In Which I am a Tear-Caked Mess

I had plans today.

I was going to go to the store to buy some groceries and things I need for this week.

I was going to take a walk.  Play some Ingress to replenish my inventory and get back all the keys I burned before the Anomaly.

I was going to work on some of the blog posts I have sitting in my Drafts folder.  Maybe write some short fiction for another creative project I’m working on.

But no.

Despite a stormy morning, this afternoon has been bright and sunny.  My emotional state, however, reflects the reverse.

I had a good day at work today.  Got a lot of things done, listened to some fun podcasts while I did them.  But right before I left for home, my boss asked to speak with me.  He has done this on a few previous occasions.  I’m a shy introvert and tend to keep to myself, so he often pulls me aside to ask how things are going.  He complimented my work and told me that I was continuing to do a great job.  But then he brought up his concerns about my social disposition.

Although I’m a shy person, I’m really quite friendly.  I love people.  My boss said that he knew that much to be true.  But as he went on, it was clear to me that he felt that my reserved nature was coming off as being aloof and unapproachable.

I don’t know if my other co-workers see it that way.  I’ve tossed jokes around with them and am always talking with my direct supervisor.  But the point of the matter is, my boss believes that my other co-workers see it that way.

As I listened to him appraise my social interactions (or lack thereof) with my co-workers, my emotions ran from indignant to ashamed.

This is all pointless, I thought to myself.  This is obviously just another example of the extrovert-bias in our society.  I am who I am and I can’t change that.  I’m doing all that I can to be nice to others; I can’t flip a switch and become outgoing and thoroughly affable.

But as I began to view myself through his eyes, I could see how my actions could be misconstrued.

Maybe I am anti-social.  I could definitely work on being more open.  This is the same problem I’ve had all my life.  I need to change if I want to be a successful member of this company, and of society as a whole.

I knew it was probably unprofessional to cry in front of my boss.  But sometimes these things can’t be helped.

He apologized and said he didn’t mean to make me cry.  I apologized and said it wasn’t him; it was my own self-criticism and social anxiety.  He promised he just wanted to help me.  I promised I would work on being more open.

Though I snuffled through the last few minutes of our conversation, my face caked with tears, we ended on good terms and gave each other a hug before parting ways.

I let it all out on the drive home.  As someone who usually keeps her emotions bottled up inside, it felt good to cry it all out.  I let out a few wailing sobs to the open farmland as I drove by.  The release felt good as I channeled all my frustrations into each bawl.  I cried so hard that I could feel all the nerves in my belly, ears, and arms.  It was that tingling sensation like they had fallen asleep, but instead, they were screaming along with me.

I had plans today.

I was going to go to the store.  I was going to take a walk.  I was going to write.

But instead, I’m just going to curl up on my bed, throw on my headphones, and try to drown out the world with some music or by watching some mindless movie.

Most of the time, I’m fine with being an introvert.  I’ve come to terms with who I am and how I interact with the world.  But some days… some days I feel like I’m broken, like there’s something wrong with me, like I don’t fit in with the rest of those world.  On those days, I hate who I am.

Today’s one of those days.


7 thoughts on “In Which I am a Tear-Caked Mess

    • Oh yeah, I watched this awhile ago and have read some of Susan Cain’s articles/interviews. I’ve been meaning to check out her book as well. Great stuff, and definitely a good reminder that I’m not “broken” or “wrong” in some way. Sometimes it just feels that way, I guess… Thanks for the link; I’ll have to watch it again 🙂


  1. Oooh. Yes, Susan Cain’s book is wonderful. As is Adam McHugh’s “Introverts in the Church.” Some good summer reading for you!

    I’ve definitely been there. As a fellow introvert, I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of friendships because my “game face” doesn’t do a great job of showing off my true disposition…I’ve definitely been told that I come off as cold or aloof. Resting bitch face doesn’t help either ;P

    Keep your chin up. Know you aren’t the only one that struggles with “being introverted in an extroverted world.” Fight the negative self-hate (heh, easier said than done…I’m preaching to myself here, too), and always remember that you are valued and matter to others!

    Liked by 1 person

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