Monday, February 16, 2015

how blogging brought me out of my shell

woah, woah, woah, right? blogging is what brought you out of your shell? no way. that doesn't even make sense, meredith. especially when you actually wrote a post about being introverted and how you think bloggers have a tendency to be introverted as well. so how did that thing, that y'know, introverted people do, give you some social chops?

you want the truth? i'm still trying to figure the whole story of how blogging changed my social landscape. before i go on, keep in mind i am an introverted, passionate over-thinker true and true - so yes, i'm going to write about this, but i guarantee you're sitting here reading a highly condensed version that i cut the rhetorical questions out of. i'm going to tell you what i do know.

i do know that years ago, i struggled with social anxiety. 

and i still do sometimes, but not nearly like it was before. i had issues going to the store alone. i had issues initiating conversations. i've always had friends - fellow introverted folks, usually. but the social interactions with people i didn't know that well really, really got me. the funny thing is, i hadn't been that way at all up until my junior year of highschool, and then out of nowhere, bam, social anxiety. i went to a therapist. i worked it out and went off to college. i figured i was a-ok.

little did i know there was so much more growth to be done.

despite feeling confident in who i was and what i was about, i didn't realize just how much more confident i was capable of feeling. i was a classic, mildly anxious introvert. over analyzing text messages, shuddering at the thought of introducing myself to someone i didn't know, recoiling at the idea of a phone interview or a meeting. ick. what? no. no no no. i'll watch netflix instead.

birmingham bloggers happened. i went to my first blogging conferences. i got more and more into blogging, and i decided i truly wanted to embrace the community aspect. i had the 'sitting in my bed writing' aspect down, freakin' trust me y'all. what i hadn't mastered was the networking, the friendships. so i just went with it. i'm not sure what i thought starting a local blogging community entailed, but i was definitely a few weeks in before i realized, "oh my god, this means i'm going to have to meet and talk to a bunch of people. what am i doing?"

somehow, i made the choice to act in a way uncharacteristic of my behavior prior. i just did it. and i forced myself. it wasn't always easy. but i kept talking to people, i kept shaking hands, i kept introducing myself, it was like i was on a blind rampage and i wasn't even thinking, i just did. you fellow overthinkers know what a blessing it is to just act and not think on occasion. i had always been an overthinker. it wasn't until i took control, told my brain "no" and just did it that i saw how that impacted my life, my relationships and my passions.

i know it isn't that simple for everyone. it took me years of growth to get to that point, and i highly, highly recommended working with a therapist to lay a foundation for overcoming your social anxities and getting out there. but once you've got the foundation laid and a passion that ignites you, all that's missing is action. blogging forced me to take that action.

a few months ago, i got an email about attending a speaker engagement for a couple of PR students to talk about birmingham bloggers. upon receiving the email, my first thought was, "wow, how am i going to condense everything i have to say? i could talk about this, but this also may be a good idea..." and then i stopped myself. who am i? for the first time since i can remember, my first thought wasn't, "oh no, a speaking engagement?! oh my gosh, i can't." but a question of how i'd organize my presentation instead. that's when i knew a serious change had happened while i was meeting bloggers at conferences and chatting them up, hosting birmingham bloggers events and introducing myself to everyone, and prancing into meetings and interviews with ease.

i still feel silly when i speak in front of people sometimes. i have my moments. however, i've built a layer of confidence in myself, what i have to say and my areas of expertise that allow me this incredible freedom, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. i can just say, and do, and be. and i don't obsess over it. and i don't lose sleep. and i have the blogging community to thank for forcing me to grow.


  1. I loooooove this post and I'm so glad you wrote it. As a fellow introvert and shy person, I totally agree with everything you've said. Birmingham Bloggers and blogging have helped in so many ways!

  2. Yaaaay what an amazing post!! I love hearing what blogging has done for different people - it's a really cool industry!! For me, it opened up a completely undiscovered creative side that now fuels my everyday life...from my career to my friendships. I'm so happy that it opened up a new side for you too! Great post. xoxo

    Annie Reeves

    1. Thanks Annie! Blogging has helped so many people in so many different ways!

  3. I love this! So glad you shared it. You've been doing amazing things with birmingham bloggers. I'm so happy you stepped out of your comfort zone to start this community.

    1. Thank you Lisa! It was tough to share but I'm glad I did.

  4. I absolutely love this Meredith! So relatable too (fellow introverted over-thinker here).

  5. Great post! I can be pretty extroverted but I still get shy in new situations and meeting new people. Really enjoy your blog!

  6. It changed my social surroundings too. After years of being in mommy land, I'm finding new friends with new interests and grabbing on to the idea that while being a mom is one of my most important jobs in life, it doesn't have to totally define me. These last few months of getting to know a few new faces, and even meeting a few of the Bham Bloggers ever so briefly even, has made a world of difference in my world view.


Thank you for commenting on my blog! If you have any questions, feel free to email me at hello@meredithnoelle.com.