TLDR: Way too long of a post
It’s yet another sleepless night. My mind can’t stop running at full speed. Everything that’s been happening to me lately is just sprinting on repeat. This thing I did went really well. I’m glad I said this! Holy cow I should have said this! Oh man, I’m so glad I did this. Did she really look at me that way? How was I looking at her? Did she think I was hitting on her? Do I come off that way? Is she being just genuinely friendly or is she flirting? Non-fucking-stop. Good lord. I’m really tired. I’ve been really tired for the past few weeks. But I haven’t stopped going. I kind of don’t want to stop because I am ABSOLUTELY loving every bit of it. But I really want my brain to JUST RELAX. I really want to sleep. I’ve never done coke, but I’m sure this is pretty much how I’d react to it. I can’t stop at the moment.
Life has been super fucking AMAZING lately. This past month, I’ve experienced so many new things, I don’t even know where to start. It’s like one thing after another, and I am barely hanging on. But I’m sure as hell enjoying it all. My limited vocabulary just doesn’t do this experience any justice. So I apologize in advance for repeating words like: awesome, amazing, and super. I am not so graced with the ability to express words outside of those 3 words. I’ll just bold and make them louder for increased excitement. Hah.
Where do I begin? Most importantly, what’s going on in my head right now? Truthfully, it’s me wondering if I’m actually an extrovert. All my life I’ve said that I’m shy. And it’s true. I am. I definitely have some sort of social anxiety. I’m very reserved. I really struggle with going up to people and striking conversation. Worse, I don’t know how to carry on a conversation. I sincerely admire people who can just talk and talk and talk about nothing really important at all. And that weird awkward pause? How the hell do you get past that? Seriously. I really enjoy a deep and meaningful conversation. I absolutely love it. I don’t really give a fuck-all about the weather. I really want to know how you’re doing. Tell me about what’s going on in your mind. Tell me something really interesting about your life. Hell, tell me your story. Let’s talk. Let’s have a real conversation. Let’s make a real connection. But to start it all, can you please just come up and talk to me first? Cuz goddamn, I am sure scared as shit to go up to you and strike up a conversation. It takes every fiber of my being, every ounce of my small little confidence bucket, to look at you, walk up to you, and just utter the simplest of words, “Hi.” But when you ignore me, or turn away, I feel defeated. But… Be a badass airship. That’s my not-so-secret motto. I know I’m pretty awesome, and I know people love me when they get to know me. But I’m tight as a clam and refuse to open up so immediately. I’m afraid that people, who’ve judged me by my looks, ignore me. Making friends is near impossible at that point. (And so, understandably, I love every single one of the ones I DO have.) I know that my own fears are probably my biggest hinderances. I know that if I just face that fear and overcome it, things will be OK. And they usually are. Still.
So I read definitions of what introversion and extroversion means. And until a few years ago, I thought that what I had was introversion. That being shy meant being introverted. A person I used to speak to vehemently and somewhat angrily corrected me on that. Lesson learned. She was a fierce introvert, but she was by no means shy. So what does it mean to be an introvert? What’s it mean to be an extrovert? Here’s how I understand it. People who are introverts are those that recover their energy by having some alone time. Not “alone time,” but just chilling out with their badass selves. Maybe read a book, or play some games for 5 hours. Whatever it is, it doesn’t involve other people. People who are extroverts are those who recharge and recover their energy by being with other people They are the ones who are the happiest hanging out with friends. Perhaps there’s a correlation between extroverts and having many friends. Who knows.
So what about shy? Where does that fit in? Shy (and it’s opposite, outgoing) fall into a completely different category irrespective of introversion and extroversion. Being shy, in my book, seems to be the socially awkward penguin. We don’t know how to talk to people, we don’t know how to start conversations, we don’t really know how to handle a lot of social situations. Alternatively, being outgoing is someone who can do all those things - they are very good at introducing themselves to people, starting up a conversation, heck LEADING a conversation. They can handle almost any social situation thrown at them. They make you feel almost instantly welcome and are in the center of the crowd. I am seriously jealous of them.
Recently I read an article saying that introverts and extroverts DO have scientifically different mechanisms that allow them to recharge. They are really wired differently. It’s a biological thing, and something we can’t change. Some people really honestly truly need quiet time to recharge. And others need to recharge by hanging out with their friends. Those recharging “molecules” go thru 2 different pathways, to 2 different areas in the brain. And that’s pretty amazing. But it doesn’t explain shyness and outgoingness. Earlier I said that shy/outgoing are irrespective of introvert/extrovert. I suspect that being shy/outgoing are NOT tied to biological mechanisms. That they are actually learned responses. Someone could theoretically go from being super outgoing to really shy. Or from incredibly shy to fairly outgoing. Anecdotally, some examples - My mum used to say she was super quiet when she was little, but as she grew older, she realized she could get a lot more friends to chat with her if she piped up. Now she’s just a regular chatty cathy, and people love listening to her talk. She is by nature an extrovert. My sister, also an extrovert, had moved to a different state and hated it so much she became shy and reserved during that time. She refused to be friendly and meet with people. She got severely depressed. When she moved back and had her friend support network, her depression went away. She’s also back to being friendly with everyone as well. And me? I’m shy. I’m really trying my best to become more outgoing. But at the same time I think I’m in love with the fact that I’m a bit more reserved and caution. I don’t mind sitting back and watching people interact. I don’t mind listening to people. It gives me a chance to really judge them. I’m torn on becoming outgoing for that reason. I am holding myself back. Perhaps it’s a good thing.
