the wilderness

This liquid diet has felt like the wilderness.  Feeling deprived has actually forced me to deal with my emotions rather than mask the feelings with food.  I’m a master food masker. (Say that 10 times fast.)

Introversion is a term I didn’t discover until college. Prior to those years, I always felt inferior.  I’d berate myself, “Why do I have to be so sensitive & quiet?  Why can’t I just let things go? Why do I obsess and replay situations or conversations that occurred?  Why do I hate social encounters with people I don’t know?  Why can’t I just be more like… <insert extroverted friend’s name here>).”  I am an INFP and an on-the-fencer INFJ according the Myers Briggs Personality Scale.  The I is for Introvert.

With a name like Joy, people expect you to be a joy…all the time.  (It’s like having the name Angel or Heaven or Precious. What happens when you don’t live up to your name? I’ve seen some Angels that aren’t very angelic.  Parents: don’t name your kids Angel, it’s just not nice.)  I am my most joyful when I’m alone.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all of you.  I love my family and friends, but I will start to feel immense hatred and turn into a beast with steam coming out of my ears if I don’t have time to myself, to think, to process, to contemplate, to rehearse the days’ events.  I don’t know if anyone else does this, but I actually go through almost everything that happened in the course of a day, before I go to sleep at night.  It’s a way I process my world.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  Anything unresolved usually shows up in my dreams.  (Why can’t I have Peter Pan flying dreams?  I still would rather have adventure dreams rather than an obsessively-boring-processing-dream in which I try to process someone’s facial expressions during a strange social interaction.  Yes, I’m a weirdo, but a lovely one.)

Bel Canto choir tour in 1993 was one of the moments in my history where I realized…I AM AN INTROVERT.  Two weeks, on a bus with over 100 other 20-something women college students (screeching laughter and hilarious jovial fun-for some), traveling to states across the country (still on said bus), eating with these 100 women (still with said jovial women), performing nightly concerts with them (more noise in close proximity with said jovial women) and then, post-concert arrival at host family’s residence (more obligatory social contact as not to be rude to the hosts and interaction with a few of said *jovial women).  Toward the end of the tour, I thought I might lose my mind.  I needed quiet. I needed time to decompress.  I felt terrible for feeling so moody. Now I realize that there was no time for me to be alone.  This is what I craved to recharge.

*(If you are reading this and are one of the said jovial women that was on this tour, I still love you.  But I love you more now that I’m not on a bus with you for two weeks.)

On Being an Introvert

“Shyness is the fear of social disapproval or humiliation, while introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating. Shyness is inherently painful; introversion is not.”
Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

“Introversion- along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness- is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living in the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man’s world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we’ve turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.”
Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

“Unlike their Extraverted cousins though, INFPs will focus their attention on just a few people, a single worthy cause – spread too thinly, they’ll run out of energy, and even become dejected and overwhelmed by all the bad in the world that they can’t fix.” Source.

I have often felt totally overwhelmed by all the bad in the world that I can’t fix.  I just have to turn off the news and limit input.  It’s a way I can deal with what’s right in front of me rather than hearing about 100 million things I can’t control or fix.

“INFPs feel most comfortable among colleagues – they aren’t interested in controlling others, and have a similar distaste for being controlled. Among their colleagues, INFPs will feel freer to share their ideas, and while they may maintain some psychological distance, they will make every effort to be pleasant, friendly and supportive – so long as their coworkers reciprocate. INFPs don’t like conflict or picking sides, and will do everything they can to maintain harmony and cooperation.

Most of this comes down to good communication, which INFPs prefer to conduct in person, for that personal touch, or in writing, where they can compose and perfect their statements. People with the INFP personality type avoid using phones if they can, having the worst of both worlds, being both detached and uncomposed.”  Source.

“INFPs prefer to conduct in person, for that personal touch, or in writing, where they can compose and perfect their statements.”  Writing my thoughts is my lifeline (that’s why blogging has been so exciting for me).  I abhor business-type phone calls where I don’t know the person on the other end.  It makes me cringe just thinking about it.  I can’t read facial expressions in a phone call.

Watch this if you are or know someone who is an introvert:

“Solitude matters, and for some people, it’s the air they breathe”
Susan Cain

This is why I have continued to job-share even though my kids are in school. I need time to stay home and think, without interruption.  My mom used to always say, during my childhood, “I can’t hear myself think!” in exasperation.  I know exactly what this means now.  Exactly.  She is clearly an introvert too.  I’m a much better mother, spouse, colleague and friend, when I have time to enjoy solitude.  Confession:  So, if I decline your social invitation, I might say, “I have plans.”  I won’t always tell you what those ‘plans’ are, but sometimes, it’s a plan to stay home and enjoy solitude.  This is the air I breathe, and I believe it keeps my healthier and more sane.  Everyone wants Sane Joy, trust me on this.  

To paraphrase Susan Cain, without the experience in the wilderness, there would have been no revelation.  I’ve grown to appreciate the wilderness episodes in my life.  I am who I am because of my travels there.


In addition to the book, Quiet that was quoted extensively, these are two other books that are worthwhile reads for understanding yourself or the introverts in your life.

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Update on the Gastric Bypass healing process:
This past Monday, I attended another support group at Lewis Hall at Arcadia Methodist Hospital. Many of the topics included what to eat/ not to eat, emotions tied to gaining weight, plateauing in weight loss efforts, dumping and vomiting when eating foods that get stuck. Once again it was reiterated that chewing food to an apple sauce consistency post surgery is extremely important.  Wha?  Yes, applesauce consistency.  Try it.  It’s hard to chew a piece of chicken to applesauce consistency.  I tried before surgery. I haven’t had chicken yet post-surgery.
My follow up visit with Dr. Lamar at is office in Arcadia was yesterday.  He looked at my incisions, and said they looked, “Perfect.”  I’m a model post-surgery healer. (Virtual high five!) I think he might have given me a gold star if he’d had one in that moment.  Our visit took about 5 minutes, and I explained that I feel great and haven’t needed to take any of the prescribed Norco.  I told him that the pain has simply felt like I’d done whole bunch of sit ups and the residual pain of post workout.  My follow up appointment will be in 6 weeks.  He told me I’m making his job easier.
From my highest weight, I’m down 24 pounds at this point.  24 pounds in 4 weeks.  (Those are words I never thought I’d see in writing in reference to ME.)
phase 3
Phase 3:  Now I am eating Full Liquids, which include, cream of wheat or rice, pudding, yogurt, cream of chicken soup.  Still boring, but a little more variety. Emphasis on little.


Until next Friday… Love you loves.

2 thoughts on “the wilderness

  1. Funny thing… I don’t like to be alone for long periods of time, but please no one drop in unexpectedly ( except my family) and stay too long. It takes a lot of energy for me to be super happy that you came “just to visit”. I don’t think I was an introvert in my youth, but know I have that tendency. I rather be the visitor so I can say,” well I need to get going)!
    Love you H. Proud of you.


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