End of a Beginning: My Rookie Year as a Voice Actor

“And, that’s a wrap on Kesha Charles!” It was writer/director/producer Zachary Vaudo who delivered the final hatchet chop on my last act as lead and cyberpunk demon slayer of the third season of horror audio drama, The Blood Crow Stories.

From the viewport from within the soundbooth, I watched his wife and fellow writer/director/producer, Ellie Collins, slump in her chair and let out a soft whimper. “Aw, I’m gonna miss her.”

As I stood there, my Kindle hovering in my hand with the last season 3 script loaded on its black and white screen, I realized that for me, “Kesha Charles”–the quirky, determined heroine–was still too close to say goodbye. Maybe that was why I had yet to feel the sorrow at its heaviest levels.

Would I miss reading for her? Obviously.

I knew the loss would sink in by the time the last episode of the season aired on October 15 (*ahem*check your local listing podcasts on iTunes, SoundCloud, GooglePlay Music, and more to listen*cough*).

In fact, I think the ever-ballooning sense of that loss is what prompted me to write this post on the eve of the last episode launching.

It would be a bittersweet ending–not just for my first full-time audio character (though I did have a character in their Season 2–which I adored playing). It would also officially mark the end of my first “rookie” year as a professional voice actor.

(Talk about a blog post that is LONG overdue.)

The Beginning of the Beginning

It was February of 2018 when I had my chance to audition for The Blood Crow Stories. I spent an entire morning in my walk-in closet, trying different voices and praying the quality was good enough for the audition I would be sending to Ellie by the end of the day. Do I go southern? Should I try something more guttural? Deeper? With gravel?

Or…do I simply read in my normal voice?

In the end, I sent her a couple of examples and, as I hit send on the email message, prayed harder than I ever had that I would get the role. I was realizing more and more how I wanted to truly live my life–not just for fun, but as a career.

The creative arts were calling to me–screaming at me, actually. If I got this role, it would be a sign that maybe I actually could live the life the way I wanted to.

All of the singing drills my mother put me through as a child.

All of the choral performances in Oklahoma, Illinois, California.

All of the drama classes and competitions in Florida.

They would all actually mean something.

Over a decade had passed since I’d even thought of touching that side of myself again (Hehe…sorry). A weekend of a voiceover class and an unexpected stint onstage in 2017 had reignited that desire like a will-o-wisp flitting across a swamp. I wanted to walk, I wanted to run, I wanted to play all day in the suuuun—

Aaaand, I moved into the wrong desire (and story). Double sorry.

Ellie sent back her response to my audition in four days, but those four days might as well have been four weeks. Within seconds of scanning the email that I had been selected for the part, I called my mother and blubbed on the phone like a baby.

“Adrian!” I wailed, virtually extending my proverbial boxing gloves across the distance. “Adrian, I did it!”

“I don’t know who you’re calling Adrian,” my mother said, “but I am so, so happy for you, B.”

Personal Pride

…making the conscious decision to train as a voice actor was the first time I had allowed myself to be 100% selfish and decisive in what I wanted to do with my life, anyone else’s opinions be damned.

It’s not that I’ve purposefully avoided the topic of writing about my feelings of being a voice actor. I think I just never felt comfortable believing that I was legitimately part of such an amazing industry. It was like how I felt/feel about writing: despite the positive feedback I’ve received, I was/am still navigating my fears and inhibitions, along with a heavy dose of Imposter’s Syndrome.

Nevertheless, all of the feedback has helped me realize that some of the most valuable lessons I’ve received, both from The Blood Crow Stories and my voiceover courses at the Atlanta Voiceover Studio, were very much true.

  1. The microphone is a sponge. If you think you’re putting enough emotion into your voice–triple to ensure it shines through.
  2. Slower…is better (ahuehue–jeepers, I’m in the dirtiest of moods today!☺️). Don’t be afraid to pause and read more slowly than you think is normal. It’s surprisingly easy to unconsciously “speed up” the reading more than you mean to.
  3. Follow your directors. Feel free to go improv if they’re all about it. If not–their directions are LAW.
  4. Trust your clients. If they tell you your performance was good–or if they say nothing at all and are good to move on–believe them and move on.
  5. You’ll never be your level of “perfect”…
  6. …BUT, when you can’t hear “yourself” in your own performance, you’re not doing half bad.
  7. Confidence (or lack thereof) is audible. If you don’t believe your performance, neither will anyone else.
  8. Your voice is your tool. Any lifelong self-esteem issues you have over it being “too high” or “too nasally” will only be an obstacle to you listening to it objectively. Besides, what makes your voice unique is what will get you the parts NO ONE ELSE will get.
  9. But also, treat your voice like a precious gem. Treat it to water, warm lemon/ginger/honey drinks, xylitol mints, regular vocal exercises, regular training classes, and–of course–rest.
  10. And seriously–work on your feelings of self-value, self-worth, self-esteem…self-everything. Discrediting your own voice to the people who hired you and are paying you and are excited for your voice to be in their production–helps no one. Especially not you.

Embracing the “End”

Aside from beginning classes in taekwondo in 2009, making the conscious decision to train as a voice actor was the first time I had allowed myself to be 100% selfish and decisive in what I wanted to do with my life, anyone else’s opinions be damned. I know that may not sound like much of an achievement, but you’re reading about someone who switched her college major to accounting just because someone mentioned that she liked numbers…and accounting…has…numbers.

I know. I know.

I don’t know what year two holds for me–or year three, or year four. Heck, I don’t even know what life will hold for me this week or this evening.

But I know that voice acting will be a part of it. All of it.

And I will remember my rookie VO year and everyone/everything involved in it with eternal fondness.

Here is a convenient window to The Blood Crow Stories, all 3 seasons. 😁 Get caught up just in time for Season 4 to drop on Halloween, Oct. 31.

How to Survive (and Enjoy) a Party as an Anxious Introvert

“It’s okay,” I told myself as I drove down the interstate through an unforgiving, almost mockingly spontaneous downpour. “It’s alright.  You’ve trained for this for the last six months. You can do this.”

It was time for my mother’s birthday barbecue party, in which all extended family members–dozens of them–would be attending. My mother had announced to me since the Christmas holiday how excited she was for this cookout.

“I’m inviting all of our family,” she gushed. “You’ll need to come early, B, to help out. Do you have the date down? Did you write it down? …Write it down, B, so you don’t forget.” The beautiful, warming lilt in her tone belied the loving, threatening edge of her order.

