The Fall of Man

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They found him. Gunshot wound to the chest on his birthday. Although, it makes sense, his heart was what hurt the most. His wife passed away four years ago in a car accident. He was the one driving the car… He had sold his house two weeks before he took his life. He wanted to move out of the city and on with his life. But, with no job prospects and no real friends anywhere else, he must have lost all hope. Deep down, we all knew this day would come; we just thought it would have happened shortly after she died, not now.

My uncle Steve is was an introverted, angry man. He didn’t like the outside world. When he met and married my aunt, his second wife, new life was pumped into his veins. He turned himself around, started going to parties, meeting people, and he even thought about having children! He said and did things he, and we, never thought he would do. But, when he accidently hit the other car that caused her death; he also died. The spark she implanted in him was gone; he went back to his old ways, hating the world and everyone in it. Each year that he remained alive, we considered ourselves lucky.

The last time I saw him was the day before his birthday. We were at a family gathering at my grandmothers. It was to celebrate her birthday, as well as his. He retreated to the living room for most of his time there, and when he was in the kitchen, he wouldn’t talk to anyone. All he wanted to do was play with his smart phone. When my grandmother talked to him, he answered her with a strong tongue and boiling anger in his eyes. No one could say or do anything to please him at this point.

I didn’t even bother trying to talk to him for fear that he would lash out at me. In fact, in all the years that we’ve been family, I’ve never said more than a few sentences to him. He wasn’t the type of uncle to show up at your high school play, take you out for ice cream, or make small talk. He was a man who just wanted to be left alone.

Sure, I could cry my heart out, take off of work for a few weeks, and preach to everyone about how you need to, “hold you loved ones close.” But, I can’t. I’ve never loved this man. To me, this isn’t a heartbreaking loss.

In fact, this isn’t a loss at all. My uncle did not die; he’s very much alive. Today he turns another year older…and colder, that is true. And, as I sat near him the other day, not speaking a word, I was reminded of how awful of a person I truly am. I realized in that moment that the man sitting near me is a man I’ve known my whole life; but he’s been nothing but a stranger. I realized that if he died tomorrow, even from suicide, it would not have a major impact on me. Sure, I would feel awful. No one deserves to die, no matter what the cause! And, no one deserves to feel alone. But, to me, it wouldn’t feel like a major loss. I can honestly say that it would hurt more if my dog died than if he passed away.

Four years ago, this was where my family found themselves; on suicide watch for my uncle. It’s awful to admit that someone who is supposed to be such a huge part of your life doesn’t matter to you. Writing those words, “It would hurt more if my dog died than if he passed away” makes me feel like a terrible person, but I know deep down that I’m being true to myself. Although, sometimes, we have to admit that even those people in our lives who are supposed to be family and the closest humans to us, mean zilch. That is why we all must create our own “families.” “Families” that are made up of blood relations, friends, acquaintances, dogs, cats, etc. “Plant your own seeds and grown your own garden because you have the power to choose who you become and who is allowed to influence you along the way.”

Granny Smith – over and out

Networking for Introverts

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Recently, I attended a networking event with my boyfriend to try and get my name out there and hopefully make a few new business connections.

So, how did it go?

It was ok, but mostly awkward. Why?…

Because I’m an introvert, that’s why.

Now, I was very happy that I took my boyfriend along, because otherwise I would have spent the entire evening standing in the corner with my wine glass up to my noise and staring at the ground. Luckily, I was able to break out of my shell and speak with a few people, but it all just felt so..wrong. I continuously felt like I was playing the role of a salesperson, and the product that I was trying to sell was myself.

For the record, I can’t stand salespeople. I’ve never liked them. Even when I was younger and didn’t know what a salesperson was, I still got that uncomfortable feeling every time I was around one.

So, now that we’ve established the fact that I hate salespeople and can’t stand talking about myself…what if you’re in a similar situation? Because I want to continue networking (it’s a must in the business world nowadays), I consulted my friend Google to help me figure out how to become comfortable with networking as an introvert.

Here are three great tips that I found:

1) Prepare in advance for the event: There are many different ways of preparing for an event, but this one is all about self-care. For some, event preparation could mean being more quiet than usual for a few days in advance of event, and also building in a “buffer” of alone time to decompress after the event. If you’re an introvert, this kind of pre- and post-event planning is critical. You must make it a priority to recharge your batteries if you want to avoid burn out.

2) Set a reasonable goal for the event: Another good word here would be an attainable goal. What is “reasonable” for everyone varies, and even seemingly small successes are important. One possible goal could be to stay at the event for an hour. Another goal could be to introduce yourself to three new people (or just one new person if three is too daunting). You can even set goals for after the event, such as contacting the people you introduced yourself to via e-mail. Setting a goal helps you focus on something other than your introversion, and gives you a reason to stretch beyond your comfort zone.

3) Bring a friend: Just knowing someone there already can help you feel more relaxed, and that comes across in your body language and voice. Even better, bring an extroverted friend who’s willing to play “networking wingman” for you and help make introductions on your behalf.

Hope these tips help, fellow introverts!

Granny Smith- Over and Out