Tuesday, March 1

the introvert

I know I've been neglectful of my blog lately, and it's taken me all these weeks to finally truly understand myself (duh!) and why it's been so difficult to come here - why the thought of writing or expressing myself just brings on waves of exhaustion and sadness.

Day in and day out I have a house full of contractors, plumbers, floor layers, the electrician - all or a combo of the above, coming in and out.  Tarps covering the kitchen floor, the stairs, the hallway (which have felled me twice); saws buzzing, hammers pounding, saw dust and plaster dust through out, for well over 6 months now.

I do best alone.  I need time alone, so that I can be fully present and myself when I am with others.  It's something I know about myself; it's one of the main reasons I knew I could never be a mother and chose not to have children.  I could not be a 24/7 presence in another's life.  So after living in a hotel (full of people) for 8 weeks, and being around people daily during radiation treatments for 6½ weeks, I came home to this daily full on assault to my senses - the noise, the smells, the need to engage and communicate, to smile, be patient and communicate through a process that sometimes feels down right tortuous to me.  All of which I know most people would be feeling excited about, and at least grateful - after all it's going to all end as a studio for me!

The problem is, my energy is so depleted, excitement is the last thing I'm feeling.  I know it'll come, eventually, when I'm in the process of using the space, and I have some time to refuel.  Right now, I still find I need to sleep several hours a day - I simply shut down.  I do things like fall asleep on the phone when my husband calls to check in at lunch time - I simply can't control the depth of this fatigue.

Happily, last week was spring break for several workers and they took family vacations, plus we had to wait for some supplies to come in for finishing the floor, so I got nearly the whole week off to myself.  The first couple of days I still slept - a lot, but then images began to return, and a desire to paint, to stay awake all day long!  It was lucky, because I had signed up for a workshop which I was able to attend this past weekend, down at the Center for Book Arts, in NYC.  I will share more on that in the next day or two.

Now, however, it's back to the new normal - workers have returned, and I am practicing patience with a better understanding of myself, acceptance that this is just how I roll, and until the construction zone returns to home zone, I will have less presence here, because I  run out of socializing energy by the time the house is empty again!

We are getting there, slowly, but surely.  The floor is down, tile up, painters will be coming soon, then the built ins and finishing elements and we'll be done.  Should be fast, right?!  yeah...  So far it's been a 3 season project, started in the middle of the summer.  yeah, I'm ready to be done!

If you'd like to test yourself to see where you are on the scale of introvert vs extrovert, you can take a free test here!


  1. It was interesting to me that you talked about having children in your post, because having my kids changed the way I interact with the world. Until then I liked to be around people, but I loved to be by myself. Having kids forced me to improve my social skills. I am looking forward to seeing the completion of your project and all the amazing work you will make in that new space, until then rest and try to find a little space for you. wishing you always good things

  2. Lovely to have you back briefly, I dont much like noise or too many people when I am feeling down, especially builders! but when I am ok I like to have friends around me.

  3. i so understand where you are right now...i've lived through a remodel, and as a fellow introvert, i know how exhausting that is. so glad you had a small reprieve, and may the rest of the construction job go smoothly and quick!

  4. ((( Karin )))

    I'm so with you in this, dear one. I've started a thousand blog posts and finished none in who knows how long. I can barely stand to *look* at my blogs right now ... Similar process, though the excavation, chaos, and rebuilding are an almost completely interior process right now ... My somewhat ratty little home is its old self.

    "One needs a little chaos in order to give birth to a dancing star." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche (I'm paraphrasing; possibly misquoting -- the brain-farts are comin' fast and furious these days ... some of my own chaos-in-birthing!)

    I focus on your painting ... and think, "Blue in Verdance" (or is it "Verdence" ... Even my spelling's off lately) ... As always, Karin, you dive to the core colours and tones of experience in your work ...

    Miss you -- or at least I did 'til today! So glad you could emerge a little. Spring *is* coming ...!


  5. this is a brave post and i hope you have more energy soon. i love your painting - it's very powerful. you are amazing to go through treatment and major house renovation and i hope one day soon they will both make your life much better.

