I’ve come to a realization in recent days. Actually, I came to a certain acceptance. I think I’m an extrovert. That probably doesn’t mean much although maybe there are some preconceptions that extroverts don’t blog and write stuff. I could just be making assumptions. It wouldn’t be the first time.
My whole life I’ve thought I was introverted and I identified with what people associated with introverts. I’ve always liked reading books by myself. I always played video games by myself and I’ve been the weird kid who sits by himself at the lunch table. When I was in high school, I was always , “the kid who never talks.” While that’s not the best label one can receive it’s a label never the less. It’s an easy way to stand out.
But there’s been moments where that didn’t exactly mesh with that identity. I remember, also in high school, I guess we’re going to keep going back there. Hold up a moment. “15 year old Josh, it’s okay that your weird goatee looks like Shaggy from Scooby Doo’s and it’s okay that it took you all summer to grow that thing! You will be able to grow a beard in a few weeks when you’re older!” Sorry, had to get that out of the way. I took some kind of personality assessment thing in my psychology class and I actually came up more on the extroverted side. I was so quiet in school that my teacher automatically told me, “I bet I know what you are. Introverted.” And not wanting to sound foolish I agreed with him assuming there was a mistake in the measure.
I’m also not shy around people once I get to know them. When I get to know people I have been told that I don’t shut up. I remember my dad telling this to someone when I was, again, in fucking high school. I really don’t know why that time keeps coming up. And now that I think about it, the fact that I appreciated having a label could be more evidence towards my extroversion.
Recently, and by recently I mean a couple of years ago, which is sooner than high school so there’s that. I took an assessment that, again, told me I was extroverted and my assumption was that the thing was wrong because at near 30 I saw myself as introverted. I’ve always been shy around people (well, strangers) and that’s just who I am. But, in the last few months I’ve finally started to come around to the idea that I might actually be an extroverted person. It really would explain my desire to have a large group of friends and it would also kind of explain why I enjoy a little bit of the attention from this blog and social media.
So why haven’t I had that group of friends and why was I always seen as quiet? This has to go back to my social anxiety issues. As a middle schooler I was bullied and learned that it was better to be quiet and hide than be myself and get picked on. I learned that if I could keep away from teasing the day was a good one and the rest of my life I kind of accepted that habit. To make matters worse, to this day, I still believe that any stranger I come across will treat me like some did in middle school and my first instinct is to retreat. This has created a weird conundrum where I’m desiring multiple social relationships but since I’m scared of people I don’t get what I need. I don’t blame every damn issue I’ve ever had on this and I do think some of my social disorders were in place well before I was ever picked on but I really feel like this moment of clarity and discovering who I really am will help enormously. The only thing I have to do is separate myself from the person who has believed and built an identity around introversion for 30 fucking years. That part….may be difficult but you know what? I have gotten my way through so many issues as it is, why the fuck can’t I go through another?