Sunday, December 09, 2007

Too Many People

I wrote this on Friday after I got home from work. I should have posted it then, but I got sidetracked with my final exams for school. Fortunately I was able to get my chill back a couple of hours after writing this:

I’m an introvert. That may seem like an obvious conclusion for someone to reach about themselves, but I didn’t always know this. I also think that the scale for introversion/extroversion is a spectrum – there are many degrees of this trait along the spectrum. I’m pretty far over to the introverted side. I have been so much happier with myself since I figured this out because I think that this trait is part of peoples' essential make-up. It’s like your eye color (yeah you can get colored contacts but you’re not really changing the color of your eyes). You can’t change it. It’s just part of who you are. And there’s nothing wrong with that. This is an extrovert’s world. It’s hard not to feel like you don’t fit in, or that there’s something wrong with you because you like to spend lots of time alone. But now that I know that it isn’t my fault, it’s just who I am, it’s easier to be OK with being different.

I can be OK in small groups or one-on-one. Even at places like concerts or sporting events I can be just fine up to a point. Hell, if conditions are right I can even go to a shopping mall on Christmas Eve. A lot has to do with how much energy I have stored up. No concept describes how I feel better than the concept of energy. My energy is drained by being around lots of people, especially in smaller spaces. It runs me down, can give me a headache, makes my brain shut down. Introverts need alone time to “recharge their batteries”. I can relax and my brain starts working again. Extroverts are exactly the opposite. They get rundown when they’re alone. They are energized by being around other people.

Today at work seriously drained my lifeforce. Not completely, or I’d be dead. But pretty badly. It was literally like Superman and Kryptonite (Gah, how conceited – he thinks he’s Superman!). I think the fact that it happened on a Friday made it worse because it’s been building up all week. The temporary space that I’m in at work (for only one more week, thank God!) is right next to the door to the cubicle area. So every time someone leaves or exits the office they walk right by me. Arriving at work, coffee breaks, bathroom breaks, going to lunch, coming back from lunch, going to another office area, quitting time. Back and forth. What I can’t believe is how many people have to look at me as they walk by. I feel like I’m in a zoo or a fucking aquarium. Maybe it’s some universal human trait to just instinctively look at someone when you know they’re there. Whatever it is, I hate it.

At the place where I work we have a lot of people who are out in the field quite a bit, so most days it’s not too bad as far as the number of people that are around. Today sucked. Some lady who worked there for 28 years was having a retirement party, and the roaches came out of the woodwork. It was insane. I saw people I’ve never seen before. Which means I got to get stared at by whole new groups of people. Throw in the fact that a couple of people were around whose cumulative effect is more like 2 or 3 people each, and it was too much. I was going to try and finish my essay exam for one of my classes at work today. I tried, I really did, but it got to be too much. My brain just shut down. We have been given 2 hours of leave to use in the month of December at any time we want for “holiday activities”. Well, my activity was getting the hell out of there as soon as possible. I had to stop at the grocery on the way home, and I couldn't even stand to look at another human at that point. I’m still trying to ramp down, I’m still a little wound-up. I need to concentrate on finishing this test and relaxing.

I know this must sound very strange to some of you. I’m actually surprised sometimes by how much this type of thing can bother me. Maybe there is a mental component to it too, that now that I’m aware of this reaction I tend to exaggerate it. I can concede that. But the reaction is real. It’s just a part of who I am.


Blogger weddingproject-us said...

I feel your pain, and I'm glad you're doing better. I think you'll find more people feel like you. It's just we know soooooo much more about extroverts and their problems.

I'm terrible at parties and I cannot talk about my art very easily.I listen really well and know what people should do. Yeah I'm an introvert too.

12/09/2007 9:05 PM  
Blogger Deb R said...

I'm glad you're feeling better now, but I totally get why you were feeling stressed out and drained. I'd be exactly the same way.

I think the reason a lot of people misunderstand someone referring to themselves as an introvert is because so many people think being introverted is the same as being shy, and it ain't necessarily so. Introverts can be shy, but they don't have to be. I don't have a shy bone in my body, but I'm most definitely an introvert. I must have a certain amount of time alone, or I lose it. I actually start feeling ill. That, not shyness, is (as you said) THE defining characteristic of an introvert. And you're right - it's an extrovert's world. Glad to hear you'll be out of the fishbowl office soon!

12/09/2007 10:15 PM  
Blogger Vedrana M. said...

i hope you're feeling better, my energy can also be drained by being around lots of people..i gues it's becuase i can feel their energies etc.
oh, Tara can say 'meow' or 'mijau' (croatian), it's quite the same :)

12/10/2007 3:27 AM  
Blogger REENblack said...

Hope this week flies by for you...that is not a good situation to be in! I like people, but in small doses...I'd much rather be at home, on the couch (with my new heated blanket!), reading a book!!!

12/10/2007 9:00 AM  
Blogger Anne said...

wow JC...I'm not what you might consider as introverted but your working conditions sound kinda sucky..especially when bertha has a retirement party and invites half the world. Being in an aquarium isn't a cool feeling. Unless you are one of those freaks who likes it. argh.

12/11/2007 5:13 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home