Friday, August 22, 2014

All By Myself...

I am a new college student. It's overwhelming just THINKING about it! In fact, everything about college, including orientation week, is overwhelming and exhausting. I just moved into my dorm yesterday morning, and my mom went back to Houston a couple of hours ago. 

Moving-in and everything that followed hasn't been as terrifying as I thought it would be, but now that my mom has left, it's really sunk in that I'm here alone. ALL BY MYSELF. And that is terrifying. I'm panicking - I haven't made that many friends while my roommate has already made a ton. Does that mean I'll be a friendless loser for the next four years? Highly unlikely, although it does seem like it at the moment.

I'm not an overly talkative or social person. Being an introvert, I hate small talk, and superficial is the best word to describe my peers' conversations. 

I just feel so...alone. Like there is nobody and no one I can go to for help or just to talk to a peer. I don't know what to do. 

I know college is a clean slate, a place to reinvent myself. If I'm holding demons from the past, then how I am I supposed to take advantage of that? 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Fault In Our Air Travel

Just yesterday I arrived back in the states after a month and a half away in Europe. The trip was long, boring, exhausting, and touched with sadness (I found out about Robin Williams' death when I checked my phone during my layover in North Carolina). 

Anyways, the travel time was more than 24 hours. First, 4.5 hours by bus from my town in the north of Spain to Madrid. 3 hours of waiting until the flight left, and then a nearly 10 hour flight to Charlotte. Next, a 4 hour layover in Charlotte, actually 5.5 since my flight was delayed, and then a 2 hour flight. 

Let's start here. If you ever plan on going to Madrid, don't go on U.S. Airways and don't go through Charlotte. 

You'd think, that with the money spent on airplane tickets, US Airways would at least provide a personal TV for each seat, right? Nope! No individual TVs, just one big screen at the front of the main cabin and one in the middle. What's even worse is that one of the movies they put on was the Muppets' Movie. Really? This meant that I had to spend over $15 downloading rented movies on iTunes so I wouldn't bore myself to death on the plane. It's nearly impossible for me to sleep on airplanes, buses, cars, etc. The only way I might be able to sleep is if I rest my head on the tray table, and I rarely get to do that since EVERYBODY leans their seat back. HOW DOES THAT HELP YOU SLEEP??? It only goes down a bit, it won't make a big difference in your sleep quality! The food on the plane is terrible, so I don't eat, and then I starve, and whatever I eat, I can't go to the restroom - I just can't. So I get bad constipation cramps (sorry if that's TMI). 

Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. A small airport in North Carolina. At first, I didn't know why the plane ticket from Houston-Charlotte-Madrid was one of the cheapest available. After going through Charlotte, I got an idea of why that is. You see, small international airport and lots of planes = lots of people in a small airport. Customs was a nightmare - completely disorganized - one person to direct lots of tired, confused people to several different lines. And not enough space to hold all the planes. So lots of planes are usually delayed so as to make room and then, since there's like one takeoff runway, it's another 30-45 minutes to takeoff because planes have to take turns. 

Not to mention the fact that each time I get on a plane the experience I have a less and less pleasurable experience. The smell in the plane makes me gag, seats are squeezed together so the airlines can make more money - I mean, a good majority of America's population is obese or getting there and those people couldn't fit in one of those seats. So they either got to pay for two seats just to fit them (which may be about the same price of 1 first class seat, depending on the flight), pay for a first class seat or just not travel. You don't travel comfortably in those seats with barely enough leg room - which decreases if someone puts back their seat. Seats on trains and buses are infinitely more comfortable than plane seats and you pay significantly less for those tickets. The food is awful. Our airlines need major improvement - to be less greedy to start. I'm just glad I don't have to travel on a plane until at least next summer. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

How to Piss Off An Introvert 101

I would definitely consider myself an introvert, even though I enjoy acting - there's just something magical about stepping into someone else's shoes and escaping your own reality for a little while. Anyway, I'm losing my track here.

