Sunday, January 20, 2013

a time to retreat- the 100th post

New watercolor palette- empty

One of the things that is absolutely vital to my survival and my wellbeing is the ability to retreat.

New watercolor palette- filled with color

Being able to disconnect from the world, from outside stimuli, and just be in the cocoon of my own self is as necessary to me as breathing.

Beautiful card I got from Fiona Hill

It is, however, many times, a daunting task. Because friends and family demand your attention, presence, and participation in social activities.

Look at the  tutu

Last night the whole family was supposed to go out to dinner for my birthday. I just could not see myself interacting with 15 plus people and smiling. That smiling face we are so often required and/or expected to put on, even when your insides say otherwise.

My attempt to photograph new bird postcard. Shushu lies down on anything I put on the floor.

It was with great difficulty, remember I am a people pleaser in recovery, that I cancelled the dinner. After a whole week of pressure, stress, and endless meetings, I just could not see myself smiling and chatting with people.

Bird 3- watercolor postcard

It is many times hard to explain to people that I am not depressed or sad. As an introvert who is almost ALWAYS perceived as an extrovert, when my bubbly self is not around, most tend to ask what's wrong with me.

Mommy's little helper

I find it harder and harder to explain that to an introvert the need for solitude is necessary and welcome, not a mental illness.

How do you deal with your need to be alone and the demands of those who love you?

55 comments:

Annette said...

Hello my young friend, love your clean clean pallett and then fresh watercolors . It looks so fresh and ready to attack the paper guided by your muse. The birdie pic is precious but the young girl is fab. the colors and the whole concept. did I mention the fur baby? I retreat a lot, I know that may come as a surprise but I do. Hubby and I just flat don't get out. It was over two weeks after Christmas before I got out of the house. I love love people but sometimes I just need me time and I retreat to my art. Hugs my dear and yes solitude is very necessary. xoxoxo

turquoisemoon said...

1)Cultivated friends with similar needs. They completely understand my need for solitude.
2)Set up my phone with different ring tones for different people. I choose which ones I answer.
3)Bad me...I don't return calls or answer the phone.
4)Meditate early in the morning, so I can handle "stuff".
5)Tell family/friends that I need to refer to my calendar before making any social plans. This gives me time to decide...
6)Never refer to it as quiet/alone time...it's always confused with depression.
Love the tutu!

emmel-prutsemieke said...

I see myself in this story

Kalei's Best Friend said...

You take a rest??? ha! btw u have a well trained dog there!... I love your paintings of non birds as well..

Sulky Kitten said...

I agree, it can be difficult to make people understand that you are not rejecting them but just trying to renew your own energy. I can be quite sociable,but I need time alone as well. Yet, I know some people who cannot bear to spend time by themselves. Do what you need to do to keep yourself grounded and comfortable. Shushu is so cute, and your painting is beautiful.

Kyra said...

I am this way too. Because I have children, I stuff it down for them. It's important that I am here and not retreating. I can retreat on my own time when they are not here. But for other grown ups? Yeah, this is who I am. I am not depressed, I like doing things, I'm active and I'm busy. I'm not staring morosely out my window for days on end. (I'm sensitive about this because everyone says "Oh you must be depressed! You should get on an anti-depressant!") I'm NOT depressed, I'm just different from what other people would like. I'm moody, I'm intense, and frankly I enjoy those low periods for the most part too because they yield a lot of art. The high periods tend to yield a lot more cleaning, honestly! ;)

Introverts are not very acceptable in this world, so it's important to know when to grin and bear it, and when to push back. I'm still learning.

*hugs*

Barbara Roth said...

It takes a lot of courage to stop being a people pleaser and say no to outside demands to make art. I am impressed that you were able to state your needs to 15 people. You are definately making a lot of progress on no longer being a pleaser. Sometime can you do a post on how you are learning to no longer be a people pleaser?

Jho R said...

the ballerina is too cute :) and your dog!!!
i can relate to your story because i am also an introvert -and often called antisocial or shy-

oliveneedspopeye.blogspot.com

An'Angelia Thompson said...

Ana, I can't begin to tell you how much I relate to this, and I give you kudos for being able to cancel your birthday dinner. Although I have no problem dealing with these situations now, I wasn't able to do so when I was your age. Consider yourself (as I've said to you before), wise beyond your years. And a happy belated birthday to you. xoxo

Karoeza said...

