A Mixed-Breed: The Extro-Introvert

A common topic I kept running into this past week during interviews, quizzes, or in conversation, is the idea of identifying as an extrovert or an introvert. I hate that question. Why? Because I’m not either, I’m both! But that’s not an answer on these quizzes, and people look at you funny when you tell them that. This question needs to be ditched.

If you’re wondering why this topic drives me nuts, it’s because both terms have negative connotations with them. There’s nothing wrong with being loud, out-going and being a people-person. But if I say I’m extroverted, I don’t want people thinking I’m cocky or always the center of attention. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with being quiet/ a little shy and being reserved. When I say I’m introverted, I don’t want people assuming I sit in my room all night whining about how much I hate people. That’s not me.

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When it comes down to answering the question (one OR the other), my answer is that I’m more introverted. The thing is though, I do have out-going qualities!

I’m going to fill you in on how I work.

1. I can be (and have been) the life of the party. I love to make people laugh and smile. I’m excellent at it! It comes naturally to me; I don’t have to try to be funny and make people; it happens!

2. I can befriend someone no matter where I am, even in a grocery store. I am genuinely interested in people. I like to hear people’s stories, know where they come from and hear what their hopes and dreams are. Or, if something embarrassing/ funny happens and I’m there to witness it, I’m that person that will tell you, “Don’t feel bad, that happens to me all the time!” Trust me, I’ve been the cause of “clean up on isle six” one too many times! (Those glass jars of tomato sauce are so slippery!)

3. Crowed places are fun/ I like going out! The more the merrier, right?! Plus, you never know who you’re going to run into! It’s great running into old faces or meeting your next potential lover! My friends and I are bound to have an awesome time!

4. I’ll volunteer to do something out of my comfort zone. Sometimes when in groups or by yourself, someone has to do something that involves getting out of your comfort zone. If I’m in a group and no one will step up, I’ll volunteer. Even if it’s for fun and will make a complete fool out of myself, I’ll do it! I crack myself up all the time, this is nothing!

I sound out-going so far, right? Yes, I can be. However, there’s another side to me. I can’t be one without the other.

5. I like to observe. If I’m not talking when I’m with people, don’t take it personally. I observe everything. I love taking in my surroundings. I will notice the way someone decorates their house, if you recently waxed your eyebrows, the way books are arranged on a shelf, the fly on the wall, every face I pass while shopping, what kind of birds are outside, etc. I notice it all. I can’t help it, but it’s okay because I’m enjoying myself.

6. Some days, I just don’t feel like talking. It does not mean that I’m upset! Repeat, it does not mean that I’m upset! I talk all the time, but sometimes I just want to listen. Or, I really have don’t have an opinion at the moment, I’m thinking about something, or I’m simply enjoying the moment. If you just vented to me about something very serious and I’m not saying a word, it’s because I feel for you. I’m very empathetic and I’m trying to figure out what the right thing is to say.

7. My brain is a never-ending carousel of thoughts. On top of being observant and not feeling like talking, another thing about me is that my mind is busy 24/7. From the moment I wake up until the time I fall asleep, I’m critically thinking about something. I get lost in my thoughts, but it’s okay. Sometimes I don’t want to be found! If I recently finished a book, it’s normal for me to spend two or three days reliving the plot and all the emotions that came with it. Or, if something I feel very passionate about is brought up in the real world, I won’t be able to get it off my mind. These thoughts and feelings will even seep into my dreams at night. It’s incredible! Also, I naturally look at things in a different perspective than most people. I like to explore why I think the way I do and feel the emotions that go with it!

8. I sometimes cancel plans with my friends. I love my friends, I really do! However, there are days where I rather spend time with my family than go out with a bunch of people and get drunk at the bar. My family means everything to me, and the time we have together is so precious; I cherish every second of it.

9. I need time to re-energize after spending hours with friends. Again, I love being with people! I love my friends! However, if I can’t get “me time,” my body shuts down. Being with a large group of people is great, meeting new people is great, and I love to have a good time; but I need time to unwind! I can get cranky if I don’t have enough me time at the end of the day!

10. Time by myself is time well spent; I LOVE it! When I’m by myself, I am not stuck in front of the TV avoiding people like it’s my job. When I’m by myself, I use 98% of that time trying to improve myself. I will find new recipes to try, sit at my piano and teach myself a song by ear, or watch YouTube trying to learn different painting techniques. I like to spend time doing research on places I think I’d like to live one day. I like blogging. I love getting lost in great literature. I love challenging myself by reading things I’d never pick up in the bookstore. I like reading books and watching documentaries that teach me new things. And most importantly, I love anything that gives me a new perspective on life. The other 2% of my personal time is spent watching Disney movies because I still enjoy them!

