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introvert

36 Human Interaction Optional – Some Nerd Girl Original Webcomic

Sometimes you just want to savor those days of solitude….

Check out all the SNGCs here and join us every week for a new original SNG Webcomic!


AlexAlex is our resident Webcomic creator. He grew up in Puerto Rico, but didn’t reach true Nerdom until he came state side when he was in middle school. He’s been drawing since he was five, but has only started posting Webcomics in the past year. You can check out his amazing and original work at tapastic.com/gomezalexj.

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The (Literal) Pain of Being an Introvert

Obligatory disclaimer: I enjoy being an introvert. I am not lonely, I am not a victim of circumstance, nor malcontent with my social life.

When I am not spending my time nerding out, writing, surfing the internet or binging NetFlix, I work as an analyst. It’s one of those things popularly referred to as a ‘day job.’

Overall working as an analyst is a good fit for me. I get to dig into details, solution, improve and innovate on a regular basis – checking a lot of boxes on the things-I-need-to-enjoy-my-job list. There are times, however, where collaboration is an all day activity. These sessions are immensely productive and results driven, which means my satisfaction level with them is high.

However.

Of course there is an however.

IntrovertEnergy.png
Click image for source

The more I experience day-long collaborative events, the more I realize how painful it can be to be an introvert. For no other reason other than being totally and completely drained by constant discussion and proximity to other people. Keep in mind; I am engaged in these sessions, talk frequently, problem solve, plan, etc. etc. – these are all things I enjoy doing. And yet, as the hours drag on, I am in physical pain.

We’re talking neck/shoulder strain, headaches, body stiffness, fatigue and even the occasional nausea.

How do I know this is the product of being an introvert?

I spent 10 minutes afterwards in a room all by myself and felt almost entirely better, or more ‘myself’. There is a lot of conventional wisdom that acknowledges the need for introverts to recharge, but I’m not sure extroverts fully understand what that means. It means recovering from some level of discomfort, and if we don’t get it… well, ‘cranky’ might be an understated descriptor of what may occur.

PEOPLE.jpg
AAAAHHHH PEOPLE!

As an introvert, all this physical discomfort seems like a signal from my brain telling me to GTFO of wherever I am and sit quietly alone with my own thoughts. And I can tell you from my hangry episodes alone, my brain can be VERY insistent. It turns out that there is some science behind this – and it makes sense. The way our brains react to the chemicals produced during times of high interaction with others is absolutely bound to have a physical effect on us introverts.

But like many things happening in our brains, it can be nearly impossible to communicate these concepts in ways others – who don’t experience the same – will understand. It’d be like someone trying to explain their bipolar disorder to me. Or even a need to be around people all the time. It genuinely baffles me and while I understand on an intellectual level, I’m not sure I’ll ever ‘get it’.

Introvertatparty
Click image for source

So I don’t blame people for not understanding the introversion that is a huge part of my life. I have a very supportive group of friends and coworkers who don’t make concessions, but accept me for who I am, and that’s pretty cool.

I do appreciate the effort others go to in order to understand weirdos like me – which is the whole reason I’m crafting this article. I’m fortunate in that I don’t often have day-long collaborative obligations where I work, but I used to work front-line customer service. And oh boy, was that not the job for me.

It started at a small bar and sandwich shop. That was okay and manageable. I knew most people, they knew me, and I got what they needed quickly and efficiently.

Then I moved onto a national chain sandwich shop, which will not be named. This job involved high-volume interactions with different people every day. Different, demanding and unforgiving people. It was genuinely terrible for me, and I spent every day working there depressed and hopeless.

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Click image for source

(I took a lot of naps during my time working at the sandwich chain that shall not be named)

From there, I ‘upgraded’ to a call center job where I only had to talk to strangers over the phone instead of face-to-face. This was helpful at first, but as the volume picked up and spending a solid 8 hours of doing nothing but talking to other people turned into a painful and stress-filled experience. Seriously; just the memory of it can make me break into a cold sweat.

