Full disclosue: dear reader, please prepare yourself for some possibly nauseauting navel gazing Carrie Bradshaw style as I self-indugently muse over whether this pandemic has resulted in me undergoing a personality transplant which is really not important in the context of this devastating time but does feel rather odd to me as I ponder whether perhaps I was always an introverted extrovert and didn’t realise it, or maybe I’m in the midst of a premature midlife crisis rn since turning 40 in November (rn is the abbreviation of right now-see: MIDLIFE CRISIS).
Having been informed since birth (basically) that I’m ‘loud’, ‘talkative’, ‘sociable’ and later, ‘the life and soul of the party’ to see a quieter, more guarged, less chatty version of myself emerge over the past twelve months have been a head f***. Has ‘the real me’ let loose or are these changes symptomatic of being somewhat institutionalised at home and less exposed to events/ taking on the role of the people-person I used to be.
We all know that the more you push yourself out of your comfort zone, be it bungee jumping or appearing on the BBC, the easier it becomes. After giving something a real go (it’s easy to dispand after the first jump, literal or metaphorical) but if you give it a good go, you’re usually able to establish if it brings you joy so you pursue it and that’s where confidence grows.
Inevitable nerves are there for good reason (you’re often scared because you care) but exercising those creative muscles repetitively and over time with the consistent rewards that is joy, often sees fear dissolve.
But what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Do you need to be built a certain way in order to chase riskier, more adventorous pursuits in the first place or do chance encounters affect your personality? I was lucky to start a blog during the advent of blogging almost 11 years ago but being a filmmaker and TV director prior to this put me in good stead to build an online business.
Actors often speak of being introverts, losing themselves in shayman-like character appropriation yet on the flip side, might hate to host a party, showing up as themselves.
Of course, we can be and feel many things at once. My close friend Uju of Babes About Town and I were discussing this the other day. Uju mentioned how limiting this ‘single narrative’ view can be.
You can headline Glastonbury but not want to speak to your Dad on the phone afterwards.
Some days I passionately having my photo taken (this is an old photo to illustrate my point) and yet at other times, nothing feels more natural than striking a pose, something my mother said I would do without any coaxing as a young child.
Moods change (chemically/ emotionally) and life events change us (the moon affects our cycles as do other women’s) so ultimately, we must accept we’re constantly in flux.
This year has taught me a lot about myself: the strength I posess when faced with trauma and loss and it’s highlighted where my values lie. They define me. When nothing else is certain, I lean on these.
I’ve also learnt exactly how I want to live my life and organise my work schedule, needs and goals and how I want to show up and help others through my work.
Yes I’ve changed, how could any of us go unchanged after this year and only time and exposure to more people again, will tell if I ever morph back into the life and soul of the party. Any day now or maybe never? Either way, I’m going to try and go with the flow (something author Kate Northrup advocates in her revolutionary book Do Less (recommended by Uju), trusting my ever-changing self and the world around me, and respecting the fact we never truly stay the same.
How do you feel rn?