I'm an introvert as well. Sometimes it's not possible to retreat in my own world. If only for my kids.

I don't have many friends, so less social appointments. During the week i try to have an empty schedule, if possible (besides the obligations).

I also try to have enough time for myself. Mindfulness. Painting.

Good for you that you did chose for yourself.

Francie M said...

I'm a borderline case of introversion/extroversion but when i was younger and much shyer than I am now, the answer was easy. I drank. And it was not worth it but it was the only way I could cope.

Marcie said...

Love the idea of being a 'people-pleaser-in-recovery'. I think I'll join you on that. And - belated happy birthday!

Riot Kitty said...

I am the same way - luckily, so is Mr. RK, and my family understands. They're not demanding, and we all care about each other enough to know our personality quirks ;)

Cristiane Marino said...

Oi Ana

Entendo perfeitamente. Sinto o mesmo.
Eu simplesmente adoro ficar sozinha.
Quando era mais jovem eu me obrigava a atender as expectativas dos outros, hoje tenho mais liberdade de poder fazer o que meu coração pede sem me preocupar tanto com o que os outros vão pensar.
Acho que essa é uma das compensações da maturidade: a liberdade.

Shushu está fofíssimo nas fotos! Eu também tenho uma cachorrinha, a Brisa, é o bebê da casa.
Adorei seu novo godet, fiquei até com vontade de pintar!
Bjs

My Little Corner said...

First, I thought I was the only one who's dog always managed to get part of herself in my photos! LOL. Such a sweetie.
Second, I wish I could help but my family lives so far away and my husband does a good job avoiding his family, we don't tend to have people around us too often. Perhaps we've allowed our lives to be like that because we do like the freedom to live without all those obligations. Friendships are work! Family is Work! But I think there's nothing wrong with politely declining and saying you're 'going to stay in' when they ask. Good luck, and Happy Belated Birthday.

Hwee said...

I drastically cut down on non-critical social gatherings. That leaves me with my family who, very luckily, are similar in this way so we have mutual understanding for one another's need for time and space to be alone.

Being a mum to a young child requires that I am present to him most of the day, so I get my 'alone' time when my son goes to sleep. My husband understands and supports my need to be alone, so he gets his 'alone' time at the same time. :-) We do meet in the kitchen from time to time in the evenings, though, and sometimes we end up talking for quite a while before resuming our activities. So far, it has worked well for us. :-)

Introverted Art said...

@ Barbara Roth: this is a great suggestion Barbara. I will sure write about how I am dealing with this trait.

Introverted Art said...

@ Barbara Roth: this is a great suggestion Barbara. I will sure write about how I am dealing with this trait.

Rita said...

Happy Belated Birthday! I am so glad you stopped by and commented on my blog so that I have gotten this chance to meet you. Totally can relate to reaching the saturation point with people. Despite being social, a chatterbox, and enjoying people very much, I absolutely always found solitude an absolutely necessary part of my life. Without it I get to feeling floaty, drained, off balance, disconnected. and generally stressed out. Birthday or no birthday, I'm glad you know yourself well enough to just say no when you really needed some down time. Congrats!

Love the card you got and the picture you painted--accompanied by your furbaby, Shushu.

What brand of watercolors did you fill your new palette with? They look luscious!

gigihawaii said...

I totally empathize with your predicament. People always ask me if I am depressed, when all I want is to be left alone.

Createology said...

I completely understand the demands to be "on" at all times when all we really want is some solitude. Finding the balance is the key and the toughest part. Your art is beautiful and it speaks of your soul. Creative Hearts are Happy Hearts...

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I find it's a constant exercise in compromise. My Rare One is an extrovert and I am an introvert. Finding the middle ground means she ends up socializing less than she wants and I end up socializing more than I want. So I guess we both end up feeling some strain out of it.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

P.S. Shushu is so cute!

Kathy, PaperPumpkin said...

I canceled all plans my family had, a month ago, because I just didn't want a party this year. I wanted, needed my space. I get energized from having quiet down time.

Em said...

You know, everything gets "diagnosed" as depression these days. It's fine if it truly is, but not so fine if it isn't.

I'm an introvert who is seen as an extrovert .... and people just don't get that I need to be alone to recharge. Crazy world.

Craetively yours Fi said...

