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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

time magazine- the upside of being an introvert

I posted a bit on this in November

Time Magazine - 'The Upside Of Being An Introvert.' 

I hear others talk about being shy or how we must get out of our comfort zone, but I don't think they know the half of it sometimes. These things mean entirely different things to introverts and extroverts. Not that we introverts shouldn't try and get out of the comfort zone once in a while, but our culture is such that we are often expected to live outside of it- and the thought of being expected to go even further out of it sometimes makes me want to blow a gasket. Ok. More realistically, it makes me want to disengage.

Maybe I'll start with the quiz. Of course there is a quiz! 

Some of the items made me smile. You let calls go to voicemail. I hate to admit it, but can't deny that one. I don't do the phone thing unless I have to. 

Prefer writing to talking, enjoy solitude, etc. Of course! This is one of the main reasons this blog exists. The usual suspects when you're talking about introverts.

It was interesting to find that being "less concerned with wealth, fame and status" is a trait of introverts. I have spent a lot of time thinking about why these things are important and tempting to so many and why I am so uninterested in them (i.e. What's wrong with me?? Where's my ambition??). 

Dislike small talk, but enjoy talking in depth about what matters to me. 
This was a point of confusion I had growing up. I have been described and have even described myself as not liking to talk. This clarification (in the quiz) of this generalization is kind of perfect. 

Prefer to not show my work until it's finished. That one stuck out big time! I have thought I was a perfectionist, but sometimes that doesn't fit. I can relate to this whether it was school work, an informal note, or even this blog.

I feel drained after being out, even if I've had fun. 
This one is one that stuck out. It was hard for me to accept or took a long time to understand. I always wanted to love parties and social gatherings as much as everyone else seemed to. And easy solution is to not participate, but that can be lonely. And then you think it's your fault you are lonely because you made the decision not to go. This conundrum isn't recognized all that much. You either like people or you don't. Be decisive! 

I am reminded of when I was a teenager and my poor mom flipped out when I said out loud that I hated people. I don't think I meant that exactly. I was probably just frustrated with this supposed dichotemy and feeling like I was living in a world made for someone else. Why don't I like to have fun (as everyone else defines it) and why does no one value what I'm good at? I was made to question a lot of good traits I had/have (not just the typical good girl, good listener stuff) and I imagine I didn't articulate it well. Ok. So it did sound pretty horrible. 

I don't enjoy multitasking. Now there's an understatement. I guess I didn't really think of that as a trait of introverts, either. That probably got me in trouble at work more than once. :) I wonder what would be my perfect career. This isn't the first time I've wondered this. I would say law because I could pay attention to details and would have the passion to be a voice for the voiceless since I could relate. Then there's the public arguments and all that... An introvert (former) lawyer is mentioned in the article as having a personality not fitting the career, but I think there were parts that fit quite well...

 I said I'd start with the quiz, but I probably hit on some points of the article that struck a cord with me, so I'll probably just end with it as well. They also talk about a study that more of less predicted the introverts out of a group of 5 month olds. Interesting stuff.

Just after it is an article by Dr. Oz that is not worth reading at all. Well, he does eventually make the point that you shouldn't force your kid to be what they aren't. That's a good point. I'll give him that.

But, he concedes that it's ok to be an introvert in some cases, but shyness ("genuine maladaptive shyness" as he calls it) is usually a sign of disease (not enough blood to the brain), autism, anxiety disorders, OCD, etc. It's possible that's not what he's saying, but in a one page article, at least half, maybe more, was talking about these cases and ways to medicate. From the title (Charms of the Quiet Child), I guess I assumed it would be a little more on the benefits of shy/introverted personalities than about when one should worry or seek medical intervention.

And he generalizes that it's easy to cheer for extroverted athletes, but the introverted math and science inclined should be equally cheered on. I think he's trying to make a good point, but ends up being too specific. Maybe he's talking about his own family, but it came off like painting with a broad brush, like he doesn't get it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Nothing to Lose But Your Life: An 18 Hour Journey with Murad

Nothing to Lose But Your Life: An 18 Hour Journey with Murad
by Suad Amiry

I read Amiry's "Sharon and My Mother-in-law" first and loved the mix of explaining the Palestinian situation and humor and resilience. The first part of this one didn't hook me like that book, but the second part more than made up for it.

In chapter 10, she realizes they have been in the West Bank all this time (they are about to cross at The Wall) and the dangers, fear of arrest, running, bullets, hiding, etc happened on what is supposedly their own turf. Even for Amiry, who knows about things like this, the shock is palpable.

Chapters 11 and 12 struck me as out of place at first, but after some thought, they capture the situation perfectly. Chapter 11 is a fable or a few fables and 12 is about The Wall and a particular graffiti artist. I didn't realize at first that most of these images are actual Banksy "paintings" on the Wall; I only had seen a few in pictures. This chapter, like the art, is profound.

In chapter 14, this quote was great:
"I don't know what it is about Palestinians; they all believe they can pass for an Israeli, regardless of how typically Arab they look, the second they put on sunglasses."

It comes amid the various adjustments the workers are making to their appearance as they prepare to "blend" in with Jewish Israelis. I was aware of the plight of Palestinian workers, but not so much with this aspect. Very interesting.

Last sentence of chapter 14: 
"Only then did I realise that for me, and many others, Israel was virtual. For Murad, Israel was 'home.' Israel was a reality; a harsh reality."

At a cafe (deciding whether or not to continue), she defines the ultimate love-hate relationship, being out of ones' skin, out of place and history as being in her homeland Palestine.

Nearing the decision to quit the search for work for the day and distance themselves from the actual workers who they have slowed down some, they rest in a park and she tells a bit about what an Israeli park actually is- a peaceful green space that, by contrast, was taken by force from Arab villagers. For instance, most Palestinians are referring to Petah Tikvah as Mlabbis, it's original name.

This several pages long daydream about Mlabbis/ Petah Tikvah is brilliant. I wonder if she knew or researched the history, heard bits from Murad, or simply recounted the familiar 1948 Palestine or Nakba memory shared by many people and villages and retold by more.

In chapter 16, she talks about missing the Tel-Aviv (Lod) airport and the firman Sharon issued that no Palestinian from the West Bank or Gaza could use this airport. Also on this portion of the bus ride she remembers various Palestinian villages while looking for the rubble.

At the end, she takes off her worker's clothes and steps back into her life and reflects on the situation- real risks and dangers- that they face every day just to get a day's work. And the author's note! It is an article she reads the day she gets home about a worker getting shot doing what she just did.