So I’m putting myself out there. Well, literally, through this blog, but also in my offline life. And I promised to keep y’all updated.
Well nothings happened lately – I’ve fallen off the wagon as it were, what with holidays and birthdays and whatnot. So I’ve decided to update you on my state of mind, and put together a post requested by the Smitten Immigrant. And to somehow combine the two…
So I’ve said before that I’m an ambivert, which means I identify as both introvert and extravert (literally, I took the test in guidance at my highschool a couple of times over the course of several months while choosing university programs, and bang, two different results). And I think everyone has a little of each inside. It’s all very situational and has to do with comfort level, I believe.
Now I’m not a psychologist or an expert in anything, so I can only speak from my personal experience and observation.
Our society values extraverts. As the Smitten Immigrant says in her comment – introverted women are seen as the oddest ducks. Everything from commercials to new television series to reality television focuses on ballsy, popular, sexually hungry, sassy women. They are portrayed as modern, ideal, and normal – whereas their quiet sidekicks are shown as sweet, and old-fashioned, and not worthy of centre stage.
I think this idea really stems from a misconception (one of many) that came out of the feminist movement. It’s this idea that extraverted behaviour is an indication of strength. Introversion and extraversion have nothing to do with strength. I have met many needy, weak, and clingy extraverts, and many strong, self-possessed introverts. It seems we as a society never got over Tennessee Williams’ Laura Wingfield as the example of introversion, and her extremes have faded from our collective consciousness until what was a crippling and obsessive character trait pales and mutates to become our new definition of the word.
So what is the difference then? Well, introverts prefer solitude or small groups, enjoying and thriving off the sound of their own thoughts without the stereo feedback of a crowd. Extraverts prefer the throng, the pulse and beat of a crowd, the gratification of feedback from a source external to themselves.
As an introvert, I enjoy the observation of crowds, the ability to chew over a thought before I say it, the fantasy and daydreaming that can only come with some uninterrupted conversation with me, myself, and I. Thinking more, and feeling more on a soulful level, feeling recharged in a quiet, wisdom-seeking mode. Enjoying me, and my books, and the feel of being an island.
As an extravert, I enjoy the solitude within a crowd, being a part of the whole, the freedom to not think before I speak, and riding the wild repercussions that can come from that. There is an instinct in interacting with people, and a wild high in feeding off their energy. I can get drunk without touching alcohol. And I make friends and connections like a match to flash paper, which is good, because no man is an island, right?
Finding the balance can be like, well, like these.
As a self-identified woman of extremes, I should probably look up my nearest Buddhist temple and start learning to walk the middle path, except I’m pretty sure I’d fail. A lot. (On second thought, that might be a good thing…)
At any rate, my experiment designed to help me create more balance is working, but I need to find the energy to maintain the momentum I’ve managed to create, because otherwise I go back to hermit-ville, and that’s not good for me all the time.
My extraversion really shows when I’m speaking with passion, when I’m performing, and when I’m with other creatives. I may need to find a show… Or go dancing… Except, I don’t know how to go dancing without getting hit on, and I’m really too old for that crap, I just want to dance and feel the beat and the lights and the shadows and the sweat and the smile – and not get pawed at and manhandled. Too much to ask?
Well, until I figure it out, I’m enjoying my books and figuring me out, and there’s nothing weak about that.
This is a start, I’ll be writing more on these subjects I’m sure, but what I’d really like to know now is what do you guys think? When are you introverted, when are you extraverted? Do you ever wish you were the other? When? Why? What do you value? Let me know, below!!