Wait, you’re an introvert?

I recently had a conversation with my (very) small family in where I made the declaration that I am an introvert. The ensuing doubt-filled laughter was enough to make me second guess any knowledge or opinion I’ll have for the rest of my life, but deep in my heart of hearts, I knew I had finally tapped into the reality of my infuriating, overcomplicated self.

For any of you who have no fucking clue what I’m talking about (do you exist?), let me explain the concept of introversion to you. By (a direct google) definition, an introvert, opposite to their socially inclined counterpart, the extrovert is “a shy, reticent person”. I can now grasp the origin of the mockery and laughter because to many, the thought of me as shy is as insane as the thought of me writing a blog detailing my life on the internet (yet both are happening?). I therefore came to the conclusion that those who limit an introvert to a shy, book reading, conservative cardigan sporting individual are closed minded with low tolerance levels.

Figuring out I was an introvert (with the occasional extroverted tendency) opened a whole new world for me. It helped me to realize why I often felt inclined to do the exact opposite of what was expected of me. It gave me some insight into the person that’s been criticized for being rude, sarcastic, anti-social, depressed and lazy AF.

The following are things that I do that make me a shitty extrovert:

  • I’ll get super stoked for a party or social event only to have my social batteries drain half an hour in and spend the rest of the time sulking, overthinking and holding back tears.
  • One day I’ll be bubbly, happy and literally down for anything. The next I will refuse to leave my bed. This one in particular has confused a lot of people who don’t understand that I need to time alone to recharge so I’m able to return to being a semi-functional human being.
  • I don’t keep in touch with friends, and then get hurt once they’ve forgotten about me. I spin it onto them, but I know I share the blame. I have to try harder, which is something I’m working on.
  • I use sarcasm as my only form of communication. This one took me a little while to figure out, but this is my autopilot when it comes to hiding myself. I’m generally so afraid of negative judgement and opening up that I’ll put up terrible, spiky, poison tipped walls laden with insults, hair flips and general shittiness.

Now, this all makes me sound terrible, and gives introverts everywhere a bad rep. If you’re pissed, I totally understand, but I swear I’m going somewhere with this.

Until the realization hit me that I am, in fact, an introvert, I thought there was something terribly wrong with me. I had lived my childhood under the belief that I was a completely socially inclined risk taker without a shy, introspective bone in my body. Around puberty, my sense of identity began to change. I became increasingly fearful of the opinion of others and receded into myself. Social situations exhausted me and being alone was one of the best joys I knew. This new Katie went against everything others already knew about me. I continued to live my life as an extrovert, failing time and time again to meet the social criteria others set for me.

But don’t worry guys, I’m wiser now. I do love to socialize, meet new people and open myself up to new experiences, but I know myself on a deeper level than I did before, and am painfully aware of my boundaries. If I’m uncomfortable at a party, I leave. If I need time to recharge and require the solitary confinement of my room, I take it. I don’t apologize, and if I’m insulted for doing what I need to get through the day, I defend myself.

I’m not perfect. Sarcasm still rules my interactions, insecurities plague my every move and I often isolate myself to the point of a depressive state. I’ve lost friends, I’ve been hurt and I’ve hurt people, but I’m trying guys, I really am.

How’s that for sharing?

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