The kids recently talked me into buying guinea pigs. We have one introverted and one extroverted guinea pig. One is brown, black and white with the most tufted and unruly fur. Her name is Pabla because my son really wanted a guinea pig named Pablo but the store only sold female guineas so we adjusted her name to the Spanish feminine. Pabla is curious, outgoing and because of her hair, she perpetually looks surprised and cute. She is the extrovert. The other one has sleek copper colored fur with a funny orange sprout of hair above her eyes. She hides in the plastic castle we bought and does not make 10% of the cute ‘wheeking’ noises that Pabla makes. The copper guinea pig does not have a name yet. I fell in love with her at the pet store because she let me hold her for a long time without getting skitzy. She was sweet and calm. Now she runs from me. Her survival instincts more dominant than her personality .

Guess which guinea pig my kids like best? My son wants to return Copper to the store if she doesn’t get more fun and playful.

I feel for the copper-colored guinea pig. Everyone is always drawn to the fun high-energy creatures.

I know because my life has been a long-running case-study of quiet vs. talkative, socializing vs. solitude and serious vs. playful. I volley back and forth between the characteristics and have a fairly good understanding of which ones win the most love and adulation.

Fun is more attractive than serious

I am more real than fun. In my realness I laugh and praise, but only genuinely. I dance and make love but only if my soul and heart are truly in it. I poke fun and giggle. I am light and pure energy but not all the time. The real me absorbs conflict, negativity and strife along with joy, jokes and love. It takes kindness, pause and pondering for me to work my mind through the heavy stuff back to possibilities and light again.

But I do. I always do.

Then I’m fun again. Then I’m attractive again.

It’s a cycle like the introvert energy cycle. It ebbs and flow. High energy — low energy. Effervescence and seriousness. I am a serious girl. I am a sensual girl. I am a lover of solitude who adores exploring places and people. I am a thinker who can warm up a room with her smile. I know these things about myself and yet…

brigitte bardot shaking it

There is a desire to be the fun, spirited girl all the time. That persona is rewarded with consistent adoration of men, relaxed contentment of children, stable success of a career. Seriousness and emotions are not often rewarded. They are frequently feared and misunderstood and not given the chance to be cleared through words and reflection. They, as well as the person sporting them, are simply not fun.

I’ve been in survival mode lately and have not had the chance to be as fun and playful as I would like.

I’ve been caring for my mother, dealing with legal and financial issues regarding the house, raising kids, maintaining a home, striving for a career and trying to uphold friendships. I’ve been stressed and subdued. My radiance dulled as I manage my energy so that I don’t bleed out. Life got real and my fun-ness dimmed. If I were a guinea pig I’d be returned to the store.

Space for sparkle and love

I haven’t been able to date because I know survival mode isn’t sexy. There will always be an element of intensity and seriousness in me but survival mode is different. It is intense the majority of the time. Bits of levity and joy will seep in as I process and work through the issues at hand, then there will be a better balance of serious and sassy. The best relationships I have experienced allow serious and sassy to exist simultaneously. The more intense soulful me is accepted and the giddy enthusiastic me is encouraged. I am able to press up against someone’s integrity, trust their presence and words while embracing and bracing their vulnerability and charm as well. We both win because there is a mutual grace provided, a benevolence and respect that makes silliness and fun bubble up naturally even in times of distress.

I will find my way out of survival mode. I work diligently to resolve personal and interpersonal conflict and I always do.reading in window girl

When I find the space to be who I am — a deep reader, an explorer, a sensual being, a woman enthusiastic about life and a great encourager of others — I smile easily and offer up support and joy. I always find space to live fully. I see amazing beauty in small things like a finch on a fence post, or an old couple kvetching in a drugstore. The sparkle in my eyes returns and I suddenly want to rough-house with my children or goof around with a friend or lover.

Now to convince my kids to accept our introverted pet as she is.


Do you ever feel pressure to lose your serious side? How fun are you? How fun do you pretend to be?

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How To Be Lively, Energetic and Vibrant When Your True Nature Is Thoughtful, Introverted and Reticent

How to Protect and Liberate Your Energy:A Guide for Introverts and Anyone Who Feels Drained

I Belong Deeply to Myself But I’ll Let You In: The Ebb and Flow of Introvert Intimacy