These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

The other day I was told a friend of mine thinks I’m like Obi Wan Kenobi. I tend to be quiet and listen more than I speak. When I do speak it usually has meaning.  He may be right in some situations. I do know that I can also fall victim to nervous babbling, or talk endlessly with just the right infusion of caffeine.

My initial reaction upon hearing this was to say, “Well, who wouldn’t want a little Obi Wan in them?” (Some of you will get that. And it’s chock full of meaning. Really.) But then it got me thinking, later, about being an introvert. That’s what I am and that’s what my friend has observed. I’m one of those people that find crowds to be overwhelming. At parties filled with people I don’t know I end up in a corner looking like a deer caught in headlights, hoping no one actually notices me because I’m unable to communicate effectively at that point. People who don’t know me may assume I’m being aloof, or even rude. The truth is, there’s just too much going on for my brain to process and small talk is a near impossible task. I mean a usual conversation would go something like this:

Person: “So what do you do?”

Me: “I’m a banker.”

Person: “Oh, so you…open accounts? Or…”

Me: “Yes, that. And other things. Sometimes I process transactions. A little of everything.”

Person: “How do you like it?”

Me: ” I don’t.”

Person: *pause* “Uh…oh.”

Me: *blink, blink* (That’s the deer caught in headlights stare.)

It’s barely a conversation and I can’t ever remember that it’s polite to ask questions about the other person. It’s not that I don’t care but my brain is just interested in one goal: escape. I’m pretty sure I have some sort of social anxiety but I’m assured I don’t have any more social anxiety than the average person. I’m totally normal. Sometimes I think therapists are supposed to tell you that, even if it isn’t true. What I know for sure is that it isn’t easy being an introvert with social anxiety in a world that celebrates extroverts. But I just have to point out, there have been some pretty amazing introverts. Like who, you ask? You probably aren’t asking but I’m going to tell you anyway: Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Isaac Newton, Rosa Parks, and Steven Spielberg  just to name a few. I’m in good company. Not to say I can even compare to any of these people but, well, it’s something that helps me feel better about me, thinking about what those introverts accomplished. It’s not all bad. I actually am capable of being funny and charming as long as I’m in a crowd of people I know. I’m not even terribly shy. I just get overwhelmed easily in large social situations. I re-energize from within, which can’t be done if there’s too much going on around me. I can’t deal with any large disturbances in the Force if Luke is asking what’s wrong and what it’s like to be a Jedi while C3PO shuffles around announcing everyone’s doom, Chewbacca is growling about losing a game of space chess to R2D2 and my former padawan is wreaking havoc across the galaxy because his mom died and, well, he’s a whiny little bitch. But I digress. Or not. I’m not sure I have much more to say on the subject for now. I need a little quiet time before I run off to my job dealing with the public. *sigh*

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