My not exactly organized/ coherent thoughts about being an introvert in a extrovert family, namely next to my sister. And before I begin, let me say that my sister rocks and I love her because she’s seriously the best. She does put up with me, after all. =)
I think it’s safe to say that I’m not exactly a people person. Meeting new people is terrifying. Large groups freak me out. I get extremely socially anxious. I have steel walled defense mechanisms meant to keep people out.
For those who get to meet this not so charming personality, it’s no wonder that I don’t make the best first impression. Next to my bubbling, people person sister, I’m a humbug. Seriously. So, I hide in her shadow more often than not.
It’s comfortable but at the same time discomforting. It makes me feel unwelcome and unwanted. If she’s having a conversation and I’m just kind of there, it’s awkward. But I live with it, thinking that it’s just the way my life is meant to be.
And several weeks ago it left me in the car in tears, wondering what the heck was wrong with me. My sister saw the warning signs. I got fidgety, said something about a book, so she handed me the keys and said “I got you.” Should I mention that this isn’t the first time something akin to this has happened?
But I realized that this behavior, while particularly normal to me, generally only rears its head when I’m in certain situations. And while I’m certainly awkward all on my own, I get worse when I can hide behind my sister. It’s just easier to let her shine than try to get people to like me. Let them have the bubbly one, not the introvert with social anxiety. Besides, who would want me when they can have her?
The people who know me. Duh. *face palm myself multiple times.*
For those who have spent time with me, defenses down, I’m a sarcastic charmer. One of my friends at work calls me Stiles. Not after the singer, but after the character from the show Teen Wolf. He’s the sarcastic best friend that everyone needs. Plus, he has many other great qualities that I would love to emulate as both a friend and a human. I accept the name with a smile and a sense of pleasure.
Around my coworkers, I’m still awkward. I find it hard to put words together to form sentences sometimes. (Someone remind me how the heck I survived being an English major). My Doctor Who collection of items is accepted with a smile by most. I found that most of my habits that I always thought strange to just me aren’t as strange as they seem.
Carrying a book around all the time? Check. Not good at human interaction? Check. Awkwardness? Check. And these things that generally make me not good with people suddenly become somewhat normal in a place chock full of people similarly attributed.
The me that I don’t like found a home. And in case you’re wondering, I have indeed procured a job at a library. It is by no means my dream job, but at least it is a start in the right direction. And I love it. It’s just like everyone describes about their perfect job – coming home. Feeling complete and happy.
Now if only the me that comes out at work could come out when I’m with my sister and others. Very few people know that we’re separate from each other. Generally if you get one, you get the other. Mostly, the sister gets asked places and I get grabbed along, my sister hoping that I’ll have some sort of time.
I feel like a failure as a human as it feels like most people prefer my bubbly sister to my sarcastic personality. And I feel even worse as I realize that my personality is an “acquired taste” and who’d want to hang out with it? Even if most of the time I choose not to participate because being around others is taxing.
But someone reminded me recently, I’m still a good human. It’s not like my sister is good while I’m evil. We’re just two very different people. And I don’t let others know that I’m present. There’s no point when bubbly person over there is easier to want to be with than the sarcastic one. Or so it feels as I’ve been told by others over the years that I should tone myself down. Think before speaking. All that good jazz.
I know that I do this to myself. And it hurts. Even writing this, recognizing the signs and not being to fix it, hurts.
I don’t know how to implant myself into conversations. I may do it, but people just generally start to ignore me since I wasn’t originally included in the conversation. So I start to get anxious and not feel wanted. Which brings me back to the beginning of this post.
Life is hard. I make mine harder on myself by being my sister’s shadow. I don’t know how to be anything else. Then again, I’ve never really tried. The Stiles in me isn’t proud of that. But on trying I go.