I’ve come up as several different variations in the Meyers-Briggs assessment, but the one I get the most often is “INtroverted Feeling Judging” or INFJ. For people who don’t know me that well, it is a misnomer. No one can believe that with as boisterous as I am in public, I’m not just like that all the time. Part of the reason that people are so shocked is that introversion doesn’t necessarily mean shy. It means I get tired of you people (that was a joke).

I need lots of time to recharge my batteries, which is why most of the time, I stay home. I don’t say anything to anyone for any reason. That is because out in the world, I never *stop* talking. It takes a lot of energy for an introvert to be “on,” and once I get home and I take off my bra, I AM DONE. If you catch me in the nanosecond between getting home and changing into my PJs, I might go out with you (but you’re paying). Otherwise, sitting at home and reading or watching TV gives me the strength to go out the next day and do it all over again.

Introversion is what makes me able to be loud on the Internet. (Look for my next documentary, “Being Loud on the Internet.” It’s a blockbuster.) Typing big ideas is not the same as saying them out loud. As my friend Diane told me when I was a teenager, “saying it out loud makes it real.” She was so right. Hearing words come out of my mouth in my own voice is terrifying, especially when I have to say things like, “we don’t have the money for that.” There’s no Escape key for hard conversations, and Control-Z does not do anything in the real world (CTRL + Z is “Undo” on most operating systems).

So I hide.

But this is not necessarily a bad thing. I find that when I write it out, I have a chance to better explain what I mean. There is a thought process to communication, and I don’t put words to paper lightly. The drawback is that often, I type so fast that what, to me, is a five-minute conversation takes someone else all day to read (really must work on my editing). The plus is that if you get a letter from me, it means that I really thought about what I was saying.

There are, of course, standard clauses and provisos:

I am so ADD that I will not likely remember what other people think of as important details. For instance, I don’t know the date I moved to Oregon the first time around. I don’t know the date I moved to Oregon the second time around, either. But I can go back to my journals and letters, teasing out what I thought was important to me at the time.

It was raining the day I drove in. I went directly to my friend Diane’s office, then at the opera on SW Morrison St. I didn’t know anyone else, so it was a quick trip just to say “hi” and “where’s the Target?”

That night, I went to my church and helped stuff envelopes for some kind of financial campaign. It was fun because that was the night I met Dana. She chased me down the street, her in her green Saturn and me in my purple one.

But I don’t remember the date.

Then, I went back to my new roommate’s house and sat through all the obligatory house rules, which were extensive. I am a carnivore. She is vegan. Portlandia ensued.

Those are my important details. I remember that Diane was in the middle of what looked like PE for grownups, that the rain on the windshield looked like mist and it didn’t stop for six months, that my then-wife wasn’t just leaving, she was gone, that Dana was wearing a grey sweatshirt with a George Mason University logo.

But I don’t remember the date.

It is true that saying something out loud makes it real in the short term, but in the long term, something happens. You have time to forget the circumstances that caused you to write what you wrote in the first place. You see it with new eyes, the eyes that well up when you see how far you’ve come.

It is how I deal with both the tendency to be introverted and the tendency to be ADD. I say on paper the things most people say out loud, just to be able to remember it later.

But I don’t remember the date.

Author: theantileslie

I'm 41. I am single, probably because geeks don't get laid.

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