And it’s not because I hated my job, or the company, or the customers. It was simply an over-exposure to interaction with others and very little time to myself during my work day. And ‘to myself’ doesn’t mean goofing off with non-work related activities. It just meant my entire job was to interact with other people and let me tell you… this is not the best fit for any introvert. I was good at my job, like I’m good at my job now… but it was slowly killing me inside. 🙂

EmptySpace.png
Aah, not another soul in sight. Perfect!

Shout-out to all my introvert hommies: if you’re in a depressed, discontent place in your life and you work at a job that requires constant interaction with other people, that’s probably the reason. Figure out how you can work without all the… you know… people stuff. Again, this advice does not come from a place of disliking others on an arbitrary level. Introverts just have needs that, when not met, genuinely impact the quality of our lives. Admitting it is the first step to recovery!

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Introverts – or at least this one – can be in physical pain if we don’t get our alone time. Please keep this in mind when interacting with your friendly neighborhood introvert. Spend time with us, just not TOO much time. We will love you forever for it!


Eve2Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novels Children of the Fallen and Unforgettable as well as science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. Fandoms include Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Basically if it has ‘star’ in it, she’ll give it a shot.

 

24 Miscommunication- Some Nerd Girl Original Webcomic

Introverted subtext: “I am enjoying this movie alone!”

Check out all the SNGCs here and join us every Monday for a new original SNG Webcomic!


AlexAlex is our resident Webcomic creator. He grew up in Puerto Rico, but didn’t reach true Nerdom until he came state side when he was in middle school. He’s been drawing since he was five, but has only started posting Webcomics in the past year. You can check out his amazing and original work at tapastic.com/gomezalexj.

From Introvert to Extrovert: The Power of the Nerd Community

I admire those who can boldly walk up to a random person, introduce themselves, and within ten minutes have a new friend; what is easy for them can take me ten days, if not weeks, to do as an introvert with mild social anxiety. As an introvert, I am naturally quiet, but with social anxiety added into the mix, it can be a completely different story. Crowds, strangers, and new social situations can make me feel constantly on edge. I can get extremely skittish in tightly packed crowds, and an occasional near panic attack is not unheard of in such situations. Yet I – the girl who has actively avoided taking a Speech course throughout her entire college career thus far – absolutely love attending Dragon Con. This year specifically has provided the chance to truly break me out of my shell, and I owe it to a few close friends and 70K+ con attendees.

OMG, ALL OF THE PEOPLE
OMG, ALL OF THE PEOPLE…

Surprisingly, this year was not my first time at Dragon Con. That honor goes to 2014. My first ever time at such a large convention actually turned out to be a wonderful one thanks to the Dragon Con veterans who took me under their wing. They were able to prepare me for what to expect (lines, and cosplays, and geeks, oh my!) and acted as my guides over the four day experience. Their presence helped keep me calm in the hustle and bustle, and they acted as social buffers for any interactions I was involved in. My anxiety still played a part in the trip but because of them, I never felt overwhelmed. Upon returning home from the trip, I knew I had to return for 2015.

However, life is funny and not everything goes as planned, so I went into this year’s convention with more than a little hesitation. After all, everything leading up to the convention weekend seemed to go wrong. First, our attempt to book with the Hyatt failed, solidifying Passkey’s infamous reputation. This resulted in a very frantic reservation to the Marriott… a well-known party hub, particularly at night.

Damn you, PassKey, damn you to hell!
Damn you, PassKey, damn you to hell!

Oh dear, my social anxiety squeaked. This won’t be good.

Second, a few close friends had to give their regretful cancellations in the final hours before the trip due to understandable life events. A bummer for sure in any situation, but this left my social and makeshift stranger buffer much smaller than last year. With my safety net greatly reduced, I would be forced to leave my comfort zone. In turn, I was presented with a unique but frightening opportunity.

Just remember: be cool, Heather. Be cool.
Just remember: be cool, Heather. Be cool.

Instead of concentrating on the negatives, I decided to take this as a challenge to branch out a bit in order to overcome some of my social anxiety. But how would I go about making this an adventure?

