What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

13 December 2010

There's an Extrovert in Here Somewhere...

Senior yearbook.
Yeah. They didn't know
me very well. :)
Once upon a time, between the ages of about three and ten, I was quiet and timid and known, if people noticed me at all, for being really shy. I still give people the impression (correctly, to some extent) of being reserved when they first meet me. That's because I am being "reserved"; I'm "reserving" all my cheek until they've had a chance to get to know me. I think it's unfair to unload the snark upon someone the first time I meet them.

Once people do get to know me, they tend to forget that they ever thought I was quiet and have a hard time believing that in our "most likely" poll when I was a senior, I was voted shyest in my class. And since I can't invite you all over to my apartment to examine my yearbook, I risked the ire of the yearbook sponsor and a potential legal action and whatever else to scan the picture for proof.

However. A shred of my introverted past remains with me, however much I try to fight against it. And it's this: I don't like going out and doing things.

And by "going out" I don't mean bars or the theatre or things like that necessarily; I mean going to a friend's house. Or an event with people I know. That sort of thing. I'm perfectly content, most of the time, to stay home and maintain my blog or Facebook or email as my contact with the outside world. It prevents sensory overload.

There have been times when I've been determined to fight against this tendency in myself. I'll go out and do things and have fun and after a few days, I'm completely exhausted. So I have to pace myself.

A couple of weeks ago, Chad and I went to the local NaNoWriMo wrap-up. We planned it, I RSVP'ed, we were looking forward to it... but in the couple of hours before we had to leave, every part of me was fighting to talk myself out of going and stay home. I didn't mention this to Chad, who proceeded as if were were leaving-- and leave we did. And we had a great time. And the Austin NaNo-ers are brilliant, as we already knew.

And a couple of days later, I volunteered to do some pre-race bag stuffing for the swag at a local race. Again, I had planned ahead, knew I was going, and my brain kept screaming at me to stay home. You know what happened? I went, I worked, I met some really fun people, and I was glad to have gone.

During finals week, the Rhetoric department had a "study break" for the Rhetoric majors. I wasn't feeling well that day, but I dragged myself out of the house and across town to campus. I got to the room, peeked in-- and saw no one that I know. So, I kept walking, all the way back outside, where I decided that I hadn't come all the way to campus just to go back home again. I went in, had a couple of cookies, and a really productive conversation with a rhetoric instructor who it has not yet been my privilege to meet officially. And I left feeling about 200x better than I had been before I arrived.

This extrovert. I need her. Pretending to be happy to be at an event when I'd rather be home drinking tea and watching Letterman is probably my only acting skill. It's one I'm happy to have, in a "fake it 'till you make it" kind of way. But I'm tired of faking it. I'd like to arrive now in a place where my brain can be content, in advance of going somewhere, to know that it's going to be fun. It's like there's a wire loose, or something.

Are there any other closet introverts out there? Closet extroverts? When are you in a situation that you have to act in the opposite way you feel?


Meredith said...

Good for you for going! I can be a bit of an introvert too, and I'm definitely not a fan of social situations where I don't know anyone. But I think it's one of those things where the more you push yourself and keep putting yourself in those situations, the more comfortable you become. Plus, being in social situations where there's alcohol always helps me. :)

erica and christy said...

i'm totally an introvert with extrovertish tendencies. i get what you're saying. my husband and i totally perfer to stay home. once i'm out, if i'm with people i'm comfortable with, i don't shut up. but yeah, even with all this online stuff it took me a while to "open up" and write stuff that *gasp* would be posted for others to "see". thanks for the post. and for visiting us and commenting. your comment made me laugh today (abuot an untasty agent). and (don't tell erica) after reading about all the kleenex needed..um...*whispers* i didn't watch the video either. i can't watch sad things involving kids since i've had my own. i'm choked up just imagining what the video showed. christy

Su said...

@Meredith: Alcohol would probably help me, too, except I'm a bit terrified to mix alcohol + cheek + strangers. Never a good combination for me. ;)

@Christy: Glad I could make you laugh. :) The continuously-running mouth causes me problems, since it's so easy to put my foot into an invitingly-open mouth! I hope that's not an issue for you!

Anonymous said...

I was a total introvert until I hit college - then I began shaking hands and kissing babies. I do toggle back and forth at times, with some groups I am the extrovert leader and others the shy guy in the back. I think our culture forces the extrovert come out in every person - the good ole American work ethic is go out and do something if you want anything at all.

Su said...

Hmmm. I'm just not that wild about the American work ethic + postmodern attention seeking, though.

....Petty Witter said...

Quite shy myself as well, I try to think of strangers being friends I just don't know yet ..... that or picture them naked/sitting on the toilet - I find this really helps me get over that first bout of awkwardness.

Su said...

LOL! Yeah, that would help. :)

Timbra said...

my "most likely" was "totally talkative" or something of the like :) BUT. . . I totally and absolutely understand this feeling. I try not to be the lady who cancels going out and doing something at the last minute b/c the mental energy is too much (for me??? yep!) It helps that I have regularly scheduled social activities with people i really love, the same day/time each week. this way i look spontaneous, but it's really just b/c my schedule is always completely full of "usual" activities

Su said...

Your schedule would have me totally exhausted! I don't know how you do it!