My asbestos friend always calls herself an introvert. She claims she prefers to be tucked safely away inside her house toiling away on her next book, only surrounded by other people she feels very safe with.
introversion: the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one’s own mental life. …Reserved and solitary behavior.
I think she is crazy. If that is the case, she has everyone fooled. She is the most outgoing introvert I know. Her kid is enrolled in a million and one activities, which she must transport her to, and often help out. My asbestos friend also volunteers all the time—and for stuff I would never dream of! She will invent a support group at her church and offer to lead it. She will sign up to man a table at the local craft show to help raise money for a cause, not batting an eye at conversing with total strangers strolling by.
When I was a kid, it seemed like my mom only left the house three times a week, to go to the laundromat and the grocery store. I was told from an early age that I wasn’t allowed to join anything where she would have to participate, such as Girl Scouts. I was sorta shocked when she went with me to College Info Weekend, where they had a program for several hours for the parents, but she did.
If my asbestos friend is an introvert, then my mother is a hermit. #TrueStory
So then what am I?
To people I don’t know, I am quiet. If I don’t know you, I am not going to take the chance of talking to you and having you disagree with me or, heaven forbid, attack my unique beliefs. I was always labeled “shy” as a child. Uhhhhh. *cringe* I am not one who generally signs up for things. I sit at home watching television and taking care of my family. I only venture out of my warm/drafty house when something catches my eyes/ears and compels me to take a chance at an adventure that could prove to be a disaster.
Yet, I kind of like to talk to people. I have held several cashier jobs, where I checked out people’s purchases. I had to greet them when they came into the store and provide assistance. These have actually been some of the jobs I have counted as my most enjoyable.
Sure, I can sit quiet and work independently behind a desk inputting data. But if I have to do it full-time, I tend to become rather miserable mighty quickly.
Is it possible to be an introvert who craves fame?
I have been slowly collecting my 15 minutes of fame a few seconds at a time. When I was a kid, I had my name announced on a Canadian music video show (Miss you Video Hits!). I have always found unusual opportunities to get myself on the radio; TV as well, but those opportunities are rarer. I spill forth embarrassing events of my life into my blog to provide humor to the universe. I publish books. You might not realize this, but for every copy that heads out into the world a little piece of my heart (and my sanity) heads out with it.
It is stressful and scary and crazy to put myself out there like that. Why would I do that?
So what am I? You tell me…
I enjoy the sense of helping people. But I have to put on a front to do it. I have to pretend to be braver than I actually am. I get hot and sweat profusely. I literally have to wear a different brand of higher powered deodorant to work such a job.
I believe I am an extrovert with generalized anxiety disorder.
extroversion: the act, state, or habit of being predominantly concerned with obtaining gratification from what is outside the self. …Tends to be…outgoing, talkative, energetic behavior
generalized anxiety disorder: an anxiety disorder characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry, that is, apprehensive expectation about events or activities. This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, as individuals with GAD typically anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, death, family problems, friendship problems, interpersonal relationship problems, or work difficulties.
This is all simply self-diagnosis, of course.
But it makes sense to me. I spent a lot of time as a kid sitting home whining about how bored I was all the time. I felt like the world was going by without me, that other people were having awesome adventures that I was missing out on. I don’t believe that an introvert would care about missing the fun others are experiencing.
And I care too much about what else is going on in the world. I worry about it all so much that then I tend to not want to leave the house for fear of sliding on a snowy road or showing up to an event that is canceled or worse, too many other people have already showed up and now there is a crowd and a line.
Is there such a thing as a “shy” extrovert? I provide the evidence above as proof of my theory that I am this creature in the flesh.
And what would happen if a lightning bolt zapped my brain and removed my anxiety? Would I be unstoppable? Would I suddenly start singing on Broadway?
(I can’t sing, so the answer would be “no.”)
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