Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On introversion and irony and enigma

It is no secret, I am an introvert. I get overwhelmed by large groups of people (especially if I don't know them, but not limited), and I think an evening alone with my thoughts and a book is energizing.  Don't get me wrong, I love people. I'm still not an extrovert. People are complex. Don't let tell you that being an introvert and being shy are the same thing, they're not! At least, in my mind they aren't. Anyway, this isn't really about being an introvert. Not completely. When I feel I've been "peopled out" I tend to find an excuse to withdraw for a while, just to recharge.

An illustration. Because I haven't made too many pictures in a while, and therefore haven't posted any for a while. For shame....but I made this one all by myself using a handful of coffee beans and the stove top!

Lately I've been wondering, though, if it is really accurate to put the umbrella of introversion over all the times I feel like being withdrawn. Coincidentally, I've been doing a lot of thinking and reading about the enneagram (well more thinking. I read over the summer). I think that I am a type 4, one of the types that withdraws to get what they want (they disengage from others to deal with their needs) (page 63)*. Sometimes, I think....and this is hard to admit, I withdraw from people not to recharge, but out of insecurity. I think, "people must be tired of me by now," (or, if I don't know them that well, I expect that they probably don't remember who I am) and preemptively avoid them. I do this passive-aggressively in the social media world by taking posting-sabbaticals and unfriending** people left and right. I do it in the real world by saying "no" to invites to hanging out/attending events (though, I love to be invited. Please don't give up on me if I say no a lot...I've been better at trying to say yes to things lately. I do crave community, I just don't want to overstay my welcome....and I've also been trying to be protective of my time...though both of these are just sort of lame excuses).
Sometimes I also wonder if this is due to moving every two years for the past few. We are starting our second year here (for the second time***), and I am trying hard not to get into the mindset of saying goodbye to everything and everyone (though it's difficult when you are constantly in an educational environment...people are always moving on). Perhaps, too, in getting used to this way of life, it becomes more foreign territory to be a part of a community for longer than a couple of years. It is a frightening and exciting thing.
Anyway, as a 4, I am aware that I can be enigmatic, so to add to all this, I resonate most with the Social Variant (of the enneagram's instinctual variants....Social variants are not necessarily the life of the is the much more fundamental desire to be known and liked...the ability to adapt well to whatever environment we are in. Social variants tend to be "big picture" people, and like to make connections with others).
Anyway. Just some thoughts I've been thinking. To complete what has turned into an enneagram blogpost, I might as well also say that I'm a 4 with a 5 wing. The bohemian. It really doesn't have to do with the title of the post, but it does have to do with the content.
Please don't have the misconception that I'm depressed. I really am not. Just very aware of the pros and cons of my personality/tendencies.  Some positive things about introverts are that we are usually among the intelligent and gifted. Some positive things about type 4s are that we are creative and unique and honest and appreciative of beauty and intuitive and have a great sense of humor. To name a few :)
Have you ever taken the Enneagram? What type are you?

*Wouldn't it be great if all documentation were this easy? Perhaps in the future.
**Most of the time my criteria for unfriending is based on how long it has been since I've seen them (and if I think I will ever see them again) and whether or not I would wish them Happy Birthday if facebook told me to....or if I saw them in a grocery store would I go up and talk to them, or just wave, or go to another aisle and pray they didn't see me.
***Isn't it funny when you tell God you'll go anywhere, and He sends you to Western PA twice?!

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