During Dragon Con ‘14 I had been surrounded by very lovely cosplays but had been entirely too shy and/or intimidated to ask anyone for a photograph of their hard work. Not only was the simple fact of asking itself terrifying, I was afraid of inconveniencing people or being judged for asking a stranger for a photo, so I missed out on many beautiful photographs I regret not taking.

This year I decided I would make a change. I did not want my anxiety to interfere with my con experience anymore. Friday morning I gave myself one personal goal: I would find a single cosplay I enjoyed, walk up to the individual, and request a photo. Sounds simple enough, right? For most people it is – they can it to do without a second thought. For me, it would be a monumental step forward.

A hilarious early morning Milk fed Criminal Masterminds panel left me feeling pumped up and ready to take on the world.

How could this not?!
How could this not?!

As luck would have it, on my way to my next scheduled panel I passed by a fantastic version of the Tenth Doctor and Madame de Pompadour from Doctor Who. With a deep breath to gather up the remaining pluckiness inspired by the panel, I marched (read: timidly walked) up to them to request a photograph. Much to my delight, they were happy to oblige. I snapped a quick picture before my nerves vibrated me out of existence, thanked them, and walked away beaming.

Success!!
Success!!

This couple did not realize their small but highly positive interaction left a big impact on the rest of my weekend. Our brief encounter had me feeling empowered. I had set out to do something and done it; I had not let my anxiety win. I was proud of myself! Thanks in no tiny part to them, I was able to get over my initial shyness, and as the weekend continued, each time I approached another cosplayer became easier. An unintentional side effect of accomplishing this small feat? It led to me feeling overall more relaxed in the geek hordes. Who knew such a seemingly inconsequential ordeal could lead to something more?

Most importantly, all of this would help when Saturday night rolled around, the night we traditionally set aside to explore the parties.

I had been sharing various Snapchats of events with the people who could not attend this year. One of those friends suggested I use this chance to do a Dragon Con themed scavenger hunt. She would send me subjects that went from assorted “easy” themes (Marvel character, Nintendo character, gender bend), to moderate themes (“fandom you don’t know – bonus for asking what fandom it was from”), to what would be personally hard for me (“walking up to someone and asking them to dance with them”).

Frankly, it sounded like a blast so I was instantly game for it.

Star Wars - found!
Star Wars – found!
BioShock, check!
Bioshock, check!

The scavenger hunt turned out to be a great way to interact with people at the parties. Every new item I would be given gave me a new reason to weave in and out of the mass of people in my search to mark the item off my checklist, and the hunt itself served as the perfect, fun ice breaker. By the end of the night, I was confidently introducing myself to people, a nearly unheard of thing for me. The very last task – dance with a random person – was even successfully marked off the scavenger list. I danced terribly, but I danced with pride.

You know you want in on this action.
You know you want in on this action.

Every year brings about a different experience, and for me, Dragon Con ’15 turned into an adventure in self-discovery. Who knew I could happily go out of my way to speak to utter strangers – let alone dance with one? Definitely not the girl from ’14! This year inspired me to test my boundaries, leading me to feel more comfortable in my own skin as I grew a little more confident with each new accomplishment. The pride I had from those little triumphs has spilled over into my real life, too. I find myself a little less edgy in crowds, and although being around new people is still nowhere near pleasant for me, I feel I can manage the situation better.

With ’15 wrapped up, the prep work for Dragon Con ’16 has already started. Tickets have already been purchased, the hotel has been reserved, and the wait for the guest list has begun. The only thing left to do is decide on a new personal goal.

You know, I have never cosplayed before…


HeatherHeather is a bookworm with a varied Goodreads, although if you are looking for reviews in the romance genre, your princess is in another castle. She’s a passionate console gamer who is diving headfirst back into comics after a long hiatus. She once met Patrick Stewart and played it cool; she met Babs Tarr and fangirled an embarrassing amount. You can follow her on Twitter @MissHWilliamson, where she has a habit of live tweeting (particularly The Walking Dead).

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