Is this what it feels like to be an introvert?

I couldn’t wait to be alone. After about a month and to-and-froing and in-and-outing from Vancouver to some stunning West Coast spots, I was finally en route home, ready to revel in uninterrupted no-travel time. And all I could think was: NO HUMANS. JUST ME AND THE PLANTS.

Now, for those of you who I’ve been lamenting to about being a touch lonely here in the freelance life, my excitement about intentional alone-ness may sound like a contradiction. And, for a girl who’s been FOMO-averse since puberty, I’ll admit it came as quite the shocker, stopping me in my self-identified-extrovert tracks.

So, with my past based 'extrovert' in hand and my newfound want for extreme isolation, I settled into alone time. AND, as I do, started thinking: how the crud did I get here from being so far over there?

FOMOS

Learning about Jung's popularized personality trait theories in Psychology 101, I immediately latched on to the thought of being fully extraverted. Using the popularized thought that extraverts were outgoing and surrounded themselves with others to refuel and re-energize, I gave myself a big time self-care bye and told myself I could talk and play and party all I wanted because that’s what extroverts do.

What I can see now, with all this self knowing I’ve got (read: very little but enough to assert a couple things about past-Jess) in my back pocket, is that there was another FOMO force at play in my desire to never be alone: Fear Of My Own Self.

The thought of being alone with my own thoughts was crippling. The concept of thinking about what I was feeling, and not having another person, social situation or conversation to act as a buffer made me felt like I was suffocating in my own reality. I used extroversion as escapism—a scapegoat—from what I was truly feeling...for a good 12 years.

INTROVERT, EXTRAVERT...POTATO, PO-TA-TO?

Admittedly, my understanding of what lies below the surface of our physical bodies and all their capabilities is still in it’s developmental stage. I’ve been fairly in the dark about the energy exchange that goes on between humans/bodies/one person and the big ol' universe when it comes to doing work, leading, caring for others/a family, etc.

Functioning predominantly from ‘if I have the time, I’ll do it’, and in my energetic immaturity, I often had a hard time understanding people that were hyper conscious of their schedule, how much sleep they got and whether they had enough ‘down time’ in their week to feel ‘up to it’ - whatever the ‘it’ was.*

I also often had a hard time not understanding why some couldn’t ‘rise to the occasion’ and get loud, be cool with being around people and pour every ounce of their every bit of themselves into the moment and be, what I knew about the word at the time, extraverted.

I honestly didn’t get that it wasn’t a moment to moment choice around how someone showed up - but a more intrinsic programming, with each person being unique in their own expression along the spectrum of Introversion/Extraversion.

*Yes, self-love and prioritizing my own needs are also a new thing in my personal repertoire - but that’s another story in itself.

GETTING IT

What I needed was time, space, and experience to know less about how other people function and more about who I was in all of it; to look less in judgement of other people in their way of being, to slow the heck down and stop forcing myself in so many ways, and start feeling. And man, is that an uncomfortable experience.

But in letting comparison, judgement, worry about not fitting in or being seen run my show, I live less, and struggle more; I'm effectively choosing, in that behaviour, to be completely out of alignment with my real, true me. And that's more of an uncomfortable life than the work it takes to get out of my own way and stop all the silly comparison antics.

LANDING ON THE SPECTRUM AT 'JESS'

Letting go of ‘distinctions’ in my behaviour, I’m getting pretty great at being Jess; at allowing the things I need on a daily basis to be just that—needs—and to let go of labels and ‘what it all means’...most days. #workinprogress

Do I have some extroverted tendencies? Sure do. Do I covet my alone time and prefer to stay in and read a book most nights. Dang skippy.

Alone time isn't 'lonely time' any more. It's me time. I'm getting brutally clear on how much my personal space and my home mean to me - and how intentional I need to be in who I welcome into it to keep the good vibes, well, good. I'm choosing quiet space with meditation, I prefer a night in with a good book to a night out with too much whiskey, and I have chosen a career where solitude and time to reflect, consider and think are my job - not simply something that happens between all the 'doing of stuff'.

I might change again - evolve to another place in life where it's all extroversion - who knows. But getting to a place of being okay with being me in all of it - that's the beauty: in finding acceptance for how I operate; in finding confidence in defining my true, gut and heart centered needs; in being down with nomo-fomo.