Introverts vs Extroverts

Still no Internet in our house, so here is another flash of brilliance from your favorite blogger.

Many people think that introverts are bad at interpersonal communication. This is a silly stereotype. I’m an ultra-introvert who can talk up a storm, can be the life of the party and can handle people better than a bunch of lifelong extroverts. My sister is another introvert who has turned her phenomenal interpersonal skills into a career and is kicking ass at it.

The real difference is that extroverts gain energy from communication with people and introverts lose energy from it.

If you say, “I’m so tired, I need a break. I’m going out with friends”, you are an extrovert.

If you say, “I’m exhausted, I need to rest. I need to be alone for a while”, you are an introvert.

Easy peasy.

Laughing and Crying

There are 2 signs that you will recover from a tragic situation, loss, abuse, etc:

1. If you manage to cry about it.
2. If you manage to laugh about it.

Until you do both these things, you can’t say you have entered the recovery stage. That’s fine, too, because grief takes as long as it needs to take.

When you are experiencing something tragic, it’s a good idea to seek out people who are good at managing the emotions of others, bringing them easily from tears to laughter and back and then back over again.

After Eric died, I started seeking out the few Hispanic people I know in this area and bringing them to my place because Hispanics are so incredibly good at managing the emotions of others. An hour with a Hispanic is like a very intense therapy session.

Russian-speakers are bizarrely bad at compassion and verbalizing anything but anger and blame.

English-speakers are great at compassion. They are kind and will always descend into the depths of your depression with you. The problem is that they don’t know how to come back out of it. I have the best, kindest, most wonderful Anglo friends but after the endless, “This is horrible, you will never get over this, you will never be happy again, your life is over” I started avoiding the subject with them altogether. I felt like I was supposed to console them, and I wasn’t really up to it.

The only exception is my BFF who is an English-speaker yet is an absolute genius at managing people’s emotions. Of course, she has a bunch of degrees in Spanish, and I’m sure it’s not a coincidence she’s so good at getting the Spanish language and the Hispanic culture.

I originally went into Hispanic Studies because I couldn’t process my emotions worth a damn and was mesmerized with people who do it so effortlessly. I’ve made great strides but I’m still too prone to the Iron Lady act, and that’s not good.

As for managing other people’s emotions, I’m quite bad at it. I tend to rationalize and interrogate people with “But what exactly are you feeling and why? Let’s find a cause and remove it and you’ll be as good as new.” And that isn’t extremely helpful to most.

These are just some musings as I wait for my Internet finally to be fixed.

How To Know If a Report on Donbass Is Good

Just to help you guide yourself among a mountain of articles that are appearing on the Donbass Region in Ukraine, here is a little tip:  if the report you are reading doesn’t begin and end with the word “Akhmetov,” what you are reading is a bunch of crap by some idiot who has no idea what is really going on and uses Wikipedia to get informed.

Akhmetov is a crime boss in Donbass who has an “army” of bandits of his own. These bandits have been terorrizing the population of the region for over 18 years. The bandit wars of the 1990s never ended in Donbass. This is why there was never any business or any attempts to develop normal capitalist and democratic functioning in the region.

Akhmetov owns the police and the district attorney’s office. His bandits are the ones who are fighting in this war today against the regular citizens, especially the miners and the factory workers. Akhmetov is waging the war on direct orders from Moscow. He is part of a greater mafia organization and his bosses are other bandits. Right before the current disturbances in Donbass started, Akhmetov traveled to Moscow. After he came back, “pro-Russian uprisings” began.

So if you want to know about Donbass, find out about Akhmetov.

Teaching English

Reader el brought me a link that reminded me of what teaching English to Russian-speakers was like.

English sounds way too expressive and emotional to Russian-speakers who are notorious for their flat intonations and their inward-looking emotional range. I remember how my Mom always seethed whenever she heard my Dad speak English on the phone back in Ukraine.

“Why does he have to become this way? Nobody will take him seriously if he speaks like a clown!” she’d worry. I tried explaining that he had to sound “like a clown” to a Russian-speaker’s ear in order to be understood by an Anglo but she was not persuaded.

“You are trying to tell me that everybody in America does these weird things with their faces when they speak?” she’d ask. “That’s ridiculous.”

By the way, after sixteen years in Canada, my mother still doesn’t speak any but the most basic English.

When I started teaching English to Ukrainians, I had to tell them things like, “Imagine that you are a little kid. Open your mouth wide, make faces at me, make your voice do a sing-song. Try to be as goofy as you can.”

My students were adults and they didn’t appreciate these suggestions.

I also tried teaching my (first) husband to speak the language but every attempt ended with a fight.

“Why do you have to act so fake?” he’d ask. “You become this over-the-top, completely fake person whenever you speak English.”

Learning a language is easy. The very first thing you need to do is become a completely different person.