  6. karin, first: this painting is exquisite. the fantastic colors beguile the pain.

    second: honey my friend, i would be reacting just as you are!! you didn't get a f___ break! timing is everything and in retrospect maybe the timing of the renovation was a mis-take!

    funny karin, i just this minute finished a post on renovating my kitchen. i am excited about it, but i know what a mess it will be for several weeks. i can't imagine six months while you are recovering and healing. BLAH! i wish my sympathy were the same as peace and quiet for you. in any case, i hope you can give yourself permission to whine and maybe even cease the comings and goings for a while.

    with love

  7. I just so admire how you do what you have to do and give yourself what you need, Lovely Karin. Brava to you for taking the YOU time that keeps you going !
    Saying prayers to the construction Gods for a quick and wonderful conclusion to this project ! Big big love and bright lights to you, Beautiful One !

  8. Hi Karin, always good to read you. Yes I know about a lot of noise during remodeling our home in San Jose a few years back. We stayed there on and off but while we were there it was noisy. In any event, I hope you are doing well. Your painting with the blues and greens is just incredible. Colorful and yet still a softness aboutit.Your work is always great. I can hardly wait to see your studio when it is complete. Take care and rest and Gods speed.

  9. Take care of you, over and over and over again.

    I remember you daily.


  10. If you felt better all this wouldnt be such a pain but then if all this werent happening you might be bored simple! so whats the answer? grim and bear it! daylight savings time starts Mar 13 and those messy guys will be done sooner than you think! hang in! or like I said months ago come stay with me! its plenty quiet here! ooxx

  11. I have thought of you for the last three days and been too lazy to sit and e-mail.
    Karin, I would have killed them all by now. I would have chased them out with kitchen utensils or my trademark Scythe!
    I am an introvert most of the time. Sometimes I need human company but mostly, I need my creative time ALONE.
    And I made the same decision about children---I'm doing good handling my parakeets 24/7!!! (especially today...a bad birdie day....)
    Hang in there my friend; there is an end to the work in sight. Focus your energy on all the good that space will give you.
    And buy earplugs. ;-)


  12. Karin,

    I think part of it is recovery from the trauma to your body (much less your environment!). I remember that. I affects us in different ways for a long time. I still feel like a different person. Takes a while to understand the new you, that is also still the same you...if that makes sense. Much love xoxo Carrie

  13. so happy to read you, love your painting, take all the time you need out of computer

  14. Someday soon the assault will totally end and the peace and quiet will return the energy to your heart's pursuits. I love this painting...and you are a beautiful blue person. I held your paper gift book you made for me today with hopes I would see your lovely presence on the post today. Affirmations do really work ...you are always with me. Sleep is restorative and a favorable retreat when there are so many intrusive energies in your sanctuary...your home. I am sending you love and hugs. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  15. Like I said elsewhere, no giving yourself a hard time for anything. And certainly not for needing and missing the peace and quiet you need.

    Not to mention the whole recovering from cancer and all those treatments thing.

    Perhaps you can pay them more to work a little harder/faster/have more people working? Don't know if that's feasible or not but if so, I'd be all over it!

    It will be great when it's done but that doesn't mean you have to enjoy or even easily tolerate the disruption!

    But it will be over soon enough, and then you will have even more space to spread out in and revel in the peace. And then hopefully, we'll see even more inspired art!! :)

  16. Frankly, I don't know how you have held up under the strain. After chemo etc you need huge chunks of time to sleep and rest whenever you feel the need to. Like you, I need time alone.... I need the balance so I really have no idea how you have remained as strong as you have.

    It's wonderful to see a blog post here again. I have missed you but fully understand that you don't feel up to regular posts. Hoping ... wishing that the renovations would speed up so that you can have your life back. Lots of love to you Karin.

  17. Your body and soul have been through so much, I pray that you get the time to rest and be at peace. Take care my friend.

  18. Sending you calm. Sending your workers a bit of kick in the pants. Hang in there- It will all be worth it!

  19. sending good peaceful thoughts for you Karin. Love. love.love.

  20. One of the things I admire most about you (there are many) is the fact that the artwork you create comes from such a personal, intimate, emotional place. You put yourself out there with every piece an always move me. I hope you are able to weather this storm of all the construction and give yourself permission to disappear, rest, and recover whenever possible. Just know in the end that there will be the perfectly calm studio waiting for you each and every day.