There are so many things people (especially extroverted people) do and say to me that really bug me. Let the ranting begin:

1) Being stuck with a very social person who DOESN'T STOP TALKING. My mother is one of these people, so is my cousin. I'll go to a bar with my cousin and I'll still be there three hours later after everyone else left because my cousin is talking to so and so and won't stop. I don't mind going out to have drinks with a group of people - just not for three hours straight, because I can't handle so many side conversations at once and not knowing how to jump in. For example, today I went to have a drink with my cousin and some friends. My cousin is my ride home, so I'm stuck with her. Many times my friends said they were going home to dinner. She asked them to wait a little until she finished her soda. They stayed. Ten minutes later. She asks again for them to stay. Eventually, they leave when she still hasn't finished her drink because words have been spilling out of her mouth nonstop. An hour passes: half of her glass is still full, and she takes a sip every ten minutes. She's so engrossed in her conversation about something superficial and uninteresting that she neglects her drink, and her poor younger cousin who is freezing her butt off in a chair outside - yes, it's cold where I am now - while she talks about her job with some coworkers (who are my friends, too). I can't stand it. I can talk for hours about a topic I like - science, current events, anything with a speck of intellectuality - but not gossip and other stupid stuff.

2) People thinking I'm stuck up just because I don't talk much in a conversation. I'm listening, and processing what I'm hearing. It doesn't mean I'm judging them.

3) Being judged by people as "not knowing how to have fun." My perception of fun is often different from the typical "fun" for teenagers. I like to watch a movie, read a book, play puzzles and brain-stimulating games. Most of my teenage friends don't read for fun, and don't understand how I could enjoy it. On the other hand, I don't particularly enjoy their idea of fun: parties where I have to either dance with other people, socialize or watch friends get drunk and embarrass themselves. It's not my thing, but it doesn't mean I don't know what fun is.

4) Being labeled as "shy and quiet" or worse, "antisocial." Yes, shy and quiet is a characteristic of introverts, but in a group setting, shy and quiet often has a negative connotation. I am very social when I'm with a small group of 3-4 friends, but I often get overwhelmed when in groups of 10+ people, especially around people I don't know. And "antisocial" pisses me off even more. Just because I don't talk much doesn't mean I'm antisocial.

5) Asking me to make phone calls. I will reject phone calls from friends even, and having to call someone I don't know paralyzes me. Nobody understands it, but I would rather talk to someone face-to-face than over the phone.

6) "You need to get out more!" "Be talkative!" "Go to the party - it'll be good for you!" Enough said.

7) "Why don't you smile more? You look angry all the time." I smile a lot, I wave and say hi to people I know when I see them. My mother tells me that my neutral face makes me look as if I'm pissed off. I'm not. It's just the way my face is. Get over it.

8) Finding the opportune moment to speak, but then get interrupted by an extrovert. Most of the time, I'm just looking for the best moment, when there's a quiet pause in conversation, to talk. My voice often gets drowned out by the chatty, loud people. While the extroverts blurt out whatever "ingenious" thought that comes to mind, introverts think before they speak, and only share what's important or appropriate.

This Buzzfeed will help you step into the shoes of an introvert: Problems Only Introverts Will Understand

There are a multitude of other things people say to me that piss me off. A lot of people don't get that introversion is a personality trait. It's the way we are. And although sometimes I wish I could be more outgoing and just enjoy the things most people seem to enjoy, there are so many bonus points for being an introvert.

Introverts vs. Extroverts Benefits:
- We are more creative and have a richer imagination than extroverts do. We spend a lot of time with ourselves and of course, in our own minds, in our own personal worlds.
- We are more observant of our surroundings.
- We process more information than extroverts do - that's why we get so overwhelmed in large group settings.
- We have a greater amount of focus.
- Extroverts talk, introverts listen. We make better leaders because listening is the first step toward empathy - a quality leadership trait.

We live in a social world. Humans gravitate towards other humans. While introverts need to work on some social skills, extroverts need to learn the value of quiet and self-awareness. Introverts and extroverts need to meet each other halfway; being understanding and accepting of one another for who we are as individuals.