Most people identify as being either an "introvert" or "extrovert"...
Welcome to my life as a business owner who is a lot of both. Complicated? Tell me about it. Let's prepare to understand the ideas of this "introverted extrovert".
To start off, none of this is based on science. So if you are looking for a doctoral explanation of your personal quirks (sorry to disappoint you). Additionally, these views are solely from personal experiences. You may find them applicable or not. Either way, buckle your seat-belts and enjoy this ride.
I am a 36 (about to be 37) year old woman. (Whoop Whoop!!!) I am a mother, wife, work professional, friend, confidant, and entrepreneur. I enjoy all of these titles and positions in my life. However, simultaneously I also enjoy quite moments, a great book, non-human interaction, and long drives to nowhere. To put it simply, I love the idea of being alone.
I grew up in a time before social media. Where it was fully encouraged to interact with people on a constant basis. My father was military, so the intermingling of different socioeconomic backgrounds was a part of my everyday life. Most people would tell me everyday either one of the following:
* Smile, it's not that bad.
* What is wrong?
* Why are you looking like that? (I'm pretty sure I was a part of the origination of R.B.F)
* Don't be so mean.
* Don't be antisocial (my personal favorite because I am southern and the last thing you want, is to be rude)
* You're actually pretty funny once you get to know you (this always left me like "what, I don't think they actually realized they just insulted me.)
So what could I do? I was who I was? I couldn't change myself. I was comfortable with the way I was. They were the ones that had a problem with me. Right?
It was not acceptable to people that I could just be the one who liked to be alone. The one who just watched from afar with no input into situations, people, or things. I was okay being the outcast, but apparently the world was not.
So my mother and sister in their grand wisdom decided it would be best if they "taught" me social skills. Ironically, they still find themselves to this day "teaching" me. Over the years I learned to "fake" it. And now you can say I graduated from their school of "Don't be weird" as valedictorian of a class of one. Upon graduation, one could say that I was (and still am able) to intermingle with any crowd, anytime, anywhere.
But here's the bad part. Internally, I still DON'T like it. Crowds make me nervous. People I do not know asking so many questions, are confusing to me. I am the constant chameleon. Some would tell me to seek psychiatric help for this (aka personality disorder), but trust me, that is not the case. Plenty of doctor's have told me so :) But, alas, I pushed through my personal discomfort. This is who I am supposed to be right? This is what is acceptable, right? Needless to say, my teen years to late 20's as a "people pleaser" was quite...ummm what's the word, INTERESTING!
Fast forward to my 30's. There is now social media. I can express thoughts, interact with various people, and see the world all while not having to say hello to a single person. If you are a friend on Facebook, you know exactly what I am talking about. I own a business (where those personalized lessons have come in handy). Where was this tool when I was a teenager? I could have avoided so many situations before this. At work, I can turn on the charm and still go home and be to myself. I have become comfortable in my own skin. I understand that I may never fully fit in to societies acceptable norms. According to my sister, I am still weird, but now it's in a good way (pretty sure, that is still an insult, LOL!)
I said ALL of that, to say this. For someone reading this, it is okay to be yourself. You will find your center one day. Know who you are; and what you stand for. And if you happen to see me around one day, even if we don't speak, know that I like you (I think).