Hi Ana, So glad my little ballerina found you :) Wow...I admire your courage...."recovering people pleaser" I've never really thought about that before. A powerful phrase. I think I may be a people pleaser also. I think my mum is worse than me though! I need to reflect on it more I think..:) I love your gorgeous dog and watercolour xX

Anthony said...

Great sketches and photos!

AntiquityTravelers said...

Such a tough question .... how to recognize and change the need to be a people pleaser. I think that it is quite taxing some days, and no doubt why I need some quiet time to myself. To recharge and hear myself think.

kala said...

I totally agree with u i can say i am in similar situation ;)

Jenny said...

Can so relate Ana... good for you in following through... your art... as always... is gorgeous... and I love your helpful assistant...

Jenny ♥

Nadia said...

Did you really call of diner? How brave of you!! When I am feeling like that I am going to paint or sew something in my studio, lock myself up to gain new energy.
Watching a beautiful movie is also a big helper or reading a nice book...anything better than sitting and paw is good.

Jess said...

That's funny that Shushu sat on your picture thinking it would be more comfortable!
If you never show people around you that you have a quiet side too, they'll continue to expect you to be bright and bubbly all the time and that's exhausting if you're not in the mood. I totally understand how you feel but times with family are so precious, you never know when it will be taken away. Whatever you decide to do when this situation happens again, just be true to yourself. :)xx

Jess said...

PS..and if being true to yourself is needing to retreat, then follow your heart because I get the impression you work very hard with people in your job and caring for your own needs is important too.xx

Arkansas Patti said...

There are times when I too need time to recharge. Thankfully I have reached the age when saying "No" is not problem.
Normally I would go since I do like parties, especially those in my honor. Only we really know when such would be welcome or a chore. So glad you were able to say No thanks.

Lois said...

I dole out my energy in careful dribs and drabs these days... I used to over-extend constantly, but in recent post-cancer years I have allowed myself to say no, to limit visits and become a princess. High maintenence friends have been hurt by this, and some have left when they realized that I had changed. Stay true to yourself!

BamaTrav said...

Very easy, I don't know that many people. xo

Sherri B. said...

I relate completely...my solitary nature has been such a presence to my loved ones for so long that, luckily, they don't seem surprised when I don't want to always participate in "people-filled" events. I also have a very small family and only a tiny circle of dear friends, so big groups gatherings are rare. In the last five years or so, I've become much more vocal about reminding friends and family of my introvert status! I'm so glad you took care of yourself and had a quiet, re-energizing evening home alone. It sounds like heaven. :) The picture of your dog "holding" your painting is precious!

Jane said...

Lol @ BamaTrav :)

I can completely empathize with you. The thought of 15 people turning up in my honor would really burn me out - long before I'd even got to the restaurant. I'd be stressing over what their expectations of me 'might' be and I'd feel responsible to chat each of them up - exhausting to consider.

teesha said...

I needed to read your post today. I have been around friends for the past 2 weeks and still have a few more days of it. There really isn't an escape at the moment. Anyway, thank you for posting your gut feelings and how you resolved them along with your beautiful art.

We sound so similar (must be a jan. 17th birthday trait). :) Happy to have found your blog.

Cristina Dalla Valentina said...

Like you, Ana, I live the same problem... Even if nobody has ever taken my introversion for a depression, anyway it's hard for me sometimes to be brave enough to assert my right to be alone, because this is often seen as indifference or selfishness from others. If I try to explain that it is not because of them, but that is a need for me, there is almost never a willingness to listen and understand, because very often the listener hasn't a similar need, and tends to think that I don't want to stay with him, or that I'm not a so good friend (and sometimes also a not so good daughter and sister... sigh!).
But I am learning to stop trying to explain myself to others, and to let them think what they want. I try to do my duty, to love my dear ones and my friends with all my heart, but also to take the time that I need to recharge and feel happy, even if this means to say more than one "no".
Luckily my husband and my children love me as I am, and with them I never feel invaded in my spaces. With their love they teached me to be true to myself.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Pat yourself on the back, Ana! Being able to cancel already shows that you are way ahead of the game. That took courage, and a realization that your emotional/mental health must be front and center! I always take time for myself, and offer a polite but short explanation. Introverts must retreat. We need it like we need oxygen. It's a way to fill up our depleted emotional/mental/physical batteries.

Wendy S. said...

I have to shut down from others too quite a lot and I completely understand you canceling your birthday dinner plans. That is great self care and so important for we who are intoverts. I hope your birthday was full of beauty and quiet joys.

