Note: You may have noticed that episode six made it out before five… well, this episode was much more difficult to write for me and with my schedule wonking out in November, well. I needed to put it off. In addition to these episodes, I plan on posting an in-depth review of the album PTX Vol. 2 by Pentatonix and later ARTPOP by Lady Gaga… by in-depth review I mean of the overarching album and each individual song. This will probably happen in late January.
I’ve always wanted to be a princess.
There are the obvious reasons, of course, for anyone who knows me or follows me on twitter, but the less obvious was that princesses were always alone.
Yes, yes, it’s because the big bad had spirited them away, or because they didn’t know about their heritage, or because they ran away from home or because of unfortunate circumstances. And yes, the narrative always focused on saving them from this horrible fate and that awesome hunky prince who was on his way to save and debauch her.
But they were all alone.
Being alone is sometimes a pretty lonely thing.
It’s not that I miss a party or get together a few times a week. It’s not that I miss the endless requests and inevitable guilt trips (both intentional and not) for not showing up. It’s not that I like having to explain to new people that I meet that I don’t usually go to things that min out at 6 or more people.
It’s that when I do want company, when I’ve finally gotten to that combination of headspace, loneliness, boredom, and desire that I crave connection, when I DO WANT TO BE SURROUNDED by sound and people and thoughts and speaking… I have no idea how to do that anymore.
I didn’t used to be a planner or organizer among my friends. I was simply a member. A person who showed up. I’m a good leader if I need to be. I’ll take up a flag or microphone if no one else can or has the strength left to. Leading is rarely my choice, though and I pass it on once another leader emerges. I teach. I follow through. I promote. I do what I’m told to do, what needs to be done to achieve the goal. I put a personal face on issues and I write the hell out of a topic when I need to.
It wasn’t until I suddenly wanted to be in a group, wanted to be surrounded by others and had no recourse or way to make that happen comfortably that I began to think about the skills I’d learned as an extrovert.
As an extrovert, I’d managed to connive my way into enough social groups that I always had something to do when/if I wanted it. As an extrovert, I was able to find a way to insulate myself from a foreign environment that otherwise felt like it was out to kill me. As an extrovert I managed to make myself instantly likeable, a skill that I continue to have on an individual level but not as a member of a group.
I’d learned how to speak to a group in a way that didn’t obviously display my distaste for groups despite their necessity.
And, really, that’s how I view groups that are much larger than three or four other people: necessary.
They are necessary, too; the research from organizational behavior and diversity and inclusion sources show that workgroups (especially those with a diverse makeup) are in general more productive and spur growth both in the individuals and the group as a whole.
There’s a fine line between being a part of a group and being beholden to a group. This is a line that isn’t natural for me to walk. Because of that I found myself overwhelmed with shifting loyalties and priorities.
That’s fine for me in a professional setting. For a personal setting I prefer more order and ease of navigation. My personal life is intended for me relax and decompress from the politics of work and school, not to complicate them further.
The trick comes in figuring out the middle ground, so that I can successfully navigate my own experiences and needs in not only my professional life, but my personal life too.
It’s one helluvah interesting dance… like the lindy hop mixed with a tango and the occasional measure of a waltz.