments I hid in the closet for an embarrassingly long time. If you go through the photo albums from my pre-kindergarten days, you might think I was a perpetually grumpy kid. I never smiled if I was forced to pose in a picture. I would mash my lips together and suck them in, like I had a secret I physically had to work to keep. The secret was that I was scared of smiling, of being exposed.

Even now I still tense up when strangers talk to me. Whenever someone gets in the elevator with me, I let out an inner groan because I know the person will try to make conversation, and I’ll have to say something. And if my fellow elevator companion doesn’t say anything, I spend the whole ride worrying that he or she will. This probably makes me sound like the most awkward social turtle, but like most things, there’s a chance I’m being too hard on myself. If someone says “hi” on the street or chats about the weather in the elevator, I’ll say “hi” back or offer some lame comment like “It’s so nice out!” but I’ll never speak first or ask follow-up questions or try to engage with you beyond what’s socially required of me. I’m no longer hiding in closets, but I will never excel at small talk or flirting or socializing. Once, in a fit of rare confidence, I RSVP’d yes to a Meetup of twentysomething women living in my area. But the day of the event I panicked at the thought of being in a room with 15 strangers who were going to want to talk to me. I didn’t go.

Once I become friends with someone and we’ve gotten to the point where we’re comfortable saying whatever to each other, I usually hear this: “I thought you were kind of cold or above everything at first, but now that I know you, I see it’s not true.” That’s the tough part about being a grown-up shy kid. What once came across as cute is now seen as standoffish. When I hear this, I’m not offended. (Okay, maybe I am a little. Us introverts are human after all.) I mostly felt surprised that someone even noticed me enough to make a critique of my character. That’s the thing about introverts: We spend most of our time trying to go unnoticed.

So what is the point of this post about my insecurities? Consider it a PSA about for you bubbly extroverts. Cut us introverts some slack now and then. We know we can come across as unfriendly, but we really think you’re great and are hoping some of your charisma rubs off on us. Sometimes we do prefer to just be alone. Don’t take it as an insult. We still think you’re great, but it’s just something we have to do for us. Sometimes we like being quiet. It doesn’t mean were mad. (Again, we think you’re great.) It takes a while to crack through to us, but once you do, I promise it’s worth it.


Autumn is officially in full swing, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve picked my pumpkins, drank my apple cider and eaten my share of pumpkin doughnuts. I hope your Sunday is filled with all kinds of fall festivities.

Here are a few things that I’ve been reading, watching and listening to recently.

  • Last night I finished reading I Am Malala. Talk about an inspiring book. The story of 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who just received the Nobel Peace Prize, is one everybody should read. As someone who loved school and still loves learning, I cannot imagine my right to education being taken away from me.
  • I started watching The West Wing last month, and I am officially obsessed. I love Aaron Sorkin’s other show, The Newsroom, but unfortunately its upcoming season will be its last. Thank goodness I’ve got six more seasons of The West Wing to watch.
  • When I’m not listening to NPR’s addicting new podcast Serial, I’m playing new albums from the Marmozets, Have Mercy and the Smith Street Band. The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets is already out, and Have Mercy and the Smith Street Band will have new records out this month. I’ve already heard them (the perks of being a music writer), and trust me when I say you’re going to love them. Unless you don’t love good music. Then you’ll hate them.

In other news….

  • I want the job of running Barbie’s Instagram.
  • In case you’ve been living under a giant boulder that has no wi-fi signal, Taylor Swift released a new song this past week called “Out Of The Woods.” I really like it, maybe even more than “Shake It Off.” I’m excited to hear all of 1989.
  • Kudos to Jennifer Lawrence for speaking out on the massive leak of celebrities’ nude photos: “It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change. That’s why these websites are responsible. Just the fact that somebody can be sexually exploited and violated, and the first thought that crosses somebody’s mind is to make a profit from it. It’s so beyond me. I just can’t imagine being that detached from humanity. I can’t imagine being that thoughtless and careless and so empty inside.” Read more here or pick up the new issue of Vanity Fair.
  • Let’s end things on a positive note, shall we? Specifically, this 10-year-old girl who was SUPER EXCITED to meet Hillary Clinton. Can’t say I would have acted any differently.

Come on and ache with me

I have a confession to make, internet.

I’ve become a crier.

Not only that, I’ve become the worst kind of crier: the emotional media consumer crier. I’d like to preface this by saying I was never a crier. I used to pride myself in my stoicism. And crying during a movie? That was reserved for the very rare occasions, specifically Brian’s SongHardball and We Are Marshall. (For a girl who couldn’t care less about athletic feats, something about a good old sports movie turns me to mush.) I still remember seeing my mom—a grade A emotional media consumer—cry in the theater while watching Casper. I looked at her and said, “Why are you crying? He’s been dead the whole movie!” Boy, if my smug 6-year-old self could see me now.

