In retrospect, the fate of my different blogs and social media outlets is entertaining for anyone who likes to study the psychology of the human mind. This blog, the one that I first started to try and say the things that I couldn’t out loud, was put on the back burner a year ago when I decided to put my writing first. But over the course of the last year, I’ve come to realize that in putting so much into the social media side of writing, it had become a personality all its own, and that was exhausting to the introvert that I am. The fact is that even being social in the otherwise anonymous internet world can still be stressful and draining, just as being social in strange situations.
As an introvert, I’ve had to create another side of me, one that can go out in public and introduce myself to strangers. While working in differing industries, I’ve always had to help with the problem resolution side of things. As soon as I answer a phone, I become a different person. I become the problem resolution character. But I think if I start to name the other masks I’ve crafted, I’ll start to sound a little crazy.
Anyway, after three months of being without a “real” job, I started to lose my firm grasp of my public persona – the main mask. Sometimes, I couldn’t even bring myself to go into Starbucks to get my coffee without a pep talk. All this time over the last few months has reminded me that for most of us introverts, we have to find a way to survive in an extrovert’s world. For me, that’s the different masks. My public relations one, my teacher side, my full on INTJ-tough decision one (and yes I realize the contradiction in that, but it makes sense to me so I’m sticking with it). These masks, they’ve helped me survive, but without constant use, they start to fade.
Finally, after five months of applying for a new job (I started applying before my last job forced my hand of leaving earlier than planned), I finally had a request for an interview. And then a second interview. For the first interview, I could feel the dust on my mask, but I could brush it off and get through. For the second interview, I knew true fear. It crept up on me while I wasn’t looking – the deepest, darkest fear I could have: the fear of failure. To prepare myself, to stop the fear from spreading, I knew I had to go back out to the world and make sure my mask was ready.
The funny thing about these masks is that they are a part of me, and yet separate. They are who I am – I’m not being fake when I put one on – they just aren’t the side of me that I’m most comfortable with. And if I don’t keep track of the introvert meter, they can exhaust me. Still, they’re what is necessary to get by in this extrovert-centric world. And I’m proud of them, in a way. I’ve crafted them, learned to grow with them, and they’re there when I need them.
Now, as I go back into the working world, I’ll need to find that happy medium where I balance who I am most comfortable with being and who others are most comfortable being around. Funny world we live in, but there you have it.
As I get ready and start to transition back to the regular grind, I know I’ll need to depend more on my outlets. The stress of a new job will get to me, I’ll need to make sure to take time for just me. And luckily, with my other interests, I know I have options. Writing, horses, corgis, and cooking – and without the strict expectations of doing everything on time and perfectly in my personal life, maybe I can continue to grow and share my struggles with others. There is often little that compares to knowing you are not alone in your struggles.
From one introvert to another…until next time –