Just as I am

Feeling some kind of way today. I’m an 80’s child and it just so happens that this particular song came to mind as it perfectly describes my mood right now.

First off, I came home from work tonight to find fallen plaster from my bathroom floor in my tub and on the floor. There is now a hole in the wall, like so:

I’ve had issues with my bathroom almost since I moved into my apartment nine years ago. I’ve have countless leaks in there. Around five years, I even went so far as to take the landlord to court over them. The leaking has decreased significantly since then, but it still happens here and there. Many landlords and supers think slapping some plaster and paint fixes everything. Well, guess what? It doesn’t. The leaking resumes months or years later. The issue is with the old pipes that are located behind the walls, but it’s too much time and money for them to thoroughly fix the issue, so they do half assed patch jobs. I haven’t had a major leak in my place for about two or three years, but during that time, the plaster on the wall has bubbled up and over the last couple of months, it has started turning black, meaning mold was developing there. It was leaking, only I wasn’t seeing it because it was happening behind the wall. Sometime during the day today, some of the plaster came loose. This had to happen a few days before my birthday too. I refuse to deal with this shit on my birthday and the super doesn’t work weekends in my building, making him practically useless. I’ll be off on Monday, but I have to take my cat, Hazel to the vet in the morning. I definitely won’t leave my bathroom like that though. I’ll work something out.

Now to the point of tonight’s post. I’m introverted by nature, though it may not seem that way by some of my previous posts. I was depressed, shy, socially anxious and more introverted from childhood until my late 20’s. Over the last decade or so, my introversion has decreased somewhat as I’ve become more comfortable in social situations, but I still have introverted tendencies. Most people think shyness and introversion are one and the same thing, but they really aren’t. An introvert enjoys time alone and gets emotionally drained after spending a lot of time with others. A shy person doesn’t necessarily want to be alone, but is afraid to interact with others. Introverts often aren’t shy. They can have good social skills, but they don’t derive their energy from being around people like extroverts do. They derive energy from being alone and contemplating things. In my case, although I was a natural introvert, I also wanted to be around others, but I was often too fearful to interact with people because I feared rejection and ridicule. We live in an extroverted culture that extols teamwork and socializing with others which makes it difficult for many extroverts to understand introverts. We’re considered anti-social, snotty or boring. It’s more vexing being an introverted black woman, because we’re generally stereotyped as being loud and bossy. Once people saw that I didn’t fit that mold, I’d get the side-eye. I can’t tell you how often I heard these phrases said directly to me or behind my back- “You’re too quiet,” “She must think she cute,” “Why are you so serious?” Extroverts think that they are trying to draw introverts out with these statements, but speaking for myself, they only made me feel ashamed for what I was and they only made me retreat further into my shell, to the point where there were times I contemplated suicide. I didn’t even realize that I even was an introvert until I was nearly out of college, but even then, I thought something was wrong with me because I wasn’t able to be as outgoing as society felt I should be. I was in and out of therapy for 12 years and was on and off anti-depressants during that time too. Honestly, I had limited success. I did learn to open up and share myself with someone, something I wasn’t able to do until that point because I didn’t trust others. However, I didn’t learn sufficient social skills while in therapy and as such, I had few friends. I had to learn to acquire social skills on my own. The way I did it was to join various activity groups and attend as many events as I could stand, usually one or two a week. It was extremely intimidating at first as I quickly learned that in order to meet people and expand my social circle, I had to develop some extroverted conversational skills, such as small talk. Introverts generally think small talk is pointless but deep conversations are often inappropriate for events like mixers and brunches and such. Only by constantly attending events and practicing my social skills did I become sufficient at them and eventually, I grew to become comfortable at events, something I never thought I’d be. I’m no social butterfly by any means, but I often can get by these days. It’s easy to say that I’m implying that people change their nature in order to fit in, which I don’t think I’m doing. Shyness and social anxiety were painful for me and hindered my life, so developed strategies to overcome them. Actually, these days I think I’m the person I was always meant to be. If you’re fine being an introvert who prefers reading a good book to hanging out at a bar, then do you. And you should be able to do you without others making you feel guilty, which isn’t always easy in a culture that views introversion negatively.

The point of that long diatribe is that I often communicate better in writing than by speaking. In writing, I have time to think about what I want to say before I type the words out. Face to face conversation doesn’t always work that way. Introverts can be considered slow and boring by extroverts because we’re not capable of thinking on our feet. We have to contemplate everything before we do it.

I was perusing some natural hair sites today and came across a discussion about a popular blog that will remain nameless. Someone made a comment that she felt this blogger put too much personal information on her site. Personally, I like the fact that this popular blogger puts some personal things on her blog because it makes her more personable and accessible to the readers, but some people have concerns about safety. My thing is, with the Internet, there really isn’t a whole lot of privacy anyway. I know a lot of information about me is already out there if someone is curious enough to dig deep and search for it, even though my real name isn’t listed here. So I don’t think it matters all that much what I say on here. Already, I’ve posted things on here that some people may think is TMI, but I really don’t care. You’re not forced to read my blog. I feel that if my experiences can help even just one person, then doing this is worthwhile. So I’ll keep doing me.

Here are some links about introversion:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2003/03/caring-for-your-introvert/2696/

http://jerrybrito.org/post/6114304704/top-ten-myths-about-introverts

 

 

 

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