I’ve never known if I’m an introvert or extrovert, so I’ve just considered it a function of my surroundings - who I’m with and how many of them there are (and yes, probably whether or not I have had a drink or two).
I also suck at bringing people together myself, which naturally feeds my introvert. But, I really do end up enjoying when others bring people together and I am one of those people - with a little effort feeding my somewhat reluctant extrovert.
The year of Covid, however, has force-fed my introvert. There haven’t been any even reluctant options to balance him out. Initially, this felt ok, like maybe this whole work-from-home and forced isolation thing might have just put me square in my wheelhouse. This isn’t so bad - at least for the first couple of months.
And yet, time kept feeding the isolation. My introvert kept ingesting it with no other choice. A touch of indigestion perhaps setting in.
And more. The normally passive and quiet introvert starts gorging himself grossly on the all-you-can-eat bar of social isolation and disconnection. That subtly perverse drive of the over-stuffed to go back for one more taste, maybe a touch of desert.
And…still…more. The absence of hugs or hand shakes. No smiles. The lack of reason for normal dressing, or even showering at the usual cadence. The loss of my physical self at least in relation to others has brought a certain ignorance to my body. The physical vehicle once supporting and transporting the spirit - and vice versa - becomes an object, dynamic in nature, but rather dumb in practice.
My introvert has eaten its fill and now rests bloated, in pain, and putridly satisfied on this his year of Covid.
I am not an introvert.
Like a new year’s resolution, I am desperate to disrupt this gluttonous isolation. There’s still a flicker in me that remembers laughing and being stupid with friends, creating passionately with co-workers, engaging serendipitously with strangers - even enjoying isolation as a counter force to something else, not itself all things.
And, while I dream of it, this miracle land of extroversion, it also stirs some anxiety. I don’t know if I have the tools for this return any more. Will it be like riding a bike? Or, will I have to work at it, to teach myself again, to overcome an even greater reluctance?
I am not an extrovert.
My now shapeless, boundless introversion has left me unsure, unskilled - and yet desperate to know.