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The life of an ambivert

Every personality test I’ve ever taken has told me I’m an introvert, so that’s what I’ve always identified with. It made sense because I highly value my alone time and too much socialising for a long time tends to tire me out and I crave the opportunity to be alone. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy being social, it just meant that sometimes my battery would run out and I would need to be alone in order to recharge. However, too much alone time also sometimes became too much for me, which confused me. So I think there’s more to it that just introversion and extroversion. I thought there must be something in between. That’s when I discovered ambiversion.

An ambivert is someone who is neither an introvert nor an extrovert, but somewhere in between. Instead of having a battery that is recharged solely by either social interaction or alone time, it can really depend on the person and the situation. For me, I have more like a double ended battery. I think that’s the best way to describe it. In order to visualise it, let’s say the battery is filled with two different colours and the ideal way for the colours to be distributed is for it to be even. So I need an even amount of social interaction and alone time in order for me to be the most mentally happy and healthy. If I start spending too much time alone, it starts filling up with that colour and the colour representing the social side of the battery starts to decrease, and vice versa.

I think I realised this when I found a few people whose company I truly enjoyed. Their company didn’t drain my battery in any way, but refilled it if I’d been having too much time alone. I suddenly wanted to spend time with other people. I found people who I didn’t feel lonely around, which showed me what socialising is meant to feel like. Humans are social creatures. We aren’t made for complete constant solitude, so it seemed unnatural for me to feel so not myself when around other people. But I think when I learned and found the people who made me feel myself and who allowed me to be myself, I simply realised that being social isn’t something that should make me feel down or that should drain my battery, and it is something that can charge it.

So I think the main message here is that everything should be done in moderation. Like everything else; exercising, eating, spending time on social media, working and relaxing. And when you find what works for you, a lot can change.

As a side note, I don’t believe that one needs to be labelled as an ‘introvert’, an ‘extrovert’ or anything in between in order to ‘be something’ in a sense. No one needs labels in order to be validated. No one truly needs to know which category or label they fall under. In fact, I don’t like labels terribly much. But sometimes, I find that working out where I fit under these umbrellas can help me to develop base understandings of who I am, especially in relation to other people. Because everyone is different and I believe knowing and recognising how people differ is important when it comes to accepting and appreciating others for who they are as well as accepting and loving yourself for who you are. And I believe gaining acceptance and appreciation for the people and world around you are both key stepping stones in finding true happiness.

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The people who complete you.

Journal entry | 31/01/2018 | 8:28pm

I think life is really about finding the people who complete you. You can think that you can be happy completely on your own, and you can, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be happier. Humans are made for social interaction. We aren’t made to be solitary creatures. We are designed to be around others and to communicate with them. That’s how we thrive. Even if you don’t see it, even if you feel better when you’re alone, it may just be because you haven’t found the right people to spend your time with.

You don’t need to have a partner to feel complete. The person who completes you doesn’t have to be a ‘lover’. And there can be more than one person. When you find the people who complete you, they just show you so much light that you didn’t even realise was there. They fill you with so much joy you didn’t know you could feel. And there are no questions asked. Like when you find that piece of a jigsaw you’ve been looking for and there are no questions as to whether it’s the right piece. It just fits right into place. The people who complete you fit right into place and the world just seems so much more magical.

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The difference between nice and kind.

I watched a video the other day by a girl called Tessa Violet that was called ‘What is love?’ She spoke about how in the English language there is no distinction between the feeling of love and the act of loving. I thought it was very interesting and something I’d never thought about before. Here’s the link if you want to watch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXk6LqvlgKs. Anyway, she also touched on the difference between being nice and being kind. Ever since I was 11 or 12, the difference between nice and kind has been something in the back of my mind. So when I watched Tessa’s video in which she brought it up, I was inspired to write about it.

