Monday, September 24, 2007

The I inside

With apologies to Mr. Heinlein...

Loyal reader Marie did not so much ask as declare in the comments that 'You are so Not an I!'. I have spent the better part of the week mulling this over, since according to Meyers and Briggs (the full 500 question scantron test, not the abbreviated ones you can find on the internet) it is something I scored very high on in High School. THe F and the P, they were a little bit more of a 'win by a nose' thing. However, even more recent abbreviated tests show an extreme N-ness.

However, this post is about the Introversion. Which, I admit, has crept closer to a dead heat over the years, mostly by great effort. What I think that Miss Marie sees is the end result of that great effort - the fact that I deal well on a superficial level with people in a structured environment. (In other words - I can sell me some yarn and teach classes and be charming on a limited scale in order to do those things.)

And I am certainly extroverted and even mildly entertaining enough in a party/gaming convention/etc setting. So, what garners me that I rating from those respected test writers? Simply put, the MBTI measures internal responses and though processes. The type indication is a preference indicator, a measurement of 'how we like to interact with the world', not neccesarily how we actually interact with the world.

I am a huge fan of A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh series, most particularly a fan of the 'Very Small Animal' that is Piglet. Piglet, he has an understanding about the world - a certain timidity that I can relate to, a self-doubt that could be paralyzing if it were simply allowed to be. THe trick is in disallowing, in girding your loins and going bravely forth into the scary environment. For me, a scary environment is pretty much anything with a faint whiff of social uncertainty.

If you do not suffer from this internal introversion, coupled with the deep desire to be with people and enjoy social events....It is like a roller coaster ride in many ways. Not one of the new fangled fancy ones, but the old, creaky, wooden kind, with the very long hill at the beginning. And all the creaking and clattering and clanking that makes your heart start to pound in anticipation of the free fall on the other end - knowing that the loops and spins and falls will be fun and exhilirating, but also terrified of their presence.

The introverted part - that's the long ride upwards. I spent two weeks fretting and stressing and cancelling my plans in my head before going to Conquest, imagining a mass gamer-shunning, being hated for cancelling that first year, for the other things that happened then (Or were rumored to have happened, even worse!), etc, etc. I thought up a hundred Very Bad Things that could happen, and buried my head under the covers and came >< close to not going at all.

But this year is the year of living dangerously for me - the year that I don't let that happen. The year that I do go and join a gym alone, I do go to the theater or concert I want to see, and so what if noone else I know wants to go? The year I don't cancel dinner plans, or working conventions, or...whatevers. Its difficult, but the rewards are so great (Better body, less asthma medication, good theater, great music, and, best of all, people. New people, old people refound...) that I cannot bear to let that long slow ride upwards defeat me.

But I am still an I. Because I still want to crawl under the covers and hide instead of taking the risk. I don't think that will ever change...and that's okay. I'm learning to beat down the hiding instinct, to go forth boldly and have fun, dammit.


At Mon Sep 24, 06:18:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Marie said...

Okay, "I" (pun intended) will not argue with "U"!

But, I have to say I am still very skeptical. I get the "how one would *like* to be" stuff, but don't see yourself short - it is *far* more to be a good friend - someone who really listens and can open up and talk (which I very much consider you to be, BTW!) - than just "selling some yarn and teach a few classes".

I really admire what you've accomplished if, what I have witnessed, is still "work in progress." Big snaps up to you, Missy! :)

At Mon Sep 24, 06:19:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Marie said...

ahem...that would be "sell yourself short" not see yourself short...clearly a Fruedian slip on my (5'2-1/2") part! :)


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