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Underneath Stories

The Making & Progression of an Introverted Creator

By Shirley BelkPublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 5 min read
Top Story - December 2023
The Underneath

This story was via the inspiration of Jay Kantor's questions and our different styles and personalities from his THREE MINUTE READS...

Have you ever wondered if readers could "see" your personality seeping out of the words you write down on each page? Or if they could imagine a picture, formed like an iceberg, which lies in a deep, untold "underneath" in each of your stories? Some of those followers might understand not only what they have been "told," but also that which has been left unsaid and just "felt."

The personality that we show and the personality that we feel can be distinctively different. Our stories, in our mixed creation of life experiences, imagination, and secret longings are shouted out in an unspoken language without the hope of others ever hearing the sound and symphony of our verbal voices. We draw color and shade, darkness and light on a strewn-out random canvas of adjectives, adverbs, and all the such.

Each Creator, with a different style, a different flavor, a different ability to be self-aware and translate. Each reader, with a different affinity and a different ability to appreciate our distinct and unique personalities. Those personalities become our "style of creation."

I ask myself, "do others recognize my personality in my creative style? Have I been intimate enough? Too intimate? In to me see... Can readers identify my writings as an introvert? Can they see the world as an introvert sees? Do my words help them to do just that?"

Introverts, according to this article written from a neuroscientist's research: think more, focus longer, are gifted in a specific field, and do the "right" thing:


What is an introvert? To be fair, I'm not extremely shy and I can engage in all the mandatory social interactions that life requires. I also comfortably lectured to college students and enjoyed doing so, but only because I was confident enough in the content of Nursing practice and my expertise in the field. I just require a great deal of calm and peaceful space to regenerate. I don't seek out adventure or chit chat. And I am a private person except in my written form. I do have a few close friends, but to be honest, I don't do well keeping in touch. I am an introvert!

Navigating in a world that is so "sided" with so little tolerance from either side has caused me to draw the shades and isolate further into myself, too. I am safe within that perimeter. Writing is a healing ointment to caress my wounded spirit. (I write from my heart with no punches left behind. Maybe just some partially hidden bruises remain, though.)

I explain my personality in this poem to a friend:

But how did I get this way? Maybe this would be best understood from a story I wrote about my first decade of life:

Underneath that story is a first born child, an only child for the first seven years of her life. She had no buffers in lieu of siblings or everyday cousins nearby, so she had to learn to navigate the chaos of having two birth order "babies" as parents who loved to party; and she did it all by her lonesome. She did that by keen observation and became somewhat of a behavioral psychologist, in doing so. She craved normalcy. She was a little angry because of the alcohol and immaturity that were her parents lifestyle. She was sure the stork had landed her in the wrong home. Although scientifically hard-wired in utero, this story is how an introvert learned to survive and navigate.

Another story I wrote in progression of my inward personality and understanding of it, was of the struggle I had at age seven when trying to convert from a Spanish to English education...that experience was a trainwreck:

Here is an excerpt which explains this underneath: "But what I learned about myself in retrospect was that I didn't like the feeling of humiliation or shame. I was headstrong in my decisions, even at seven years of age. I don't remember feeling "dumb," just dumbfounded at my predicament. I set out to learn to read and write English with a vengeance. Hence, it became one of my strongest academic accomplishments after that. And I became a lover of the English language and books."

For a challenge, in a work of fiction I did, here I find my introvert within. I find the struggles of my inner child who doesn't quite fit in, yet who craves a listening heart. The layer of underneath is unearthed.

There are times I go completely dark and I write in poems rather than of direct circumstances. Those are my most private hurts. They are not unearthed. They even frighten me.

My style in writing and in the decoration of my home has been described as "eclectic" by more than one person. According to quora.com: "Eclectic" is generally considered a positive word. It is used to describe a person or thing that is diverse and broad in their tastes, interests, or sources of inspiration. Being eclectic often suggests a well-rounded and open-minded approach, which is typically viewed as a positive quality.

I suppose being a closet rule breaker (eclectic) is where I'm most comfortable. I've put objects and words down where it most pleases me and it just "feels right." No regrets. It's my style, what can I say?

I am curious if you have found your personal underneath? Are you also an introvert? Or are you my opposite, deriving your strength and peace from being in the midst of hustle and bustle, chatting away, and passionate with interactions and marvelous adventures? Does your writing reflect this? How would you describe your style? I would love your thoughts and examples of your own personality and style in the comments. (Leave me a particular story...or two...that tells me who you are.)

And thank you to the creators I have followed. I think I might be able to recognize your personality and style even if your names were anonymous...