I think the word ‘nice’ is a dead word. When I was in year 6 and 7, my teacher basically banned us from using the word and if at any point someone used it, he would really rant about it for a hot minute. Since then, I have always refrained from using the word ‘nice’ in writing (sometimes it just comes out while speaking), so I guess that means he taught me well. I remember in particular one time he asked the class what nice meant. He said ‘If I say someone is nice, what does that mean?’. Someone responded saying that it means they are kind. My teacher then said, ‘so if I say “that is a nice house” it means that is a kind house?’. This was my first real insight into the difference between nice and kind and I’ve never forgotten this.

Nice is another one of those words, similar to ‘weird‘, that is used so often that it has lost its meaning. There are different words that would be far better fitting to individual situations that we should be using instead of nice. However, I don’t believe that kind is one of those words, as not every nice person is kind, and not every kind person is nice.

Here is the difference from a dictionary’s perspective:
Nice: (adj.) giving pleasure or satisfaction; pleasant or attractive.
Kind: (adj.) having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature.

You may think at first glance that if you are considerate, friendly and generous, then of course you could be labelled as nice, because those characteristics in a person are pleasant or attractive. I agree with this, but only sometimes. I think it goes far deeper than that. Being kind doesn’t always mean that you are going to please, or satisfy every person you talk to, are friends with, or know. Constantly being agreeable and supportive are very pleasant and attractive characteristics but it doesn’t mean that you are being kind to that person. Say, you have a friend who you think has an issue with something. A relationship, an addiction, anything. Being nice is to continue being pleasant and supportive of them, even if you think they have a problem. Being kind is being honest and bringing it up with them, discussing it with them and expressing your concern. Because in doing that you are being considerate of them. You are caring for them. You are thinking about what is going to be good for them and what is going to make their life better, instead of what will please or satisfy them in the current moment. That is kindness: being honest and having someone’s best interest at heart. If being kind to someone means perhaps being a bit harsh, or not necessarily nice, then that’s what it takes. Nice is comfortable. But to be kind, sometimes you need to step outside of that comfort.

I suppose the question is, is it better to be nice or kind? I think it’s always better to be honest and kind to those closest to us, because if we aren’t going to be, then who is? However, I think nice and kind each have a place in certain situations, so if a person can be both nice and kind and know when each fits, then perhaps that is best.

 

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A new phase – Am I only scared because I’m comfortable?

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I have been through quite a process to decide what I was going to do with myself this year. I’ve been set on multiple options and then changed my mind multiple times. Originally I was set on taking a gap year, but then I decided not to because I wanted to get into doing work that I’ll actually enjoy as soon as possible. I want to get out of retail and start an actual career. During holidays, I realised that I missed learning and I missed routine. Fortunately I’ve been able to find ways to learn myself and create my own routines. But still, I realised that I may quickly feel quite lost if I took a gap year. Just because it’s such a long break and I may find it difficult to stay on track.

So, I’m not taking a gap year because I thought that the four-ish months of holidays would be enough of a break for me to do some of the things I wanted to do, as well as to prepare and improve on myself. Because of that, I’ve been on holidays for the last almost 3 months and haven’t really put a lot of thought into this year or University. Only just now, after having enrolled and having actually started the whole process, is it becoming real. And my feelings are very drastically fluctuating between ‘I am so extremely excited’ and ‘Have I made the right decision?’. I am scared about starting University, but I don’t think it’s because it’s a new experience and new people and new everything. It’s because I’m questioning myself. Because it ended up being quite a sudden decision and change of mind to go to Uni straight away, and although it was justified, I didn’t have time to settle into the decision before it was actually made. I am scared to start because I have settled into holidays. I like having this freedom to do anything I feel like whenever I feel like it. I am comfortable. And I don’t want to lose this comfort.