When I cried during a very touching NPR podcast, I figured it was just a fluke, but it didn’t stop there. Recently, everything makes me cry. And there isn’t any discernible reason for it. I’m not depressed, going through a breakup or dealing with a recent traumatic event. Besides looking for a new job, my life is pretty normal and pleasant for the most part. So why all the tears? And just in case you think I’m exaggerating (“Emotional types always do that,” you’re thinking to yourself), allow me to present you with a list of things that have made me choke up/sniffle/cry/weep in recent memory.

  1. Episode 523 of This American Life. Tales from hospice + a story about a dying parent = me weeping in traffic on 71 South.
  2. I stopped watching 90210 back in college in the middle of the fourth season. Earlier this year I decided to pick it back up. Great idea until I got to episode 87, “The Heart Will Go On.” Raj’s cancer is back, and he didn’t tell Ivy because he just loves her so much, and I CAN’T TAKE IT. Nothing like crying on your couch on a Saturday night to make you feel good about your life.
  3. A recent episode of Modern Family. I don’t think anyone expects to cry during Modern Family, myself included. But man, when Haley was all, “I’ve made bad choices, and I’ve messed up,” and Phil’s all “Your life has value!” I’m suddenly getting misty eyed because damnit growing up is hard, and sometimes I just want someone to tell me what I should do next.
  4. 99 percent of Cheerios’ commerical, but especially this one.
  5. Ron Suskind stopped by The Daily Show back in May to discuss his book, Life Animated, which is about his autistic son, Owen, and the power of Disney movies. Seems like a standard Jon Stewart interview. Then they play a clip of Ron and Owen. When the camera cuts back to Ron after the clip, he’s a bit choked up. If there had been a camera cutting back to me, the audience would have seen me crying, again on my couch. (Maybe I should just get rid of my couch, as it seems to be the scene of most of these crimes.)
  6. The penultimate scene in What If when Wallace and Chantry are finally going to kiss, and then they give each other gifts and they’re the same gifts and… that’s it, here come the tissues.
  7. After tackling 90210 I turned my attention to The Sopranos. I was doing awesome in my resolve not to cry, until we got to season six, specifically the first three episodes. Tony was in the hospital with a critical gunshot wound. Every time his daughter Meadow visited him, my waterworks started as I inevitably thought of my own dad. By the way, my dad has never been shot or been in the mob. Right now he’s home doing one of the following: cooking, watching Netflix or yelling at the moles who keep destroying his yard.
  8. Last week’s episode of The Walking Dead. The season five premiere had a few tearjerker moments: Carol is back with Daryl! Judith is back with Rick and Carl! But what got to me was the reunion between brother and sister Tyreese and Sahsa. It’s that same art imitating life shit that The Sopranos pulled on me. Like Sasha, I’ve got an older brother who’s a total gentle giant. We may fight a lot, but if there’s ever a zombie apocalypse, I want him with me.

I’m sure I’m forgetting several occasions, but by now I’ve painted a very sad and pathetic portrait of the crier as a young woman. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go take out stock in Kleenex.

72 hours of madness

That title is way more exciting than this actual post, so I’ll totally forgive you if you stop reading now.

As you may recall, Friday was not so great for me. That night, I pulled up and and proceeded to become very depressed by my options. Finding a job that I a) wanted and was qualified for and b) was in Cleveland proved to be next to impossible. I immediately began to panic and started thinking worst-case scenarios (i.e. living on the street eating a can of corn I’ve pried open with my fingernails that are now 6 inches long because I no longer have the will to cut them).  Instead of continuing my downward spiral into the realm of highly unlikely but highly terrifying possibilities, I decided to take my dad’s advice. Earlier that day when I called him and told him I lost my job, he must have heard the frantic edge to my voice because he said, “Just try to relax.” To which I replied, “Have we met?”

Relaxing is not something I excel at. I think it’s one of the reasons I was so attracted to journalism. Fast-paced, multitasking, deadlines—bring it on. I thrive on it. Even when I’m not working, I tend to stay busy. If I spend a day at home doing nothing, I start to feel a bit guilty. I was the kid who never liked missing a day of school. But seeing as all the shit hit the fan on a Friday and I had a three-day weekend ahead of me anyway, trying to figure out my next move before Tuesday wasn’t going to do me much good.

So I relaxed.

I slept late, watched entirely too many episodes of The Sopranos, binged on HGTV and took a nap Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I went to Old Navy and treated myself to some new clothes. I blew off the gym and ignored my piles of laundry. I drank too much coffee and made myself a double Jameson and ginger ale last night. I ate out. A lot. I had a milkshake and curly fries for lunch Saturday. I got brunch with a friend and devoured a glorious bowl of breakfast nachos. I decided ordering five enchiladas sounded like a perfect idea for dinner tonight. I ate two scoops of heavenly ice cream from Mitchell’s that dripped down my hands.