I know I’m not the only one out there that is an extrovert and an introvert. So why are we limited in letting one description determine who we are?

-T

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The Wonderland You Never Knew

Over the years, one movie that has captured the hearts of many adults and children is Alice in Wonderland. Whether it is the Disney version, Tim Burton’s, or any other adaptations, we love it. Why? Because we are intrigued with the creativity, the colors, the variety of characters and the uniqueness of the film.

I have always watched Disney’s Alice in Wonderland for the sake of just watching it; I never really thought about what was going on. Wanting to know more, I decided to read Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. What I discovered is that there is much more to the story than you think there is! My interpretation of the story is unlike the rest, but it makes sense. Wonderland is not just about a random dream that Alice has…

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass is the story of Alice on her quest to figure out (and accept) her true sexual identity. Whether she’s a lesbian, bi-sexual or bi-curious, it doesn’t matter. She knows how she feels and heterosexual isn’t one of them. Sounds crazy, right? Absolutely not.

Lewis Carroll’s story starts off the same as Disney’s: Alice’s sister is reading to her, but she’s not paying attention. She is distracted by her thoughts. She also gets distracted by the White Rabbit that she sees and decides to follow it down the rabbit hole.

Let’s talk about that rabbit hole for a split second. It is a long, dark, and narrow tunnel. Sound familiar? It should be! It’s a yonic symbol, aka a vagina. How does this tie in to her not being straight? She tells you herself, she’s “Curiouser and curiouser” as she gets further down the rabbit hole.

As she finally stops falling, she sees the rabbit and continues to follow him. As she enters a room filled with doors, she finds the one that she has to go through is locked. Just as the Disney film, Alice goes through the process of becoming the right size so she could get through the door to continue on her journey.

Did you notice how when she drinks, she shrinks? Or when she “Eats me,” she gets really big? It’s only until the room becomes a “pool of tears,” that she succeeds in getting through the door. What does that sound like to you?

That’s not the only time that happens. When Alice finds the White Rabbit at his house, he asks her to go find his white gloves. Where does Alice have to go to find his gloves? In the White Rabbit’s bedroom. What happens to Alice when she’s in his bedroom? She grows erect again, becoming rather large.

This part of the story is also important to look at because Alice isn’t interested in men. The White Rabbit is one of the first men that Alice rejects. The narrator states, “Presently, the Rabbit came up to the door, and tried to open it; but, as the door opened inwards, and Alice’s elbow was pressed hard against it, that attempt proved a failure. Alice heard it say to itself “Then I’ll go around and get in at the window.” “That you won’t!” thought Alice.” She clearly is not interested, and the White Rabbit is not as cute and innocent as we have always perceived him. After Alice told him no, he was still going to try to “get in.” He is definitely not making men look good here.

After this episode with the Rabbit, the next character that Alice meets is the Caterpillar. Here, we see where the Caterpillar shows interest in Alice, but yet again, she’s not interested. The Caterpillar is a phallic symbol, and we see that through her interaction with him. Alice and the Caterpillar don’t get along, but it isn’t hard to figure out why. It also doesn’t help that he keeps asking her “who” she is. Alice doesn’t have an answer. She might be confused, or maybe she just doesn’t want to explain herself for fear of rejection.

Before Alice meets Duchess, she meets the Cheshire Cat (who belongs to Duchess). All throughout the novel, this cat is constantly smiling at Alice. You know the slang term for a cat/vagina… There’s no need for an explanation of why this cat is smiling at her. After a quick talk with the cat, she finally meets Duchess.

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Here, we learn that Duchess does not like her baby. She purposely beats it because it sneezes, but the baby sneezes because she puts too much pepper in its food. Needless to say, Duchess calls her baby a pig.  Later, Duchess is walking happily with Alice, and Duchess is so close to her that Duchess’s chin is resting on Alice’s shoulder. Duchess also wants to put her arm around her, but she’s afraid that the flamingo in Alice’s arms would bite her. Clearly, Duchess likes the girl. That also makes Duchess a lesbian and explains exactly why her child is repulsive to her. Obviously, lesbians couples cannot produce children on their own.

