A couple weekends ago, my cousin Christopher came up to Chapel Hill for a visit and to compete in a water polo tournament at UNC...alone. Because he's awesome. It was fun to get the chance to spend time with him while he was here and I'm glad I got to capture a small part of him in a video. This is only shows a sliver of all the cool things that Christopher is involved in. Wish I had more footage and time to completely convey him to you, but in the meantime, check it out:
I'm pretty sure it's impossible to be a pure introvert or extrovert. Everyone falls somewhere on a spectrum depending on situational context, right?
But for the longest time I've identified as an extrovert because I think it's what I've wanted to be. And while I do genuinely enjoy being social and hanging out with people, lately I think much of socializing has become meaningless small talk. Or at least to me. Basic, surface-level updates on our lives to appease the people who are asking. I swear, if one more person asks me what I'm doing after graduation....
I surround myself with a close core group of friends and sometimes I find that extroverts can come across as overconfident and insincere. I'd rather have a few close friends than a ton of acquaintances.
I need space and I need a good amount of it. I need to have nights where I stay in and get into new art projects and explore Spotify. I need those quiet moments because they allow me to look inward and reflect on my daily experiences.
But sometimes it's expected of you that you be extroverted. Because social interactions are expected of you. But increasingly lately, I've found myself becoming more anxious and tired in social situations. It can become quite exhausting to carry on small talk with people unless we're discussing a subject that holds significant importance to either one of us.
Just because I like being around people doesn't mean I want to talk. Sometimes it's really nice just to be surrounded by people for the sake of having company. No words have to be exchanged, we can both be doing our own separate things, but that physical presence is certainly comforting. I'm also guilty of occasionally "zoning out" when someone is talking to me and my mind is somewhere else completely.
Sometimes I suck at correspondence (a fancy word for texting) with people because I just don't feel like talking. If I'm spending in-person time with someone, there's a very low chance that I'll respond to a text until after I'm done hanging out with said person because I value that in-person time more than I value responding to a digital message from someone. When I'm with you I will give you my attention and I expect the same from you.
I need time to think about what I want to say. When needed, I can speak off the cuff, but I value words and how I use them, so in many circumstances, having the time to think before I speak is important to me.
I lead best by example. I'm not always great at motivational speaking or being the center of attention, so I lead more by setting a good example than anything.
I love performing and I feel at home and at ease talking in front of large groups of people - it's like a performance more than anything, where I'm stepping into a certain role and mindset.
More than anything, it's about a balance. I need quality time with friends and family, but I also need time to myself, and I think it's that way for a lot of people. In this polarized world, it's more than okay to have a balance of attributes.
Have you ever tried to control your breathing? And not in the relaxing, meditative kind of way. More so in the "I need to control this" kind of way.
I've been well-aware of my perfectionist-style habits for a long time, but I hadn't really tied them to a fear of a lack of control until recently. I definitely fall victim to the overthinker's curse, under which I obsess over details and stress about everything that could possibly go wrong with a situation. But that stress is what motivates me. If I don't feel a sense of pressure or urgency or a fear of messing up, I might as well not have responsibilities.
That need for control both helps and hinders me. A couple weekends ago, Loreleis celebrated our 35th anniversary of being a group on campus. As the president, much of the responsibilities of the weekend fell on my shoulders, and it was AWESOME. I've worked in event planning/management and with my design experience, I was able to work with our concert manager to craft a vision of a weekend. From the invitations to the merchandise to the decorations and alumni packages, each part of the anniversary weekend worked together with cohesive branding and signage.
But I wasn't really able to enjoy a second of it until it was over. Until the the what ifs stopped buzzing around my head. Until I felt the relief of everything going according to plan. Until I could breathe again. I was worrying so much that I hardly let myself enjoy the beauty of the reunion that was happening all around me. I knew I had a strong team of people who were willing to do whatever I needed, but I didn't feel the need to delegate much of the work because I trusted myself to do things the way I wanted them to be done. Again, a fear of a lack of control. And a fear of a lack of efficiency.
So I'm learning. I'm learning to let go of the reigns from time to time. To step back and enjoy what I create. To plan ahead enough to be able to relax when I need to. I'm learning how to delegate things and to trust in others as much as I trust in myself. I'm learning to breathe.
This semester I was introduced to video editing through a film studio art class, and for my latest project, I mixed together a number of clips from nature documentaries/drone footage of national parks and GoPro footage of cliff divers to create the montage below. Background song is Turning The Screw by Generationals.
I've had an attraction to bright, bold florals and to more abstract work, especially involving lines and geometry, for a while now. These two things plus a reintroduction to Pinterest inspired me recently to create the few paintings below. I took some inspiration from artists like Brittany Bass and began experimenting with automatic art, an art form developed by surrealists as a means of accessing the subconscious. Instead of determining exactly what you want to paint, draw or write, you create from a place of inspiration, guided by subconscious thought. While I was at first mimicking other artists, I found that simply through the process of painting abstractly, I was making decisions, whether consciously or subconsciously, to respond to previous brushstrokes in a way that was completely my own, uninfluenced by whomever was my inspiration.
In many of my college arts classes, I've been instructed to paint realistically. There have been opportunities for abstraction but I suppose my natural instinct when given a specific prompt is to think of a scene or an object that I can paint, usually involving some form of surrealism. So the process of painting without guidelines or prompts has been exciting to dive into!
Keep an eye out for more and if you're interested in purchasing anything, feel free to reach out.
It's no secret that a grateful person is a happy person. No matter the number of blessings we each have, to be grateful is to recognize our talents, abilities, surroundings and privileges as gifts and to be aware of how much we have been given.
This, like so much, is more easily said than done. In a life that is constantly documented online, it's easier than ever to compare ourselves to others. Someone went on a fancy vacation to the Bahamas this week / bought a slew of new clothes / just got a job / is out to a fancy dinner again.
And something I think we often forget is that another person's success and happiness does not mean a lack of our own.
Envy has a powerful way of distracting us from our own numerous blessings. Sure, I can't splurge on the newest, biggest, fanciest things, but I have so much else to be grateful for. Much of which is fundamental to who I am as a person.
I am an American citizen with the right to vote. I have the freedom to speak my mind, to protest things that I believe are unfair, to talk about anything I want to talk about without the fear of persecution. I have grown up in a stable home with happily married parents, a younger brother and a few dogs over the years. I've never had to worry about having a roof over my head, food in my belly or clothes on my back. I live in a safe place in Chapel Hill and aside from walking home alone at night, I've never had to worry about my safety as a white woman. I am healthy, without allergies or medical limitations, and so are my loved ones. I can see and hear and I have artistic and musical talents. I live in a beautiful place and I also have the freedom and ability to travel.
I have so much to be grateful for, and so much that I haven't even realized yet. This is such a beautiful life, but it's only as beautiful as our perception of it and our appreciation for what we have and where we are. Comparison is the thief of joy, while gratitude is the source.
I needed the reminder to be grateful today. We all do, sometimes.