Introvert or Extrovert: Do I Have to Pick?

Ah! I keep forgetting I have a blog! Because it’s summer!

It’s hard to think that two weeks ago we were still quarantining pretty hard, because now suddenly life is on, and it’s on times 200.

The past week has been all end-of-year parties, barbecues, out-of-town friends, photoshoots, picnic parties, lunch dates, and watching Rocco while he watches the neighborhood kids in our backyard.

The first social event left me wanting to sit in a dark closet for the rest of the evening. When I tried to sleep that night, it felt like I was riding the scrambler at the fair, with faces and conversations jumping out, whizzing away, jumping out, whizzing, away. I lay there analyzing everything I said, worried I offended someone or thinking of something funnier I could have said. I replayed things other people said to figure out what they really meant. I obsessed about whether I wore the tank top and ultimately decide that no, I did not wear the right tank top. I want a redo! I knew exactly which tank top I’d wear.

This used to happen in The Beforetimes, too. I had just forgotten how exhausting it can be.

My therapist says I have social anxiety. Me? Social anxiety? I’m the one who’s planning half these things! She also says I’m an introvert. Me? I love being around people! I was Homecoming Queen! Homecoming Queens aren’t introverts!

She repeats back all the stuff I just told her: the inability to sleep after parties, the over-analysis of conversations, the wanting to sit inside a closet after social events, the relief when parties get canceled, the crankiness that quarantine is over.

“Oh,” I say. “Huh.”

She says I’m an introvert with some fairly extroverted tendencies, but how does she know I’m not an extrovert with some fairly introverted tendencies? How could one tell the difference? I feel more like half and half, and my two halves constantly battle each other.

The Extrovert: Plan a big BBQ! It will be fun! You’ll love it!

So I do. And then the other half starts talking.

The Introvert: Well way to go. You ruined another perfectly quiet, calm evening you could have spent watching Star Trek reruns with your family.

Then the BBQ happens and I thoroughly enjoy myself. As the last guest leaves…

The Extrovert: See? I told you you’d love it!

Three hours later, lying awake in bed…

The Introvert: See? I told you this would happen.

They’re worse than the kids. At least when the kids fight, I can separate them. Or plan a date night to escape them. Or yell, “Popsicle time!” to distract them.

But alas, they can’t be separated, they show up to date nights, and the popsicles aren’t working.

Anyway, I was just wondering if you want to come over for a BBQ? It will be awesome! You’re going to love it! I already know which tank top I’m going to wear!

Black bean burgers
Cotton candy grapes
Ice cream sandwiches

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