I have always been interested in the introvert – extrovert conversation. During some periods of my life I have been an extrovert while other times I have been an extrovert. Heck, sometimes I may turn from being an introvert to an extrovert and back in a day!
Maybe its age, maybe its circumstance or maybe I have always been like this, but either way, recently I have come to accept that I do not belong to either camp. I am perfectly in between.
When I was younger. I never had a problem speaking in public, I would willingly sing in public, play musical instruments, read in church, I loved to perform in school plays, even participated in parades as a cheerleader. From Kindergarten to grade 8 I was very social. My mother talks about my first day of kindergarten. I was four. She took me to school and while other kids were crying and holding on to their mother for dear life, I said goodbye to my mother, waved and happily walked up the steps and into the school by myself.
I actively took part in all school activities. So, at that time in my life I was very much an extrovert.
When I changed schools, a lot of things changed for me. I had come from a small school where I was at the top of my class. My new school assigned you to your clasess based on your grade point average. I didn’t know anyone in my new class and the competitiveness quickly surfaced. I was now attending a school in Mount Pearl where most of the students identified with being a “townie” though there were some students there who were “baymen”. Any of you who are from Newfoundland are familiar with the two camps, the baymen and the townies. The overpass is the cultural divide, the proverbial “line in the sand” between the two groups. Where you live, relative to the overpass determines your camp. But for me, being from St. Thomas ( a town that has since been swallowed up by Paradise), you kinda don’t fall into either camp. I found myself in that awkward space, in between the two camps. This ambiguity proved problematic. I have recently learned that there are new labels for people like me, “Overcasters” or “Cosmopolitan Baymen”. But at the time, I was without a label and I felt more than a little lost.
This was very difficult time for me and I quickly became an introvert. Since my parents would not cave to my pleas and allow me to sit home and enjoy my pity party, I found myself at school every day, struggling to find my way back to my previous extroverted self. After a few months I settled in, made some great friends and found a comfortable place to be, the “in between”. I was in between townie and bayman, in between introversion and extroversion.
I went on to University, graduated and was eager to start my teaching career. Unfortunately, at that time, there were very few opportunities in Newfoundland for teachers, so I left the east coast to head off to the west coast, to beautiful British Columbia. I ended up in a tiny town, Kitimat, possibly as far away from my home town as you could get while still being in Canada. When I arrived I was an extrovert. I was outgoing, socialized regularly and quickly made friends. Don’t get me wrong, I missed Newfoundland terribly. But I was only planning to stay in BC for about 5 years and I could reconcile that, after that time, I would return to Newfoundland. Time marched on, I got married and we have two wonderful children who were born here in Kitimat and are now in high school. So much for the 5 year plan.
During all of this time I have continued to waffle between being an introvert and an extrovert. I have taken those online tests to try to determine which category I fall into, but each time my results indicate that I am an ambivert, the in between. I guess it makes sense. I am ” in between” in a lot of ways. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love science, but at the same time I love the arts. I love the quiet of nature but I also love the bustle of the city. I love pj’s and dressing up. I enjoy being around people and engaging in conversation but I need my quiet time. While I can relate to both introverts and extroverts, I do not fit either camp.
I think there is a continuum, a scale between labels, like a number line. Many people move along that continuum throughout life, never quite perfectly fitting one category or another, all the while moving, somewhere perfectly “in between.”