Back to the original question. I am up, wide awake, at midnight, forfeiting beautiful wonderful sleep, because I can’t decide if I am a fucking extrovert or an introvert. And I’m up writing this post that no one will probably ever look at or read in its entirety because it’s away too fucking long, but I don’t really give a damn because I really want to sort it out and maybe seeing it visually will help me understand. You understand my case. Right now, for sure, I am shy. That’s been completely established. And part of being shy, (to me, erroneously until I was corrected) is just not being social at all. I rarely ever went out. I rarely had friends over - because quite frankly I don’t have a lot of friends, and the ones I have are miles and miles and miles away. And so over the years I’ve gotten comfortable being alone. But here’s the kicker. I kept finding myself drawn to internet chat rooms, where I could talk to people. Where I could think about the comments I wanted to say, and actually be “outgoing” there. I didn’t have to think about how I sounded, or the tone of my voice, or if I stuttered and stumbled about, or if I messed up phrases and words. I could be me. It was glorious. But all in all, it still left me wanting to be able to hang out with people in real life. During the spikes in time when I had a lot of people to hang out with and was constantly doing stuff, it was sure as hell tiring, but I went thru with it, cuz I knew it wouldn’t last. (And it didn’t.) I was going to soak up as much time with people as I could. Sleep and rest could come later. And it was awesome. And when that time passed and I was back alone, I was totally OK with it. I played video games. I took naps. I drew, I found some kind of hobby to fill my time up. I was pretty happy. I liked being alone, and appreciated that time some more. The times I spent with friends were also equally appreciated. And you know what? I was like a puppy, always getting excited when I got a text confirming plans to hang out. There was one person who, whenever I’d hang out with her, I always came home full of energy. It was amazing. It was definitely the first time in my life where 7 hours of chatting until 5am made me feel so happy and energized and ready to take on the world and fuck that sleep for 2 hours and get up and clean the entire house from top to bottom. That amazing. I attribute that to her awesome energy.
Jump forward a bazillion and a half years. I’ve moved to a new city. My life has turned pretty much upside down. New job, new city, no friends, hell my dad passed away (and damn, I really miss him). I’ve been to more meet-ups than I’ve ever been to in all my life. That doesn’t say much since I had only gone to 1 back home, but still. Just about every week I go to a meet-up. Some weeks, I go to 2. Weekends lately have been filled with workshops or activities like a street fair, or a public speaking workshop. Just recently was a tech summit. This evening I gave my first presentation, and it was received really well. This weekend I’m flying out to Oregon for a workshop where I’m going to be a mentor. Life is moving FUCKING BLAZINGLY FAST. Like that song “Stop this train, I wanna get off~” that’s how I’m feeling. I really do. Yet I don’t. I am hanging on to dear life, hoping that it’ll continue on. Why? Because I’m loving every single minute of it. It’s all something new, and I’m forcing myself to be that badass airship I’m meant to be. I’m forcing myself out of my comfort zone.
I know I probably won’t make friends from the meet-ups I go to, since they are all nerdy and filled with other programmers, but that’s OK. At the tech summit, I met other nerdy people, sure, but we are all gay, so we had that going for us. It meant that I could look at another woman and know that hey! she’s queer like me. awesome. That’s really enlightening and relieving (honestly, it’s amazing). I don’t have my own queer support network here in the motherland of SF, and I’d like to build it, so I hope that the connections can be fostered to friendships. And it’s confusing right now, because as I write this, I’m realizing, holy shit, I guess I AM an extrovert. That all this time, I think my shyness and my inability to talk to people prevented me from gaining this energy that I really needed in my life. And now that I have all this energy, I CAN’T FUCKING SLEEP. GEEZUS, I’D REALLY LIKE TO SLEEP. I’m restless. I just want to run around flailing my arms out. I want to keep talking a bazillion miles a minute. Instead my fingers are flailing letting me speak my mind for me because I don’t have anyone to chat to that will want to listen to my story. I don’t care if no one reads this. This is for me.
But the problem is, in the morning, I’m dead tired. I’m exhausted from that lack of sleep. If I really am an extrovert, how do I handle this situation? How do others handle the situation where they recharge their energy so late at night that they can’t sleep as well? I really enjoy the quiet, and I find myself wanting that again. I find myself wanting to get some time to ‘decompress’ without human interaction. But when things are quiet here, and I’m lazy and watching Netflix all day, I find myself wanting to be around people. Someone I can talk to for 8 hours straight, without skipping a beat. A real connection, a deep connection. So I am at a crossroad, starting to understand that maybe I’ve been wrong all my life. Maybe I’m not an introvert. Maybe I really AM an extrovert after all. It’s fucking scary, this new world. It means I have to put more effort into wanting to hang out with people to recharge. It’ll explain why when I get home from wherever, after talking to a few people, I’m super excited and hyper and talking a mile a minute to my roommate who just wants to sleep. It’ll explain why, when I talked with my friend for hours at a time, I’d be so energetic after wards. It wasn’t her positive energy (well that part really helps, admittedly), it was the fact that I was fully recharged and brimming with energy. Holy fucking shit.
So what do? I have no idea. All I know is that I’m still tired. I still need time to decompress at the end of the day. And I need more than 30 minutes to calm down. Hell, I need more than 2 hours to calm down. It’s just not enough. How will I react to it all? I hope that I have the strength and gumption to continue to face whatever exciting things come my way. I hope that this realization that maybe I AM an extrovert brings new experiences into my life, and forces me to turn to you and say, "Hey, how’s it going. My name is…"
WHY ARENT THERE ADULT-SIZED PLAYGROUNDS
LIKE EVERYTHING IS THE SAME AS A KIDS PLAYGROUND
WHY DO WE NOT HAVE THOSE
theme parks. just. theme parks.
but u have to pay for theme parks
that’s the adult part
son of a bitch
ladies and gentlemen, behold
the St. Louis City Museum:
Playground for adults and children.
They even serve alcohol.