When you get to know comfort, you start to fear discomfort. Like when you get to know true happiness, you start to fear sadness. But, if you never experience anything other than what you know and are comfortable with, are you truly living, or are you just existing? It’s that whole thing of ‘stepping outside your comfort zone’ and ‘life begins where your comfort zone ends’. I am scared of discomfort, and during times when we aren’t uncomfortable, I’m sure we all are. It’s just about taking that step and not letting this idea of discomfort get in the way of what could be an amazing and beneficial experience or opportunity.

So this is me, telling myself that my fear is justified, but that I shouldn’t let it stop me from pursuing something that I want to pursue. And while in some situations, ‘not sure’ should mean no, in this case ‘not sure’ means at least give it a go.

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How directly connected are artists to their art? (B.E.D.I.J day 22)

Today I wanted to discuss something that’s been on my mind a bit. And that is the question of: how closely or directly connected are artists to their art? Is an artist’s art a part of them or is it separate? When I’m talking about ‘art’, I’m using the term broadly, because I’m mostly talking about written forms of art rather than visual art, although I’m sure everything could also apply to that.

When I first started writing, it was like an escape for me. I was in a bad place and writing poetry was how I poured my feelings out without them drowning me. I used to only be able to write when I was sad or down because negative feelings always appear stronger, therefore they are easier to recognise and write about. Now however, I have learned to recognise positive feelings and their strength, equal to the negative. I now find it easier to write when I’m happy because I feel more inspired and motivated. I have learned to write happy things. Although maybe a better way to describe it would be: optimistic. I try to write things that create or show a journey. To show people the light or to inspire. So, I need to be able to tap into those negative feelings in order to create a journey to the positive.

I’m writing this because there have been a few times where someone has expressed their concern for me and asked if I was okay, because of something I wrote. I’ve been asked why I write what I write when in some cases I’m different in person to what I express in my writing. An example is the other day a coworker asked me why I often write things that make me seem so insecure when I am actually a quite confident person. She was referring to my poem ‘The Girl in the Red Coat‘. While I write in first person, my poems are always necessarily personal. For this poem in particular, I’d just bought a red coat and it inspired me, because I viewed it as a symbol of confidence and a clothing piece that would turn heads. I’d never owned a red coat before and I just came up with the line ‘I will be the girl in the red coat’ as an expression of ‘I will be that confident girl who is loud without speaking, who everyone looks at. I will be seen’. Because I suppose I’m quiet a lot of the time (until I get the chance to speak) and I’ve been made to feel a bit invisible sometimes. So.. this symbol of confidence in the red coat simply gave me a small boost of positivity knowing that I might not be the quiet invisible one anymore and people may be able to see my confidence. The poem is meant to inspire others, to give others confidence, so when they read it they are reciting these affirmations to themselves about how ‘I am allowed to be loud’ and ‘I have a purpose’. This I hope will induce more positive thoughts in people, because I am aware of the insecurities of others. The poem was not necessarily a reflection of my own insecurities, but a message for anyone who may have needed to hear it.

When you’re a writer you learn to observe and remember. Perhaps more than the everyday person. The ability to write is built off of the ability to describe and in some cases reflect. I write things that a younger version of myself may have needed to hear or things I think other people may need to hear. I observe and read about others feelings so I know how different people feel, because not every person perceives situations in the same way. I write to reflect and describe the feelings of others as much as my own. And while a lot of it is, not everything I write is about myself. Sometimes it’s about no one in particular, but for the people. This is why everything I write isn’t necessarily a direct reflection of myself, and art isn’t always directly connected to the artist.

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Tonight’s wanderings and ponderings (B.E.D.I.J day 21)

A journal entry | 21/01/2018 | 9:55pm.

I’ve always liked the idea of night walks but I don’t like to venture into the darkness alone. I just feel far too alert to be comfortable. But just another presence, even in silence, brings out the calm in the night and tucks most of the unsettled feelings under one arm. It’s especially nice to walk with a thinker. Or someone who thinks kind of like me. We talk about things I wouldn’t usually talk about with most people and conversation brings things up that I hadn’t really thought about. It’s nights like this that re light my spark to write when maybe I’m feeling a bit dull.