About the Creator

Shirley Belk

Mother, Nana, Sister, Cousin, & Aunt who recently retired. RN (Nursing Instructor) who loves to write stories to heal herself and reflect on all the silver linings she has been blessed with

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (11)

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  • Celia in Underland3 months ago

    An extremely interesting read. Confession of sorts...I read it the other day but needed 'mullover' time. So here are said 'thoughts' -not convinced they qualiffy-I can pretend extruvert if I have to as part of the job. But absolute blanket no on any kind of public speaking. I am envious of extroverts in a way but I feel safer in my own head so happy to stay right there 🤍 Jay's piece is fantastic and thought provoking and love that it inspired to be your yam 🤍

  • This was so well done. I was born an extrovert, twin in tote, and the world at my feet. Then, life decided to teach me a few things. I'm a little more-timid these days. My writing shows my improvements. I'm so glad you got a top story for this article, yay!!

  • Kristen Balyeat3 months ago

    Great article, Shirley! Thank you for sharing- I believe this is the first piece of yours I’ve read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Looking forward to checking out your included links. I’m an intro/extrovert. I am totally energized by people, but then need my recovery/personal time to re-energize. My personality is definitely infused in my writing— I like to play and have fun, but am also very introspective and am quite in love with the universe. 💫💞 Looking forward to reading more of your work!

  • Jay Kantor3 months ago

    Dear Shirley ~ Who me at a loss for words. I'm so flabbergasted that you posted this topic with your 'Slant' - but, mine's better - Of course I'm just joking; or am I. Thank you for the tribute - What means the most is that we respect one-another's Schtick...'Probably!' Very weird that both of our 'Slants" on this issue ended up as Bunkmate TOPS...Could-Probably be a VM 1st. Ooh, went to the Cheesecake Factory recently and ordered Egg Whites/wit Tomatoes.They had to make it 'Special' for me and laughed - True Story - Our Kristen Baly~'eat'  calls it the "Calorie Factory." - Your KeyBoardMate - Jay Jay Kantor, Chatsworth, California 'Senior' Vocal Author - Vocal Author Community -

  • Mark Gagnon3 months ago

    Congratulations on receiving Top Story for this piece. Being a fellow "Boomer" I feel we have had to adjust from what we were taught was reality to what reality is today. As much as I draw from my past, I try to embrace the here and now. I'm not sure what that makes me, other than an independent person.

  • Phil Flannery3 months ago

    It's taken a while but I've learned to work among humans. Thanks for sharing this piece. It ticks a few boxes for me, though I sometimes wonder if circumstance has made me that way more than genetics. I have memories as a child, being quite the show off, but as an adult, I keep few friends, and mainly hang out with my wife and children. I'm more comfortable in myself right now. This was and interesting read.

  • Caroline Jane3 months ago

    Really enjoyed getting to know you more Shirley. I haven't followed all your links through but I really appreciate the share. It's lovely to understand what lies behind what's created. That in itself deeply appeals. I am an extrovert, albeit a withdrawn one. Likely too much empathy and/or awareness has lopped my natural wings.. so I stay grounded a lot in my own company. People still fascinate me despite this solitude. ❤

  • L.C. Schäfer3 months ago

    I'm not sure if I'd describe myself as an introvert 🤔 My best pieces have too much Me in them. Maybe a causal reader can pick up on the clues that tell them about me, or maybe not. But they're there, a seasoning that gives it authenticity.

  • Yes, I'm an introvert with severe social anxiety and agoraphobia. Human interactions drain me mentally, regardless if it's physical or online. I often have to return to my shell to recharge. As for my stories, I don't think that my personality shows in them. But my poems, yes, because most of them are written based on true events.

  • Food for thought… I am an extrovert who is energised by socialising and terrified of public speaking… it’s the quiet ones we have to watch 🙃

  • Lamar Wiggins3 months ago

    This was very well written, Shirley. I think I loved everything about it. I myself am semi-introverted and sometimes would rather talk to myself (not out loud, haha) than other people. I think my personality comes out a touch in my writing, especially with the humor pieces. But, to this day, I have never shared anything in depth about myself. There was a 'get to know me' challenge going around and i started a submission but never finished it, not sure why. Thank you for sharing this. Editorial note: You can make the links you posted accessible from this page if you copy them, then go to a blank line on the page, you will see a circle with a plus sign in it. Click on that. Choose 'Embed link' Paste the link in the text box then hit enter. The story and its photo will then pop up and will be easier for readers to go directly to it. Hope it works if you decide to edit the links in.

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