Monday, July 21, 2014

Shattering My Extrovert Fantasy-Celebrating the Introvert Within Me

My first adult experience of being called out about my personality was in drama class-I took the craft of acting very seriously, and had even gone to a special school at 16 to study with the great Comedia Del Arte founder, Michael Fields. There, everyone had the same precocious and serious spirit toward their passion, and it was an extremely rich environment for me, having grown up fairly isolated and unexposed to the world. We all supported each other, and I grew as a young creative person. I still had no idea who I was though, so innocent still, and simply carried by the energy of my environment, rather than having any knowledge of harnessing that energy within me. I was naive, but with this complexity that I was wiser beyond my years with the way I held myself. It was more of an act, but I didn't really know anything at the time. Years later I attributed it to false confidence, because in retrospect, I was an extremely sensitive person who was easily crushed by negative energies or words from others, but at that point, I was riding high on my experience of theater school, with all the praise and encouragement to continue to be who I was. It wasn't until I entered college that I had a different experience.

I took all of the acting classes and threw myself into the exercises with an amazing acting teacher. I took it very seriously, wanting to uphold the integrity of these specific exercises geared toward human exploration and understanding. I really wanted to understand myself and others, and I thought acting was a marvelous journey to explore in. One day, a fellow student informed me that everyone thought I was a snob. I was shocked at this. I had no idea-I was so engrossed in the class that I wasn't thinking about any social aspect. It brought back other painful memories of a similar sort, and from that point, I became extremely self conscious. My acting skills declined and I abandoned theater.

I got into music and went out on my own-as a solo artist I didn't have to be around other people; I could just do my own art and my own thing. I played gigs and enjoyed writing songs, but the seed of negativity seemed to be inside of me-not just from one comment-but from an accumulation of a challenging childhood of ridicule from classmates-(I was "different-weird").  I felt extremely lonely at 18 and living on my own. I started to slowly retreat from the world, and by 24-I considered trying to do music publicly to be competitive and dark-and besides that-I just wasn't good enough-I didn't have the same spark I did as a wondrous young adult with the world in her hands-I became disillusioned and negative, and didn't really share my craft of music for over 10 years publicly-except for some rare times where I had horrible stage fright and felt publicly humiliated. I never had stage fright when I was starting out with music, but it developed into the point of complete debilitation. I continued my passion for music and writing in private-mostly to my bathroom- which had the best acoustics.

Years went by and I grew tired of isolation and how ugly I felt inside. So much had happened to me, that I was simply never going to be the person of my fantasies-this outgoing extrovert-doing her art with lots of friends, etc., etc......but who was I then? Did I have any of those outgoing qualities, or was I simply just a hidden shell? I really had no idea.

I wanted to feel the movement inside again that acting exercises created-a movement of unconscious and magical energy that seemed pure and real; and I wanted to carry that feeling around with me. I wanted to get serious and get deep with my music, and actually feel sound reverberating harmonically within me, instead of simply going through motions to gain some sort of perverse perfection. So I started to explore myself more, slowly and painfully, and after years of isolation, started to go out in the world again, as an available creative spirit. It was a difficult time, realizing just how sensitive I really was.

I recently discovered that I was an introvert-my false fantasies always convinced me that I was an extrovert at heart, but a much needed reality check revealed that I was an introvert-an INFP one to be exact.

The Myers-Briggs test is based on studies by CG Jung, who I was always drawn to. It is based on personality types, and can reveal much about a person and how they are in the world. The test consists of many questions, and I took the test several times from different websites. Each revealed by four letters, with percentages-the letters representing a type, that I was indeed an introvert, with a slight variant on one letter by a small percentage, between "diplomat" and "explorer".

I liked this site in particular, and learned more about my INFP personality. The INFP personality 
I go between the INFP, which came out on two of the tests, and this one-which I scored on one test-the ISFP personality. The ISFP personality

This knowledge and embrace of it, has allowed me to open up to my true self, and get out there to share my art, knowing that it might be more difficult, but still possible-that I can be an introvert, but still show an outgoing side, knowing that I may be a little more worn out than the naturally extroverted person, but that it is still possible; that it is all possible, with the right knowledge, attitude and openness.
Performing at 18-painfully.
Performing at 37-still painful but with lots of joy!

Expanding my universe. 


6 comments:

  1. I am an ISFJ....seems pretty accurate! I am going to share this with my co-workers to take and even their students if desired. Thanks for sharing. Love you!-Chrissy

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  2. Yes, it is very interesting....I just read about you!

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  3. Love this! All too true. The past six years have been a difficult stretch of self-discovery (this last year the most painful, and the most productive). In-in-in-in-IN-tro-vert-ed!!!

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  4. Thanks Teresa! It is amazing what happens in life when we least expect it.......and how it effects us emotionally. Hopefully through it all, we persevere!

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  5. Makes me wanna beat up those punks who called you a "snob". Well written!

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