For the last two of my mother’s birthday parties, my depression and social anxiety had conspired against me and overtaken any sense of…well, common sense I had.  Overstimulated, feeling out of place, shaken, and frightened by the crowd of strangers (aka, extended family)…I’d hidden in a closet and fallen into a vegetative state for over four hours.

Yeah…not my shiniest moments.

Since that last party (and many much-needed therapy sessions), I vowed to myself that I would not so much as notice a closet or isolated space at her next party.  It was part of my 2019 resolution to focus on the needs of the people that I love, not myself.  And this party was about my mother, as it always was, should have been, and should be.

Of course, that didn’t mean my chest didn’t seize up every time someone mentioned the party.

For various reasons, I would be arriving at my mother’s party during its peak hours. I knew that, if I wanted to a) enjoy myself, and b) remain consistently visible throughout the party, I couldn’t arrive without a plan. And so, using my overactive imagination and a sexy spy hook theme song on my Google Play Music library (not sponsored), I established the following objectives to maneuver through this super-extroverted party while appearing social, positive, and engaged.

1.  Arrive with FULL Expectations

ONE WEEK BEFORE:

“Ohhh,” my mother had drawled over the phone, pondering on what she knew would freak me out, “it’s just gonna a few people.  No more than immediate family, maybe a few cousins.”

“Uh huh.” Sitting in my SUV as I drove into the parking lot of my weekly voice over class, I had allowed myself to imagine the multiple half-circle of chairs under tents, the stacks upon stacks of ribs and chicken awaiting their turns on the smoking grills, and the hours of introductions as I was passed across first cousins, second cousins, third cousins, and many more.

One tactic that has helped me deal with social situations is being honest with myself on how many people will be attending. As an introvert, I prefer smaller crowds of people that I know intimately. Since I still struggle with anxiety, I am thrown when I am spontaneously placed in front larger groups than I anticipated, or people who I have no idea of their identity.

  • Are they family? Are they in-laws?
  • Are they part of the family/friend side that we “like”?
  • Are they…different like me? Can I trust them to accept my weird, random self without blinking at me or blowing me off?
  • Or, is it simply the generic meet-n-greet with a handshake, a smile, a couple of small-talk inquiries (“You come from out of town? The weather’s been crazy, amiright??”), and a customary awkward pause before I say, “Well, nice to meet ya!” before moving on to do it all over again?

I know. I could be in worse situations. We all could.

But if we don’t like certain situations, we don’t like certain situations. We will all be in situations that will make us uncomfortable. All we can do is be aware and mentally prepare as best we can.

2.  Establish Your “Core Team”

If you’re going to a party where you know at least one or two people who will also be there, you can establish these people as your core team. This core team will serve as your party anchors to whom you can temporarily latch onto to regain your mental bearings after a particularly awkward or stressful situation.

Here is what’s important. Your core team must be people whom you can trust not to be cruel or condescending should you get overwhelmed and even give up halfway through the party.

I’ve been around guys I considered dating who laughed at me when strangers entered the room, and I’d nervously backed up to adjust to the change.

I’ve even had close family members roll their eyes at me when I was struggling to recover from a panic attack in public.

These…are NOT core team people.

My core team at my mother’s party consisted of my mother, my two sisters and my nephew, who were also attending the party. They are all very aware of my social anxiety issues, including my social “incidents” from my mother’s previous parties. Despite my past behavior, they’d never belittled me or made me feel any less. They projected nothing but love and support, even as they’d opened the closet door and asked me, gently, if I was doing okay.

These…are absolutely core team people.

3.  Focus on Your Target: Be a Social Bee, Not a Butterfly

One thing that I have observed with some of my more social friends is that they don’t actually speak with the same people for extended amounts of time. Instead, they flutter from cluster to cluster, asking how everyone is doing and rotating at regular intervals to make sure they’ve greeted everyone equally.

Yep. I’m not there yet. Too many faces, not enough time for intimate exchanges.

What I am learning to do is get a layout of the party, find a single target within certain areas of the room, and aim for those.

The technique is not to force yourself to speak to everyone, but to engage with enough people to make yourself seen. In my case, my aunts and couple of cousins to whom I was closer to were littered throughout the yard. These were family members I’ve been familiar with, yet hadn’t seen for years. Thefore, it was the perfect opportunity to set targets through what would otherwise be…walking through a horde…of…strangers.

Thus established, I drifted over to each member and greeted them warmly while passing a friendly smile to the group with which they were engaged. Introductions were made; I gave a shy smile and a few comments. Whenever I felt a little nervous, I returned to face my “target” as a reminder that I wasn’t alone.

4.  Find A Job to Stay Busy

Idleness isn’t just in the devil’s workshop; it’s also part of an anxious person’s nightmare. For me, standing somewhere in the middle of crowds, doing nothing, makes me feel like I should either be talking to someone, or doing something. I’m not a big “bend over my smartphone” kinda gal–or rather, I try not to be. I like to feel needed and productive.

What better way to do that (and to reduce the nerves of facing simplistic chitchat) than to get assigned a job?

I was lucky that at the cookout, my immediate family was hosting. That meant that, as soon as I parked my SUV in my mother’s yard and climbed out, I was put to work.

“Go send this chicken up to your cousin at the grill,” my mother barked, loading my arms with aluminum pans of raw poultry. Like a soldier hurrying to help support the flag, I rushed up the hill to where a pair of deluxe grills were mounted.

“Is your mother doing hot dogs, too?” my cousin asked, with one hand waving the grilling tongs majestically over the slabs of ribs smoking over the coals.

“I’m not sure; I’ll go check!” Down the hill I raced, tossing smiles at people I passed.

“Hot dogs? In the fridge. Take two packs!” Off I went, from kitchen to grill and back again.

Having a job can help give purpose and direction as well as keep your thoughts from being too preoccupied on the excessive surrounding stimuli.

Not only that, but watching some random person run wildly back and forth with supplies can be a very entertaining sight for the party-goers.

And I might be an anxiety-prone introvert–but I am also a performer, dagnabbit.

5.  Remember Your Post-Event Life–aka Life After Party

The trouble with social anxiety is that it makes you all encompassed on the moment causing the anxiety. The only thing that fills your thoughts is how many people there are, and are you able to make it through, and man, you are so tired and why won’t everyone just shut up for a second.

But remember: as overwhelming as this moment is, it’s not the only moment. Once the party is over, you have–well–the rest of your life to relax from this exhausting moment.

Me? I had a full week of relaxing and playing with my immediate family–my mom, et all–to look forward to. It had been six months since I’d seen any of them, and I–I missed them.

