I suppose this started, like so many other posts, with a Facebook trend. There for a little while, all kinds of introvert/extrovert articles were making their way around Facebook. I enjoyed them, and I discovered that I am clearly an introvert, a label I had resisted because I didn’t really understand its meaning until I read more about it. I even blogged about my new understanding and how I felt it fit me (here). I was thrilled to learn that introversion doesn’t mean that I’m shy, rude, unhappy, or hate people. Instead, it’s more about my ideal social setting and what makes me feel energized. So surely if I had this new understanding of the way I am, then other people did too, right? Nope. Apparently not everyone got a hold of the same articles I did.
I am used to the Ice-Queen jokes. I’m admittedly not a really open person when it comes to emotions. People I’m close to have laughed a lot about me having to say “That hurts my feeling” instead of “feelings.” Get it? Because I only have one? Hilarious, right? I laugh at these jokes, too, because I assumed people got me. It turns out maybe they don’t.
This picture was making the rounds on social media recently. And, ironically enough, just as I was making fun of it via text message, someone mentioned that it reminded them of me. “Oh, but in a good way.” Huh? I know I’m pretty over-analytical, but what is good about being compared to a miserable cartoon character whose friends are burdened by his gloominess? There nothing quite like a reality check, and mine came as a realization that there are people out there who mistake my snarky smart-assiness for true unhappiness. And it stinks to think that people don’t get me.
I know there will always be people who don’t understand or enjoy me. I’m confident enough to deal with that. I can’t win them all. But I would still like to clear up any misconceptions that might be out there about me or people like me.
- CBF is real. My loved-ones and I have laughed at this article until we cried because it is so ME. I’m not nearly as grouchy as I look. Promise. All silliness aside though, it is crazy to assume something about a person’s personality just because of the way they look.
- My moods change with my thoughts. I live absolutely in the moment, and whatever’s going through my head right then is evident in the way I act. I would go as far as to say that 99% of the time, I’m not even a little unhappy; I’m probably hungry, stressed, or distracted. My mind has 15 browsers open 24/7. I’m busy. A cheesy smile isn’t priority #1.
- Not everyone oozes happiness every second of every day. To be completely honest that’s a huge demand on anyone. I want to feel free to express that I’m mad or disappointed or confused if that’s how I’m feeling. Happiness when it happens? Sure. But all the time? Can’t be done. Life is good, but it’s not quite kittens and rainbows EVERY. STINKING. SECOND.
- I feel an overwhelming inclination (obligation?) to be honest and real at all times. I actually consider this to be one of the very best things about me. I’m a terrible liar, and whether you get me to TELL you what I think, or you guess from my face which has a way of betraying my true thoughts, you always know where you stand with me. I will tell you the truth, even if it isn’t popular. And I won’t sugar coat a thing. Gritty? Maybe. Evidence of unhappiness? Hardly.
- If you wonder what I’m thinking or how I’m feeling, ASK ME….or don’t. Part of the reason I don’t radiate happiness is that I don’t radiate anything much of the time. Instead of dismissing me as Eeyore, because I’m not joyfully riding a unicorn from task to task, give me an opportunity to explain myself. Or at the very least, admit to yourself that you probably don’t know me well enough to know what I’m feeling or thinking about right at that moment.
- I feel a ton of pressure: pressure to be social, to be positive, to converse, to go out, to do any number of things because extroverts or overly judgmental people expect me to act a certain way. Do you really want to be the reason I’m scrutinizing myself? “Normal” is relative.
I had a conversation recently with a good friend over what words describe us best. I’ve always liked “aloof,” for myself. He chose “snarky.” For him? I chose “smug,” while he proclaimed himself “douchey.” We laughed about the negative connotations of the words we’d chosen because we know each other well enough to hurl such words around. That’s the comfort in true friendship: people understand enough about what’s really there that it doesn’t matter what you call it. No matter the word, I think it’s unfair to expect a person with my unique set of attributes to bubble cheerfulness. I think most people who know me well will agree that I’m honest, open-minded, witty, loyal, and authentic. Know what makes me truly happy? Being with people who get me. People who know that I show my happiness differently than most, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.
The bottom line is that I’m really a very content person the majority of the time. I love my life, even if I spend too much of it over thinking things….like whether or not people know I’m happy. On the occasion that I feel something other than the pure bliss in which some people claim to perpetually exist, I am just not inclined to hide it. It’s not my nature. I’m an open book, and you’re judging the cover or only reading certain parts.
If I’ve said this in one blog post, I’ve said it in twenty: This world needs all kinds of people. Let’s make an effort to accept each other because of who we are rather than in spite of it…as the tiny jewel of Eeyore wisdom up there indicates.