Posted by: terrapraeta | June 2, 2009


Look into my eyes, what do you see?
Cult of personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
Ive been everything you want to be
Im the cult of personality
Like mussolini and kennedy
Im the cult of personality
Cult of personality
Cult of personality

Living Colour, Cult of Personality

Over my life, I have thought of myself as a shy, introverted person, with a distinct lack of social skills when it comes to meeting new people, small talk and dealing well with large groups of people. However, in recent years, I have come to understand the quietness of my youth – as a child I was subjected to speech therapy for a lisp and I have come to recognize that much of quietness was literally discomfort with talking, rather than interacting – and I have come to recognize that as I became an adult the worst of this shyness faded away. In fact, this became quite clear to me upon speaking with a friend who is a big fan of the Meyers-Briggs Personality Test. To put it bluntly, when I described myself as a shy introvert he laughed at me.

I have taken the test a number of times and I usually score somewhere just over the line of Extroversion, while also being highly Intuitive (imagine that!), slightly more Thinking than Feeling and moderately inclined toward Perceiving rather than Judgmental. Aside from the extroversion, nothing was terribly surprising to me.

Needing to understand the extrovert concept, I looked into it more and found that this has less to do with how gregarious one is, and more to do with where one gains and expends their energy. One of the most gregarious friends I have is characterized as an introvert. Once I thought about it, it made a whole lot of sense for him. As a professional actor, he is constantly entertaining those around him – no wonder he gets tired and needs some alone time to recover!

So tonight I was thinking about this again, and wondered how much of my distress over my honey being gone related directly to this personality characteristic. If I gain energy through interaction with others, and he is the only adult that I regularly interact with (in person), doesn’t it make sense that I would be pretty consistently drained, peaking specifically at those times that he is gone for more extended time periods?

Last Friday night we each went out with a friend, and then hooked up again late in the evening before coming home. I drank too much, and I stayed out too late yet had to rise early to take my son to his Saturday am activity, yet all day I was bursting with energy. I think I accomplished more on Saturday afternoon than I generally do over an entire weekend. I found it bizarre, but I relished it. Hoped that it was a sign that my general malaise was perhaps really, truly gone. Yet today, I find myself bored and tired and unmotivated to do much of anything. But I am not depressed, or feeling terribly angsty or upset in any way.

Saturday, although I was physically tired, I was still in the wake of spending time with an old friend – and running into a few others over the course of the evening – so I was motivated and charged up. Tonight, I have been home and have not spent any time with friends since Saturday evening, and my honey has been out since mid morning, and I feel lethargic. All of a sudden, it’s beginning to make sense.

There is not a lot to be done about it, unfortunately. I can be more aware of this, and make a concerted effort to get regular interactions with people besides my honey, but regular life still leaves me working from home and mostly on my own. But anytime that I understand what I am feeling, it becomes much easier to deal with. And more importantly, this adds one more good reason to continue to pursue both the extended, polyamorous relationships and the long term community goals that we have.

One last thing occurs to me. I think when I originally saw this description of ‘extrovert’, I found it impossible to see myself in it. But I think – at least for me – that I recharge in the company of close friends, whereas large groups of superficial acquaintances, or gods forbid strangers – do nothing positive for me and can sometimes leave me feeling quite drained. Is that a function of how extroverted a person is – or is it a function of gregariousness? Or something else? I’m not sure, but for me, it works just fine both for my personality and my long term goals. So I think I’m just going to go with it!

(Originally Posted February 27, 2007)


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