I wanted to show them the new improv games I’d learned in my 8 weeks at the Village Theater. I wanted to test out my new voices I’d honed from my intensive voice acting course. I wanted to hear about their lives, their relationships, their highs, their lows. I wanted to reconnect again, find my bearings amongst them all.

If I had to make it through a few hours of heavy interaction with strangers just to get to the more intimate rest of the week, I would.

And…I did.

And you know what?

The party wasn’t half-bad, either. 😌

Featured article image by tangjiao990 from Pixabay.com.

8 Video Games for the Classic Introvert

(B’s Update–July 7, 2019: This blog post was completed weeks ago and already scheduled to release today, so I decided to go ahead and let it go. I’d hate to deprive anyone of the current huge summer sales they’re having on games right now, if any of these interest anyone. Please read and enjoy–and hope to be blogging regularly again soon!)

Click here to go straight to the list of games.

I have been a gamer since I was five years old. In the late 1980s, my family was one of the first in our neighborhood to own an Apple Macintosh computer. And boy, did we use it.

The first game that my sister and I played on our brand new, state-of-the-art Apple II was the pixelated puzzler, Think Quick!

Think Quick promotional screenshot
Image courtesy of Moby Games. Ermagosh, the feels.

Just doing a Google search on this game has brought back a wave of nostalgia of the likes I didn’t know I could feel. Perusing the castle mazes to find the keys that would help you build the knight who would destroy the dragon…turning doorknobs to block the dreaded slime worms before they ate you…customizing your own castle levels for your friends to try… kc%^ne9*8r5RT…

But I digress.

The reason I bring up the notion of video gaming in the first place, is because I noticed a serious gap in games that I don’t feel are celebrated enough across Let’s Play communities these days. Maybe because they’re not the most exciting or visually astonishing, or maybe because they’re old. I will hold onto my love for games long after even their publishers went bankrupt.

It goes without saying that everyone is a different kind of gamer.

My entire family are all different types of gamers. Even my parents.

Like, seriously, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen my mother (well in her sixties) rage quit over a range of games like Crossy Roads or Burnout Paradise.

I re-digress.

My personal preference of games are puzzle-solving adventure games. Give me an evenly paced, story-rich game with developed characters, clever dialogue, and an intelligent, relevant set of problems to solve, and I am a happy camper for weeks.

In short?

Give me a game that plays like a good novel. Give me a game that promotes a sense of quiet and comfort as I play it–a game that a good friend or two might sit in the room with me and do their own thing while simultaneously keeping me company.

I’ve come to realize that my favorite kinds of games are what a lot of quintessential introverts might go for. As is commonly reputed, some of the most well-known behaviors of an introvert (courtesy of Introvert, Dear) are as follows:

  • Your inner monologue is hard to shut off.
  • You do your best thinking alone.
  • You notice details that others miss.
  • You can concentrate for long periods of time.
  • You live in your head.
  • You like to people watch.

All of which go famously when playing classic puzzler adventure games.

I think non-introverts often assume that introverts might need to move slower, because we think slower.

We don’t think slower; we take more time to process the thousand-and-one ways in which we can respond to the situation at hand.

So, nyah to anyone who thinks that way.

But I re-re-digress. Let’s get to the good stuff.

With 31 years of game-playing experience, I’d like to present the list of my favorite, super introvert-approved video games. Click on each tab to read the brief synopsis, as well as why it may work for a classic introvert. Though I linked the games to their versions on Steam, some games can also be found through gaming consoles and even in mobile format.

So find, get lost in the story, and enjoy!


NOTE!  While I do call this list a list for introverts, I also recommend trying this list if

  • You’ve always wanted to try a video game but weren’t sure what to start with.
  • You don’t like violent, scary, fast-response or first-person shooter games.
  • You can never play at the speed you need to actually solve puzzles in other games. (*raises hand*)
  • You panic in games. A LOT.  (*RAISES HAND*) 

Classic Video Games for Introverts

Blackwell Bundle poster
Artwork and image courtesy and property of Wadjet Eye Games. Click the image to go to the games!

Premise:  Roseangela Blackwell is a young woman with a family secret she initially would rather forget: a ghost by the name of Joey Mallone whose soul (ahem--sole) duty is to help lost spirits to move into the next existence.  As this unlikely partnership finds their groove across 5 games, however, they realize that simply leading ghouls towards the Light may be the least of their problems.

Why Introverts will love it:  Roseangela is the quintessential awkward, reluctant (and yes, introverted) heroine who must learn to overcome her social issues just to get to the next puzzle.  Pairing her with her more extroverted spectral sidekick makes for some fun exchanges and pleasantly unique gameplay.  How ironic that the one of the pair who would love to chat up everyone--can't.

Also, if you are a fan of immaculately pixelated point-and-click puzzle games from the late 1980s - 1990s (think King's Quest, Space Quest, Legends of Kyrandia, and a host of others), you will absolutely adore this series.

Edith Finch poster
Artwork and image courtesy and property of Giant Sparrow and Annapurna Interactive. Click the image to go to the game!

Premise: Sometimes, you have to look at someone's death to learn about their life.

[Sorry, lil morbid. Bear with me!]

In What Remains of Edith Finch, that is all you have left as you return to the mysterious and eccentric Finch home to explore your legacy. What secrets are nestled in the creaking nooks and crannies of an island that housed countless generations?

And why is there only one left?

Why Introverts will love it:  The beauty of Edith Finch is that you play not as one, but as multiple characters, each on the last day of their lives. This isn't a spoiler; this is literally written in game synopses. But for an introvert, this can only begin a path of pondering that continues long after the game is done.

With dabbles of fantasy elements thrown in and gorgeous artwork styles customized per character, you can't help but be emotionally drawn into the legacy that the Finch family left behind.

The Longest Journey poster
Artwork and image courtesy and property of Funcom. Click the image to go to the game!

Premise: Your name is April Ryan. You are a young, small-town girl who was accepted into art school in one of the most bustling cities around. All you want is to make a name for yourself in the art world, dress stylishly, and enjoy your big-city living.

But fate is literally cruel. You are troubled by nightmares--nightmares that bring whispers of prophecy and promises that you will bring balance to the dual worlds of chaos/magic and science/order. Suddenly, with the help of a strange mentor, you are (literally) thrown through a portal into a world where science doesn't exist--and where you are expected to save all worlds.

