The Introverted Extroverted Empath

You may think that you have me pegged, my friend, but you don’t know the half.

I may seem outgoing, but only in limited instances, only on my terms and only when it suits me. I’m a recluse and a loner; a hermit crab that refuses to poke its head out from the safety of its foraged shell. Much like a hermit crab, I discard my shells after they’ve worn out their purpose.

After they’ve outlived their usefulness, I shed one exterior display of my internal clockworks for a brand new one. Like a brand new dance sweeping the internet streets, you never know where it’ll come from or how long it’ll stick around before fading into obscurity. You might never see that side of me again, no matter how long you stick around before you fade into obscurity.

My online personality is loud and bold, boisterous and uninhibited. There are no moments of self-consciousness displayed when you read my words, no glaring imperfections that can be used against me in a battle of the wits. If writing was battle rap, my bars would reign supreme over nearly everyone.

Whenever I write to get a point across, my words are measured and precise. My emotions are perfectly controlled for the purposes of effective communication. If you see me engaged in a heated debate with someone via textual correspondence, you’d probably think I was a self-infatuated egomaniac. That’s an easy mistake to make, if you conflate my unfiltered responses with who I am as a person.

You don’t see my personality, you see my unadulterated thoughts being communicated with machine-like precision.I write with conviction, because I write about the things that I care about. I write within my range of passions and rarely do I ever overextend myself.

When you see me extolling in vitriolic fashion in the comments section of an inflammatory Facebook post, you’d be hard pressed not to think of me as uncouth and ornery. You probably think I’m some sort of self-centered asshole who bullies his way through everyone in his path to get what he wants in life.

You probably wouldn’t picture me as a quiet person, a polite and reserved individual in most every situation. You wouldn’t think of me as someone who routinely lets opportunities slip through his fingers because someone else spoke up before he did.  Until, that is, we start discussing something I feel strongly about, in which case you couldn’t pay me to stop gesticulating like a madman.

When in the right setting, my passion far outweighs my reservations. The problem is, those settings so rarely involve interacting with new people, and so much of life revolves around that very same set of circumstances.

I don’t like new people, especially when I’m in close proximity to groups of them in unfamiliar settings for extended periods of time. Being forced to socialize with people I don’t know anything about, who put on airs and posture for each other’s approval, makes me feel lower than low. It’s all so facetious and there’s nothing I hate more in this world than a fake fuck.

I read people, absorb every detail about them. I see the lines that tie their actions to their statements, the contradictions and the fallacies therein. I observe their facial expressions and body gestures, I listen to the subtle changes in the pitch and tone of their voice. I see the redundant patterns of speech that they engage in as defense mechanisms to cope with uncomfortable feelings.

I can feel an authentic spirit on a visceral level, without being able to put that feeling into words, and am naturally drawn to them. I can smell a fake fuck from the opposite end of the Sahara desert, despite the innumerable sand storms and litters of pit viper carcasses strewn haphazardly between us. Truly, there’s nothing I hate in this world more than a fake fuck.

I’m outgoing, but I’m not sociable. I’m the life of the party, if only you and I are in the room and the party is just for us. I don’t like crowds but I love disappearing into a sea of bodies, shrouded in anonymity. I initiate conversations at will and shut them down just as quickly. I am immediately repulsed by the slightest hint of inauthentic behavior.

When pressed to do traditionally social things like dance in public or make small talk with a table full of people I don’t know, I shut down like a turtle in distress. I retreat into my shell and become catatonic for all intents and purposes. My skin is crawling and my instincts are screaming at me to run, run far away. Escape these fake fucks at all costs.

I remove myself from the situation without a single word uttered or explanation offered. I get up from the table, I walk out of the room unceremoniously. I’ll often go so far as to leave the entire venue and never be seen by anyone at that table again. I could care less about societal norms when my well-being is on the line, my fake friend.

I don’t have time to avoid being seen as rude, because honestly, my state of mind is more important to me than the convoluted thoughts running through strangers’ heads. Reality is entirely perception based, and your perception of me has nothing to do with my reality.

That’s your bag of mixed nuts that you need to sort through, but you most likely won’t even choose to. I have enough neuroses and idiosyncrasies of my own to deal with, why would I add yours onto my already crowded plate?

Shit, I gotta eat… Yeah, even though I ate.

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