Whenever I take a personality test, I end up almost smack dab in the middle between introvert and extrovert. So I’m neither an introvert or an extrovert. Ok, then what am I? Can I be both? Can I walk the line between “outgoing” and “keeps to herself” – is there a middle ground? Or, is it more that half the time I am bold and brazen, the life of the party and the other half I curl up in a ball in the corner until everyone leaves?
As much as I ask the questions, I actually do find myself trapped in the middle…in this invisible phantom zone where I’m never really quite sure who I actually am going to be in that moment. I’m 36, you’d think by now I’d know – and when it all comes down to it, it’s not a matter of knowing but admitting that I know and accepting it.
I think a lot of us spend way too much time trying to be someone we are not. Whether it is to impress someone else or to increase our own sense of self-worth, rather than focus on our strengths we wrestle against nature and try to re-invent ourselves.
In many ways, the internet provides an opportunity to do just that, in a much easier and grander fashion. Country singer Brad Paisley said it jokingly “I’m so much cooler online” but I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who have online personas that are completely invented. And I’m sure bloggers aren’t immune from falling into that trap.
Personally, blogging and the blogging community, have taught me a lot about myself, but more importantly it has helped me come to realize that the “middle ground” has value. Blogging has actually allowed me to be more ME than I am in real life. I am an observer by nature. Not shy but certainly reserved. I am brutally honest and never afraid to speak my mind on important issues although I prefer not to discuss things that cause people to end up at odds with each other. I am not good at small talk but will talk to a stranger for a week about things that matter. I am loyal and trustworthy and I like to help people so long as they don’t stand too close to me.
Some of those characteristics are ones that I have fought tooth and nail to overcome. I have always wanted to be the life of the party, a people person, someone who could mingle and really walk away knowing people would remember me. I wanted to be someone who could formulate ideas with the snap of a finger and effectively communicate them verbally. Also, I wanted to be able to put aside my diplomatic nature to hold my own in a heated discussion about controversial issues.
Through blogging I have come to realize that although I may not possess some of the traits that I admire in others, I can still be a rock star. Part of it has been coming to terms with myself, but the other part – the bigger part – has come from relationships with other bloggers. The support, friendship and generosity that I have found is truly staggering. People actually like me….and all I’ve had to do is to be myself!
I wrote this post in response to a call for entries for the Mabel’s Labels Blogher ’09 Contest. Entrants are to write a blog post answering the following question: “What have been the rewards and benefits of participating in the blogging community?“