I’ve always felt anxiety and pressure in social situations. It wasn’t that I disliked the people around me. Far from it. But something about the expectation to perform in a social capacity always filled me with dread.
For a while, I thought I was broken. Everyone I knew loved hanging out and being around one another. In one of my peaceful moments of alone time, I decided to do a little research to find out if something was wrong with me.
I learned about introversion. I learned about countless millions of people just like me. It became my mission to discover and understand the ins and outs of that mindset so I could better myself. I finally realized I didn’t have to change who I was. I could embrace it.
Over the years, I’ve cultivated knowledge I feel may be helpful to other introverts who don’t know there are people like them. I want to share with you some examples of situations where I felt uncomfortable and how I handled them. I don’t expect everyone to encounter the exact same situations or react the same way, but I think this will be a good template for other introverts to use. Continue reading “Three signs you may be an introvert and how to cope.”
The Craigslist ad wanted a male companion for 6 hours. No sex, nothing illegal, and, get this: it paid $10,000. Who wouldn’t jump at 10k?
We met at his house. His handshake was firm. He seemed solidly middle-class; modest home, basic decor, nothing ostentatious. A suburban bachelor pad. After our hellos, he asked if I’d like something to drink. His fridge was stocked with microbrews. Good stuff! I grabbed a Dogfish Head 90 and he guided me to the basement. “That’s where we’ll be working,” he said.
I’m a geologist working at Death Valley National Park in Nevada. Over the last few months, we’ve been studying the geological formation dubbed “Devil’s Hole.” Here’s what it looks like, for those interested.
Anyway, I’ve always found this place somewhat disconcerting. We have a vague idea of how it came to be and what makes it do what it does, but there’s something else. Something…off.
The other day, we sent a little submarine drone into the water to see if it could map out the labyrinthine cave system we know is there, but has been completely inaccessible for decades. Also, we wanted to find out how deep it goes. The fact an earthquake in China could cause the water to rise so substantially at this spot in Nevada makes us think it goes way deeper than preliminary estimates.
Their pale faces were tilted skyward. Each pair of eyes brimmed with hope. In the moonlight, their skin seemed luminous; a battle of bright flesh against the surrounding darkness. Their mouths were slightly open, as if expecting to receive holy communion. They stood in a circle on the mossy ground, hand in hand. Their open throats drooled blood down their young chests.
Under my bare feet, the moss felt so comforting. So inviting. With the children standing guard, I would curl up on the ground and fall asleep.
I’ve gone all over the world to find the best food. Six continents, thousands of regions, countless dishes; all in search of the perfect meal. For a while, I thought it may never happen. There was always something a little off; salt, freshness, temperature – tiny, niggling complaints that, to anyone else, would be meaningless. To me, though, they were the difference between perfection and mundanity. My quest went on.
During my travels, I’d learned about an “underground supper club” in Moscow which met once a year. While “underground supper club” sounds mysterious and illicit, it’s just a place that operates casually, aka: without a food license. Chefs all over do it all the time for their friends. I’ve been to many.
This one was supposed to be different. They had the best caviar.
Caviar is a luxury item, but even in luxury-obsessed Russia, it’s started to fall out of favor because of sustainability issues. It’s still widely available, but the good stuff is getting harder and harder to find. The “best stuff” is nearly impossible to get a hold of. It’s locked down by the oligarchs and heads of state; if you’re not one of them or in close company, you’re out of luck. So when I heard that supper club would be serving the best of the best, I knew I had to get in there.
I didn’t understand. I had those floaty things. My teacher said everyone did. An artifact of our eyes developing, or something like that. I guess he’d been told the same thing, but it did him little good. His parents were concerned, of course, and they brought him to ophthalmologists who were all in agreement: his eyes were fine. When he denied the experts’ claims and doubled down on his insistence that something was wrong, his worried parents got him into therapy.
I guess the therapist helped him a little bit. Malcolm’s paranoia seemed to diminish somewhat and his anxious habits like twitching and blinking weren’t as pronounced. That was good – a lot of kids made fun of the way he blinked. He told me it helped push the things out of sight for a couple seconds.
This city is on no one’s map. If it had ever been, those people have long since died. As have their children. And grandchildren. And great grandchildren. And great-great grandchildren. And so on.
Nonetheless, here the city stands. My source was right. My money was well spent. These ancient structures are black tombs. We’ve set up our camp on the outskirts. The city is far too cold.
September 10th, 2016
Charles kept watch while I slept. He claimed to see no signs of life, but sounds kept him constantly alert. Soft sounds. Soft, wet, and unimposing. Sounds which drifted in and out at the limits of audibility, as if they were whispers, but windblown and damp – redolent of dying breaths and last words.
I heard nothing. My sleep was as black as the structures ahead of us. No sounds penetrated the dreamless morass. For a brief moment upon waking, I believed to have been dead.