Introverted, Take Two

Ashley Lily Scarlett (2015) © Barry Comer

Ashley Lily Scarlett (2015)
© Barry Comer

A little while ago, Barry Comer asked if he could sketch me. How nice! I suggested my most recent self portrait and here is the resulting sketch. I really like it.

I’m still feeling quiet and somewhat withdrawn.

“Studies have shown that, indeed, introverts are more likely than extroverts (sic) to express intimate facts about themselves online that their family and friends would be surprised to read, to say that they can express the ‘real me’ online, and to spend more time in certain kinds of online discussions. They welcome the chance to communicate digitally.” Susan Cain, Quiet

So, I’m wondering: how many of you consider yourselves more introverted than extraverted, and what you think about that quote?


  1. oneowner

    Barry’s portrait is really stunning.
    Though I am an introvert, I don’t think the quote applies to all introverts. I try to keep the blog non-personal intentionally. If it weren’t for WordPress autopost my FB presence would be nearly nonexistent. However, I can’t speak for the other introverts.

    • Ashley Lily Scarlett

      Yes, I’m sure it doesn’t apply to all introverts. I’m quite open about some things about me here on my blog and in emails that I share with some other bloggers. I doubt that I will ever have a Facebook page though, I just hate the very idea of it. All that friending and unfriending. Ugh!

  2. Claudia McGill


    And I love the open spaces in this portrait. Makes me think of ideas flowing in and out among the spaces. Thoughts are not dammed up.

    Don’t know why, but that’s what came to me!

    • Ashley Lily Scarlett

      The bit of that quote that applies to me is: “They welcome the chace to communicate digitally.” When I started blogging in late 2009 I had been isolating way too much, only going to the supermarket, a couple of op shops and the market where I had s stall, so it was a great way for me to begin engaging with people again. I was much more cagey than I am now and it was a long time before I used my real name. Actually pseudonyms were much more common then than they are now.

      • Claudia McGill

        I’ve come into more recently, 2013, and just by chance at a time in my life when I’ve been sidelined several times with health issues. It’s really helped me stay “social” when I couldn’t get out a lot and also gave me a sense of purpose for my art activities, beyond selling. I like the pace of the communication and the fact that in my everyday life, there are not a lot of people interested in the same things I am, but on the blog worlds, well…it’s a feast!

    • Ashley Lily Scarlett

      I insist on privacy in the mundane world. But I very much enjoy communicating online. If I don’t feel like ‘talking’ (which is not uncommon) I can turn off the computer. I can’t ‘turn off’ a live human being.
      I have ‘met’ more creative folk online than I know elsewhere and I like that there are people from all over the world. 🙂

  3. Cindy Bruchman

    Great self-portrait! What nice job Barry did. I think of my blog as a kinda magazine and it’s creatively satisfying to write articles for it. I avoid too much personal stuff unless it’s super important to me. Nothing makes me happier than comments and a discussion starts–like this post–I find the older I get, the quieter I am and less willing to engage in large groups of people. I prefer one on one. Great post, Ashley.

  4. elmediat

    The digital wall is full of black holes through which communicate & hide.
    In front is a screen that is bigger on the inside, while we sit in a comfortable nook gazing out and revealing that which is within.

    Or we just like to chill & hang out on the web. 😀

    • Ashley Lily Scarlett

      Its often said that we all don’t communicate properly with each other anymore, with our noses glued to our smart phones. Was it on your blog, Joseph, that I read that it’s just a new way of communicating? Anyway, that’s how I see it. The smart phone is a tool and one can use it for communication of depth or of superficiality. Same with the internet in general. So, sitting on a bus noses to screens are everywhere. But really, would all these people be talking to eachother if they didn’t have a phone in their hands? I don’t think so. Some if them would be reading, some knitting, some solving puzzles etc etc.
      Maybe I don’t have much of a problem with this non face to face thing because for the past 40 years I’ve had people I love on the other side of the world . . .

      • elmediat

        We are in a transitional change socially. Depending on where you live, your age and consequentially your internet access creates different levels of transition. We are moving into a an inter-connected non-linear society. We can see this in behaviour patterns and in the emergence of new Mass Media art forms. An examples of this is include your visual conversation with Richard and from a while back the live performance of Romeo and Juliette on Twitter.

        There will be those of us, who for a variety of reasons will comfortably ease into this new social interaction. There are other who will not. The real concern are those who use new mass media devices to isolate themselves from their physical social interaction without partaking of the inter-connected social interaction opportunities. It is one thing to be on the bus and using the device to connect to the rest of the world, it is another to use it to play a game/music to drown out the world.