There is just something about the night that is simultaneously calming and unsettling. Calming in a way that dim light has a simple essence of comfort laced within the glow of street lamps. Calming in a way that everything feels slower. It makes me think more about what I’m saying before I just blurt something out. I feel no pressure to hurry so I take more time to ponder. I’m more selective with my words, but at the same time I’m not because I feel no pressure or expectation to be anything in particular. When the world is asleep, or settled in for the evening, the world feels like my own and I can be anything. I can walk in the middle of the road and feel at ease. Until of course the bright car headlights arise, beaming in my face.

Maybe that’s why people open up more at night. Because somehow darkness lifts expectations. And darkness feels more open itself, but at the same time more intimate. I guess because you have to be closer to things before you can really see them. Everything looks so different when only lit up by the golden glow of street lights. Our shadows are almost ghostly.

It looks like a parallel universe. Everything the same, but slightly different. Yet, my usually discomfort that comes with different is gone. I’m not afraid of getting lost because I feel like somehow, the world will just guide me home. I feel I could wander aimlessly for hours and still end up back at my front doorstep. Everything feels different too. Slightly off balance. Slightly tilted. As if I am walking through the streets on my toes.

I woke this morning from a very deep sleep feeling lost and disoriented as if in a world that was new or a body that was not my own. The tilt of the night was similar to this. However this morning I was stopped in my tracks questioning a possible glitch in the world as I realised I was washing the dishes with the hand opposite to usual, when it would normally feel incredibly wrong. Maybe in my deep sleep I’d been taken away and cloned, but that tiny detail was copied wrong. Maybe in my deep sleep I travelled to a parallel universe, but it’s physically impossible for me to be removed from this universe without creating a tear in the very fabric of time and space and leaving a hole where my matter should be. So I had to have been replaced. And only a clone would make such a big deal about being a clone so I guess that answers that. The question now is.. am I who I once was and always have been or am I someone new entirely? Am I living or am I just existing?

We were being chased by lightning tonight. Or at least, it felt like lighting. It was the type of flash where the whole sky lit up for less than a second, but when it’s happened you’re not sure whether it really did or not. Coming from everywhere and nowhere. I never caught a glimpse of the lightning strikes, only the light, nor was there any thunder. So, perhaps it was the flashes of a UFO. Maybe they were clone hunters. Our talk of my possible being a clone must have triggered their radars.

 

Anyway, back to reality. I’m not actually a clone. I don’t think that would be possible given the circumstances. But it was just something a bit fun to think about and a fun story to carry along throughout the evening. This night walk was wonderful in a very subtle, heart warming but fulfilling kind of way. It’s just not something I do every day. I would like this to create a nice memory of it.

So those were tonight’s ponderings from our wandering. I’ve found the night brings many contradictions.

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Learn to switch off when you sleep (B.E.D.I.J day 18)

Too often I end up multitasking when I’m trying to sleep. But sleeping and multitasking do not fit together. They are not part of the same puzzle.

When I lay down and switch my world to darkness, I am telling my mind that it is time to turn away from the world and turn off, ready to be switched on again in a few hours when I’m charged. But too often I sleep and think. I don’t let sleep take over I let the thoughts take over. Or I let music take over. Thinking before sleep is too much like being on standby. My screen is black but beneath it I’m still humming away.

I don’t know why I expect it to be a possibility for me to still sleep after I’ve tried to write and think in the dark. My body is now confused about what darkness means. Now darkness means fireflies of thoughts, words dancing in front of my eyes and a hand that aches if it isn’t writing. It means time to dance as songs fill my head. Darkness no longer means sleep.

So when you are ready to sleep, simply sleep. If you wish to embark on any other journey of thoughts, words or music, turn on the light. Otherwise, when in the dark, let any thoughts be fleeting and watch them float away like balloons. Don’t hold on and float away with them.