DSC_3256-hi-res copyTwo thirds of the world are extroverted, and only one third introverted.

I, Janessa Mc Kell, am a full-on introvert. Let me explain this to you. You see even as you look at that wonderfully gorgeous picture of me…underneath the surface of all that beauty, an ugly battle raged. Discomfort amidst social situations frequently feels unsettling. Friday night was no different. I’d prepared for this night for three(3) months – sought out my dress style, then my dress maker…rummaged Pinterest for hair style ideas, made phone calls to hair dressers, gone for a pedicure treatment weeks in advance, booked my hair dresser appointment…ohh the list is endless. You know what I’ve never been prepared for though? Social interaction…being in the limelight: “What do I say?” “What do I do with my hands?” “Will people laugh at my jokes?” “Will it be awkward when I make my entrance, ’cause it almost always is..?”

In social situations, I have to make an effort to put myself and those around me at ease..I’m learning that my caution, my analysis (paralysis) and my need for privacy are subjective to a reality that exists only in my mind. In the world, outside of that mind, people won’t easily understand why beautiful as I am, I’m not more eager to engage socially, why I’m as private as I am although I seem like I have such interesting things to say, why I don’t smile more, laugh more…

I’m a full-on introvert..almost every question you ask me, my mind pulls up a canvas of possible answers, and with each answer there is an off-shoot of possible directions the conversation could go based on that answer. Seeing as how, I can’t control the outcome, although I’d like to because I reaaaally want to know how uncomfortable I may or may not be as the conversation progresses, my discomfort grows as I ponder, “What is the most predictable thing to say?”. On my face, you’d probably misinterpret my discomfort as one of the following:

1. disgust
2. anguish
3. confusion

Friday night at my company’s dinner, my table thought I should go up for best dressed female. The thoughts that accompanied that premise were met with ‘horror’. In order to be considered a prize-winner for best dressed female, participants had to model their outfit, then describe it, with a microphone and a crowd of laser-focused eyes on you, then……….dance!!!. Yes, horrible right. I probably had fifty daydreams whilst the table pressed me to go up and compete for best dressed female prize. In one of them, I tripped on my dresses’ trail, the dress tore completely off and I was humiliatingly exposed. In another daydream, I couldn’t figure out anything clever to say, and so my ‘speech’ was met with confused dismay by the crowd of people.

In order to bring balance to this ordeal, I have to begin to let go. Trust that the worst won’t happen, and that even if it is extremely awkward at first, which it will be, I have to let go. My gracefulness as a woman will emerge ever more if I allow my private self to be more present in my public self.

Friday night, the inevitable eventually happened…I sat down alone and started playing Scrabble on my phone, shrinking in confidence, and drained of energy from smiling, laughing, engaging and talking.

My comfort zone is staying in my own little world (I much prefer my own world to the real one by the way)..but comfort zones are prisons in disguise and I am determined to run in the opposite direction. And this, I shall, as I endeavour to let go of caution and over-analysis of every social situation. I am enough. I am enough for every social situation.

If you are an introvert and you feel misunderstood, socially inept, and uncomfortable engaging with others, there is hope. You don’t have to remain the same. God is always willing and able to give us the grace, strength and ability to be more than we ever thought we could be.

My discomfort continues…(to be continued..)