Ten Things

About Me

2014-01-28_0001Pictures by A Girl Named Leney, of course.

Posts like this always feel a little narcissistic, but blogs tend to feel like that inevitably. I don't love talking about myself, but I do like for people to know who I am. So here are a few little tidbits that you may or may not already know about me.

1. I am an introvert.

Ever since childhood, I've been wary of other people, always observing and trying to figure out how I'm supposed to act in any given situation. I think this is why I'm such a good listener and can understand people quickly. I've always preferred to be the quiet observer. Social interaction has never come naturally to me, but I figured out early that it would be a major hindrance for me in our crazy-extroverted culture if I didn't figure out how to cope with that anxiety. I always cried my first few days of elementary school (um and college haha) when I had to leave my parents. I hated the stress of being alone and having to figure out this new routine in a new classroom with a new teacher and new kids. Thank goodness I was naturally good at sports in recess and reading/writing during class. I would inevitably make friends from these two things. But as my small circle of friends grew all the way through high school, my confidence grew, and while I'm still naturally introverted, I, like so many others, have gotten a lot better at faking the enthusiasm and extroversion required of so many situations. If this subject interests you, you should check out this book, Quiet. It's very interesting and maybe even deserves it's own Storytime Series post.

2. I am incapable of boredom.

I think this, as many things do, connects to my first point about being introverted (introversion versus extroversion is really a huge part of our personalities when you think about it). I'm very at peace with being alone. It's energizing to me. One reason I knew Erik was a wonderful match for me was that I felt that same feeling of peace in his presence. I, of course, phrased it "It's so nice that when we're together I can still feel like I'm alone," which makes no sense to the strong, extroverted personality of my modern day viking (just go with it, it delights him when he's compared to a viking!) husband. Anyway. I can literally be in my house for days without any desire to leave (Cancer, yes). I have my computer, my camera, my books, my porch, new recipes to try, home design projects to start, my Erik, my ferret. How could I be bored? Even during the angsty teenage years, I was never really bored. Sure, I wanted to see my friends just like I do now, but that was because I enjoyed my friends, not because I was NOT enjoying my time without them.

3. I am extremely obsessive.

This one sounds a little nutty without explanation. What I mean is, when I do something, I do it whole-heartedly. I obsess and harp and that thought or thing can completely consume me. This is good and bad. It's good when I'm starting a new business and am always thinking of ways to grow and be better at it. It's good when I think about how much I love my husband and what I can do to make him happy. It's good when I'm planning a trip and researching every dang thing we could possibly do and how we can afford it or not. It's bad when I am unhappy with something, especially something I have no control over. Everyone says you're not supposed to worry about the things you can't control, but those are the only things I ever worry about because hello, if it's in my control why would I worry? When I was teaching, I was very unhappy with my job, with my performance on the job, with myself overall. I really disappointed myself. And that consumed me. I couldn't leave that negative feeling behind me every day and come home and enjoy the day. Those thoughts were always in my mind. When my brother and I were fighting with each other and not speaking, I thought about it an unhealthy amount and would become even more angry thinking that he couldn't possibly be as consumed with sadness as I was, because surely if he was, we wouldn't be doing this.

It's good and it's bad. Either way, it's pretty inevitable.

4. I am a Richmonder, born and raised.

That's kind of weird to say because really, I've never lived in Richmond and I still get lost driving from Belvidere to Monument to Hull. I'm REALLY a Chesterfielder, but that doesn't sound right and if you're not from here, doesn't even compute at all. Chesterfield is just south of Richmond. And also, I wasn't actually born here. So I guess #4 is just a total lie. But I only REMEMBER living here. I grew up here. I always went to school here. My parents met at the local skating rink here and my dad took me and my brother there every Saturday morning for years. I went away for college, but all my history and almost my entire family is here. I love having that connection to a place. I love that during the holidays, we actually can see my whole extended family, because no one went too far away.

5. I am a writer.

I have always said this and then for a while, stopped saying it, because people tend to focus on their careers when they say the words "I am a _____." Writing is not my career. I don't know if that would kill the joy in it for me or not. It's always something I've been good at, and my preferred form of communication (hello, blog!). In fact, I've had a blog for AT LEAST a decade, probably longer. The blogs have changed and sometimes I had more than one, but I was always writing. I even wrote INCREDIBLY long stories and published them online. They were fanfiction and if you don't know what that is, then you'll judge me for writing it, but it's something I started in middle school and continued through college and I loved it. It was fun to be creative and share it with other people and get their responses. I minored in creative writing in college, with the hopes that maybe when I became a teacher I would teach writing specifically. Well, I think all English teachers would love to teach a class where kids show up saying "I love writing! Give me a prompt!" Speaking of...

