Coming out of the closet

Young woman inside wardrobe with closed door, low section

Maybe it’s the start of a mid-life crisis or perhaps meaningful enlightenment from all the yoga I have been practicing, but I am ready to come out of the closet. I know my husband already knows.

I am ready to admit it, despite my efforts to fight my nature, that….I am a “closet introvert“. There are many kinds of closets by the way, Judgey McJudge. So the closet I am ready to come out of the “social closet”.

I have been hiding it at social functions with wine, fruity cocktails and sarcasm, but the truth is… I am kinda shy and an introvert.  I know that some friends will act surprised when I come out, but many who know me well…will not be surprised and may reflect “I knew it this whole time!”,  but most will support me “I love you no matter what”.

I suppose I have known since elementary school that I was “not like” the other kids who could just speak out of turn, as I had to be encouraged and prodded to participate. My mother encouraged me to “get out there” and talk. So, I have been forcing myself to become more outgoing and social my whole life… until now. High school was especially challenging with all the school dances and parties (the kind you have when parents went out of town). I had to act a certain way to fit in, forced smiles and clever conversations. I had a lot of friends both girls and boys, so I felt comfortable to be myself once I was in the door. I was just one of the gals. It’s not that I lack in what to say, I am actually quite amusing at times….it’s just I am often reluctant to do so.  It was exhausting to constantly force myself to say “hi”, “smile” and “wave” at every passing peer in between classes. It was teenage survival of the fittest, be social or stay home.

College was great, experimenting with different conversation approaches with boys and making friends was easy. I learned if you ask questions or used biting sarcasm…you don’t have to talk much as most people like to talk about themselves especially guys. I was too shy to rush sororities, but had enough fraternity friends, so invites weren’t lacking…so I took the easy way out. Ironically I was a Communications Major, as I always been intuitive and enjoyed the study of human communication and relationships. I think my social challenges developed my “social eye” to read people well (sorta of like a 7th sense) and I can usually “chameleon” myself to most environments. I was even a school DJ at one point at the college radio station (as no one really talks back).

I graduated with two degrees in communication and media, so naturally I went to work in PR and Marketing. Again forced to hide my true nature to be a social butterfly for Corporate America: networking functions, sales calls, trade shows…I mean really?  If that was not enough, the past 5 years I have taught….yes, you guessed it “Public Speaking“. I mean, could I be in more denial?  Sorta that motto, “Those Who Can, Do, Those Who Cannot, Teach”

So here I am in my 40’s,  finally coming out to say, I:
will sometimes drive further to shop, to avoid idle conversations with people I run into;
most times would rather stay at home on my sofa or in my yard than bar hop;
would rather pick-up carry-out from 10 places, than go to a food festival;
would rather be hog-tied, than ever go to Mall of America or any discount mall;
love the city for the excitement of lots of people and art as you can be easily be anonymous;
would rather spend time with a small group of friends than a huge party;
always pick the last stall in the bathroom to avoid someone next to me;
would rather write a story than tell it to a group at a party.

Are you a closet introvert as well, let me know your thoughts.

As always, Peace.

Andrea Leppert
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