Mixed messages

This post was first published on 20 June, 2012.

It might come as somewhat of a shock to you, dear readers, but I have quite the outgoing, chatty personality. I am loud and gregarious, and generally enjoy the company others. And based on a one-dimensional appraisal of the dominant side of my personality, people are quick to attach the “party girl” tag to me.

And while this tag is accurate to an extent, my true nature is that of a homebody, particularly as I get older, and especially as we head into winter. I like my own company and nothing more than being home, pottering around, with the cat following closely behind. In many respects, I’m a bit of a Nanna (and this is not to impugn Nannas in any way shape or form).

I have worked in places where I have been shushed (because I am loud*), or felt pressure to do so because of the culture. I remember one public sector workplace I landed in in the mid 2000s (it had an education/research focus) the culture was “no chit-chat on pain of death”. I went the whole day not talking much, because conversations that weren’t work-related were not encouraged. I would go home from work and talk non-stop for an hour. It was like the dam had broken and the leaks could not be plugged. Needless to say, I moved on quite quickly to a more conducive environment.

I read a wonderful post the other day from Ed Batista, an executive coach. He discusses the dichotomies and juxtapositions of his own personality. He struggles with integration and sways to an either/or approach and ends up feeling “forced” to hide aspects of himself. To quote Ed:

I’m not only a tender, affectionate, loving person–I’m also a snarky, competitive hard-ass.

I know how exactly how he feels.

While I am chatty and loud, I can also be quiet and introspective. I can be fierce and judgmental, but also compassionate and caring. I enjoy trivia, small talk and soap operas, but then immerse myself in academic papers on brain science and social psychology. I can be incredibly bossy, but I yearn for great leadership. I am not immune to the pleasures of casual sex, but I have a burning desire for a soul mate. I love getting into the nitty gritty of grammar, spelling and punctuation, but I swoon when I see a strategy that demonstrates brave, out-of-the-box, big picture thinking.

People are never flat and one-dimensional, and I am no exception.

*When I was a high school teacher, one year my graduating Year 12 students gave me the “We Can Hear Her Before We Can See Her” Award. It was a proud moment in my teaching career!

4 thoughts on “Mixed messages

  1. I’m glad you saw yourself in my post, Diane, and I enjoyed reading this one. I agree that none of us are one-dimensional, and yet so often we diminish ourselves to conform to a culture that doesn’t really suit us, or to live up (or down) to our own expectations. So I try to push beyond my comfort zone to be more free, more myself, and I believe that by doing so I’m not only allowing myself to be happier and more fulfilled, but I’m also encouraging others to do the same. I certainly don’t always succeed at this, but it’s an aspiration.

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