On Knowing Thyself & Thy Energy Style

Em,

I read your post about pondering unconventional relationship dynamics during the temporal Bermuda triangle that is the week between the 25th of December and the 1st of January.

To borrow language from generation z, it hit me “right in the feels.”

In part — and please excuse the slightly schmaltzy digression — it is a crystallization of two of my favourite things about you: a) your candor & openness and b) your personal growth.

We’ve been friends forever (give or take). And, I will fully admit that I still tell stories about the boy-crazy Emily of yore, who only saw things in straight pink and blue. She did the worm in the middle of crowded nightclub dance floors! She helped me learn how to drink wine by watering it down with soda and juice!

Junior Kelsey and Emily : Selfie Skills In Progress

To be clear, I love(d) her. But, man oh man, she would never have seriously questioned, never mind publicly pondered, whether she wanted a traditional relationship. It is both the best, coolest, more inspiring thing and also really obnoxious because it’s hard to keep up to.

So, you get a pass on giving the guy who prioritized his dogs over a date with you a second chance (for this week at least).

Piece of advice though: wait until the fifth date to tell him about the blog.

The other part of the reason your post really hit me is because you’re questioning a piece of yourself that’s been a central organizing principle for years. To this end, I think I have fundamentally misunderstood how I energetically (yes, energetically; this is who I am now) relate to humans. 

When I was in my early twenties, a wise friend told me:

“You’re an introvert by nature and an extrovert by nurture.”

Emily Beers Circa 2006

It’s a great line and also felt really true. I’ve quoted you often. But, I think we were both wrong.

As you  know (but readers may not), I’m currently based in Montreal. My social life there has been, well, non-existent. I talk to plenty of people via text, social media, and phone. But, day to day, I mostly interact with baristas. It’s been what I’ve wanted and needed. But, loneliness management is also a thing.

So, the first  few days I was back in Vancouver for the holidays, I organized to see a bunch of friends and colleagues (you included). It was all of the coffee and lunch and catching up.  And, when it was all over, I was buzzing. Like, physically buzzing. At first that was nice, but I couldn’t come down. Eventually I was agitated. And, then, almost angry. Honestly, it was pretty uncomfortable to be inside my body and mind.

And, I realize this happens to me all time:  when I see people, I often walk out feeling like I’m high.  Which can be really enjoyable  But, then I can’t shake the energy. At night, it keeps me awake for hours. In the day, it attaches to and then boosts stress or worry or anger or my on-going low-key existential crisis. Which … you know … not ideal. 

Which is a long way of saying: Emily, I think I’m extroverted. Like, extremely, extroverted.

This might seem small or silly. But, it’s a fundamental shift from how I’ve organized parts of my life.

I have the tendency to retreat when I’m sad or tired. And, I’m pretty private (shocking news, I know). And all the “introvert” literature would tell me that’s okay. But, these instincts may be backwards.  When I’m at my lowest, I should actually seek people out and physically be with them.

I have literally almost never done that.

So, in the end, maybe it’s not just about knowing what you want — as your dog-loving suitor from the last post suggests — maybe it’s about getting to know yourself over and over and over again.

The question is of course, what do you do with self-knowledge once you have it?

Big Love Back, KB

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