        • Ashley Lily Scarlett

          Yay, Joseph! I knew you’d have something interesting to say about this.
          I think that for some people this digital business shrinks their world and for others (like myself) it expands it. I’m very happy to have my phone/camera as a buffer between me and the crowds outside, so in that way it actually facilitates my getting out and about. When Walkmans were rampant I sometimes liked to have my ears busy and wore sunglasses so that if someone I knew saw me in the street, I wouldn’t ‘see’ them and they wouldn’t be offended that I was unresponsive.
          My contact with people online expands my world, for example this very conversation on this post would not be possible for me in the day to day world. I just don’t know that many introverts personally. Neither do I know so many creative people personally, nor people with mental health issues and I welcome the opportunity to ‘talk’ to like minded people.

  5. Tony Single

    The quote may be somewhat true for me. In the past I have tried to share intimate things about me with people offline, but they usually ran as far away from me as possible. Therefore, I reveal truth about me within the fiction of my comics and writing now. It’s safer for me, and people online tend to be more understanding.

    • Ashley Lily Scarlett

      Yes, I get that, Tony. I get fed up with being told “You’re too sensitve” for example – no one online has ever said that to me. I’d be very interested in knowing the ratio of introverts to extraverts online. My suspicion is that at least with blogs, the introverts are more prevalent. It sounds that, like for me, your world is expanded by online activity, rather than shrunken. I have felt much more accepted online than elsewhere, due to the larger number of people who are of a like mind, More kindred spirits. Yay!

  6. Ogden Fahey

    Lovely picture, and How interesting about introverts and extroverts, I feel that I express introversion and extroversion in quite cunning ways, almost deliberately separating parts of myself off for display like more of an reinvention or pretended therapeutic exercise, reaping rewards only back to that extra part – I do feel awfully clever for having been doing this all my adult life, but who am I cheating? Or is it just what successful (sic) adults do? Its all so hard and difficult, thank you and thank you art, its the only real thing, or is it?

    • Ashley Lily Scarlett

      Hello Ogden. Welcome in. 🙂
      We’re all a composite of extravert and introvert, but in different ratios. When I was younger, I thought I was quite extroverted until I realised that I was trying to be what our society likes best. Its not that I don’t like people, it’s just that I feel drained and overwhelmed with too much contact with, physical proximity to, other folk. Hmm, how would I define a ‘sucessful adult’? I would say that varies from person to person as far as manifestation of that goes. To live one’s life with integrity of self is what I aim for. My art is important to me. I feel good and whole when I’m doing something creative (not necessarily art). Well, all that is what I’m thinking right now . . . it might change tomorrow. 🙂

  7. Malin Ellisdotter H

    First of all; stunning work from Barry! Excellent!
    Secondly; I’m an introvert, but there are things I don’t write openly about… But I’m very honest (and open) in my thoughts and my self portraits. Great post, Ashley… Thanks for sharing it! And again; great work from Barry.

    • Ashley Lily Scarlett

      Yes, it’s a lovely portrait isn’t it? I feel honoured that Barry wanted to do it in the first place and secondly I think it’s lovely. I love Barry’s style.
      There are things that I don’t write about too. Unlike that quote, there’s nothing on here that my family and friends don’t know about. I wonder if the author was referring to the use of pseudonyms because I know that some people express very personal things anonymously, as a way of venting without leaving themselves vulnerable and at the same time ‘protecting’ others who they may wish to express negative things about.
      I’m really glad that I posted this. It’s not often that I ask a direct question on my blog. I’m thoroughly enjoying all this conversation. 🙂

  8. John

    First — kudos to the artist. The sketch is brilliant!

    As for the quote, I think it certainly applies to me. I really liked Susan Cain’s book. It was comforting to know that being an introvert is rather common. Sometimes the knowledge that you’re not alone brings a certain comfort. I think that like most human conditions — from personality traits to mental states to illnesses, there is a spectrum of how things manifest. For some, introversion is more mild, for some of us its almost crippling — working in a group is one of the most painful things for me. I’m quite happy when I’m alone, and if I don’t get enough alone time, I notice I get more moody and cranky.

    As for the quote about ‘sharing’, I think it is certainly true for me. People I know, who follow my blog, have told me that they’re surprised at how much I reveal about myself on my blog ( and sometimes they learn things that they never knew about me). I find that I like the anonymity of blogging. I think you and I share many traits in common, I think we relate to each other’s struggles with depression, and that we could be called “friends” in the online sense … even though we’ve never met in person. Online friends bring a certain comfort to me — there’s a friendliness, there’s a mutual interest in each other’s well being, there’s a level of trust in sharing one’s thoughts … yet there isn’t that obligation one feels with the ‘real life’ friends: we’re not obligated to do those things that we feel obligated to do for the friends we have in our everyday life (like helping them move, or helping with whatever emergency, or having to deal with the social obligations). Some of my online friends feel more real to me, and I feel closer to them than some of the people I know in my offline world. Does that make sense?

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