Why Introverts will love it:  This game can literally be summed up by its title--it is a long game. But personally, I found it to be a game that has easily stood the tests of time. Its playability is awesome; its dialogue and daring to stick a horde of backstory in is refreshing; and its puzzles make sense--which makes getting from point A to point B a heck of a lot less frustrating.

Though The Longest Journey is only the first of a trilogy of games (check out Dreamfall and Dreamfall Chapters, if you like), I found TLJ the only one that didn't have any cliche elements or try to play up to any trends at the time. For example, slight spoiler: Dreamfall played to the popularity of the time with adding a horror-esque "mysterious girl from the Ring" trope. They also added quick-response fighting gameplay. If you are into that, great. But if I'm reading a novel, the last thing I need to do is suddenly toss my book aside and MMA fight one of the characters just to turn the flippin page.

Blackwell Bundle poster
Artwork and image courtesy and property of Freebird Games. Click the image to go to the games!

Premise: What if you could have one wish granted? Any wish at all? For Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts of the Sigmund Corporation, this act is their bread and butter: fulfill the last wish of their dying patients.

But this fulfillment isn't easy--especially when the patients themselves don't divulge all of the needed information. In this (current) two-game series, Dr. Watts and Dr. Rosalene must figure out a way to break through all the internal, proverbial red tape just to grant the wishes of two of their more difficult subjects. Oh, that, and get out alive?

Am I joking? Muahuahua...

I mean...why not?

Why Introverts will love it:  Surprisingly sweet, surprisingly funny, and surprisingly original, this game is another one with the makings of "book reader" quality. Though the gameplay itself is pretty linear, the game does a tremendous job of making you mentally double-take and think harder about what could happen than you'd ever expect.

Also, did I mention the re-playability of their soundtracks? Seriously, I'm listening to them right now.

Myst 25th poster
Artwork and image courtesy and property of Cyan Worlds, Cyan Worlds, Presto Studios, and Ubisoft. Click the image to go to the games!

"I realized the moment I fell into the fissure that the book would not be destroyed as I had planned. It continued falling into that starry expanse, of which I had only a fleeting glimpse. I have tried to speculate where it might have landed, but I must admit that such conjecture is futile. Still, questions about whose hands might one day hold my Myst book are unsettling to me. I know my apprehensions might never be allayed, and so I close, realizing that perhaps the ending has not yet been written."

Premise: An ancient, mysterious book lies at your feet. You open it and are stunned to find strange, moving images fluttering the page. Entranced, you can't help but reach out and touch it. Suddenly, your home, your family--your life--fades into nothingness, and you fly instead towards a remote island full of peculiar structures, deceit, entrapment and revenge.

You have been called, dear friend. The world you left, you may never return to. All you know for sure is that the story of the future is now unknown and yet to come.

Why Introverts will love it:  This, dear introverts, is THE GAME that lauched the success of a thousand first-person, single-character, adventure puzzle games--and for good reasons. With a first-person vantage point beyond its time, you were not force-fed into being a random character in a game. You were YOU--and it was YOUR job alone to solve the puzzles hidden across MYST isle. Nor are there other characters to meet and chat to get your clues. Using only torn letters, book portals to other worlds, and the power of your own mind, you have to uncover the MYSTeries all on your own.

This, ladies, gentlemen, and all others, is an introvert's dream game.

(Also, note that I only recommend playing the games through Myst IV: Revelations. There's good reason for that. It's kinda an unspoken rule amongst Myst enthusiasts--Myst V does not count. Myst IV was the end of the series. That's my story, and we're ALL sticking to it.)

Syberia Bundle poster
Artwork and image courtesy and property of Microids. Click the image to go to the games!

Premise: You are Kate Walker, a New York attorney with a rising professional future, a fastidious fiancé, a loyal best friend, and a doting mother. So why and how, pray tell, did you end up stuck in the middle of a miserable French village, just because the owner of a toy (sorry--AUTOMATON) company whose signature you need to complete a high-stakes merger, JUST died?

Oh, but it gets better. When Kate learns that there is still an heir wandering the surrounding tundra, she must embark on a wild goose chase just to find him and finish her mission. But she has nothing to worry about, right? After all, her firm, her future, her fiancé, her friend, and her...mother 😒...are no more than a phone call away.

Why Introverts will love it:  Despite being a third-person clicker with plenty of characters to select for attention and aid, the Syberia games still manage to play with a heavy sense that everywhere you go and everything you do is something that has been long forgotten. One of the major components of the game is a fully automated train that takes you--who the flip cares?! It's fully automated and taking you to an unknown destination! Get the freak outta mah way! *shoves you aside and scrambles onboard*

(Oh, and yes, there is a Syberia III game that was released in the last year. Have yet to play it, and probably not gonna. Why, you ask? Please see my note under The Myst series for explanation. Kthxbye.)

The Beginner's Guide poster
Artwork and image courtesy and property of Everything Unlimited Ltd. Click the image to go to the game!

Premise: You have an hour and a half to explore the inner workings of a creator's mind. What does it look like? How is it structured? What would you do while you're in there? As you are guided by a friend of the creator through a maze of creative processes, you might be surprised as to what you uncover--not of the creator, but of yourself.

Why Introverts will love it:  I'm not gonna lie. The first time I started this game, it went momentarily intense on me--so much so, that I turned it off immediately and didn't reopen it for weeks. When I did, I highly regretted stopping it at all. This game affected me harder than many of the other games, but for different reasons.

I can't say any more without giving something important away, but I will say that by playing it, dear introvert, you will not be disappointed.

The Room poster
Artwork and image courtesy and property of Fireproof Games. Click the image to go to the games!

Premise: You are known only as the player--the one chosen by some knowledgeable predecessor to follow their footprints deeper into the unknown. Clues are left to you in the form of letters, and you can only move forward, deeper into the rooms--and the secrets--by solving clever puzzles embedded within intricate boxes. But are you wiser for going deeper, or for finding a way back out?

Why Introverts will love it: Let me tell you. If any game ever nailed the Myst-like aesthetic and atmosphere, it's the Room Series. Unlike the other games on this list, this compliment stands true to all four of the games in the series. There is only one player--you, in first-person--and though there are memories and letters of people long gone, you know that you are fully alone. And as an introvert, that leaves you to ponder, explore, and solve in the peace of your own mind.

As an added bonus to these games, they were originally designed for mobile platforms. So, if you want to get the experience that Fireproof originally intended, I recommend heading to Google Play or the App Store and checking it out.

Have you played any of these games? Which one(s) is/are your favorite?

