The Backseat Extrovert
All my life I’ve been an extrovert. The dreaded small talk comes easily to me; I ask good questions, engage others without being overbearing, and put people at ease. Even introverts don’t mind me so much (or so they tell me….and I know a LOT of them). I appreciate that these things come easily to me, but having a personality like that requires a fair amount of effort and maintenance. I’m the planner: I reach out to people, make plans, organize, socialize. It’s worth the work, but it can be exhausting, and sometimes I need a break from the planning part of it. But I digress. To define an extrovert, is to define a person who recharges by being around people, rather than recharging with alone time. I’ve always fit that bill exactly.
Then I had a baby.
As much as I still love being around people, nowadays I need to be left the fuck alone if I want to salvage any sanity I might have left. Alone time. Everyday. It’s a strange thing for me to want to crave, but there you have it. The funny thing is, the extrovert part of my brain still needs attention: as a SAHM, if the baby is sick or we don’t have anything planned, I can go a couple days without talking to any other adult besides my spouse or a cashier, and that drives me batshit crazy. It’s a tug-of-war sometimes and I’m still figuring out what works for me.
I’m fighting with the fact that I may be becoming an introvert, or at least an ambivert. My therapist says that we’re all constantly changing and evolving, and that’s okay. That makes sense to me, but needing a lot of alone time is super foreign to me. I’ve never claimed to know myself, but I do have qualities and traits that are familiar to me, that haven’t changed much as I’ve gotten older, extroversion being one of them. I feel like along with everything else I have to figure out about babies and toddlers and about being a mom, trying to figure out who I am just seems like such a lot of extra work. Extrovert. Extra Work.
Labels aren’t really important anyway. And as much as I like to have things figured out, no matter if I need to be around people to recharge, or if I need alone time, it is what it is, and I am who/what I am. Retired extrovert? Closet Introvert? Non-practicing extrovert? It’s okay one way or the other. And as the Cat in Coraline says, “I’m not the other anything….I’m me.