Introversion at it’s best/worst

My time has to come write about my apparent introversion which, at times, pushes me a little too far… whether I like it or not.

Last night was no exception and perhaps writing about it will help.

I also plan to read a few books in relation to introversion/shyness and maybe even low self esteem. I’ve heard that there is a direct link between shyness and low self esteem, and yet, I don’t see myself as someone with a lack of confidence – I tend to live how I want, do what I want – even if it scares me.

Eg. Flying – every time I fly I feel like.. no wait… I KNOW it’s my last flight. As in, something bad will happen, and for a few hours beforehand I look for any sign that this is my last ride – and often all signs point to the end. Even a bit of traffic on the way to the airport, or a slight delay.

Having said that – I fly a lot. One man sat beside me actually asked “guess you don’t fly often eh?” during a bumpy landing to Calgary one January. I smiled, said nothing and thought “this is my 7th flight in 4 months”. But what can you do?

I’m also well aware that during a zombie apocalypse (a very likely event in my lifeline I might add) I would be a survivor. I know all the good hiding places (no matter which country I’m in) and I mentally prepare myself for all situations as well as being highly adaptable – which I believe is a huge advantage point when we’re all running away from the undead/killing each others gangs.

So, nope, in certain contexts there is no lack of confidence there.

Now, put me in a social environment, with people who I want to like me around, I tend to lose confidence and prefer to stay quiet, and smile. If I smile people are less likely to think of me as a snob and a ‘bitch’ who doesn’t want to be there – which is quite far from the truth – if I didn’t want to be there – I wouldn’t.

I just find it difficult to speak out and go along with the jokes etc. I should mention that we are talking sans booze, as when booze flows, my shyness certainly takes a back seat to my desire to have fun.

So, I shall describe last night, I was invited to a party I really wanted to join, knowing there would be quite a few people there – at least – 18 + lets say. An extremely good friend of mine throws it every year in honour of her birthday and the amazing women she has in her life. I’d been working outside all day and it had been the first day or snow for us all, in 2’C temperatures…  so I was cold and tired and had some ‘ahem’ stomach issues but I wanted to show my face and push myself socially.

I stayed about 2 hours, sat quietly, laughed at jokes and smiled with the crowd. I played with the dogs (always a bonus for us introverts… am I right?!) I found a quiet way to talk to my friend and just let her know I was going to slink out and wished her well for the rest of the evening. She knows me, understood and thanked me for coming.

Yes, slink is the verb I like to use to describe how I leave social gatherings, like the otter who flows so smoothly in and out of muddy rivers… I too, appear and then suddenly disappear from human events…

Once in the car, a little pissed off at myself for not staying longer but deciding to commit to the move I drive off. Now, this friend lives on a farm and need I remind that the weather has lowered significantly this week… I try to maneover around other parked vehicles then low and behold, I am stuck.

First instinct. Cry and curse the day.

Second instinct. Go back and confess.

Third instinct. Call for help and get vehicle moved all unbeknownst to the party goers.

I chose second instinct. I am 31 now and must grow a pair in social situations.

I was very lucky, two ladies were sat outside when all the others were indoors, they noticed me hanging around the front door trying to pluck up courage to enter and explain my issue. They asked me if there was something wrong or if I needed help. I explained my predicament and they offered to try and get me unstuck. One lady took the wheel and did lots of rocking back and forth as I pushed, the second lady joined and between the 3 of us we got her out!! I was so overjoyed! I hugged both women, got their names and made a promise to myself to look at them as humans to aspire to. I promise that next year I will not panic when stuck, I will own it and know what to do. I will practice in mud and snow this year and shall conquer the Canadian land.

Jeez, Canada can be tough!

So, that was my night. But the thing is, the thing that bothers me so much, was how I felt afterwards. I was angry at myself for feeling shy at this party, I was mad at myself for not trying harder to socialize and then I was sad at being so hard on myself…. It’s like telling a person who can’t digest dairy so have a glass of whole milk! I swear. Even though it seems one can change their behaviour and suck it up to just go with the flow, I cannot tell you how many times I have been at an event and just been angry with myself for my lack of confidence/vocal impact at said event.

Even when I socialize at a pub with a group of friends, whom I’ve known for years and we all know each other inside and out – too many people is just too many people. All eyes on me = hell.

Apart from movement. Dancing is the only thing I can achieve in front of crowds, and it was my saviour throughout high school and still aids me to this day.. give me a ballet, tap or modern routine (these days I prefer bellydancing and african but you get the point) and I shall perform it quite freely. Spontaneous dancing or improv is not the same sea of fish but luckily, alcohol can be added to random dancing at a gig or bar. I make no noise when I dance, I think thats why it’s okay for me.

“let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves” KILL ME.

{insert political statement} “Natasha – what do you think?”  KILL ME.

The term is hear the most from people who get to know me “you were so quiet when we first met” Yes people, I’m shy as F**K on introductions but once I’m comfortable and I deem you as an ally – she’s real outgoing. Burp, fart and sex jokes – yes.

Might just take a few months.

At the same time, I’m happy to hang out with myself on a Saturday night, even, quite frankly, I look forward to such evenings. I do strongly believe that this quality is a great strength, I would hate to feel a need to be with other people – in order to feel good. Then again, an extroverted person never has to go through all the emotional turmoil of socializing when they do get out. Grass is always greener right?

In my own world oblivious to the T-Rex 

It’s just that feeling a self-dissapointment once home, I wish I were stronger and less self doubting with this aspect. There was no reason for me to worry all night about acting weird as my friend knows me and would understand – so why let it control me so much?

I need to learn to accept my weaknesses and even see them as quirks and just trust that those who know me, accept them too.

I plan to read 2 books by Brené Brown ‘the gifts of imperfection’ and ‘braving the wilderness’ which, I think, both talk about accepting yourself, sticking up for yourself, flaws and all.

It’s funny, as a teacher I had no problem standing in front of a class of 15 people and making jokes, arguing grammar terms and controlling a group – once I get into a social setting with the same group (it happens every time) I deflate and take the corner seat. Often to the surprise of the students.

As a gardener – now Manager (thank you very much) I remain the quietest of the group when it comes to spontaneous chat, shall we say small talk, if there comes a time when I have to go into professional role and have a conflict, give instructions or communicate with a client – I will have no problem. Just don’t ask me about my plans for the weekend!

Just happy hanging out with my spirit animal – the wolf. Even though quiet, they like to be part of pack yet confident alone. Bet they slink too.

 

 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Caro says:

    as always….i love it! hey sis’…i’m really getting to know you better thank to your blog….i feel we have so much in common and i cant believe we’ve kept it quiet from each other!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lanlake says:

      My darling… thank you for your message – j’adore que tu lis ce que j’écris. J’ai hâte de te revoir!

      Like

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