It can be trying to challenge one's self-boundaries. My introversion is a hard boundary and one that I've come to realize is not a flaw and needs accomodation and planning for. When I'm good to it, it's good to me and sometimes that's easy to forget. Still, in the interest of self-exploration, I do things I really don't want to do, because, well..It's GOOD FOR ME.
I've more or less abandoned online dating. For one, I found over the course of so many years that the attrition rate from "wink" or "heart" to "penpal" to actually meeting to actually meeting a second time goes from probably a thousand in the first category to outright zero in the last. So, so much time wasted. But I HAVE been actively meeting people I'd created penpal connections with, to better understand what I'd been even looking for, and things have been interesting as a result.
Last week, I hosted my friend Adrian, whom I've been writing back and forth with for over a year and a half. He's from Australia and is a fun, very personable fellow with a sensitive spirit and an intriguing world view. My initial response when he asked if he could stop by Austin on his way to Italy (after a week at Burning Man) was YES, YES, A THOUSAND TIMES YES! Followed by an immediate sense of trepidation as I realized just what I'd agreed to, namely an invasion of my sacred space for days on end. Followed by occasional mental beratement for being inflexible and shunning an interesting opportunity. Rinse and repeat. Worse was having three weeks to oscillate between the two emotions. We finally met last Wednesday and things started off well enough. I was at work during the day, so it's not like we hung out continually — in fact, we did not have a single full day together since he ended up leaving Saturday, which I was unfortunately relieved for.
He wanted a lover for the next few days. So did I. But unfortunately, I'm far more choosy than most and did not find him overly appealing after the first night, due to various sexual explorations that sent my libido screaming away into a dark cave. And, well, the invasion of my introvert-space. How strange this inner being is. He was my absolute ideal physical type – strong, rugged, dark hair, beautiful eyes and a thoughtful, deep individual yet I was entirely put off by the idea of a lover for a weekend that I'd never see again. He'd give me the puppy dog stare whenever possible and sometimes it would annoy me as my inner voice said "you're never going to see me again; why are you trying so hard?" Even though I've oft fantasized about exactly this situation. Hitting it off with a foreigner and a spicy weekend of passionate sex. And then they take off for a year or so. Who doesn't have that fantasy? What I've really learned is just how phantasmagorical our notions of happiness are. In my life, I've been able to explore just about every notion I thought would bring me happiness on a major or minor scale and every single one has proven entirely temporary or outright wrong. In the permanent sense, not the temporary — of course a plate of sushi isn't going to send you into unending Nirvana, but the guilt that comes with the bill are the attendant Dukkha and worth noting.
So now its Sunday and I've spent a second day in my cave, musing and feeling absolute bliss for not uttering more than 20 words in the past two days. Wondering what it will take to find a lifestyle where this feeling isn't just a retreat from the norm. Musing over the dates I've been on in the past month and a half. Proud of myself for trying and thinking I don't really need to keep up with it. Finding that trying to live an extroverted ideal and please people is the first problem that I need to overcome. I said I'd call my friend Kyle today to catch up – and go out with my friend Rodney for sushi Monday. Probably going to cancel on both of those, because my introvert juices want to go to the park after work and catch up on my reading, run and maybe take a trial Wing Chun class up North. Anything but talk to people overmuch – my brain literally hurts from socializing so much. Sort of a dull ache behind my eyes that I get by Friday from being a teacher or after extended social contact. Is that weird? Sometimes I wonder.
…Oh you INFJ you…Still, I hate identifying with that label.