I tend to think of myself as laid back, easy-going and mellow.
I am none of those things: or at least, that’s what my friends say.
I am anxious, high-strung and very worried about being on time.
I’m a typical Type A kind of person. I stick to alarms. I’m almost always on time and if I’m not on time, I’m early. I keep a planner (still). I plan routes when I’m going someplace I don’t know.
So what’s the difference? Why do I perceive myself as laid back and then have to realize that I’m not?
I’m very laid back on my own. If it’s a Saturday afternoon with nothing else to do I love exploring, getting lost (within reason) and taking my time. Traffic doesn’t phase me much and when I’m with others I’m very mellow and relaxed about traffic especially on long trips. But that luxury and ease comes with being early almost everywhere. I’m not one for sleeping in on the weekends and even when it comes to work I’m often the first one in the office.
My Meyer-Briggs type is INFP (Introvert, Nurturing, Feeling, Perceptive )and I’ve always felt that matched me perfectly. I’m also a Cancer: another pseudoscientific way to rationalize how someone so calm on the outside can be so high-strung on the inside.
Where does the neurotic tension come from? Adding literally anything or anyone else to the equation. I’m intense about deadlines, dates, appointments and the like. If I’m meeting a friend for dinner, rest assure that my route is planned with back ups. If I’m paneling, I’m ready with alternate clothing and presentation on 2 flash drives and a CD just in case.
Paneling is interesting because it was actually AnimeFest last year that showed me just how much being a panelist takes out of me. I worry, I freak out. I want it all to be perfect the first time. I fret over no one showing up. I worry about audio issues. I get anxious about things I can’t control so I overcompensate and control the things I can like knowing EXACTLY where my room is and how much time I have to set up given any situation.
It’s strange because I’m an odd creature of perception. Most of my friends see me as a bright, extroverted gal with a big personality, tiny stature and a comment for everything. I see myself as a quiet, mostly bookish rather plain thing who isn’t remarkable at all. A friend of mine even said I sounded more like a anime’s main character than a real person.
I think perception over reality is very interesting. Convention brings up another great point: I think of myself as very introverted but many notice how I light up on stage. I clearly draw power from an audience: it might not be as much as a real extrovert but I am more pumped up by applause and a crowd than I probably give myself credit for. I’m also reminded of this any time a friend is late for a dinner outing or a panel runs over time, cutting into how long I have to set up or whenever a costume fails and a last minute change has to be made.
I tend to straddle both worlds since clearly there is plenty of me that is go-with-the-flow but still plenty of me that’s a pragmatic Type A. I tend to attract people that are either just like me or completely the opposite and I find that I have a more polarizing opinion of both. Sometimes I need to just be Type A and to freak out, panic and find a solution: during those times I need to be told to calm the hell down. When I’m too mellow: sometimes even I need a swift kick in the pants. But both type of person in my life tends to simultaneously infuriate and inspire me. When planning for upcoming conventions I told a dear friend of mine that I was still very shaken from last year’s convention because that me: a me that felt so out of control was not a me that I have met in a long time and that has shaken some of my confidence.
There’s nothing wrong with being a little bit of both: ambivert is a word for it. Social moth is another: I can play pretend I’m a social butterfly but I do get far more energy on my own or with close friends. That doesn’t mean I won’t get up and dance in public. That doesn’t mean I won’t keep a planner. That just means, I’m me. Continuously complicated and remarkably unremarkable. Stunning in my simplicity and full of social contradictions.