Rudey's Room

Introvert: How to Say What you Want, Dammit.


“When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.”

– Shannon L. Alder


I must admit, I don’t know who Shannon Alder is. But I liked this quote – it’s a shout out to communicating.

Uncertain of Shannon’s background, I wanted to know more before adding her to Rudey’s Room.

I clicked on her name on the Goodreads’ site, I was informed that she’s an inspirational author. I read that her philosophy is “centered around celebrating your uniqueness and freeing yourself from your fears, so you can live your life purpose.”

I can get behind that. And her words fit my experience today.

This morning I drove from my house in a north shore suburb of Milwaukee to Brookfield, Wisconsin to test run a new salon for my tri-annual cut and balayage. I had my hair styled at 29 Ten for a family wedding last month and really loved it. I needed a back up plan in case I couldn’t make it to my Chicago guy, so I thought this would give this spot a go.

Today as I was getting my hair conditioned, I had flash of a photo I wanted taken.

I thought, oooh, I want that picture. The row of leather chairs and hooded hairdryers reminded me of being a kid. (My paternal aunt owned a beauty parlor. My siblings (younger brother and sister), spent many a Saturday morning, roaming the beauty parlor on a long leash while our mom got her hair done. After I tired of chatting with the ladies, pawing through the styling products, and spinning in the chairs, I often sat under dryer hood in the front room. I mimicked the patrons and like them, I combed through the women’s mags).

Gazing at those chairs, I felt contentment. I wanted to snap a picture to share on my Instagram feed.

As my stylist kneaded her hands through my hair, I thought about the picture I would snap.

I would focus on the rays of noon sunshine filtering through the window on one of the chairs. Perhaps I would set myself in said chair and let the sunlight fall on my face. The photo would capture the rustic elegance of the new decor in line with the vintage vibe of the original salon chairs and dryers. The words, “love” written on the artwork sealed my vision with a kiss.

Yes, this was it. I felt good.

I had the shot framed in my brain.

And then I got stuck.

I wanted the picture, but I hesitated to ask my stylist, Kory, for it.

I was conflicted.

On one shoulder I felt annoyed at my lack of confidence, Just ask. It can’t hurt to ask. My God, it’s just a picture. You want it, ask for it.

On the flip side, I felt embarrassed and silly, oh my goodness, who cares. Just keep the image in your mind. You don’t need to share your thoughts on Instagram. Everyone in the salon going stare at you if you sit down in that chair for a picture.

With a bit of a inner push, my confident side won, you need to step out of your own way. Ask. 

I smiled and asked Kory, “When we’re all done, would you mind taking a picture of me under one of those cool dryer hoods?”

“Sure,” she responded without hesitation. “Usually people have their dogs take pictures there, but yeah. That’s cool.”

“Awesome, thanks,” I said, choosing to ignore the dog comment. “My aunt owned a salon. It reminds me of being a kid.”

As Kory moved to cut, dry, and curl my hair, I pushed myself to question my reluctance: Taking a picture is so not a big deal, why did I hesitate? 

I had a want. I considered it and I had visualized it. Then internally, I felt like my shy second grader self, afraid to raise her hand and have the nun scorn her. I clammed up.

Yes, in my core, I’m introverted. I recharge by myself and like to spend time alone. I prefer to start the day at the break of dawn organizing my thoughts and feelings alone – in my own space –  so I can interact well with others.

But I’m a grown adult, not a second grader anymore. I certainly know how to push through the web of self-doubt, others’ perceived needs, and my own.   

I’m not afraid to say “no” or “I don’t want to.” I have opinions and I voice them. I don’t sidestep disagreements. I take a stand with my beliefs and for others who need a hand.

I nurture my inner voice and it’s alive and well.

I consider myself to be a confident person.

So, encore une fois, why did I hesitate?

Within five minutes of reflection, I knew.

I struggle with exerting my creative self – especially in the art of photography. I don’t trust my artistic pulls and question my eye. Outside of clothing and design, sharing my creative side is challenging for me. It’s when my recovering perfectionist rears it’s unforgiving head.

Yet, being one to push myself, I wouldn’t let inertion stand: Oh I lack confidence, so that’s that.

When I bump against an inner roadblock, I want to grow. Sometimes this means forcing it and faking confidence until my brain and action regulate.   

Here’s how I make it happen for me …  

Organize Your Thoughts: Some wants happen on the fly – like this picture – but others happen slower. It’s important to first know what you want. Have a vision of who you are, who you want to be, and what you desire. This vision will give you time to organize your thoughts and you’ll feel less rattled when a beyond-the-comfort-zone situation arrives. If you’re stuck about what you want: Hash out it. Take this time to work through your visions/wants by yourself or with a safe/trusted person.

Own Your Wants: Other people’s reactions to my artistic aesthetics are not in my control. I’ll admit that part of my fear was the stylist would think I was silly or worse, stupid. Like, seriously, that shot is soooo trite. And then again, the mature me thinks: I just met her today, so what if she does? I don’t know her.  And yet I fight a deep desire for people to like me. However, even if she dislikes me, how much does that really matter to me?

Practice Makes Perfect: Big things happen and you wonder why did I act that way? Well, because you’ve set your path that way.  If you want to change that momentum, it doesn’t happen in the big moment. I think the trick is with the small moments. It’s those small things that help push you outside your comfort zone.  Today was a good step for me. One small step will move me closer to bigger changes.

Step Out of Your Own Way: I shut down that inner voice that raises questions. I tell it, “shut the fuck up,” ___________(insert my maiden name, that’s how I roll) or “get your shit together,” _______ (insert again maiden name). I’m a bit of a bitch when my inner voice gets weak, but it works for me.

Use Humor: Or nicety, or quickness, or whatever your flavor is. Bottomline: Own yourself. There’s only one you and people appreciate that. They really do.

I value knowing how how to ask for what you want. I aim to instill that quality in my girls. I believe it’s critical. But for me, I have to be intentional and mindful to insure that I’m modeling it for my girls.

I had one artistic direction prior to the shot: I motioned with a flick of my wrists for her to turn the camera horizontally.




But I had more, and I would like to work on the confidence to ask.

For example, this picture would have been better if I would have held up a magazine, even the People magazine that was on the adjacent table. It would have been better had I asked the older woman stationed at the washing basin, “Excuse, would you mind moving your purse.” It would have been better had I poked a little fun of myself, “Yeah, I’m nerding out for this cool picture.” But I couldn’t do that.

Nope. I’m working on it pushing my artistic boundaries. But truth be told, asking for the picture I was my max.

My girls own their voices. I pray they keep it that way.

Veronica is designing:


IMG_2707 (2)


Stella is business time:


IMG_2556 (1)


And of course, there are there times when someone knows what you want more than you, n’est-ce pas? 

I’m certain my stylist, Michael, does. I definitely felt like I was cheating on him today (sorry Michael! Next time, I’m yours.). In the case of Michael and my hair, I don’t have to express what I want, he just knows and works his magic.



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