Or, if you know of a game that is perfect for introverts that you didn’t see on the list, please recommend it in the comments! I (and I’m sure others) would love to know what games we should try next!

Reasons Why I Write

In my last major post, I discussed my fears to pursue my lifelong sleeping desire to be a novelist. I call it a sleeping desire because, although I have literally been writing, illustrating, and narrating stories since I was in the single digits, I didn’t have the confidence to believe that I deserved to be a published author until about five years ago.

Even now, as I sit on a “completed” novel that I still hold fondly (and securely) to my heart, I still struggle with believing that my work will be enjoyed by the mass public. But that internal struggle isn’t getting me anywhere–and it sure isn’t getting my novel anywhere closer to publication.

I lost my way in the fear.

Heck, I lost myself in my fear.

A few days after posting “I am Afraid to Write,” I was reminded of something very important, something that encouraged me to look beyond my fears. Not just beyond, but across the grander expanse in which my fear was not far-reaching enough to extend. For someone who has been writing nearly her entire life, I know that fear is not the reason nor the catalyst as to why I started writing in the first place.

So, then, what was? What is?

In summary–why do I write?

I write this post to reflect my own writing journey, but the questions that serve as headings below hopefully also serve as signposts for any writer who may have also lost their way in the landscape of fear and insecurity.

(On a side note…d’you see that extended metaphor up there?? D’you see it?? That’s some durn sexy metaphor work right chere! 🙌 I’m gettin’ my creative mojo back, baby!)

(Ahem…sorry.)

Why Do You Write?

Believe it or not, but in my 30-something years of writing fiction…I never really thought about why I do it. Throughout the M.o.B blog, I’ve sprinkled my enjoyment of writing in my lessons, analogies, and explanations.

A few notable posts:

I won’t reinvent the wheel in what I’ve already shared. However, the primary, easiest, and obvious answer is this:

I write because it’s a part of me.

When I move through extended periods of time without writing something, I begin to grow irritable and annoyed with…well, everything. When it first happened, I couldn’t understand why everything was suddenly ticking me off.

Then, I had a weekend to write in a novel I had put on hold for a few months. For the following week afterward, my productivity at work improved. I became more aware, intuitive, and even more spiritually in tune. The world made sense. I was content.

Then again, as the weeks passed without a chance to write, my irritability returned. And 2 and 2 made 4.

Writing is the most gentle, calmest way to release what’s bound up inside you. When you write your innermost self down, whether it’s in the form of a poem, a story, a blog post, or even stream of consciousness, no one can negate those words. They exist, and you watch them come to life as your pen scratches paper, or your fingertips tap keys.

I write because it’s an escape.

In the post “Writing Is…” I tell the story of the moment when I consciously began writing to free myself from the tyranny that was my parents’ attention and love. As I grew older and experienced the hills and valleys of life, I met each obstacle with varying amounts of success. By the time I reached college, bouts of depression were prevalent. I graduated, got a job, had a breakdown or two, moved to a new city, got another job, got fired, and juggled around until I ended up where I am today.

No matter what happened, though, even if I couldn’t physically will myself to leave my dorm room, my apartment, or my house, writing was always an option to get away from it all. The characters that I’ve developed over the years were fully formed. The worlds they inhabited were rich with problems, but they were problems that I’d manifested and therefore could also resolve.

I could write for hours and become pillowed in depths of imagination. There wasn’t a concern of good or bad writing; it was just writing. Here, not even depression could find me. For just a few hours (maybe more), I was safe. I was needed.

I was home.

I write better than I speak.

The other day, I was chatting with a friend about communication. I came to a revelation just as I was telling her my truth:

“I hate talking,” I said. “I feel like I’m always stumbling over my words; I miss a lot of the social cues of when to start talking and when to stop. And when I do talk, I feel like I’m being normal; but people just stare at me after I’m done. I feel like a freak!

“I would rather write, sing, dance, touch, eye contact, gesture, or pantomime to express myself than to talk,” I concluded. The irony that I was talking when I said this was not lost on me.

I feel like my innermost strengths lie more in expressing myself through my work than engaging in small talk. And it is no secret that verbal cues play a very small part in actually communicating with others.

Writing gives me a moment to collect my thoughts before I respond. As an introvert, I need time to process many of my thoughts, especially if the question reflected to me is multi-faceted. That’s not saying that I can’t talk; I just know that a truer form of myself is better replicated in the written word. Usually.

Or, you know what? Just cuddle me. That should work, too.

Additional “Why I Write” Questions

A few other questions came my way as I was contemplating the big WHY, and I thought I should share them here and at least touch on them for a moment.

What do you want to get out of writing your work?

Many authors and writing “experts” claim that, once you publish a book, you should detach from it, let it go. That way, any attention you receive (or don’t receive) won’t affect you as hard. I don’t agree with that philosophy.

A quote from one of my favorite movies said it best, I think:

Joe Fox:
It wasn’t… personal.

Kathleen Kelly:
What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn’t personal to you. But it was personal to me. It’s personal to a lot of people. And what’s so wrong with being personal, anyway?

Joe Fox:
Uh, nothing.

Kathleen Kelly:
Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.

–You’ve Got Mail

After all, that’s why we read.

Isn’t it?

We read to find the personal. We read to be personal with someone–even if that someone is a fictional boy who avenges his wizard parents and defends his magical school and friends. Or that someone is a young woman who, despite her lack of dowry and poor upbringing, asserts her presence as an intellectual equal to that of a handsome, well-endowed, yet seemingly standoffish man. Or that someone is a little hobbit whom no one expected anything from, yet endured almost more than anyone.

The gifts that writers selflessly offer to the world, they give because it is the story that only they can tell. Though I’m sure all of them will have different answers, a story is told because it must be told.

In college, I took a specialized, one-on-one course with a professor while I developed a fantasy novella. Though I rushed a bit on the writing, I was quite proud of the story and submitted it for her scrutiny. I also gave a copy of the story to a counselor that I used to see but had become friends with.

When I met the professor for her unbiased feedback, she didn’t hold back. “It’s under-written and unrealized,” she told me, tossing my manuscript onto her desk. “It reads like something a child would write.” The feedback stunned me silent for so long and so hard that the notoriously hardened instructor finally amended that perhaps she’d “read it too fast.”

For weeks, I moved devastated throughout my days, unsure of how to proceed with other books that I’d had in my mind for years. Not only that, but English was the fourth major that I had switched to since being in college. If I, a lover of the written word and grammarphile since 5 years old couldn’t make it as a writer of any sort, what was I good for?