  21. I hear you, Karin. I too, feel totally overwhelmed if I don't get my 'alone time.' And you have a lot to feel overwhelmed about, so there's no need to worry about us... We'll be here, whenever you're ready.
    The painting is lovely, so emotionally expressive. Take care of you, we love you!

  22. Hey K
    You are in my heart and on my mind every day.

    Your painting: stunning
    Your voice: eloquent
    Your soul: feeds the world

  23. Oh my goodness Karin. Whenever I meet another introvert I feel overjoyed and affirmed--another soul in the world who has to work at the behest of her need for rest (and more rest) and alone time (and more alone time!) I sympathize with your long hotel stay. While you know in your mind it will be over, it's hard for the heart to get it. It also sounds, though, as if you are learning create refuges in the present that can protect you until the work is complete. With the help of these refuges you can go on and continue to create the marvelous work that you do. Blessings on you:)

  24. Beautiful words to accompany your soulful and colorful artwork. That in itself is a blessing. Having a new studio space that oneday will be quiet and all YOURS- is another blessing. And reaching out just to say that you're still here is a blessing for us! Take your time, your quiet, your space, your own creativity- and when you are ready- it will all flow! Always thinking of you! hugs

  25. How deep is her sorrow! A woman in blue cries for the cruelities in life, for the loneliness, for the purposeleness, for the useless. Has God died? Is the green gorgeous nature our only left answer? Her tears are a sin of blood that makes a river of death.

  26. I really sympathize with you! I'm an introvert much of the time and need time alone to replenish. I think too, that I can have too much time on the computer, indoors, around people etc and not enough time in simple, beautiful nature which I find is what I need more of in my life. Your pictures have a lot of green/natural leaves - I wish you the healing time and space you need and hope the Spring brings renewal all round,

  27. Karin, I guess you could say I've been living a bit of an introverted life lately too...I didn't even realize you had POSTED!!!! This all makes complete sense to me...the need for silence, for sanctuary in your own space in order to create. Your blue figure could easily be me.

    Rest as well as you can sweet friend...because clearly when you do, your artist soul blossoms. I hope they really will be done soon, so you can fully return to the life you love...in your beautiful studio sanctuary.

  28. Love is always present. You need nothing to experience happiness. Many things arise and they are the icing on the cake you already have. In fact, you are the cake. I continue to refer friends to your gorgeous website. Tashi loves his organic Zen yoga clothes and can bite his sock shoes off. Imagine the flexibility of putting toes from both feet into your mouth at the same time! Love, energy and blessings 2u!

  29. nice to see your post love and the image touches my heart, it will all be over soon enough... big hugs to you! dear one.

  30. I am introvert (Myers-Briggs INTP) and I totally understand. Luckily I can be "alone" in a crowd of strangers. I don't think you can change this about yourself--you have a right, an obligation even, to be you.
    The link below is to a good article about why lack of solitude can be draining for anyone but I think it helps to clarify our even greater need.

    Best wishes

  31. I can only imagine that children would have changed me in many ways, too, deb - and hopefully positively :) We are finally at the stage of painting the studio!!! It begins tomorrow morning - deep sigh! thank you for all your good wishes. xox

    thank you Penny. Yeah, I agree, builders are lowest on the list of chosen company!! and I love my friends, I just need much more alone time than not, to replenish myself after this past year.

    Hi Stacy, thanks for your understanding. Yes, things feel like they are picking up and smoothing out!! and with spring in the air, hope feels alive!

    Hi Jaliya, big hugs to you, too my dear friend. Thank you for sharing my painting and blog on yours. Nice quote - but isn't there a point where one has enough, or maybe too much chaos?!? because I feel like I've had more than my fill - i'm ready for that dancing star time :)
    My windows are open to some cool sunny first day of spring air. xoxox k

    thank you Kate. The spring sunshine does seem to be helping to bring some new energy to my blood :) best to you.

    hi kj, yeah, we were definitely misled on the reno timing. promised it would be done when i returned from treatment - only to have painting done when i got home. so much for that! we started the planning process a year before, so it should have been okay - it's now been 15 months since we started the plans, 9 in construction... but once started it's not the kind of thing you can just stop, so onward ho!! love to you, k

    thank you Kim!!, hugs and love, xoxox k

    Hi Gloria, many thanks. At least it's quiet work happening now! Grouting and painting - relatively soon it will be peaceful...

