About eleven years ago, I attended Wizard Academy – a wonderful session on unleashing creativity. I had just found out I was carrying twins – so all the available wine was hard not to swallow. I remember telling you this as you were leaning back on a chair in the kitchen. It was a wonderful experience, the Academy (best moments were the surprising slam poets session in the courtyard and the wand to play “The Impossible Dream” up a fairy-tale-like staircase and mostly the connection with like-mindedness).
I must share that every Monday, upon taking in the MMM – I am inspired to write again (but never seem to find the time as banker by day and Mom, Wife and Pastor by day/night). In the wee hours of the morning, as I read it, I giggle to myself, have frying-pan-on-the-head moments of clarity, take screenshots of the chocolate-mousse quotes and notions for some time in the future when I need them….always a fan from a distance of the well-crafted gem that lands in my inbox earlier than my usual wake-up time of 3:30am (only time I can have my own thoughts). I always know it’s waiting there for me and am ever-grateful. There is a community I remember I belong to when I read it. Like reading my Bible (notably when reading about the infiltrators Joseph, Daniel, Esther) – remembering who I am and who my people are.
This morning – one of the quotes (“Thinking out loud is like trying on clothes with the changing room door open.”– Robert the Brace, a Wizard of Ads partner), just lit a little fire under my extrovert bum to write again – a bit of knee-jerk rant came out in favour of all the extroverts that have been a tad bashed by innies the last decade. It’s below. I was compelled to share it with you to remind you that the MMM (alongside my trusted B-I-B-L-E) is not only a source of great fun and thought, but also propels creativity – making me remember who I am (which happens when I write) and who my people are. I don’t send you my writing (below) because it’s life-changing or amazing or anything… just to remind you how much it matters that you inspire people.
Thank you. Don’t stop.
– Tannis Hogue,
Social Translator for Good
From the Centre of North America in Winnipeg, MB, Canada
AN OPEN LETTER TO INTROVERTS
“Thinking out loud is like trying on clothes with the changing room door open.”
– Robert the Brace, a Wizard of Ads partner
I’ve always said if I were an introvert, people would think I was smart. Being married to an introvert, I watch as he spins a thought and it comes out like gold – while my thoughts mimic the candy explosion of a bursting pinata. The candy is still candy – but somehow via his delivery, he gets to be the monocle-clad professor and I the blind-folded little kid with an aimless swinging stick. He gets the trust. I get the suspicion. It’s a weight you don’t know we carry.
It’s because I let you in on how I got there. As a result of letting you witness the manufacturing of the thought you think you get to see the holes. There’s some you can’t see about what’s going on in this brain of mine. I’m not sure it’s true of all extroverts, (I have a hard time trusting them myself), but for me, there are nine spinning plates up there – all working hard to gather a conclusion together – and I only have one verbal escape valve. So, unfortunately for you the juror, you only get to learn the churn of one of the nine working on the thing. And because nine brains can’t talk at the same time – it appears to you like shotty foundation. Sham flam. I would say it all at the same time if I could.
It takes me ten times as much time for you to trust me, my intellect and my intentions. Quite honestly – I am exhausted trying to prove myself to you. Do you know how much else I could be getting done? If I’m honest, trying to win your trust I swear almost ends me some days. It squelches my motion, creativity and traction. So what if I get from A to B a little differently. Be gone, your suspicion! Bring me the other outties! Let’s all get rowdy, gun-sling and be blind-folded together until sound conclusions are reached and pats on the back are handed out like free-flowing champagne. I mean, all things considered, can’t extroverts be trusted more? At least we let you in.
Don’t get me wrong – I’d love to be you for a day and gain all that respect. There must have been a reason God made us like this and made you like that. Is it something about the tension between us that makes the world spin?
And now for a festival of pop culture references in favour of the extrovert’s speed in thought sharing. The best thing about The West Wing – one of the twenty things I love most is how the conversations roll out – and what’s behind them. They all interrupt each other – all the time – but nobody gets upset about it. They’re in The White House – efficiency is both necessary and appreciated. Somebody gets just so far in a thought out loud – and because of the trust and respect they all have for each other – anyone at any time is allowed to interject to move the joint thought processes along and it’s welcomed because they all appreciate time being saved. The greater good. Time (oh valuable, sweet, chocolate-covered time) trumping niceties. Real love. Real trust. These are my people. I love being interrupted if I know someone’s tracking with me. Seriously – watch my eyes light up. Riffing at its best. To me it’s one of the highest forms of compliment. Do you know how much energy we’d all save? How much more we could get done? And how that trust increases when the person sharing the initial thought says “wait hold on – let me finish” – as if to say, “I know you know me and I trust that – but there’s still new information you still don’t know yet” – none of this “I’m a victim” offended by your interruption business. These interactions somehow to me are more polite than the thieves who steal unnecessary time and traction. There’s this scene in The Office where the character Erin says to Michael and whoever else it is that she’s picking up from the highway “Get in the car, quick.” and after hustling in, he asks “Why quick?” to which she responds “Because its faster”. Yes, Erin, yes.
All this to say in favour of speed – I have also arrived at the conclusion that there is one frequency where innies ands outties meet. I think generally, introverts and extroverts get things done at the same pace. Extroverts may lay the cards of their thoughts down faster – but have to spend more time putting out fires to reach the destination. Introverts afford themselves time to dodge the judging bullets. Maybe this isn’t even worth noting – but I’m kind of compelled to – I have all these “I bet you if someone did a study they would find’s” in my brain – and this is one of those…that introverts and extroverts are actually on the same timeline of getting things done.
There’s a scene in Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry and some guy are playing a game of manners when the guy’s food comes first and Larry insists he eats it. The guy insists he waits for Larry’s food to arrive before beginning. Larry goes off about what kind of jerk lets the food in front of the person who has it get cold – why wait? Food getting cold. Thoughts getting cold (heart growing cold). Polite? Maybe. But I’d rather see you enjoy your food hot. I have too much respect for you being able to enjoy the food the way it was to be enjoyed.
But sometimes you do like us. I have seen the social moments we saved your bacon or communicated what you wish the world knew about you – suddenly our endless nattering is accepted as energy, passion and zeal – but that doesn’t change that you still find us rude and overbearing. I do understand that – the guilt I feel for hurting your feelings so often understands that more than I can tell you. Like Larry David notes in Curb, “You can’t leave your house”.
Maybe I should cocoon for a while until the dust settles.