I, like most people, am many things, ill-fitted to be defined by one term. Personality quizzes leave me floating a little bit in all groups, mostly in two, but never entirely in one. That is because all people are unique, “like a snowflake, unique among snowflakes.” And while I hate to slap on trendy pop culture labels, I am never more aware of myself as introvert then during the Holiday season. Among many things, I am a sensitive, creative, people-pleasing, outgoing, and an introvert, and quite frankly it makes for a draining combination. I think there is a common misnomer for a person who is friendly, smiling, and out-going as shallow. They must not know the problems of the silently suffering of the wallflower in the corner, this is not true. We all have our shit, we all just deal with it in different ways. I am no stronger or weaker, better or worse, kinder or crueler, worldly or uncultured, than a person zipped up tight. There is a great quote which I firmly strive to live by, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” Imagine if everyone took Plato’s quote to heart, what an understanding and kind world we would live in.
There seems to be a plethora of trendy Buzzfeed type lists out there, with catchy .gifs, that make being an introvert this cool hipster-type club that only the most emotionally tormented can get into. Let me just say this: shyness does not mean introvert. You can be a shy extrovert and an outgoing introvert. And who knows, maybe I’m not a full introvert either, but oh my god, who cares?! Actually, I am not even sure where I am going with this blog anymore except to say that damn, I’m tired. Being around people is a lot of work. I have fun and I love being around people and making connections, but there is only so much one person can take. And yes, the fact that I do try and make conversation with everyone, makes me an outgoing person. The fact that afterwords I have to be by myself and nap just to get through another day makes me an introvert. I think before I speak - believe it or not. I observe the little things. I am constantly watching everyone around, wondering what they are thinking and what motivates them. I treat the world as one, giant, never ending book where I am free to pluck tiny details and use them however I want.
When I am in a big group setting, I cannot just sit quietly and observe, or if I do I seem uncharacteristically out of sorts, and that’s because most of the time I am happy and chatty and I am okay with that. I am starting to worry less about strangers who may think I am a flaky dumb blonde just because I go out of my way* to be nice. The problem occurs when I am in several of these situations back to back, I feel my strength start to give out. I need to spend half a day reading whatever series I am currently into, just to feel whole again. It's like in every interaction I give a tiny piece of myself and soon I'm just an empty container. I’m like WALL-E in need of a solar charge. There are times when I am so sapped of energy it does take me a little longer to bounce back, but I cope. We all cope.
We are all fighting a harder battle.
Be kind. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.
Fleet Foxes, “Helplessness Blues”
I typically hate spending entirely blogs talking about myself on anything more than a superficial manner (not related to anything to do with writing - because obviously that’s mostly what I talk about) but I feel like I had to hash out these conflicting personality aspects in the best way I know how, through my writing. You know what, just read this, I think it sums up how I’m feeling about myself and the rest of the world: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/2013/08/26/23-signs-youre-secretly-a-narcissist-masquerading-as-a-sensitive-introvert/
* I decided to edit this and add a note because though I said "I go out of my way" it never feels like I am putting myself out. In fact it feels more natural to make people included than to have a room full of tension and awkward silences - even if it means I come off a certain way. Read: shallow.