    many thanks wild magnolia, truly. ♥

    grim and bear it indeed! no, i would never be bored lyle - that is one thing i don't get! xo

    Ha!! Thanks Anne! I haven't done any utensil chasing, but there have been some verbal reamings that motivate for a few days at least...
    I turn on my sound machine during the day sometimes - sounds of waves, or low rumbling thunder and gentle rain. it doesn't erase the hammering, but gives me something better to focus on!
    My bird vet used to call grey cheek parakeets (which was what we had at the time) "black holes of affection!" - so I know they are a handful!! hope you're having a 'good' bird day! xox K

    Yes, I agree Carrie. Thank you for the reminder and acknowledgement through your own experience. Blessings and love to you!

    thank you Valerie!! xo

    Hi Mary Helen, yes - soon peace will reign again. Then inspiration, energy and creativity can begin again... I am so looking forward to that!! big hugs and love, K

  32. Hi Svasti, yeah, it sounds good in theory to pay them more to work faster - but they have moved on to other jobs and actually are only sending one guy to our place now because bigger jobs have come along and they were supposed to be done here... it's not all their fault that they aren't done - supplies coming late, roofer screw ups, lighting delays, etc. Bottom line is it is what it is and I gotta deal with it as calmly as possible! and blow off steam when needed :) Here's hoping that "inspired art" comes sooner than later! xox

    Hi Robyn, thanks for your compassion and love. It means a lot to me! love to you, Karin

    Thank you Jackie, what you say is true and all I need to remember and I am very fortunate to have the time to do what is needed. xoxo k

    thanks Teri! i'll keep the faith :)

    xoxoxoxoxoxox to you whitney!!

    Your words mean a lot to me Seth - I really appreciate this message. You are exactly right - I just need to surrender and give myself permission to take some time off... thanks, xo

    thank you for the support and understanding Sharmon - I love all of you, too!!

    Thanks Exchange server :)

    And you are in mine Donna, always. Thank you for your words - they stay with me and help keep me going. much love, K

    Yes, you are right Hannah - I have learned how to create some refuges, with very thick walls to retreat behind!! Glad to know a kindred introvert :) xxoo

    yes, there are many blessings to be remembered and acknowledged Jill, thank you for doing that! blessings and hugs to you!!

    Oh Maria, it's not all so horrible and lost! while there is much to cry over in this world of natural and man led tragedy, there is still a great deal to celebrate, too. between nature and the creative spirit of open hearts much can be healed!!

    Yes - that is very true for me, too Alexi, and this has been such a loooong winter! Spring will help make a big difference :) thank you for your message! xox

    thank you Laura, yes - I can see you in her, too. Quiet, soothing healing to you, xoxox k

    thank you Liara! I love imagining a mouth full of toes - I can't stop smiling at that!! love to you and Tashi! xox

    yes, soon cat, soon - thank you :) xoxox

    Thanks for the article Anon. It's refreshing to read support for what feels natural to me, and gives another point of view to all the usual stuff out there! Very refreshing.

    Thank you all for your continued support and presence here and in my life. I'm not SO much of an introvert that I don't miss you all when I'm away!! love and gratitude to you all. xoxox Karin

  33. Hi dear Karinn,

    first of all, your painting is beautiful! I love the greens and blue in it, very bright, intense colors in this painting.

    Second: i so can relate to you about the alone time. If i didn't have kids (and i am happy with them, they changed my life) i would be a hermit i think. With kids in the house there's always rumour, but after a few very busy days, with kids all over the place lol, my boys understand that mom needs a break and some time for herself. I'm never far away....

    Lately i had a very introvert period, i wanna communicate with friends, family, blogfriends, but i couldn't find the words somehow. So i kept silent.

    Dear karin, take all the time you need, i won't go anywhere, checking your blog at times. You're not far away either, çause you're in my heart and thoughts.

    Sweet greetz to you!

  34. I completely relate. xox

    I scored 22 introversion.

  35. I know this comment is late but having just discovered you that cannot be helped. Your words have moved me and made me see myself a little more clearly. I am sure there are many that feel this need for solitude just as strongly, myself included. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings and most especially your art!
    Hugs from a displaced New Yorker,
    Beth P


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