6. I have a Masters in Teaching, a BA in English, with minors in creative writing and secondary education.

Whew. Yeah. JMU served me well. I, however, did not serve my degrees extremely well. I left teaching after my first year, for some of the reasons I explained above, but mostly because I was completely uninspired in a place where kids need some inspiration. I won't go into a rant on the state of our education system and how terribly abused and disrespected our teachers and schools are, but there has to be a lot wrong when 40% of teachers quit in the first five years of their career.

7. I am a swimmer.

I grew up on the swim team. There were summers when my mom would take us to swim practice in the morning, head off to work, and my brother and I spent the entire day at the pool until my dad picked us up after work. This was a sweet, neighborhood pool (with a BARN to hang out and play ping pong in when it rained) where our cousins and aunts were usually around as well and we knew every lifeguard, so don't think my parents were totally nuts. But we loved our pool time. We were so tan and so blonde haha. At JMU, Erik asked if I wanted to go to the campus gym with him some time and I said sure, but I preferred swimming over anything else there. So we went swimming and Erik may be a pirate, but he's not a swimmer. It was humbling for him, which is a great way to start any relationship if you ask me ;)

8. I am a reader.

This shouldn't surprise anyone since I have an entire blog series on my love of reading and stories. I find reading so peaceful. It's more of a vacation from life than anything else I can think of (ya know, besides dying). I like watching TV and I definitely get into my shows and all, but I don't lose track of time and forget myself. I think the commercials ruin that for me and really jar me back into reality. Books are more intimate and I feel those characters and carry them around with me all day, wondering how Claire will save Jamie this time or what made this character become this way in the past? Why IS Holden Caulfield so jaded? Is he REALLY jaded? Or misunderstood? I think about things like that. I already told you I'm obsessive.

9. I am a gamer.

Well kind of. See, I know REAL gamers. And I'm not like that. It doesn't usually occupy more than an hour or two of my day. But, I love video games! I remember when I was teaching, saying this at some point and the whole room of teachers stopped and stared at me and was like "Really!? Like you go home and that's what you do? You play video games??" I was weirdly embarrassed of something I'd never felt embarrassed about before, but I always did get the impression from my best friend (who wasn't allowed video games when she was growing up, and who hey, happens to be a teacher! haha love you, Kristen!) that she thought video games were a ridiculous waste of time. She arrived early to do something one day and I was in the middle of a game with Erik and told her I needed to finish real quick and then we could leave and she could not understand why I felt compelled to not abandon my team when that wasn't real and she was standing right in front of me being very real. My aunt told my husband once that video games would rot his brain and he needed to quit playing them. It's just a strange thing to me that people have such a negative mindset to a type of GAME. Nobody judges you for enjoying Monopoly! Everyone thinks it's cute that our first Nintendo came about because my mom really wanted to play it herself. They think it's hilarious that I once escaped punishment for reading under the covers too late (a frequent offense of mine as a child) by beating a very difficult part of the Lion King video game for my mom that she was playing after we'd gone to bed.

Let me just say, video games get an unfairly bad rep. Games that require strategy and concentration "rot your brain" while watching reality TV is completely acceptable. Um. Yeah. I think that's all I need to say. Oh, and being one of Erik's surprise party tricks when he bets his friends they can't beat me in Goldeneye is also just really satisfying.

10. I am a photographer.

It's last because it sounds obvious, but it wasn't obvious to me for a long time. I have always loved cameras and documenting. I love that photography means "writing with light." I think that's so beautiful. When I was little I used to lay in the grass taking pictures from different angles to see what things looked like. I loved developing my film at CVS (the good ole days). My first digital camera made me swoon and came with me everywhere. I loved being a photographer at Massanutten, becoming a fly on the wall as people skied by with me trying to capture the fun in their day from afar. I've always noticed things: details, emotions, the way people interact with each other. And I think that's another part of why I love taking the pictures I do. I love the creative freedom to interpret everything around me in the way that's most beautiful to me. I even love the hours of sitting at my computer editing pictures, making them more lovely, with this month's playlist playing in the background. Everywhere I go, I see pictures. I see the perfect light and frame people in my mind. Obsessive, remember? I can't help it. But it's good kind of obsession. It's helped me grow and feel like I'm finally on the right path.

This post became so much longer than I anticipated. Seriously, it was supposed to just be a quick list. Please see item #5 for further explanation.