Random question: You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why? I love this question! So if you had asked me this a year ago I more than likely would have said black however after a year of healing with colour I would have to say Yellow. To me the colour symbolises sunshine (real and metaphorically), hope and positivity which are areas that are important to my mental well-being. I would be a bright yellow called ‘Aurora’ as yellow also makes me think of dawn and if you can start your morning off with a glimmer of sunshine (no matter the weather) then you are off to a good start.
Are you a bold introvert? I used to be a ‘closet’ introvert, and by that I mean one who tried to hide it even when it was detrimental to my mental health – now I no longer feel it’s something to be ashamed of or shouldn’t be discussed in fact I’m proud of it! Obviously not one definition is going to cover everyone’s personality as we are all different but seeing that there were others like me who understood the feelings that come with being bold yet introverted felt like a huge relief – it sounds like a contradiction, but it really isn’t. Knowing that you don’t have to be just an ‘extrovert’ or just an ‘introvert’ gave me an overwhelming sense of relief as I possess personality traits from both spectrums – depending on the situation of course and at times over the years have struggled with both sides.
For example when I used to hear the world bold I would automatically associate the terms ‘extrovert, outgoing, socially loud’, I would think of people who could fill a room with their presence, give speeches without stuttering and coming out in hives, the kind of people that just wouldn’t get anxiety if they had to go and spend time with strangers – you get my drift. However, the older I’ve got and the more experiences I’ve gone through that expression for me now symbolises ‘confidence in yourself, embracing your individuality, passions, ambitions and being fearless in your decisions’ so yes I would absolutely describe myself as a bold introvert.
Have you always been one? To be honest it has gotten worse the older I’ve become but I was always slightly introverted growing up, however I had the ability to adapt to my surroundings to try and fit in with whatever company I was keeping at the time. Even though I always grabbed at opportunities that came my way and was quite ballsy in decisions I made I was still floundering. I didn’t take the time to get to know myself and when you throw in a few life changing experiences it just adds more obstacles to overcome so I always had something else to deal with – never mind looking within and seeing what was right for my mental health. I have always felt the need to recharge and to just be alone but I didn’t feel that I would be understood if I was 100% open about how I truly felt, I know people who didn’t know me would often think I was being aloof or cold – but no I was struggling. I also have traits of an empath so certain social situations can be utterly exhausting – I find it entwines with my introversion and no one mould fits all.
I suppose I’ve always been quirky but the turning point for me was having my son 8 years ago. I was able to step back and focus on this incredible little human and I knew I never wanted him to grow up and feel he ever had to hide a part of his personality to try and ‘fit in’ with what society portrays as the norm. It was during that period that my perspective to life changed and I started to really tune in and listen to how I felt about things and as a Mother I recognised I had to lead by example. It’s taken me a very long time to finally feel comfortable within myself and when I discovered the attribute ‘social/bold introvert’ it all finally clicked for me.
I’m not into stereotypes and have always believed that you should embrace who you are no matter what and stay true to yourself, but it’s literally taken me turning 38 years old to be able to say that I now firmly practice what I preach. I now embrace my introverted side – the side that prefers to stay at home with my family and cats whilst remaining bold whether that be through my fashion choices or my willingness to challenge and face my fears every day. It’s important to my mental health to be able to finally speak about being an introvert and I’m sure there are some people out there that wouldn’t describe me as one at all as I’m very good at being private, not letting people in and seeing the real me so to speak. Embracing all sides of me means I no longer feel I must ‘fit in’ as I fit in just fine in my own world and I no longer allow others to make me feel uncomfortable if I say no to something that would have a detrimental affect on my mind – like saying yes to a party full of strangers. That’s just not who I am anymore – don’t get me wrong I love socialising with my friends and family that I don’t need to be anyone but myself around, but I also love spending time on my own to process things.
Although I love my privacy I’m a lot more open these days as there’s still too much stigma surrounding mental health. After years of mentally battling just being able to say aloud ‘I’m a social introvert’ feels like I’m finally winning! I wouldn’t be here now if others hadn’t opened up first, this is a subject very close to my heart and I find solace and empowerment in us sharing our experiences.
What do you do? After 7 years of isolating myself in a job that wasn’t fulfilling I launched Colour Your Life Club in January this year. After a tough 18 months it meant re-assessing my priorities and I wanted to give something back whilst being able to spend more time with my family, especially my husband and son. I yearned to get back in touch with my creative side and I can’t tell you how wonderful this journey has been so far! I design and sell colourful handmade badges, pins, mugs, greeting cards and postcards all designed to make people smile whilst spreading some joy and positivity. If I can brighten someone’s day just a little with my happy mail then my job is done. I will always try and send out a surprise pick me up pack if I can see a friend is going through a tough time and I love being able to do that. I work by myself which suits me just fine but I have also found an outstanding tribe online that are so supportive, understanding and the community over competition vibe has renewed my faith in humanity.
What are you most proud of? This is a tough question! Apart from my wonderful son there are many things I’ve been proud of throughout my life but the main one is that I’m still here, still living each day full of gratitude. I adore life and I’m very aware at how fragile it is but I’m also more self-aware these days knowing that self-care is a must – just recognising that makes me proud. I’m pleased that I haven’t let certain life experiences warp me, I’m proud of being a fighter, a survivor and for having the outlook on life that I do. Each day is a gift and I’m grateful for still being here to enjoy it.
Do you feel that your personality trait has helped you achieve your goals? Yes definitely! The bold part of my personality is the go-getter, the perfectionist who sets the goals, the one striving to achieve with no-one able to put more pressure on me than I do myself however this can sometimes be a battle with the introverted side of myself as I can find change daunting and anxiety inducing. I find it hard to give my all to something I’m not passionate about so everything I do has to come from within or I can quickly get extremely bored and depressed – a different battle altogether but one I have found has abated with my new creative venture, creativity certainly helps my mental health. As I strive to give 100% to anything I set my mind to it can inevitably lead to having to step outside of my comfort zone – that’s when I end up repeating the mantra ‘Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway!’. I like to challenge myself and put myself in situations that can help me grow as an individual as I can see how easy it would be for me to completely shut myself off from society and that’s a slippery slope that I don’t want to go down. So yes being a bold introvert has enabled me professionally and personally ‘to live out my dreams’ very well so far.
What advice do you have for introverts that are worried about chasing their dreams? I’m a huge advocate for following those dreams and it may be a cliché but its true – life is short! As overwhelming as it can be for any of us introverts to step out of our comfort zones just take it day by day, don’t set huge overwhelming targets but set mini achievable ones instead so confidence in yourself can be gained along the way – sometimes it could be to just get dressed that day and do you know what – that’s ok! We are all are more than capable of grabbing our dreams by the hands and it just takes some self-belief. We must have faith in our abilities and go for it, who knows what doors can open when we try – there’s no such thing as failure as we are learning so let’s not be afraid to fall.
I think my best advice would be this – if you feel that you don’t ‘fit in’ then try to create somewhere where you feel comfortable being and live your life knowing that you’re giving it your best shot. There are no rules, just be you, embrace every part of your personality, be kind to yourself and others – never let anyone dampen your inner spirit or allow your personality to be overshadowed by someone determined to keep you in the dark. Don’t measure yourself against others successes – we all have our own versions of what that looks like and remember nobody cares as much as we think they do. Stay focused on your dreams and reach for those stars! They are yours for the taking.
Carli is a 38 year old mother, wife, daughter, small business owner and Bold Introvert. She runs Colour Your Life Club and wants to help others heal with colour whilst spreading some joy and happiness to anyone who needs a ‘pick me up’.