I am an ambivert. I am so happy to have discovered this new personality type because I felt stuck by the introverted category. My profession for ten years involved lecturing for hours on end (a very extroverted trait), and I served as a church worship leader (which had pros and cons, to be sure). Nowadays, my ambiversion can be represented by the way I look forward to seeing other people and attending social events (for the most part). I crash as soon as I get home. I often also end up with a bad tension headache and need to take a few excedrin to get back to normal. But after the proverbial dust settles, I’m looking forward to my next gathering.
I was very hung-up over my introverted state when I was younger. I felt that extroverts ruled classrooms and got asked to prom (no, I never did get asked to prom). Extroverts also became youth pastors and climbed the corporate ladders while marrying their college sweethearts at the ripe old age of 22 (I married about a decade later). I was so concerned about being an introverted Christian that I brought a book I was reading about it to a date. Yes, a date. This date ended up being the man I married, but I carried this book around almost as if it were an explanation piece as to why I didn’t feel at home in social situations. (My husband, by the way, is an extrovert, and we are on opposite ends of the Myers-Briggs spectrum. Although, truth be told, we are meeting more in the middle as we grow up, both of us becoming more ambiverted in many ways.)
My intro-ambivert state is something I love now (and something my husband immediately liked about me on our first date, with my book in my purse, as if I were going to a study group). Call it age, call it becoming a mother, call it me getting used to myself (hi there, self. Nice to meet you.), but I am so happy to be a thinker/quiet type. I wear many of the stereotypes and find them comfortable. I like listening at crowded tables. I like being still. I like being in my head. This is why I have fallen in love with solitary, quiet activities; I believe I developed such a desire for reading and writing because of my intro-ambivert nature.
In regards to my genres of creativity, I think I was drawn to poetry and creative nonfiction because of my introversion/ambiversion. When I was actively creating characters, I created them in my shy image; I was the god of the room. But now I don’t actively create traditional fiction, so I am writing more from the space of the personal essay (which, according to Google, might be dead). So I’m writing dead things. But they are the living dead to me.
I can see this introverted side of me being a real hindrance when it comes to self-marketing. I don’t promote this blog, for instance; this is the first networkie thing I’ve done with it. I don’t believe in networks in many ways. I believe in people liking other people’s work and telling others about it naturally. I don’t believe in collecting likes and double-taps. Many times I don’t even tell people I’m a writer. When my sisters and I made music together, I loved the creating and the designing. But I threw the CDs in a box and shoved them in a corner of the closet. Self-promotion makes me cringe. Self-promotion also gives me anxiety attacks. I suffer from social anxiety a lot more now than I used to.
This is a reason why I wonder if my writing will ever actually go anywhere. If you read some of my other blog entries, I talk a lot about wanting to write, carving out space to write, and so on. But all of my writing has been private up to this point. How much of that is related to waiting for the right time or to being afraid? Is my writing fear connected to my introversion? I think it might be, to some degree.
Is the fact that I don’t actually HAVE a writing community a part of my introverted fear? Maybe so.
One of my favorite plays is Waiting for Godot. Vladimir and Estragon sit and wait for everything to take place. I sit and wait for everything to take place too. I’ve made many steps this year to stop the waiting and to get moving, one of them being the conclusion of my ten-year teaching career. I think I’m going to keep making these steps, and I think I have my ambiversion to thank for that.
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