I honestly couldn’t think of a better tagline than a vague warning as to the nature of this post. At the very least, it would attract the attention of a casual bystander or two and if you be one of those people, you have no reason to continue reading. For this post is about to dive into the how and why of my introversion and the immersion of which my entire psyche has been built. The simplistic version is to say that I am a fiercely independent (even stubbornly so) introvert who, by a division of emotion and intellect, projects a calm and genteel nature whilst seeking to aid my fellow man. At this point, unless you have some vested interest in my person or crave a journey of psychological proportions, feel free to close this page.
Having now supplied all necessary precautionary warnings, what is to follow should be read with extreme prejudice and an open mind.
The nature of my independence is the culmination of a few influences, each of which I hope to address, how ever briefly. Firstly, I was raised to take care of myself. I was taught all necessary skills to be self-sufficient, that is to say I am fully capable of cooking, cleaning, sewing, repairing, building, and maintaining whatever I have need for. So to this end I view myself as a fully self-reliant person, not needing or desiring the aid of another to see to my daily needs. Secondly, I was raised with the instruction to never owe anyone anything. While this compounds upon my previously mentioned self-reliant nature, it provides a secondary nature to my appearance as a lone wolf. Because I have no desire to be indebted to anyone for any reason, I shy away from seeking help, even when I might be in desperate need of assistance. This predilection has led me to some very strenuous situations in which I hit rock bottom out of my selfish desire to not involve others in my problems when a simple request for assistance at the beginning would have avoided much of the damage caused in the end. Lastly, I have come to distance myself from others as a means of protection, for the sake of both parties. The amount of sorrow and pain I have experienced is more than perhaps the average person will have felt, and this understanding has led me to internalize all manner of negative emotion. As I said before, I strive to owe no one anything, and an emotional attachment can cause a bankruptcy of feeling if improperly handled. This leads to a debt of insecurity and confusion, one I have witnessed all too often and have no desire to ever feel again or cause in the future. To conclude this paragraph, due to my self-sufficient outlook on life and my reluctance to get attached to others by any means that may cause a debt to be owed I have created space in my life that has furthered my nature to be in the crowd but never truly part of it.
Despite my lone wolf nature, I desire a connection with a community in a way I can only describe as one of human nature. Much of what I do is out of necessity, I work to have the means to live in a way that burdens no one with my existence and prevents me from needing the assistance of others. However this often puts me at odds with the physiological and emotional necessity of human companionship. As an introvert, I do not readily seek companionship but have an appetite for it nonetheless. This causes a paradox of social proportions, for often unless invited, I habitually return to the safety of my solitude. Yet I am eager to meet new people, learn from their experiences, and drink in the knowledge found within their tales. And I do not shy away from conversation but rather wait until the proper subject has been raised that will allow me to fully commit to speaking my piece.
This drive to meet, observe, and learn made the transition for the necessity of additional employment much easier. While the task may be slightly monotonous, the wealth of knowledge that presents itself as one observes the human race go about their daily routine is not easily passed up on. To this end I must say I actually enjoy having a second job at the present. Not only does it supply the income I find necessary to further my independent standard but it gives an outlet to the observer within. Perhaps the biggest downside to this current lifestyle is the drain it places upon me physically and mentally, forcing me to withdraw when I truly need to immerse myself in a more social scenario instead of that of the observer.
Part of my solution to handle the range and scale of thoughts, emotions, and feelings I might experience at any one point is to maintain a healthy separation between what I know and what I feel. As I briefly alluded to in the previous post from last month, I have, at some point (likely around my freshman year of college) learned to segregate the feelings of the mind from the feelings of the heart. As a highly logical and analytical person, I strive to first understand before I allow feeling to occur. This can lead to a false presentation of emotion, generally in simplistic forms such as a causal smile or a jovial laugh. More than not, this occur not because I feel anything from the heart but rather that my brain as decided it is the best response to the situation. However this is not to say I am incapable of feeling genuine emotion, but rather to say a truly emotional response is crafted through a gut instinct that informs my cerebral outlook on a thing, person, or situation.
I often wrestle with emotion in ways that are bewildering to me, and even so I strive to separate a true feeling from a logical conclusion of the empirical data I have collected. For example, say I went on a date and I truly enjoyed myself; meanwhile my data hungry mind will have absorbed the words, deeds, and subtleties of my companion to determine whether or not I could like this person. This response is one entirely comprised of a logical progression of yes/no inquiries. If enough come back positive then my obvious response is to conclude I do, in fact, like this person and would enjoy spending time with them. However it takes considerably longer for this process to make its way down to my core, where the true emotion resides. So in my case, the line between “like” and “love” is considerably large and not a transition made overnight but rather a progression of careful deductions and lengthy reflections. Yet once that switch is flipped, it has the power to overwhelm the mind and allows the sincerest form of emotion and feeling to reach the surface.
Finally to address the manner in which I present myself to the world. It is no stretch to say I am a quiet and thoughtful person, who strives to make action precede word. However there’s greater truth in the fact I am a listener by habit, and an observer by nature. My primary method of learning is to see, hear, and do, in that order. Try to rearrange the narrative or instruction and I may completely forget what I was trying to learn. This inevitability has caused me endless frustration, for often I feel as though my usually impeccable memory has failed me. But in actuality, the failure has come in the method of delivery of information, thus hindered my mind’s ability to commit it to memory. To this end, I will also observe those around me, listen to what they say (and to what their actions speak), and act accordingly. To categorize me as a “people-watcher” does the title some justice, but only captures a shade of my true nature.
Due to my habit of internalizing all negative emotion, I project an image of the genuine and of calm, despite the fact I might be far from at peace. Genuine is not something one should attempt, but rather something that occurs when you are able to shed that which has no place in your mind and heart. This has been my creed as to the way I present who I am and why I do what I do. For I truly believe myself to be a compassionate, caring, and giving person who, if given the opportunity, will go out of my way to aid those in need or to supply a solution to a need as I perceive it. However my perception is not always perfect and while my intentions may be pure, the response, due mostly to lack of understanding of my person, cannot necessarily be what I expect. And it is instances like this that cause a reaction best described as an emotion flinch. Upset at myself for failing to correctly perceive and disappointed in the response of others, I suppress the emotion that wishes to reveal itself and lock the passage from mind to heart to avoid a negative emotion to cultivate.
At this point, if you as a reader have managed to survive the thousands of words I delivered, and are not lost, I congratulate you. Perhaps with this knowledge will aid you as you interact with me as a person, or perhaps you were an inquisitive soul who does not know me personally but can perhaps benefit from a look at the mind of an introvert and potentially translate something you learned towards your interactions with the introverts in your spheres of influence. And with that final thought I bid my readers farewell for now.