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Yarn & The City: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

So I've wanted to share this for a while, but I'm anxious that this is going to be taken out of context. I in no way want to minimize what is happening in the world and I'm not narcissistic enough to believe that what I'm about to say isn't problematic and privileged in a big way. Hopefully, you all know my heart by now and know where I'm coming from with this. 

I am an extroverted introvert. It was a term that I first heard a few years ago and the second I heard it I was like "yep, that's me!". An extroverted introvert also known as a social introvert is often confused with being an extrovert. But for me being in highly social situations drains my tank. For example, after VKL NYC this year it took me about a month before I felt like myself again. Being in social situations takes a lot out of me but while I'm in those social situations I can come across as a more extroverted personality, particularly when I notice others in the group might be more on the introverted side. 

Why am I sharing this and when am I going to get to the problematic element of this post? Getting there... it's called stalling. 

What I've noticed is that I'm not... hating my quarantine. That's putting it mildly because I'm hyper-aware of the fact that there are people who don't have a choice about quarantine. They have to go to work right now because they are in the health care field. Or they desperately need to go back to work but their jobs are terminated. I'm aware that I have the privilege of being able to work from home. I'll leave a link to Direct Relief here so that you can donate to a great cause and I can ease some of the guilt I feel about writing this next section down. 

Honesty time, I love being by myself and I don't get lonely. I saw someone write on social that they felt like they were "thriving" in quarantine and that's when I knew I wasn't alone in this feeling and thought I should write about it in case you are feeling the same way but don't want to admit it to your friends and family.

For most of my life, I've had periods of being alone. Not lonely but alone. I was homeschooled for most of high school. Before that, I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood. I was often the only person of color in my grade. I had amazing friends but there was always an element of otherness. I often felt like I was the only one getting (or not getting) jokes in shows and movies at slumber parties. At an early age, I had to learn to accept aspects of my personality because I couldn't expect someone else to do it for me. 

Going into high school I decided that I wanted a very different experience. So I decided to go to a private school in Newark NJ. If you are familiar with Newark then you already know where this story is going. I had picked a school on the opposite end of the spectrum and suddenly my perspective of myself had to broaden. Suddenly I was othered for a different reason. I didn't talk, walk, or act "black enough". Which was a strange concept for me to wrap my mind around as someone who had been considered "too black" for the beginning of my life. One day I woke up and decided that I was never going back there or back to my original school and I never did. Luckily, I have the most incredible parents in the world and they agreed for me to be homeschooled. 

All of those situations made me who I am today and I'm super grateful for them. I had to become extremely confident in who I am and because of them, I felt like I knew myself really well. I think there's a misconception made my extroverts that being an introvert means that you aren't confident or that we secretly want to be more like them. But that's not true at all. I enjoy being around me. 

Ok, I'll admit that did sound a little narcissistic.

Since high school, I've been running like a crazy person from one job to another one activity to another and I haven't had... I haven't given myself time to check in with myself. I think on some level my identity and self-worth as a person have become wrapped up in what I'm doing at the time rather than who I am. Even as I write that, I question what the difference even is between what I do and who I am. 

Here's the thing, being in quarantine I feel closer to the me that I knew back in high school. I'm investing in my creative passions and I'm ok if I never show them to anyone else, I'm exercising every day (inside), I'm speaking (not texting) to my friends more now then I did before, and I feel like I'm checking in with myself more consistently. I even started journaling again, which is something that I haven't done since college. Maybe it's not so much that I want things to stay this way but more that I want me to stay this way. If there's a lesson that I'm going to take out of all of this it's that I want to be more like this person. And maybe, as much as I thought I knew her, there's still a lot more to be learned. 

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