None of these things are particulary adventurous, but the fact that I didn’t spend all weeking searching for jobs, looking into health care and giving myself even more gray hairs is pretty damn great. All that stuff will come soon enough. But for 72 hours, I decided to stop worrying. It’s the best decision I’ve made all weekend. (Although those nachos were pretty epic.)



Diary of the unemployed

“Americans don’t expect anything bad to happen and are surprised when it does, while the rest of the world expects the worst and are not disappointed.”
-Svetlana Kirilenko, The Sopranos

This wasn’t a blog post I expected to be writing. I’ve been staring at my computer screen for a good five minutes, trying to figure out how to start it. Seeing as I just finished the episode of The Sopranos that the above quote is from, I figured I’d start with that. (When in doubt, look to the wise, Russian woman.)

I lost my job yesterday.

The good part: I left on good terms. My fellow editors have been nothing but supportive and helpful. It was a crappy situation, but I knew the ups and downs of journalism when I signed up for it. It’s not an easy field, and it gets even tougher as the internet grows and print falters. 

The bad part: I lost my job yesterday.

I absolutely loved my job. I’ve wanted to work there since I was 15. I spent a lot of time crying yesterday evening. When I got home after packing up my office—which, by the way, takes an obscenely and uncomfortably long time—I took a nap. When I woke up, I remembered what happened, and the shock hit me all over again. I’m not someone who does well with change, especially change I can’t control. I don’t know what I’m going to do or where I’m going to work. I can’t imagine doing anything else besides writing, but I also can’t imagine living anywhere else but Cleveland. Cleveland’s a big city, but the journalism opportunities are still tight, so I plan on putting out the calls for some freelancing gigs. (If you know of any magazines/newspapers/websites looking for writers, leave me a comment.)

Regardless, I’m not going to end this post on a sad note. I had enough of that yesterday. So, I’ll just end with something from Mr. Keourac.

Jack-Kerouac- quote

When I’m dead I’ll rest

Say Anything-Is A Real BoyYesterday Say Anything’s album …Is A Real Boy turned 10 years old. Amid all  the day-to-day hubbub that seems to occupy more and more of my brain space—appointments, never-ending grocery lists, the growing stack of folders on my desk at work—a record that means quite a bit to me celebrated a decade of existence. Depending on who you ask, album anniversaries are either momentous occasions to be celebrated or wildly overhyped dates. I probably fall somewhere in the middle—except in the case of Say Anything.

I could talk for hours about how much this band and the brainchild behind it, Max Bemis, mean to me. They are, by far, my favorite modern band. So regardless of how I feel about most album anniversaries, by sheer default, I was pretty excited yesterday. But I was also hesitant to write anything about it. After all, I’d already written an official piece on the importance of the album in the September issue of AP. Did I really need to write something else? Did it matter?

If you’re reading this, you already know the answer, but in case you just joined us: yes. Sure, maybe 10-year anniversaries (or anniversaries of any kind) are kind of arbitrary, but it’s important to acknowledge the songs and albums and bands that changed our lives. At the end of the day I won’t remember the appointments, the never-ending grocery lists and the growing stack of folders on my desk at work. But I’ll always remember how I felt when I first heard …Is A Real Boy. That’s just what a great album can do for you.

Thanks for that, Max.



Charleston is nice this time of year

90 percent of the time I’m incredibly happy for my friends and their accomplishments. But when those accomplishments take them away from me, that other 10 percent of me gets a little unhappy. All the sudden I have an overwhelming urge to gather up all my people, move them into a giant house and tell them they’re never allowed to leave me. (Of course in this fantasy, the house is a mansion with two pools, a live-in chef, a sauna and a gym so how could they possibly want to leave?)

Whitney is leaving Ohio for Charleston, South Carolina. With her goes her wonderful husband Tim and their adorable pooch Sadie. I met Whitney in college when she pledged the sorority I was in. We both ended up quitting the sorority when we realized we preferred the company of a few to the company of two dozen, gossipy, petty girls.

I’ve never been good with change. I’m stubborn and stuck in my ways. It takes me time to process new things. But regardless of my desire to kidnap all my friends, I’m incredibly happy for and proud of Whitney and Tim. They’re moving to Charleston to open their own food truck–something I could never imagine. I love their spontaneity (even if it takes them away from me). I’ve always been a big proponent of following your dreams. I was luck enough to find my dream job, and I’m so happy that they get to follow theirs.

I’ve been with Whitney through college, post-college life and her first year of marriage. I can’t wait to see what she does next.