Then, as if by cue, I received an email from my counselor in the middle of her vacation. Apparently, she hadn’t been able to wait until she’d returned from her time off at the beach before she could tell me how much she’d loved my story. From the moment she’d finally begun reading, she’d taken my manuscript everywhere, breaking it open whenever she had a free moment.

So, what do I want to “get” from writing?

Nothing.

What I want, however, is to give others the same sense of pleasure and peace that I feel when I read a good book. Knowing that I helped contribute to someone else’s positive state of mind means that I shared an intimate piece of myself–and it was happily received. Perhaps even welcomed.

What do you expect to happen from writing and publishing your work(s)?

Honestly? Not a clue.

I hope that I can make enough income from published books to allow me more time, freedom, and security to write fiction and nonfiction on a full-time basis. This would also allow me more time to dedicate to other areas of my life. Tend to my family. Travel. Goodwill. Love. Life.

I could go on, but the focus for the sake of this post is writing.

The goal isn’t to be rich, but to have enough energy and time before I’m decrepit and senile to record all of the stories that have crossed my mind. And there are a lot of stories in my mind.

Since last year, I’m even realizing that some of my stories would do better in screenplay form. So I want to have enough time to see those to fruition on the big screen and the Netflix stream. I want creative control to see my vision in the format that I always envisioned it.

I’ve begun writing like I’m running out of time, because I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

Are you looking to see how your work is received or viewed by others (impact)? Are you looking for fame and fortune?

I’m not going to lie–would it be cool to win a Nobel Prize for Literature? A Pulitzer for Fiction? A Hugo Award? A Nebula Award?

Would I be ecstatic to disover that I’ve made the New York Times Best Seller list? #1 for more weeks than anyone ever?

Would I stare, speechless, from receiving an invitation to meet Oprah as she unveils me as her latest top addition to Oprah’s Book Club?

…Why yes. It would all be quite lovely.

But, that’s not why I write. If I wrote with that mindset all the time, I’d be scared excrement-less.

When I was in high school and my friends would peer at me as I bent over my journal, scratching away, I got a sick sense of superiority from my seemingly unique stance. There were not many kids that I knew who were writing at the “uber-cool” level that I was.

Them? They were doing generic teenager things like dating and going to parties with friends and shopping and…and hanging out n chilln.

Me? I was 15, listening to smooth jazz on a Friday night while burning sticks of sandalwood incense, scribbling pages upon pages of character profiles for my fantasy/science fiction magnum opus.

You couldn’t think of anyone cooler than me.

There have been times when I’ve shared my writing with people whose opinion I valued highly, only for them to come back and tell me, “Actually, I got a little bored, so I stopped.” The feedback was devastating, and I would throw the story at the bottom of the pile for it to collect its proverbial dust.

And yet…the stories never left me.

It’s only by writing this now, do I remember that

  1. One person’s opinion is one person’s opinion. Just because she/he didn’t like it doesn’t mean the rest of the world won’t.
  2. It’s not my place to determine the rest of the world’s likes and dislikes. Let them read and decide for themselves.

I don’t write to make masterpieces. I don’t write to prompt a room full of English majors to debate the significance of a green bottle in Chapter 3.

If I write for anyone, it’s for the readers who pick up my book to help them detach, relax, unwind, escape.

I’m writing for the introverted outcast who always feels like they are too “them” to belong anywhere.

I’m writing for the reader who is trying to find that one “perfect” novel that makes them laugh, cry, and scream at the same time.

Does that make me a writer who isn’t reaching high enough?

Who the flip cares.

This world has enough crap happening for people to not be able to just enjoy a good book.

I write to write. And I must write.

Because, at this stage in my life, to not write is to deny me of myself.

And I’ve wasted enough time doing that already.


Why do you write? I would love to hear your thoughts.

I am Afraid to Write. Here’s Why.

A few days ago, I was talking on the phone with someone I admire greatly and who is, among many things, a talented writer. As I was explaining the plot of a story I’d outlined a couple of years ago to get his thoughts on it, he suddenly cut me off.

“Did you notice,” he said carefully, seeming hesitant to call me out, “that every time you mention one of your stories, you end by saying how much it sucks?”

I hadn’t noticed and flushed with embarrassment, grateful that he couldn’t see my reddening face. Jokingly, I tried to downplay my self-condescension, explaining that I used to be more creative in my childhood and adolescence. Why, I’d even written 30 short stories and two fan-fiction manuscripts over the course of two years in college!

But then, life happened. I graduated and, in my eyes, failed to integrate into adulthood. Through the struggle to stand on my own two feet and several bouts of severe writer’s blocks, it wasn’t until now, in my 30s, that I’d finally decided to place more attention on how I truly wanted to live.

Despite this newfound desire, my creativity is still recovering. The mental freedom I used to feel as a child is nonexistent. Even a 400-page manuscript that I’d completed four years ago was shoved into limbo after I dozed off in the middle of editing it–twice.

Now, I’m lucky to draft a 10-page story outline, let alone a full-length novel. I was too afraid to write beyond that.

“What are you afraid of?” my friend asked.

I paused, running the question through my mind and letting the silence on the line balloon between us. When the answer formed, it was a lot longer–and more heart-rending–than I’d expected it to be.

Why I am Afraid

This isn’t the first time I’ve explored my fear of writing. It has been, however, seven years since I really looked at the root of the problem. While some things remained the same, time (and neglect) have allowed the number of fears to multiply.

As each reason poured from my mouth, a new one flooded my head right behind it:

  • There are only a finite number of plots and themes that are recycled throughout storytelling. What would make anyone read mine when they could read somebody else’s? Someone much more talented?
  • My plot will be stupid.
  • My plot will be boring.
  • My characters, setting, climax, and resolution will be an amazing conglomerate of boring and stupid.
  • I’ll start drafting a book, then get bored and stop. Therefore, I’ve wasted my time getting started in the first place.
  • Everyone (fanatics and critics alike) will ridicule every book I write, calling them crappy, mortifying, and just plain awful.
  • I don’t have the intelligence, maturity, or skillset to write the story the way I want it. The premise will sound good, but then I’ll have to flesh out the details. Of which I will do a miserable job.
  • I should be putting my time and energy into “more important, productive” activities. Like a full-time corporate job, and socializing with friends, and…um…laundry.
  • All the time spent writing the book, editing the book, submitting the book, promoting the book, publishing the book…will all be for nothing. No one will read it.
  • I’ll get a literary agent who doesn’t represent me to his/her fullest, and my book will end up in horrifying obscurity, not seeing the light of day until 500 years later, when I will be adored only because my book will serve as the only remnant of an otherwise forgotten time.
  • I have a former very close friend whom I knew throughout high school who is now a lauded, bestselling author. I have other friends, family members, and clients who have also published books. So, then…what void is left for me to fill in the writing world?

