I started to write, I’m an introvert, and leave it at that. But the longer I sat here thinking about it, the more I remembered being outgoing, enjoying parties, and being in the world. Somewhere along the way, I changed. I don’t know enough about the psychology of these labels to know if this happens a lot or is rare or is even possible.
I don’t think this is something I would have noticed at the time (did I notice anything in those days), but looking back on it, I feel like it must have happened after I stopped practicing law, so while I was home with the kids, somewhere between 1989 and 1995, when I started writing.
Perhaps it was stepping out of the flow of traffic that is working outside the home. Perhaps I never was an extrovert, and yet, remembering things like camp and college, I believe I was.
From one of the best articles I’ve read on the subject, “Skin Deep” by Martha Crawford, this scenario rings so true to me now:
A neighbor recently sent me an email which stated that of all her neighbors, I was the one that she felt least connected to, and that she found this distressing. (Was this for real? I was flabbergasted. ) She felt that whenever she encountered me that I was always in a rush, that I never seemed to want to stop and chat. (Chat? What on earth about? )Moreover, she said, that even factoring in differences and variations in personal privacy, she had determined that I was insufficiently social, and that as a result, our relationship (Did we ever have one? I couldn’t think of a single instance when I had laid eyes on her in the past year) was in need of repair. How would I feel in her circumstance? (What circumstance exactly? The one where my neighbors want nothing more from me than a brief, cordial greeting? “Relieved beyond all imagining” were the only words that came to mind)
An extrovert, in external conversation, frustrated and injured that a confounding introvert was withholding much needed social contact. An introvert, misunderstood and in flight from an extroverted pursuer, in an internal monologue about the internal need to avoid extraneous social contact.
I would be interested to know if anyone else out there feels as if they’ve changed in their into/extro vert status.