“Tell me tell me why can’t I live my life without all the things that people say” – My Prerogative by Bobby Brown 1988. Fair warning I’m a huge music fan especially hip hop and 90s r&b so I will be throwing in lyrics from some of my favorite artists from time to time. Now back to today’s story.
I know I’m not the only one that has second guessed or questioned why they are the way they are. It’s natural, right? I mean I was always taught to question what I don’t understand. One thing I don’t understand is why I feel anxious in what would seem to be normal circumstances like meeting people. I have it really bad at times. I really hate orientations or networking sessions. Especially if I attend these type of events alone. I mean an actual emotion of fear can overtake me and I freeze. Fight or flight? Nope. Neither one kicks in. I’m just stuck and I don’t know what to do. Should I just fake it and act like everyone else or should I just kind of hide over here in the corner and hope no one notices me? Sidenote; most great actors are introverts. I play a role everyday. There’s the outgoing friendly Will on the outside (stage) and then there is the quiet more personal side of me on the inside. Constant struggle between the two sides. West side story all up in my head.
Anyway, I don’t understand it. Sometimes I want to actively be around others and engage and then at other times I want to sit on the side and blend into the background. I know for me being that energetic outgoing person is physically and mentally draining. I usually need a few days to recoup afterwards. Like, seriously. At least a few days to fill the tank up again. Is this an introvert related problem or just a problem? I have a hard time deciphering between the two. Everything can’t be related to being introverted can it? Can it?
This anxiety issue has been something that I have been working on for years. I do yoga, breathing techniques, visualizations and a bunch of other things to alter mind into thinking that everything is okay and not to panic. While I have been able to control it more over the years it is still an issue that I have to address often.
Like I said earlier, I want to start engaging with others more and networking and such. I think as I try and move into a more entrepreneurial position this networking thing will be key. I need to be able to go out there and shake hands and kiss the babies without having a panic attack. Plus I’m a bit of a germaphobe. Not really over the top with it but I definitely keep a little bottle of hand sanitizer with me and will whip it out after shaking a stranger’s hand with no problem. I don’t know where your hands have been or who else you’ve been touching. Did you wash your hands thoroughly after you used the bathroom? See I’m going off on a tear… Reeling it back in.
This “fear” has really taken a toll on my social life and I need to take control of it. Once I figure out the why, I can move forward with what, when and how to fix it.
Hi. How are you? Where do I begin? Where do I begin? Where.do.I.Begin? *raps fingers on keyboard* Okay lets just start from the beginning shall we?
Hi. I’m Will and I am an introvert. There I said it. It is out there for the world to know. Not only am I an introvert but I am black as well. Might as well double down while I am at it. Okay so how did we get to this point? I am not really sure. I just know growing up I was,and still, shy and felt comfortable being by myself. I was cool with being left alone to my own devices. Yes people, there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. I have never felt lonely but there are plenty of times that I want to be and actively seek to be alone.
Okay, back to my story. Sidenote; I get distracted very easily and I write as if we are having a conversation and not as if you are reading my Masters course dissertation so there may be times when I venture off into a totally different story in the middle of a current story. It will work back to the original somehow someway. Trust me. Uggh see I did it again. Let me start over…
Okay so back to my story. Growing up as an introvert is not the easiest thing to do. Maybe now that there is a label for it but not when I was a young black boy growing up. Especially as a young black boy growing up in the south. Okay, so I spent the first half of my life in DC/Maryland and I loved it. Due to some family issues that I may or may not get into later, I don’t know you guys like that, when I was in 5th grade I moved to the south. More specifically South Carolina. I was familiar with the area since I would visit family there every summer but we all know visiting someplace and living there are two totally different and separate things. Anyway, they were aware of my ‘shyness’, as it was called back then, but not really the extent of it. I went from living in the hustle and bustle of the city where I could escape into a corner and observe all the happenings that was going on unnoticed to the country where there was no escaping anything. Not to mention I was the new kid with the funny accent so they would ask me a million and one questions about where I was from, why I talked like that (more about that later), who I was related to and so on and so forth. Mind you, I didn’t have the answer to any of these questions and just wanted to be left alone to my books or games or whatever else didn’t involve social activities.
This seems like it is getting a little long in the tooth. Long story short. Come along with me on this journey as we discover and revel in the world of being black and being an introvert.
Sigh… I feel like this run has come to an end. I have worn out my welcome, so to speak. It is time for me to leave the Atlanta area and move on to somewhere else. I have enjoyed my time here but I think it is best for both of us if we split and go our separate ways.
This is where you all and this blog come in to play. I plan to use this blog to journal not only my move and all that it encompasses but also how I am feeling throughout the process and just everyday life. Writing has always been therapeutic for me and as an introvert a great way for me to communicate with the masses without having to actually communicate with the masses. If that last line made sense to you then raise your hand and give this post a like! You get me, and we will get along just fine.
Being introverted or having introverted tendencies is not really a great thing in a city like Atlanta or DC or the bigger metro areas. This city is all or mostly about connections and being a mover and shaker. I am not here for the connections or the moving and shaking. I am so content to just basically exist in a space. I do not necessarily have to take over every room that I am in.
I haven’t decided on where I’m going to plant myself next. I have a few options on the table like Austin or San Antonio, Salt Lake City or maybe Portland. I’m still leaning towards Maryland simply because I still have family there. Even though it’s close to the hustle and bustle of DC is just enough away that I can decide when and/or if I want to deal with the shenanigans.
I think being closer to certain family members is important at this rebuilding stage in my life. As we get to know each other better I may dive into that topic more, and I may not…
Thanks for reading along and hopefully you can come on this fantastic voyage that we call life with me.
Welcome to The Black Introvert Chronicles. More to come on the way!
Thanks for your patience,