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Horn Tooting

Are you comfortable talking about yourself with others? Can you share your accomplishments and achievements easily? Do you open up to friends or colleagues about all the things you've done in your life?

Recently I've had several people be surprised by the breadth of experiences I've had. They wonder why I don't share more often about myself, why they don’t know more about my life and me. So of course this has got me pondering this all. Why don't I?

I guess being an introvert is part of it. I'm more likely to listen than to talk. I'm a keen observer, I'll sit and watch people for hours, noticing non-verbal communication patterns, unspoken emotions, fascinated by power dynamics or intimacy levels that often the people expressing them will never think about or ever notice themselves. So that means that I forget to contribute to conversations, because I’m so busy watching them instead. My brain takes it all in instantaneously. There’s no way my mouth could keep up with all the observations I’m making, with all the thoughts and links and feelings that accompany them. Lol.

I’m also a critical thinker. I question everything: why we do what we do, behave the way we behave, treat each other and the planet the way we do, or fear the things we fear. Not everyone engages in life at this depth, and throughout my life I’ve been told I’m too sensitive, too serious, too critical (and also that I can’t take criticism), that I should relax, and that I should lighten up.

So, you can imagine that with messaging like that, one would tend to stop sharing, keep those thoughts to oneself. Which I’ve done for sure.

As I’ve gotten older I can see the problem with that approach though, it keeps people out, it creates barriers to intimacy, and is a veritable petri dish breeding loneliness and isolation. Been there done that.

But it was safer that way, to not invite criticism or judgment, for being the way I am, for being who I am.

Now? I’m much more comfortable with who I am. I’m glad to fly my proverbial freak flag and appreciate my complexity, proudly being who I am.

And yet, old habits and all that.

But I believe in the power of connection. Though not a therapist or mental health professional myself, through my work over the years I became well aware of the importance of connection. It’s the foundation of our mental well-being. When we open up and share about ourselves, offer up our vulnerabilities, confess our weaknesses, and feel safe and confident enough to admit to our challenges, others will feel safe to do the same. It builds upon itself, that sense of connection, increasing exponentially.

I’m still learning how to do this, to share more of myself, to understand that by sharing what I’ve learned, what I know, and what I’ve observed, I give permission for others to do the same. Somewhere though, in keeping myself safe, I internalized that to talk about oneself is to brag, is to be full of oneself, and comes from an inflated ego. Whoa.

So how do you toot your own horn then? That’s my question. That’s what I’m still figuring out.

Here are just a few things about me that I’m still getting comfortable with sharing, they're not even vulnerable things, but they're accomplishments I'm proud of:

  • I spent 5 years living, working, and traveling abroad, over 20 countries, all in my early 20’s. I have a deep appreciation for how other people live and think, and I know that there are so many ways to do this thing we call life. It’s never black and white, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist, no, it's a complex and beautiful kaleidoscope.

  • I have a master’s degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology. My travels and my observation skills found their perfect home in this discipline. The focus of my school also helped me to question the very foundation of anthropology as a discipline, one that’s rooted in colonialism. For a critical thinker who questions everything? Priceless.

  • I have teaching experience in the following: ESL (English as a Second Language), belly dancing, Mandated Reporter Training, and Trauma-Informed practices. Just to name a few. Basically? I’m comfortable in front of a classroom. I know my way around a lesson plan. I know how to pivot when the lesson falls flat. And I discovered my inner extrovert and she knows how to come out and play. Teaching is in my blood apparently, it really doesn't matter the subject.

  • I’ve learned a lot about trauma and resilience, and I facilitated a coalition in our county for five years around those and other related concepts. I spent that time writing articles for the paper, leading trainings, and creating educational materials for our community. My sensitivity and my ability to feel deeply is perfectly aligned to embrace these subjects and embody a compassionate approach towards others. An approach that is so painfully missing from our society on so many levels.

There’s much more I could tell you about! But I guess I share all this to say that I bring so much more to this new life path of mine than I sometimes admit. I’m much more than an artist. My workshops are about so much more than making art, learning about astrology and tarot, or about encouraging creativity. They are a place of healing, compassion, and a safe place to explore the very nature of being human. All in a very safe and compassionate setting.

Like I said, I’m still learning how to share about myself, and this here blog is my attempt to get more comfortable with doing just that.

How about you? Back to the questions at the beginning of this post:

Are you comfortable talking about yourself with others? Can you share your accomplishments and achievements easily? Do you open up to friends or colleagues about all the things you've done in your life?

I’d love to hear from you. Tell me everything you know. Tell me all about yourself!


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