This list is more complete than the one I gave my friend during our call. After reciting about three or four, I trailed off, again embarrassed to be exposing this part of myself that I hadn’t realized ran so deep.

My friend, to his credit, remained matter-of-fact. “Well, you need to get them out somehow. Otherwise, you’ll run them through your mind over and over again, and you’ll never get out of your own head. You might also be surprised at how many writers share your fears. Maybe it will help you and them to get them out. Maybe you could add it to your blog.”

And, well. Here we are.

Writing Full Circle

I have re-written this post about three or four times in the last few days.

Why?

Because I was afraid to write about being afraid to write.

Throughout the years, I’ve written about my issues with social anxiety and chronic depression without much hesitation. That is probably because they are more familiar issues to address. I know the signs for when they onset; though I can’t always regulate them, I’m somewhat learning how to keep them under control.

What I struggle with now is different. Being afraid to write doesn’t disrupt my life in the same way anxiety and depression do. I’ve been able to ignore the urge to fight it by writing in other ways to satisfy it. Writing prompts. Fan fiction. Blog posts.

Other people publish books. I wasn’t meant for that.

Logic tells me that most of my fears are unfounded. Common sense tells me that they’re all ridiculous. Practicality tells me that, even if any of these fears were founded, writing is a skill that I could easily improve upon.

The first step to overcoming a fear is admitting that you are afraid.

The second step is to embrace the fear.

And the third?

Grab that fear by the hand and dance in the rain under a waxing moon until you’re both laughing and twirling, and the fear has faded among the heated mist that rises from the earth during a sweet, smoldering summer evening.

Being Different Sucks–and I Love It

As kids and adolescents, we’re told that being different is a wonderful thing.  “You’re unique,” our parents gush, fluffing out the neon blue tutu we’ve refused to take off for eight days straight.  “You want to stand out from the crowd.  People will always remember you.”

What they don’t tell you is that, once you’re an adult, being different will make you stand out in both positive and negative ways.

Case in point: my Monday.

“Well,” said a voice behind me as I washed my hands in the restroom.

I turned around to find a woman I used to work with passing me a rather smug, though not unfriendly smile. “That was a brave question you asked at the town hall.”

I paused, mid-paper towel wipe, to stare at her blankly.  While I couldn’t deny the presence of a town hall that morning–I had attended, after all–I was a little bemused by her description of my inquiry.  “What do you mean?”

She shrugged, still smiling.  “I mean, no one else would have asked it, especially of our leaders.”

Confused, I erupted into a flubbed mixture of “I wasn’t trying to be controversial” to “The numbers seemed pretty obvious, so I just wanted to know,” and “It was the only chance I’d have to ask them!”

Being Different and Not Knowing It

The issue here wasn’t so much the question of what I asked, but that the question was something that everyone else was thinking but apparently too nervous to say out loud.  I, at time, had raised my hand without question and, other than a flinch at the sound of my voice over the speakers, had charged ahead.

It concerned me that I hadn’t noticed that it was obviously a delicate topic.  Why hadn’t anyone else?

Maybe it was because I was lacking in a couple of extra hours of sleep.  Maybe it was because, after six years in the same company, I’d finally felt comfortable speaking my mind over a microphone in front of my peers, my boss, my boss’s boss, and my boss’s boss’s bosses.  Maybe it was because, after a year of epic awesomeness, I finally felt empowered enough and, wanting to continue being different than the meek girl I’ve been most of my adult life, went for it.

I mean…if you can’t jump in with both feet and not realize how deep the well is until you’re sinking to pressure-crushing depths…what canyou do?

I confess:  I love being different.  In some practices, in order to learn more about myself (hmm–that sounds like a future blog post), I’ve purposefully tried different styles.  For example, right now I’m in the habit of dressing like a 1960s housewife, knee-length skirt and all.  It’s fun, it’s different, and it makes the workday go by.

But that’s just how I look. The way I act is a different story.

I don’t consciously drive myself to behave a certain way.  At least, not anymore.  The last incident of that occuring was in high school, when I emulated my older sister in order to be popular.

Being different often just seems to put myself in my own way.  It can be frustrating. When that happens, I will try to lessen what I believe are my odd mannerisms to blend in and hopefully remove any spotlights.

And yet, there are many times that I seemed to miss the memo of how to be like everybody else.

Speaking Different

Hola.  Ohayo gozaimasu!  These are how I greet friends and family.

Not too bad, right?

The dry cleaners lost my favorite designer gown.  I am not pleased.  My way of saying that I am royally pissed to all heck.

Yeah, a little stranger, but just a little bit.

Fiddlesticks.  Dagnabbit.  Flab-jabbit.  Apple cider vinegar.

This is how I curse.

No, not to cover up the more obscene language I use in my personal household. This is honestly how I curse.

Just this week alone, someone asked me how I was doing.  Do you know what came to mind?

Spiffy.  Dandy.  Just swell.

I’m 36 years old, people. No one I know of any age, race, denomination, or sexual/gender orientation even remotely talks like that.

I can hear you all now:  “Um, okay, sooo–stop trying so hard and just talk normally, then.  You can use modern slang and not make it a big deal if you really, really wanted to.”

No…I can’t.

Believe me–I’ve tried.

Creating Different

This last weekend, my stepmother invited me to take part in her family’s annual cookie-making extravaganza.

Oh, how the cookies flowed from the oven!  Chocolate, orange drop, tea cookies, red velvet brownies, conventional brownies and–the star of the show–sugar cookies.

It was the sugar cookies that were whisked to a separate table where contestants of all ages worked vigilantly with colored icing to decorate and submit their edible artwork for the annual contest.

At first, I resisted joining the decorating festivities.  I was tired, I couldn’t think of anything, blah, blah, blah.  However, after being aggressively cajoled to give it a try (by no less than four people), I conceded to sit down and go for it.

Inspiration struck me like a thunderbolt that had learned to slap.  I scanned the cookie tray, taking up two shapes that would work best as my blank canvases.

“Uh oh,” my stepmother said, “I think B’s got something.”

In the end, I was quite satisfied with my two submissions, especially my second one.

First, let me present the full spread of submissions from all contestants.  See one that stands out?

