Saturday, October 05, 2013

Introvert or not?

Am I an introvert? A shy extrovert? An ambivert? An obnoxious overtalkative person? How can I present myself? Should I even position myself into a strict category? Is it even defined well or makes sense?

In order to avoid placing me in a category but let others understand who I may be, I like to make lists of characteristics that feel strong in me and are relevant by various descriptions of introversion. I'd also like to make a second list of other elements that might cast me out of this view that I am an introvert.

  • I think part of my introversion comes from the fact that I sometimes appear quite shy or am a bit of sensitive or fearful to start conversation. There is also guilt for the times I happen to not have anything to say and feeling like the quiet guy.
  • The new mantra however is that shyness is not introversion, or that you can actually be shy and extroverted. Am I shy and a hiding extroverted instead?
  • I still don't think this. For I don't feel like I am interested in casual conversation just for the sake of socialization. But could I just be hiding this from myself because of my shyness? Could I be an extrovert that has to get out of the closet?
  • The strongest fact about myself and the one I like the most is that I am really interested about ideas and things and I feel like these are the most interesting things in my world. This reflects the way I am socializing which is actually talking excessively about specific subjects and overanalysing whatever rocks my boat. I couldn't care less about the people focused type of socialization which is more casual conversation, shallow instead of deep conversations, a means to an end of just connecting with other people.
  • It's not that I don't want to communicate with other people. But maybe I don't enjoy socialization the way it is meaned to be most of the times. I still enjoy a thorough conversation with people and I spend a lot of time discussing similar interests with close friends.
  • Meanwhile I am a bit conscious of how I communicate with other people and how different it is than most. Sometimes I wonder during my frantic monologue whether I am just killing the casual flow of a conversation because of my passion about specific subjects. Other times anxiety kicks in because someone made a casual joke or small talk and I am always supposed to respond but it doesn't come always out. I could say it revolves between two states, quietness (shyness or nothing to say?) and frantic monologues (obsession with an overflow of ideas that I really want to get out) that don't fit the casual style of conversation.
Things that could make you scream out that I can't be an introvert:
  • The frantic monologues I talk above. I might look quite obnoxious at times. I keep finding myself talking excessively about my favorite subjects with someone who might not be interested at all and wonder if I am making him tired. Some would say that this attitude could actually be quite annoying to a true introvert.
  • Yet, the source of this excessive talking, which is strong focus on ideas instead of people connections, is commonly identified as an introvert trait in many of the descriptions I find on the internet.
  • The most important thing that could outcast me, is that there is a very characteristic definition in the recent introvert craze about energy lost during extroverted activities and replenished while being alone. I cannot relate to this description (if it has not been misinterpreted since it's original depiction (Jungian?)) since I neither feel exhausted or energized whether I am with many people or alone.
  • And what is the type of energy we are talking about here? Physical? Mental? Emotional? It's never properly defined. It's more like a metaphysical term right now. While I cannot identify with this, I am certain that spending time alone is a more preferable state for me than socializing. But I can just survive nicely social situations in terms of restlessness, only drawback is some emotional frustration from not fitting in with the casual type of conversation, worrying whether I am a loner who can't always readily reply to spontaneous casual talk, sometimes getting bored and wanting to go back home or attack the food table at least :)

Decide for yourself. Actually the reason I am doing this is, besides wanting to describe myself in more precise details, sometimes my fear that someone out of this new craze who identifies himself with introversion, could come out and blame me that I am not that thing but rather an attention seeker who takes advantage of the trend and steals the title from people who are the real introverts or something. It's the fear that someone would say I should be ashamed and I shouldn't be identified with this. Although I made my mind with this and just state the facts. It's just that I am seeing this happening recently and it makes me sad that there is such a polemic in a community that should show (and has the capability of showing) more understanding.

Another thing that is very curious is that these are elements not only found within introversion but also in other categorizations I've been reading about in the past, from Asperger's to Hypersensitivity. I don't claim that I can be totally defined by any of these but I can't fail to notice some similarities between all these unique categorizations and the different movements around them on the internet, which is actually the same thing, a realization that you are not alone, a struggle against the feeling of being an outsider, a justification for who you really are. That's why I am quite interested with all these parallel movements of celebrating abnormality on the internet and I am really curious to see where that will leads us.

I would really like to see the whole picture here, to connect the pieces of the puzzle, because I think this is bigger than life, this is about my life struggle and yours and everyone's of being different, blamed by the society, feeling that something is wrong with you and then finally being justified. And this is a story about understanding of who we really are and trying to understand others who are also struggling by this even if they don't exactly fit your definition of what introversion or autism or any other category is supposed to mean. When new ideals evolve into movements, there is always this kind of noise, everyone trying to identify themselves and sometimes getting into quarrels about other people not belonging to the "club". It's kinda sad because we are really all part of the same story, just trying to understand who we really are and get along with ourselves. I am really really curious where all this trend will lead. I will be observing.

p.s. First this video and then this article and the subsequent links flooded my mind with interesting thoughts and made me really furious about sharing them with you (as a shy obnoxious ambivert :)
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