Deep breath.

Friday, April 08, 2011

The Twigster. Via here.

Tomorrow I am doing not one, but two Very Scary Things.

First, the hair. Yep, that's actually happening. Eek!

Those of you who have the misfortune to follow my hair inspiration board on Pinterest will already have endured multiple permutations of cropped haircuts from every conceivable angle. Sorry about that. What can I say? I like to be thorough.

You might recall that I was worried I would end up looking middle-aged and/or like a man, but then my sweet friend sent me the above picture of Twiggy rocking short hair, with the message "I think this is what you would look like with short hair." (I know. Like I said, she is sweet. If delusional.) Anyway, how could I pass up the opportunity to look like Twiggy? Clearly, I could not. Of course, I doubt there will be much of a similarity, but I'll let you be the judge next week...

Image by D Sharon Pruitt

Second Scary Thing: I am meeting up with one of you lovely internet people tomorrow. IN REAL LIFE. Double eek.

I don't know if this will come as a surprise or not, but I'm quite an introverted person. Not in the obvious ways, perhaps; I'm quite comfortable giving presentations at work; I will happily, when suitably pressed, sing in front of a roomful of people; I relished being the centre of attention at our wedding, something I know a lot of people struggle with. I probably never even thought of myself as an introvert until I started reading Penelope Trunk's blog. (The woman is a genius. Also a *wee* bit nuts, but I could read her blog all day.)

I now know that the easiest way to distinguish between an extrovert and an introvert is that an extrovert recharges their batteries by spending time with people, preferably lots of people. Being alone with just their thoughts is actually draining for an extrovert. In contrast, an introvert craves solitude, time alone to process and recover from the exhausting experience of social interaction.

My brother, Ali, is the classic extrovert. Even as a kid, when he wasn't eating or asleep, he would surround himself with pals. I would say 70% of the population of North Berwick know him by name, and the rest know him by sight. To be fair, there aren't too many guitar-playing, pickup-driving, Viking-esque blonde giants kicking around those parts, but still.

I, on the other hand, was never happier than when I was curled up on my own with my nose in a book or constructing complicated, fantastical plots involving my embarrassingly large Barbie collection (we're talking week-long story arcs, multiple wardrobe changes and sets that took over my entire bedroom floor). Ali always wanted someone to play with, but unless GI Joe wanted to be part of a tragic love triangle with Barbie and Ken (he didn't; he wanted to shoot people), I was quite happy on my own. That's not to say I didn't (or don't) have friends - I'm not a complete loser - I have just always needed some alone time to balance things out.

Image by Bethan Phillips

Today, my introverted nature manifests itself in a certain level of social anxiety. Meeting new people makes me nervous - oh God what if they think I'm really dull, what if I run out of things to say, what if I crack a joke and they look at me like I'm a weirdo or just ignore me, what if what if what if - and it takes a looooong time before I truly feel comfortable enough with someone to call them a friend. 

I think that's part of where the fear of getting an "edgy" haircut comes from, apart from the fear of looking like Eddie Izzard - it's the fear of not being able to pull it off, of holding myself out as someone cool and trendy and stylish and then bringing that illusion crashing down as soon as I open my mouth. Usually about the time I mention I'm a commercial lawyer.

Blogging breaks down so many of these classic social barriers and, for an introvert, it can be incredibly liberating. If I have nothing to say, well, that's fine, I don't need to say anything. If I crack a bad joke, people can't look at me like I'm a weirdo. Or at least, not to my face. If people didn't think I was funny, or interesting, or had something valid to contribute to a conversation, then they could simply stop reading my blog. (Erm, please don't stop reading my blog.)

Hopefully, someone who already "knows" me through this blog is unlikely to then be shocked and appalled by the mundane and potentially awkward nature of my real-life chat. Yet crossing that divide, leaving behind the safety net of my computer screen and going out into the big bad world to expose my real self, my real personality and all the insecurities that come with it, is still a Scary Thing. But, I hope, a Good Thing.

I won't name the lucky person who gets to experience the joy of meeting me in real life tomorrow, though. Just in case it all goes horribly wrong and we have to pretend it never happened. Hey, at least I'll have a cool haircut.

Deep breath. Wish me luck.

11 boats moored

  1. On Scary Thing the First: I've had short hair for years (ranging from pixie to chin-length), and it stopped being cool & edgy a long time ago and just became part of who I am. I do not usually think of myself as cool & edgy (or even all that interesting most days!), but it is rather nice that people think of me that way, and that definitely helps on days when I'm not feeling very confident in my level of cool. You do have to "do something" with short hair more often than with long hair, but it's worth it. Plus, it dries in like 30 minutes! Total win. I'm excited to see how yours turns out!
    Also, you will learn, if you are not a morning-shower person, how to lay your head on the pillow right so you don't wake up with "wings" sticking out on both sides (which a spray bottle of water alone sometimes can't tame). Or you will learn to shower in the mornings & will then be able to laugh at the funny wings and compare them to wings from other days!

    On Scary Thing the Second: Your blogging allows you to show a bit of your personality that would usually not come out at first, since you're shy &/or introverted. So use that as a head start, just pretending that you're always like that, and people will see you like that in person, too! Yay for meeting Internet friends!

  2. PS- ha! I forgot my Gravatar was one where I was showing off my haircut. Don't I look totally relaxed & confident? It's all in the hair. :)

  3. I'm sure it'll look fab! My best advice is to tell them to leave it "long-ish" then when they're done you can say, "okay, now shorten it here, here, and here"

    Remember, you can always cut more, but hair is hard to glue back on (I speak from experience)

  4. Oooh! Short hair will look gorgeous on you! I had it for years and luuurved it. It does make you seem more interesting and edgy, I very much agree.

    And the meeting internet people in Real Life? I've done it twice so far, and it was always terrifying right before, and then totally, totally awesome.

  5. You crack me up. It will be fine. Well, the second thing will be fine. As for the first, I'm with Zan - ask for it a little long-ish, and then shorten from there. Just in case. (And even though I know it will look great on you.)

  6. Totally with you on the complicated, fantastical plots involving an embarrassingly large Barbie collection. If we ever meet, we should totally do that! weird? ok, a little.

    Wishing you luck!

  7. First of all, YAY for the hair!

    Second of all, YAY for the meeting a new friend!

    Can't wait to see the new do (as one of those seeing numerous pictures on Pinterest ;))

    Am sure you'll have fun, it's very exciting meeting t'internet folk! I went out with one for 6 months once and ended up at the wedding of another! Proper friendships can indeed result, it's fab!


  8. Hope the hair cut went well!

    And did you ever manage to find Earthy? It's up on Causewayside in Newington. I love it!

  9. From another short haired woman - go for it and enjoy it! Picture please when it;s done!

  10. From another introvert to another, I have learnt that I must meet people otherwise I will become even more introverted and that is just not good for you.

    Enjoy your aloneness but relish small bursts of people.

  11. The stuff about being introverted? I could have written that. All of it. Except maybe not as eloquently as you did. I think that one of the wonderful things about the blogosphere is that it really is a safe space to share, and be open, especially for us introverts.

    Also, I'm sure the meeting went wonderfully, and the other person thought that you're awesome. Because you are.


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