I’d imagine that if you asked my family or friends to describe me, they would probably tell you that I am loud, that I talk a lot and that I seem to be a really busy person. Most importantly, they would try to justify why I am a picture-perfect image of an extrovert. Sure, I am loud, I do talk a lot and I am quite the busy human, but I don’t think that I am an extrovert.
My name is Michela and I am indeed an introverted extrovert. Seems like I’m contradicting myself doesn’t it? You’re thinking, “that is definitely an oxymoron!” Just hold tight, I’ll explain why this is a term that is worth validating as you keep reading.
Yes, I do tend to be the loud mouth in the room, but it’s not exactly because I am an extrovert. Rather, it is because the sound of silence makes me uncomfortable. It is because human interaction makes me as anxious as the feeling of riding a gigantic rollercoaster for the first time. It is because I often anticipate that people are thinking negatively of me and so I attempt to address that thought before they have a chance to.
The extroverted side of me is often the only one recognized by others because who really cares about that entire Tuesday I spent alone in my room? Truthfully, no one does unless I tell them (which in turn, makes me look like even more of an extrovert). The truth is that I don’t ramble like a 6 year old who just went to Disney World because I want to share my life story with everyone that I meet, but because I feel inclined to overcompensate for the anxiety that I am feeling inside. That overcompensation is depicted through my constant talking.
After being in a crowd of people for any amount of time, I need to recharge. Weather this is reading a book, going for a run, getting a few errands done or sipping a coffee in a coffee shop, I need to be alone. What a lot of people probably don’t know is that once I get this alone time, it takes me a while to actually be at peace. The first while is spent running through all of the conversations I just had and getting upset with myself for talking too much- or at all. I analyze every sentence, every reaction and every body movement to make sure I didn’t completely make a fool of myself. Being in a crowd of people is one of the most mentally and physically exhausting things that I could do. There are days where I am so excited to see a longtime friend but the process of getting me out of the house takes more courage and self-pep talks than an average person is used to. Alternatively, there are days where my courage has disappeared and my pep talk are unsuccessful so I bail. Believe me when I say that this is not because I do not want to, but because my body is drained. In fact, it is on these days that my FOMO escalates.
I wish I could say that I have developed the perfect formula to help me cope with these feelings or that all of my friends in my life time have been understanding of this, but that is not the case. Instead, I have learned how to listen to my body and be accepting of my emotions (which are always valid)!!! Being alone is usually when I feel the most content and when my anxiety is the most controlled. This means allowing myself to spend more time alone and stop punishing myself for not feeling up to being around large groups of people every day. I’m all for motivating myself to work outside of my comfort zone, but I am slowly learning to simultaneously respect my boundaries too.
My name is Michela and I am indeed an introverted extrovert. Yes, we do exist.