After walking with the Duchess for a little while, the Red Queen comes out of nowhere and catches them walking with arms linked together. The Queen does not like this and ends up “frowning like a thunderstorm.” Why would the Red Queen be angry with seeing two girls walking together and acting they way they were? Red is symbolic of blood/ menstruation, meaning that the Red Queen is symbolic for Mother Nature. To the Queen, Alice and Duchess are going against the Mother Nature and their actions are seen as “unnatural.”

Later on in the story, Alice ends up at the Queen’s castle. After playing croquet, the Queen realizes that somebody stole her tarts. Making a big fuss out it, she decides to hold a trial. Having no idea who stole the tarts, she calls three people to the stand. The Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and Alice. Why would she call Alice to the stand? Because society thinks she has done “wrong.” The trial goes on, and Alice ends up growing as tall as the ceiling and she throws a fit. What happens next? All the little card men end up attacking her until Alice wakes herself up. That’s a little messed up, don’t you think?

In Through the Looking-Glass, Alice is still experiencing problems with her sexuality. When she enters this new realm through the mirror, Alice becomes a part of a game of chess. She immediately meets the King and the Queen. Right afterwards, Alice wants to explore this new world. She walks outside and sees this beautiful garden that she wants to go see.

When you think of flowers, which gender do you think of? Females; flowers are very feminine. This garden is bursting with flowers of all different species, all different colors, yet all beautiful. Also, they are all women. It’s not hard to figure out why Alice wants to go there. Yet when she does get there, it’s not as pleasant as she thought it would be.

Right away, all of these women are judging her appearance and criticizing her. They say she looks the right color, but her petals aren’t right and she’s not smart. Long story short, she’s not like the rest of them. Again, this is because of her sexuality. While they tell her that she’s not like the rest, they do say that there is another flower like Alice that roams around the garden. Low and behold, it’s the Red Queen.

Upon meeting, Alice informs the Queen that she would like to be a Queen as well. The Queen tells her that it isn’t hard to do and she gives Alice instructions. After their talk, the Queen tells Alice that they must start running to get somewhere. They run “faster and faster,” and Alice is all out of breath. And when they stop running, they are still in the same place. It’s quite sexual. When they are done, the Queen gives her the instructions on how to be a queen. Next thing you know, Alice continues on her journey.

Over time, Alice meets a lot of different people. She meets more creatures, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the White Queen, and Humpty Dumpty. While talking to Humpty Dumpty, they come to a good understanding of each other. He teaches her what impenetrable means, and they start bonding. What makes his character so important in all of this, is the fact that regardless of what her sexuality is, he points out that she is still human. Right before they part, Humpty tells Alice, “I shouldn’t know you again if we did meet…Your face is the same as everybody has–the two eyes, nose in the middle, mouth under.” Props to you Humpty Dumpty for being the first man in the novel to accept her!

Alice continues to meet different creatures as she goes on her way. The next important event is when Alice becomes a prisoner to two different knights. Alice tells both how she doesn’t want to be a prisoner, she just wants to be a queen. The knight in tin armor tells her that she’s close to being a queen, she just needs to cross the next brook. Instead of capturing her, they start talking. Alice sees that the knight is tin armor cannot sit upright (erect) on his horse properly, he keeps falling off. Alice has her first one-on-one interaction with a man, and he can’t “keep it up.” But, because she showed the slightest interest in him, Alice was rewarded with the title of Queen. Nothing like bribing someone into doing the “right” thing.

However, the bribe doesn’t work. After Alice becomes Queen and everyone is at a dinner party celebrating, the Red Queen and White Queen begin criticizing her, just like the flowers in the garden. Being a queen, Alice thought she was finally going to be accepted and be able to be herself. Unfortunately, that’s not how things worked out. Not being able to stand how rude everyone was, Alice destroys the dinner table and acts violently towards the Red Queen. Can you blame her? Next thing you know, Alice wakes up.

Still don’t believe me that the story is about is about the struggle of Alice’s sexual orientation? In the chapter “The Lion and the Unicorn,” Alice keeps getting referred to as “the Monster.” As a side comment, the narrator says, “She was quite used to being called a ‘monster.'” It’s sad that such an innocent little girl is seen as a freak. Which leads me to a great question; if Alice’s dreams are this bad, what is the real world like for her?

Everyone always assumes the story is about drugs. I don’t believe it is. Yes, it might play a part in the story, but that is not what the main focus should be on. As for the nonsense factor, Alice is always being told what she should do and how she should act. The reason why she’s so confused is because who she “should” be is not who she is.

Cheers to Alice for staying true to herself, accepting who she is, and staying strong while battling for her acceptance!

-T