For those of you who don’t already know:

In The Mind of B, one does not–I repeat, does not–merely design cookie art within the standard boundaries presented.

A gingerbread man is not simply a gingerbread man.  Instead, he is a full mural of a delighted fisherman slinging his rambunctious catch out of turbulent waters:

And a Christmas tree cookie?  Oh, that is far from just being a Christmas tree cookie.

My current kick of general interest has steered me towards the very unique and astoundingly talented sculptor Jim McKenzie.  Just earlier the same day, I had watched a trailer of his debut show, “Lost Magic,” from 2016.  His art piece “The Nest” was especially haunting:

“The Nest,” by sculptor Jim McKenzie.  Image taken from Twitter.

So, of course, I’m gonna emulate this timeless look onto an evergreen-shaped sugar cookie.  It only seemed fitting.

I did a pre-tty good job, if I do say so myself.  I even had enough Christmas spirit to give it a holiday theme.

Sucka won second place amidst some competitive judging–which may have included my father in the panel.  But I can’t recall all the details clearly.

Bias, you say?

What bias?

Meh, who am I kidding?  Whilst people oohed and ahhed over all the other cookies, both of mine received a pause, a silent stare, and then a hasty, high-pitched, “That’s…cute!”

Yep.  They hated them.

But that’s okay, because they were mine, anyway. 🙂 And, delicious.

Loving Different

In the middle of October this year, I took an eight-hour flight to land for the first time in The Netherlands. My manager nominated me to attend a young leadership summit with approximately 1,800 of my peers.  The summit was literally life-changing, as it made me aware of not just the struggles that the rest of the world works through, but also my own realization that I want to help.  (More about this in a future post, I promise!) 

After the summit, I took the Eurostar from The Hague to London, where I flew back to the States after three days of “me time”.

For most people, one of the most exciting moments of their lives might be attending the summit with friends, visiting clubs on their off evenings, visiting historical pubs and museums in London, and taking the epic Harry Potter studios tour.

Those are all wonderful, and I would surely have enjoyed them.

However, almost nothing that I’ve done in my life affected me as much as navigating three hours into the English countryside to find myself in a village of 1,000 people and tearing up before the gravestone of a folk singer I would never meet.

A Perfect Moment

It was probably a plethora of experiences that had led to that moment–the culture shock of the OYW young leadership summit I’d attended; the overload of stimulation from meeting thousands of people, including a handsome stranger I’d asked out for coffee :); my fighting through a vitamin D deficiency that had kept me bedridden the day before.  Still, it was that very moment, which I never even dared to fantasize would happen, that invoked connection, emotion, triumph and an inner calm and peace that I never thought I’d feel.

Funny how that works.

Most would find the perfect moment in a concert, or at a mountaintop, or with a beer and within poignant conversation.  For me, chilled and silent and alone, kneeling in front of a grave in the middle of nowhere thousands of miles from home, I learned what I was capable of so long as I wanted it enough.

Connecting Different

Several months ago, as my small team at work was still acclimating to each other, one of my coworkers recommended that we perform a Trust Equation on one another.  In this assessment, we would calculate how much we trusted one another by scoring our credibility, reliability, and intimacy levels.

When I met with each coworker, including my manager, they scored me respectively well in credibility and reliability.  However, my scores in intimacy were a slap in the face.

Every one of them scored me low.

They were apologetic yet firm as they explained their rationale behind their numbers.  “You keep to yourself a lot.” “You close up,” “Sometimes, I’m not sure how to approach you.” “You know you like your time to yourself.”

I do.  I do.  I know.  I do.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t notice how easily and naturally my teammates seem to interact with others.  How long they stand over each other’s cubicles to chat–about what?  What could they possibly be discussing for so long?

And why don’t most people stay that long at my desk?  For me, it’s ask the question, the awkward pause, and then the even more awkward departure.

Small talk.  Networking.  Opening myself up.  Making myself vulnerable to strangers, even if it’s just for a simple lunch date.  Those actions are not intuitive for me.

It’s like how most people are when they go to the gym.  It’s not always fun; you have to plan how to get the most from the situation; and you’re often in pain and exhausted when the session is over.

But then I see how much benefit my teammates, the cast from the radio show I’m voice-acting in, even my own family, have such an amazing connection in interacting for so long with one another, and I wonder–why can’t I get the formula down?  What am I doing wrong?

How do I learn it?

looking near camera

Proudly Different

Back to the town hall incident.

As part of my neuroses, there is still a part of me that laments about whether my question embarrassed my manager or our team.  However, I have to let it go–partially because my manager hasn’t acted any differently since then, and also because one of the very leaders told me it shouldn’t.

I ran into her in the break room and, upon her seeing me and recognizing me, she smiled.

“Thank you,” she said, “for asking that question.  It was a good question, and it needed to be said.”

I, in classic B ramblings, said things along the lines of “thank you for answering” and “I know it was the only chance I’d have to ask” and the like.  She, for her part, didn’t seem too mortified on my behalf.

A steadfast part of being different in my way is that I’ll probably always feel a little off from how everyone works.  But then, maybe I should continue to work towards being more “on” in how I work instead.

If I am sure of how I am–who I am–then maybe everyone else will be, too.  And then being different won’t matter that much to anyone.

Five Signs an Introvert is Running on Empty (with GIFs)

Introverts, by definition, function the best when they are surrounded only by themselves or by one or two very selective friends.  The more people they have to cope with, and the longer they have to cope with said people (especially when said people are talking a lot), it can quickly drain their energy.

But what happens when an introvert is running on empty?  What if they’ve gone too long without a chance to get themselves together?  No chatting, no socializing? Just they, themselves, and them?

Well, this happened to me last week when I hosted a week-long global meeting with nearly 30 attendees to manage.  By the third day of four, I wasn’t just running on empty–I’d depleted the fumes.  Add the fact that I am also highly sensitive, working through occasional social anxiety, and have been sick for a few months–and you get quite the dull blade.

Based on what I reflected on by the time the weekend had come, I managed to determine at least five clues that an introvert is running beyond low on their energy.

Warning:  this behavior is not the most considerate or thoughtful, and it should be handled and managed by the introvert in question as well as it can before it gets to this point.  If you are a friend of an introvert who is acting this way, please don’t take it personally, and help them make it through this tough patch as best as you can.

1. They Malfunction

via GIPHY

2.  They Get a Little…Catty


3.  They Go Radio Silence–and Want Everything Else To, Too

via GIPHY

4.  They Leave without Warning or Goodbye

via GIPHY

5.  And…They Look Like This

via GIPHY