An Introvert’s Struggle

IntrovertThis post is a result of a writing exercise I completed in order to tackle my feelings about the struggle of being an introvert who wishes to overcome her social anxiety.

She glanced at the clock in her car. She had arrived at the venue the group had suggested but she was at least 25 minutes early. She didn’t want to go in yet. She didn’t want to be the first one there. What would she do once she entered the lounge bar to find that no one had yet arrived? No, she would feel too uncomfortable, too awkward. She didn’t want anyone who was already in there to think that she was meeting a group of people she met only in the virtual world of online meetups. She was sure they’d judge her. She wanted to avoid any awkward situation so she stayed in her car, watching the clock get closer to the time in which she was supposed to meet the group.

The group consisted of men and women between the ages of 30 and 40 who were looking to meet that “special person” to share their lives with. She knew she needed this group. Her purpose was twofold. She needed this group not only to help her find a significant other so that her pain of loneliness could finally be defeated. But she also needed it to help her face her fear of being in social situations. However, her fear currently overpowered her; it consumed her every thought.
As she pulled her key from the ignition, she thought about sending a text to the group’s organizer, telling him she had an emergency and could not make it in. She sighed. What is the big deal? she asked herself. You are not a child. Just go in there, smile, and be pleasant.
She took her seat belt off, opened her car door and stepped out, closing and locking the door as she looked over her surroundings. Locating the lounge bar across the street, she took in a deep breath and bravely took her steps towards it.

The windows were dark as she approached; she could not see who, if any, had already arrived. As she stepped inside, she looked around the lounge to find scattered groups of people conversing and greeting each other. She recalled the instructions on the website: look for the black and white balloons. She glanced around again, her heart pounding, her mouth dry. Everything inside her told her that it was ok if she just turned around and went home. She conveniently gave herself permission to miss this event, lying to herself that she didn’t need a group like this. She fought back. Just say hello, she thought. But then what? What else would she say? Would she have anything interesting to talk about? Would she say something stupid? Trip over her words? What if she couldn’t contribute to the discussions? What if she interrupted a private conversation? What if? What if? What if?

She spotted the black and white balloons, took in a deep breath and slowly walked towards the group that had already gathered there. She found her target: a man and two women engaged in conversation. As she approached them, all kinds of scary thoughts invaded her mind. She felt the vibrations of her body with each step she took. She felt the fear within every fiber of her being. But she did it anyway.
“Hello,” she said to the small group. “My name is Cathy.”

YOUR-STRUGGLE-IS-PART-OF-YOUR-STORY

The Rhythm

The weekend is when most look forward to unwinding and stepping out, enjoying themselves either through gatherings with friends or dancing at a club or lounge. The setting of the following poem is a club. I just had so much fun writing it and I can picture two people just really letting loose and having such a good time.  And you may even notice some hints of a possible blossoming love– staying positive and hopeful! I hope you all enjoy!

“The Rhythm”

I’m swinging
I’m shaking
To the rhythm
I’m swaying
And my body is saying :
“Dance, girl. Dance!”

I’m scoping
I’m hoping
That he sees me
All soaking
Yes! It’s me he’s approaching:
“Dance, girl. Dance!”

I’m coming
I’m moving
To the rhythm
I’m loosing
And my body’s grooving!
”Dance, girl. Dance!”

He’s dancing
I’m prancing
To the rhythm
It’s enhancing
And the crowd’s now panting:
“Dance on! Dance!”

© 1998  by Marie-Catheline Jean-François

Fear of Rejection

My younger days were filled with crushes on guys I never revealed my feelings to. Every time I read this poem, I read it with the desperate passion I felt when I wrote it. And when I wrote it, my inspiration was the painful feeling of experiencing unrequited love simply because I was never brave enough to let my feelings known.
I hope you enjoy…

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Fear of Rejection
© 2002 by Marie-Catheline Jean-François

I know what it’s like to love
With a sincere heart
And innocent intentions.
I know what it’s like to love
With the unbearable fear
Of continuous rejection.

But every time I’m around him
My body becomes tense
I put up my defense
It just makes no kind of sense.
I tremble inside
In him I can’t confide
But my feelings I cannot hide.
In his presence
My heart pounds through my chest
My strength is put to the test
I have no time for rest-
Shall I say
I don’t have it in me
For he occupies my mind
Each day I find
That he is always on my mind.
Oh! The agony of knowing that
He’ll always be my king
And though he makes my heart sing
I dare not say a thing
For fear of rejection
Is my only objection
To this cruel obsession
That I have.
A vicious cycle of fright-
I hold my feelings in tight,
Cautious of love’s bitter bite.
And while I choose to live
In Love’s burning torment
I shall leave you
With one final comment:
He will never know how I feel.
Though my feelings are real
I need a chance to heal
From the knowledge that
He will never feel the same
And thinking of the pain
Will only drive me insane.
Because
With one look in his eye
He can tell me no lie
And before he makes me cry
I know it’s time I’ve said
Goodbye.