Terri Corona said...

I live a few hours away from my family, and have carefully cultivated a limited number of great friends that require time invested in the friendship. I understand so well how you feel, good for you for being strong and doing what you needed to do for yourself.

Beautiful postcard!

Magic Love Crow said...

I love your puppy pictures! For me, when I need time for myself, I go outside! It works for me!

Lorraine said...

I saw you on another blog, anyone that has introverted in its blog name appeals to me, I am an introverted person, preferring to be alone. After 42 years of working in high pressure dealing with people job, my favourite job f all Caree Advisor, finally overwhelmed me. And my introversion became an illness that I wouldn't wish on anyone...so it's nice to see an healthy introvert it's nice to see your life, the way you can, the way you must, had i been as wise I never would have broken,so I'm going to enjoy my visits here and see what a normal healthy introvert lives like. Thank you for that x

Anikó said...

i haven't yet figured out a perfect way to keep everyone happy, yet... i find that when I can steal some time for myself I enjoy it all the more - and sometimes, after giving in to social pressures, i end up enjoying that time too. but when you are tired and really need to say no, it can feel very difficult.

Love that last picture with the shaggy dog framing your beautiful aquarelle! :)

Lynn Fisher said...

Oh dear...you should have what you need on your birthday, and if that is to shut down a bit, then so be it.
I used to retreat to a place called The Dwelling in the Woods...that is no more sadly, but there are other places. I would make a fire and go snow shoeing, then come back and write or journal. Wonderful experience.
I do so love your assistant! : )

Lynn Fisher said...

Oh dear...you should have what you need on your birthday, and if that is to shut down a bit, then so be it.
I used to retreat to a place called The Dwelling in the Woods...that is no more sadly, but there are other places. I would make a fire and go snow shoeing, then come back and write or journal. Wonderful experience.
I do so love your assistant! : )

elise thomas said...

Great post. I think so many of us feel this way (especially artists), but are afraid to say anything.

I often find myself trying to explain to my husband that I LOVE people, but too much just exhausts me.

Christine Altmiller said...

my family does see it as a sadness, and not as a part of my need for alone time. it is nearly impossible to explain to those that are not like that. i have pretty much given up. my mother does the big heave-sigh and declares "TOO many PEOPLE for her to deal with" i come from a very social family, with the exception of my dad who gets it, but will not defend it to anyone. he just sucks it up and puts on the smile and goes off into the crowd.
love the photos here :-)

Ileana said...

I love that last photo and your artwork...so beautiful!

I find that the older I get the less I worry about what others think of me, and that includes family (the people who love me shouldn't be upset by things I need to do for myself). I know it's not easy stepping out of the norm (a big celebration for a b-day party) but if it's not your thing, there's no need to force it. I love your attitude and I'm glad you got the time alone to do what you want to do. I can think of nothing else I would want for my birthday than more time to do what I please. :)

Happy Belated B-day! :D

Ariel said...

Congrats on your 100th post Ana. Some of your posts always take me back to my childhood. Our house always accommodated guests and how I detested it!!! I was expected to smile and chat even when I didn't want to...Now I never get to be alone as my family is just growing. Well, I just take it as part of my life and the being alone phase can wait. I'll enjoy it when the time comes.
SusaN

Shaharoh said...

Happy 100th post. As a definite mix between Introvert an Extrovert, I think I've just learned to schedule time for myself. I've learned how to set my time boundaries and occasionally get bombarded with activities. When this happens, I usually tell people I have plans for the weekend so I can regenerate. There is nothing wrong with "Me" time and people just have to understand:) xoxo

David said...

Crowds of people on your birthday....yes, I would have tried to find a way out as well. Congrats on your 100th post! Here's to the next 100.
I'm an introvert as well and I heard it explained very well like this:
There are two types of people.
The first type gets their batteries charged by being around other people, watching other people, and social events.
The other gets their batteries recharged by NOT being around people since they are the ones draining your batteries in the first place. I love painting and that's how I deal with stress. Just the idea of getting to paint makes me happy even if I don't get to that day.
Keep up the beautiful blogging.
David/:0)

Shahrul Niza said...

Awwww... I'm in love with your easel!!!. I need to rent him to post for me too, but well, I have 3 cats @ home and they would check this furry loveliness out :). LOVELY painting!. HUGS.