When I was about 8 years old, I was on holiday with my family. I can’t remember where, and they will likely none of them remember this. We were having dinner and there was a guy making balloon animals and stuff for the kids. I watched pretty happily from afar. Then I went to the toilet. When I came back, the guy came over and just put a wee balloon poodle down in front of me. It was so cute, and had a wee pom-pom on the end of its tail. My mum and dad, knowing that I never would have gone up, even with company, paid the guy to make one and come over and hand it to me. I was so embarrassed that I burst into tears. I think my parents must have thought, “What the hell are we supposed to do with this kid?!”
I think this illustrates my introversion pretty well. And it’s not the same thing as being shy. I quite like parties. People who know me well will laugh and guffaw when I say I’m introverted. I like telling stories and making people laugh; I don’t even mind being the centre of attention, for a while. It’s just that I find it wholly exhausting.
There are also major drawbacks to being an introvert. After a few hours in someone’s company I will just stop talking. I will want to be on my own. I’ve been known to retire to bed or have a bath just so I can stop talking or stop being in a conversation. It’s not because I don’t like the person or because I’m bored. I just need to recharge.
I also find interviews hard . I’m not very good at talking about myself extensively. Or at ‘selling myself’. All I can think is, “you sound like a total twat. Shut up. No one cares.” My other nightmare: “Let’s go round the circle and each say something interesting about ourselves!” Argh. I don’t care who once shaved their head for charity or if your son once sat beside Gordon Brown on the train. Inevitably, these ‘interesting’ things are so dull they make everyone sound like a boring bastard. It was definitely an extrovert that came up with that idea.
I think this is partly the reason why I find my job so exhausting. As a teacher, I’m always talking to folk. Then when I come home I like to be mute for a good hour or so.
I know I sound really boring but I can be really vibrant and funny. Just in sets, like a bizarre real-life comedian. They say the best entertainers are virtually reclusive in real life. Lessons 1-3 at school are amazing. Lesson 4-6 I’m like: “everyone read so I can stare at this wall.”
Anyway, I’ll do a list of introvert-y things. I like lists.
1. The two best things about going out are: getting ready, on my own, with loud music and loads of time. And coming home.
2. I think it’s because I’m tall, and I stride about or because I’m slightly paranoid, or possibly a mixture of both things. But I feel like a lot of people stare at me. I said this to a friend once and she said, “It’s probably because they hate your outfit.” At first I was offended and then it made me laugh.
3. Sometimes I need to be on my own so much I get chest pains. Maybe I should see a doctor about this….
4. I like to think. I consider it an activity.
5. I find busy places hellish. Humans in large numbers, all involved in the same pursuit, are not very pleasant or considerate.
6. I’m not good with friendly strangers. I always think they’re up to something. This makes me come across as a total d-bag.
Having read this, I don’t think I sound like a very nice person.
But being an introvert, I’m not bothered. Go away please.