Naturally I’m an extrovert. However over time I’ve become an Introvert. I’m quite sure when the switch happened though. It could’ve been when I left and went to college, the first time my thoughts were criticized as not good enough, when I moved to St. Louis, when I entered a Predominantly White Institution (PWI) for the first time, maybe when I felt the disappointment of love, when I attempted to attach myself to people I shouldn’t have, when I moved to Alabama, when I had my first encounter with racism, or maybe when I felt myself giving up on myself.
While I don’t know the exact moment it happened I do know that it has impacted my life critically. Professionally, I am a college teacher and PhD student who is nearing the end the process. My profession as English teacher and scholar, demands that I’m alone with my thoughts quite frequently. It asks that I internalize readings and papers and produce a fresh idea. However, sometimes it’s not fun. I feel isolated, often alone with myself–and for a season that’s good, but for a long time, it’s not.
In internalizing and analyzing everything, I cur myself off from the rest of the world. I barricade my ideas in with the part that wants to be outwardly acknowledged. In taking on the identity of my work, I’ve separated myself further from my true essence.
How to get back though? How to reposition myself in a way that will cater to my truth? How do I stand up to the inner call to be more vocal and take a stand? I’m in the process of finding out.