There is a song, and it’s called “Seen and Not Seen” by Talking Heads. (I love Talking Heads but somehow hadn’t stumbled across this song until all too recently.)
Lately I’ve been thinking about who I am (what a loaded thought) and if I’ll still be the same when I graduate this spring and go off to college. This song struck me as some sort of new outlook on personality, and it is this:
It’s not very easy to look at someone and know who they are, however it’s usually commonplace to be able to see who they think they are.
What does this mean? This means pretty much exactly what David Byrne illustrates (amid strange drums and bells and bass guitar): when we are still young and impressionable, we form this ideal. The ideal is how we’d like to be perceived by other people; it’s how we’d like to feel. The ideal is picked off of other people until there is a smorgasbord of different people, or perhaps it’s just mirroring one person (a cousin, a teacher, a whatever).
I, by nature, am a total introvert. I do not like rhe spotlight, I don’t even like it in my circle of friends. I like quiet recognition and small gestures of pride for the things that I do. I wear plain clothes and little to no makeup; I wear my hair mostly down, unkempt and frizzy. This is who I am, and lately, it is how I’d like to be perceived: an introvert through and through. But it used to not be this way at all. In the earlier years of high school, I wore mascara and eyeliner and tight shirts. I straightened my hair and wore colorful earrings and smiled smaller. I trained myself to act like an extrovert, though I’m not sure I ever really succeeded to appear as one.
I didn’t like that; it was exhausting. Then, before I was on staff, I read a Grrlpunch article about being an ambivert (which probably doesn’t actually exist but whatever), and all of a sudden, I didn’t have to try! I could just be myself, an ambivert! I could stay home and read AND go hang out with friends! I could talk and be quiet at the same time!
(None of this is how I really felt!)
Disclaimer: I am not an ambivert, either. After a few months of calling myself one of those, I was invited to go do something with friends and completely told them that I wanted to stay home and eat dinner with my parents instead. And it struck me that I am still very much an introvert. My Thanksgiving Break just ended, and I really just read and wrote and watched movies and ate and listened to great music and laughed myself into oblivion with my family.
I used to think I was easily trampled over by people with larger personalities. I know this now: I cannot be “trampled” if I’m already okay with viewing things from the ground.
Also, my introverted personality is as large as anyone else’s.
Also, Talking Heads is a kickass band.