I AM A LIAR.
I sit along the edges of classrooms and movie theaters. I cross the street when another approaches, or pretend to intensely gaze at something off in the distance when forced to cross paths. Group work in school made me nervous, and partner work in yoga gives me heart palpitations. I park in the far reaches of lots over taking that lucky spot up front. I travel on back roads, walk on side streets, and weave through department stores on mapped out paths to ensure minimal contact with sales personnel. I’m incapable of tolerating crowded places for long periods of time, and need a quiet place to recover from the madness lest I go mad myself.
I am not aloof, or pretentious, or unfriendly. I want to run on the last available treadmill between two strangers at the gym without feeling my heart in my throat. I want to make eye contact with you on the street, smile, and say good morning without fearing possible rejection. I want to fit into the extroverted “normal human being” paradigm.
And so I do. After years of feeling awkward and not knowing why, drained and unable to renew, amongst others yet alone within myself, I crafted a convincing mask of extraversion for the world at large, and even convinced myself of its veracity at times. I’ve assertively taught Kung Fu to groups of adults and children, tricked personality tests into producing “type A” results, worked and excelled in competitive, high pressure sales positions, and tended high volume bars with the confident authority of an extrovert, and it’s all a lie.
I am Renee Novosel. I am a mother, a writer, a lover, an introvert, and a liar. I write to protect myself within the lie and beneath the mask, to remember who I really am, and to remind myself that it’s okay. If you’re an introvert, you’re okay too. If you’re a lucky extrovert, welcome to this drafty window into the mind of a wallflower.