“Soppy” by Philippa Rice

This panel from Philippa Rice’s mini comic Soppy was recently posted on Susan Cain’s “QUIET: The Power of Introverts” communal Pinterest board. “Introvert bonding time!” the poster said. It’s sweet. Even “dangerously sweet,” as the website It’s Nice That put it. (“It will get you. You will be won over by the charm, the illustrations, the painfully lovely relationship that plays out in front of you where boyfriends kiss girlfriends’ heads, order them pizzas, make them cups of tea, fall asleep on top of them on the sofa, and yet still refuse to bake them biscuits.”)

soppy philippa rice introvert

Being alone, together. 

The original 16-page Soppy is currently sold out but should be available again soon in Rice’s online shop, alongside prints of certain Soppy panels (though not the one above). The likewise 16-page mini comic Soppy 2 is still in stock and going for £4.

The 7 Questions That Tell You Who You Are

Now that’s a list of questions tailor-made for deeply introspective types! I may have to use some of them as journal prompts.

Thought Catalog

Many of the answers we’re seeking are answers we already have. We just don’t know how to access them. Understanding who you are isn’t something you stumble upon one day. It’s embedded within you; you just have to be vulnerable long enough to uncover it. Your everyday actions are shouting what you may not be conscious of.

1. What would you do with your life if you didn’t have to pay the bills? If money weren’t an issue, what would you do with your days? Would you write? Read? Sing? Whatever it is, you have to do that thing. Money is an interesting phenomenon that completely controls our everyday lives without having any purpose other than sustainability in the form of purchasing from others what we could produce and create right in our own backyards. Consider that when you’re deciding between a soulless job that will make you rich versus…

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Luchie’s “Introversion” comic

In my 20s I used to beat myself up for not being more “like other people” who liked to party and go clubbing and were masters at chatting people up and making friends—in other words, like extroverts. To this day I never fully realize what a relief it is to find validation of my experience as a reserved, deeply introverted person until I see it expressed by other people, in books or art or some other medium. That’s why I like the excerpts below from the comic “Introversion” by Luchie, who lives in Brussels, Belgium (comics capital of the world!). No matter how introverts like me may crave solitude, we still want to feel a connection that lets us we are not alone.

luchie - introversionluchie - introvert's day 2

Luchie printed a limited run of her “Introversion” comic in booklet form that launched today and quickly sold out! She’s planning another run shortly. In the meantime, you can also buy her Society6 print modified from the panels above.

The Difference Between Alone And Lonely

One of the reasons I like the Facebook fanpage Social Introverts (recommended by Quiet author Susan Cain) is that it introduces me to thoughtful reads like this. To me, “lonely” is also feeling that people don’t really get the sometime need to be “alone.” || HuffPo just published Michele Willens’s piece called “Alone Need Not Mean Lonely,” which you may also be able to relate to: “I always say that if you like to read, and are interested in other people—especially those who haven’t heard all your stories or whose stories you haven’t heard countless times—you can never be bored … I would argue that those who are secure in their own lives, and not actively seeking companionship, find this more doable.”

Thought Catalog

Alone is calm. It’s being somewhere with nothing other than your own thoughts, able to hear the things that you often intentionally block out with meaningless conversations and loud music and well-attended parties. Alone is listening to the things you have to say to yourself, giving time to the more important reflections that you often allow to settle in the back of your mind like a fine dust swept under a rug.

Lonely is talking to yourself to the point that you are sick of your own voice inside your head, the nails-on-a-chalkboard sound of your own echo chamber — your thoughts and your thoughts alone, reaffirming themselves over and over until almost nothing has any meaning left. It is wanting a sounding board for all of the things you’ve discovered on your own, the things you want to confirm with the comforting reality of hearing another human being speak…

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Are You a Handwriter or a Typer?

Haha, that’s a doozy of an opener! But I can identify with this. I like handwriting and typing for different reasons—the latter when I have a lot on my mind to sort through, a lot that I just want to get down on paper (or Word, as it were) and organize, and the former when I want to ponder life a bit. When I write a letter by hand, I find my thoughts slowing down to a pace where my pen can more or less keep up.

boy with a hat

Typing

Handwriting is like making love; typing, like having sex. It’s essentially the same enjoyable activity, but the approach is slightly different.

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Treat yo’self

I could feel the flush creeping up my neck. I knew what was coming next.

“So who are you having dinner with?” my coworker J asked.

It was my birthday, and a Tuesday. My plan was to check out the S.F. restaurant flour+water after work; I’d never been there before and heard the waits were legendary. But I figured if I waltzed in there solo, early on a weekday, I’d stand a better chance of enjoying a quiet, fabulous dinner.

Midweek birthdays always feel a little awkward, and this year I didn’t want to make a big deal out it. On flanking weekends I was getting together with family and friends to celebrate anyway—but I didn’t want to go home the night of and treat it like any other day.

At the same time, I hesitated to tell anyone else what my plans were. I actually like to go out by myself (to nice restaurants, the symphony, museums, whatever) and do just exactly what I want to do, having these little adventures. I’ve never wanted to miss out on something just because I didn’t have a companion immediately available to join me in it. Still, even though I know I shouldn’t care, there was the nagging fear of being judged a loser, a poor soul who couldn’t find anybody to have dinner with on her birthday.

Why should I be ashamed of wanting to treat myself well to a nice meal, though? So I decided to out with it, despite the hot flush in my cheeks. “Oh, I’m just gonna have dinner by myself,” I replied (hopefully nonchalantly and chin up).

To my surprise, J was matter-of-fact cool about it. Although she and her husband liked to have dinner parties and socialize with other couples, she said, her husband liked to have dinner on his own every now and then too, just to be on his own for a bit. Then another coworker, L, chimed in. “Recently I took a motorcycle trip by myself up the coast and had a great time,” she said. “I could just do my own thing and stop wherever I wanted and not have to worry about anyone else.”

“Yeah,” I said, “I guess I just worry too much about what other people will think.”

“They’ll probably look at you with envy and wish they were brave enough to do the same thing,” she replied.

I liked that way of looking at it. :)

Anyway, I did end up snagging a seat at flour+water (after barely five minutes) and decided to go all in on the pasta tasting menu with a glass of wine. Just sat at the bar and people-watched and lingered over my food, every bite of which I savored. Among the dishes:

Campanelle with pork belly, leeks, squash & their blossoms

Salumi fattisu with pickled mustard seeds & fennel (my fave)

Cacao tajarin with brown butter braised giblets, eggplant & nettles (so rich)

After being seated, I couldn’t resist the urge to check my iPhone from time to time, but otherwise I pretty much just perched on my barstool, sipped my wine, and watched the action swirl around me.

(meme via Joanna Goddard and Breanne Brown)