Once again, I’ve loved
With a sincere heart
And innocent intentions.
But what has kept me
From actually loving him
Is my fear
Of a painful rejection.

The Martinis Made Me Do It…

The following is an excerpt from my unpublished novel The Box. Here, Mia Hill, my main character has just had some drinks with Tyrese Black, an artist she has quickly fallen for– despite her long-time relationship with her boyfriend Derek Jones.
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The martinis made me do it. Alcohol loosens me up and helps me become a pleasant person. That was why I told Tyrese all that I did. But there was also something about him that made me open up to him so easily. What was it? I loved the time I spent with him that night at the lounge bar; I hadn’t had that much fun since college. He made me laugh and I loved myself when I was laughing. I longed to forever be in Tyrese’s presence, just for the fact alone that he made me laugh. I was deeply attracted to him; I felt a powerful connection between us, and I was comfortable with him. He brought out the best in me and I liked that.

The thoughts I had of him resided not on our conversation at the bar but on what he said as he stood outside my apartment door. He had wanted to make sure I got home okay and having already had feelings for him, I was more than willing to accept his kindness. As I stumbled out of his car, he quickly got out and ran to my side to keep me from falling onto the ground. I was only a bit tipsy so I knew I wouldn’t fall but I loved having him there to give me that kind of protection. He took the elevator with me and walked me to my door, all the while keeping his arm around my waist to keep me steady. And just after I opened the door with my key, I turned and said to him, “I had a good time tonight, Tyrese. Thank you for the drinks.”

“Always,” he answered. That was it. He didn’t say, You’re welcome, or Anytime, or No problem. Instead, he said, “Always.” And he said it with a conviction that meant everything he did not say in response to my thank you. I knew then that my physical attraction to him and his to me had reached a higher level.

He smiled and stared deeply into my eyes as if he was not afraid of what he might find there. I couldn’t resist him any longer. I reached over, placing my hand behind his neck and pulling his body closer to mine. I kissed him with urgency, recalling the day I first met him and how much I had wanted him then. He returned my kiss violently, moving his hands down to my ass. Our bodies were leaned up against each other with an uninhibited passion. I felt his dick harden as it rubbed against me and I loved the feeling. My heart pounded as his mouth moved down to my neck.

Derek.

How he came to my mind at the moment of excitement with another man was beyond me. Out of guilt, I quickly pushed Tyrese away from me and said, “I really do have a boyfriend.”

We were both breathing heavily and in between breaths, Tyrese answered, “I believed you then and I believe you now.”

And then we attacked each other. It was such an unbelievably glorious moment that I did not care about anything else but fucking him. And I did. I would have loved to remember the raw details of my sexual act with Tyrese. As it was, I had, in fact, not had dinner when Tyrese asked earlier that night, but lied in order to prevent an awkward situation a formal dinner can so often create. So, being without any food in my stomach, the three martinis that I did consume traveled easily through my system, altering my perception, making me daring and triggering a slight memory block.

As it was, I could not recall all of the details, but I did remember what was important. The act itself was actually fuzzy to me but I do know that I enjoyed him immensely. There was no bed involved; the carpeted living room floor served its purpose well. I recalled being on top of him, looking down at his beautiful face as his hands caressed my lower back. My memory would also have me remember him getting behind me and placing his hands on my back. His hands were soft against my skin and it made me feel delicate, as a woman ought to feel. I remembered him gently cupping my breasts as he rocked me and had never before felt so aroused by that alone. My breasts missed the soft touch of a man who was unfamiliar with them. Tyrese explored my body as he enjoyed me, something Derek had not done in years. We laughed together, especially when a leg cramp threatened my performance. But Tyrese did not let my cramp keep him from enjoying our moment. He gently massaged my leg as he kept with his rhythm.

I had fun with Tyrese that night and realized how important that was for me. Sex with Derek had become mundane, an act of duty. I had forgotten how remarkable sex itself could be. Tyrese woke up inside of me the sexual person that I long thought was dead, and in doing so, awakened in me so severe a sensation that mere words could not begin to describe the explosion I felt within my body, forcing me to scream out his name louder than I’d wished to. And the knowledge that Derek had a key to my apartment and could walk in on us at any moment heightened my excitement. It was absolutely, deliciously perverse. And I’ll say it again: the martinis made me do it.

Copyright (c) 2005 by Marie-Catheline Jean-Francois