In Your Eyes
Wednesday, 26 November 2014
Lately on my Pinterest and Facebook feeds, there is an upsurge in “You know you’re an Introvert if…” type posts (sometimes weirdly by people I wouldn’t necessarily consider introverts…though there is the rub of “Introverts are not always what they seem” type rationales). I consider myself one, unreservedly so, yet I am perfectly capable of “turning on” and behaving like any other normal, non-introverted member of society when the inclination or necessity hits me. For me the gist of it usually boils down to, would you rather be alone or in a room full of people – or heck, just a handful. And the introvert’s way is always the first choice.
I’m not antisocial, but generally, in the words of Greta Grabo, I vant to be alone. Living in close quarters with a spouse this does create occasional (though miraculous it’s not more often really) tension. The husband is quite similar to me in our attitudes to socializing (i.e. we’ll do it if we must), and despite being a Leo is really pretty non-Leonine and annoying/extroverted (I still can’t believe I married a Leo sometimes…yeah I’m a kook who thinks astrology matters…or I used to). But that said sometimes he is just in my face, wanting to know what I’m writing, what I’m doing, and I snap “I don’t know yet because I’m trying to do it right now!” – i.e. “Leave me alone!” and he crawls off to play his guitar like a wounded puppy and I feel like the Wicked Witch of the West. I need SPACE, is that so wrong? (I can totally see why some lucky writers have garden sheds now btw!).
I think the trend towards embracing, as opposed to ostracizing introverts, maybe partially stems from the modern day internet experience. What we think and how we express it has become a commodity again on an everyday level in a way that maybe it wasn’t twenty years ago. A witty quip on Twitter can take off and become a multi-tweeted viral thing, whatever that entails (I once had a bad pun about the BBC show Atlantis retweeted almost a hundred times, let me tell you the giddy heights of Twitter fame were….ok), and suddenly an everyday Joe Schmoe introvert is a comedian. And yet by this very act we are forced to become extrovert in our actions, or at least in how we are perceived…it’s a strange one. For instance blogs, once the territory of the writer, the journals of a frustrated artist (ahem), have become as much about selling the outward image of a person’s life as about what they are thinking or saying.
I completely understand it, we are visual creatures, and a wonderfully written blog with a great picture that captures it perfectly is a thing of beauty. My friend Sarah writes a great writerly blog, with her fabulous photography included, but also has a separate blog called Two Days the Same, where she and another rotating monthly photographer capture an image a day in their own unique way. It feels like a rare, true thing to me, designed from a purely creative motivation. Another blog that uses creativity in a completely lovely way is my friend Elinor’s blog Retrogirl, in which she paints original watercolor sketches of everything from a charming girl on the street to local castles to complement and illustrate her posts. It’s personal, it’s artistic, and it’s not trying to be anything to envy or covet, which I find less and less common in the blogosphere. Or at least, harder to stumble across unless you know where to look.
I can relate to them in a way that I cannot to most lifestyle bloggers. As a new blogger, it feels like everyone must label any blog remotely related to their life a “lifestyle” blog and make some sort of effort at selling some sort of image – yes I’m getting a bit Lloyd Dobler here I know ("I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed." etc!). I know there are some good ones, but it just feels like the genre has become so prolific that anyone (cough) not putting in a superhuman effort to take a pretty picture of their breakfast, shoes and lipstick 7 days a week is simply not up to par. Blogging assignment agencies seem largely to demand lifestyle bloggers with massive followings to schill their products to. A blog feels like something that must be an Instagram filtered filmic capsule snapshot of a life that cannot possibly exist in reality. I don’t understand the appeal of these blogs, frankly. I’m sure I’m not alone, I know there have been Instagram accounts set up to de-glamorize this sometimes blurred internet version of reality people seem so eager to sell and consume.
So....the introvert (or just non "Look at my life! Look at it! Now pay me!" personality ;-0) and the blog. Is there still a place for us? I don’t know. I want to talk to you, I want to find other bloggers who feel the way I do (about you noooow…oh sh*t now I have Oasis in my head), but I am pretty shy believe it or not and feel disingenuous trying to create some marketable version of my life, taking pictures of only the pretty things as some sort of snapshot of who I am. It makes me physically recoil. Of course I sometimes like to take pictures of pretty things, only yesterday I saw this lovely fluffy white feather Christmas tree in my local florist’s window that I wanted to photograph, but it was pishing* rain and I couldn’t be bothered. I’m sorry I couldn’t capture it perfectly for you, I do enjoy sharing beauty where I see it, but I don’t think I have it in me to force it out of the ether every day of my life. I respect people who do it well, and I know not everyone has to join the lifestyle blogger party, it’s just that as a new blogger I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling 99% less than the BlogLovin’ standard of blog zing-ability by not at the very least making some gesture of an effort in that general direction.
I apologize if this has been a bit all over the place. Can I blame it on five days of snotty flu? I know the obvious answer here, as in life, is “Just do your own thing, don’t worry so much about everyone else”. And I will try, but I just wanted to voice how tricky it is to find my “niche” in a blogging world of what often seems like commercialized perfection sold as life. At least I know one niche that is not mine, I guess that’s a start!
*pishing, or pissing, dear American readers, is pouring rain ;-0)