I have to be honest with you.
I’m far less interesting now that I’m basically off alcohol. I tried to keep up my charade the first few months of 2017, telling myself that this is all so temporary and I’ll get my psoriasis under control and I can go back to my happy hour cocktails and beers once again. I’m still hip. I’m still funny. I can still go out and socialize.
For the past decade, alcohol had been my go to socialization primer*. I imbibed in it often enough to tell myself I’m not really introverted after all, I’m just a mild extrovert. (Sure seems like it when you drink every night.) Without alcohol, I struggle to get most thoughts out of my head. With alcohol, there’s no gap in response time or hesitation, whatever I want to say I can say without any issues.
I’ve always felt more comfortable expressing myself through writing. The thought process that you’re reading here now is the internal dialogue I have inside my head. The words that come out of my mouth often disappoint me, because I find them one-dimensional and sadly lacking in complexity. I have all these thoughts and words and ideas in my head and I want to share them but I often resort to simplifying my thoughts in speech, saying as little as possible, because it causes me more pain to be misunderstood than to be unheard.
I envy the rapid-fire speech of extroverts while simultaneously resenting them for not taking a breather. “When do I get to talk?” was my #1 complaint going through adolescence. I feel like there’s an extra step when I talk to other people because I have to think about my response before I can say it. By the time I’m ready to respond, usually the conversation has shifted to something else. I always feel a sentence or two behind. It’s awkward when I do get out my thoughts, because then everyone’s like, “k but that was like 5 minutes ago we’re talking about this now.”
In a way, being off alcohol has finally allowed me to accept how I really am. It’s sort of like how I’m so good at dieting when I set hard limits for myself, but lose all self-control when I tell myself to be moderate. Restricting foods cause me to think about them more. Taking them out of the picture completely leaves me no choice but to focus on the foods I CAN eat.
This is the same with introversion. With consistent booze-fueled social priming out of the picture. I have no choice but to accept my new reality. There are many things I’m not good at, and being a captivating conversationalist will remain one of them. Yet, there are many things I am good at. I am not my restrictions, but I am me in spite of them.
Things I like about myself and my social awkwardness:
1. I really enjoy spending time with myself. I am almost never bored.
2. It doesn’t take a lot of stimulation to excite me. Something small, like using a pen with just the right tip diameter, using the perfect sticker for my agenda, or an iced coffee with a good ice to coffee ratio will put me in a great mood.
3. Even though I have many gripes about others, I am not the type to abandon a friend. At the end of the day I will be there for them.
4. One of my best friends growing up told me, “Sometimes I feel self-conscious around you, because it seems like you always look right through me.” I’m pretty aware of other people’s motivations and fears. I like to view people based on their character and not their actions or words, because often what they say on the surface betrays their actual thoughts.
5. When I have an idea, I won’t stop until I see it come to fruition. Even if it means acting alone or if it’s unconventional. I believe in myself and my ideas. I am not a, “Why me?” person, but “Why not me?“
Are you an awkward person too? I love awkward people.
*I’ve also been on SSRIs for the past 5 years and have read that long-term use can lead to it making people more extroverted and out-going (I’m currently cutting back and trying to wean off altogether)