Smiling Inside

I’ve been learning a lot about myself lately. It’s amazing what you can learn when someone is suddenly paying attention and challenging your ways.

Last week I blogged about happiness and hope.

Happiness is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately…mostly because I have been happy.

A few years ago I went to a comedy club with some friends. When we left one of them asked if I had fun. I said that the comedian was pretty funny.

“But you didn’t even laugh.”

It dawned on me that I’m not very good at showing that type of emotion. I could really find something to be funny, but I would laugh inside.

Just like if I saw something worth smiling, I would just smile inside.

I didn’t have that physical release.


I think it could be that to show that emotion would be to open myself up too much. I like my masks.

They keep me safe.

Whether I have my earbuds in with no music; pretend talking on the phone; wearing sunglasses on cloudy days; or sarcasm, I use them all.

I’m good at deflecting a conversation to something else.

But that has been changing.

I have found someone where I want to laugh out loud.

I smile all the time – with my mouth.

When I say I’m happy, I’m not deflecting to avoid the truth.

She tells me almost every day that I deserve to be loved.

I’ve had a difficult time accepting that; but really, don’t we all deserve it?

Don’t we all deserve to be so happy that we can actually show it?

Right now I will smile for real just by reading a text. I even “lol”. Sometimes there may even be a snort mixed in there.

That release has been good for me.

Good for my soul.

I’m not coming out of my shell; I’m just enjoying the turtle life more.

Those darn shells we are supposed to come out of


“You need to live a little and come out of your shell.”

Have you heard that one? Of course you have.

We all have shells, not just us introverts. One of my hippy extrovert wife’s shells is to be with a group of people out in public doing stuff. She’s weird though.

We can’t come out of our shell any more than a turtle can survive without one. It’s our DNA. It’s our wiring.

It’s our protection.

It’s our comfort.

Our shells can be as different as a snowflake. For you, they may be sunglasses or headphones. For someone else it might be their smartphone or tablet. Most of us have multiple shells depending on the situation.

A few years ago I was at a conference down in San Antonio. Being from Montana, I have no issue walking around by myself at night, but I have to admit, I was a little nervous when I was there. Or should I say uncomfortable.

So out came my cell phone. I wasn’t on the phone with anyone, but I was having a conversation on it nonetheless. In fact, I was able to solve some issues back home with that conversation. Ok, I still had to deal with them but if anyone heard me talking they would have assumed I was really doing some good work on the phone.

No one asked me for anything as I walked through the crowds.

Another one of my shells is the official Taker of Pictures and Video. Those of us that don’t like having our pictures taken can relate to being on the other side of the camera lens. It can be a little empowering.

I also have another shell that may not be thought about too often. That is a microphone. You see, I tend to do a lot of public speaking. That’s one reason that people would not guess that I am an introvert. When I am on stage, in front of a group, talking about what I know about, I am fine. I am not vulnerable. I can anticipate what questions may be asked. I am in control. I am prepared.

But don’t expect the same person at a party afterwards…unless I am talking about the same things I talked about on stage.

Now I am vulnerable, naked.

I tend to hang on to an extrovert that can deflect to themselves. If that doesn’t work, I stuff my mouth full of food. I can eat that same piece of food for 20 minutes if I need to. One hour at a party is usually much more exhausting that speaking on stage for three hours.


So why would I want to “Come out of my shell?” I can’t be the only person who thinks that if I were to go to prison I would prefer solitary confinement over the general population. And not just because of that whole soap thingy either.

Anyway, what are some of your shells that keep you sane? Shoot me a message and I promise I won’t call attention to you.

Seriously…I promise.

~The Professional Introvert