More than one person upon meeting me---after reading my writing and/or blog---proclaims, "Oh you're much quieter and calmer than I thought you would be."
I never know how to respond. Usually I squirm inside and feel apologetic and then come up with something inane like, "Yeah, everyone says that." Or the even more inane and pati-parmeshwar response, "Oh my husband is the outgoing, talkative one." Or the more studied and *somewhat* true response: I usually get quieter the more outgoing the othe person is. And if someone else is quiet I feel an urge to be more talkative and chatter away."
So I am clearly this strangely desperate balance-seeker of some kind or a pativrata stree as befits a nice Indian woman. What the fuck! And then I kick myself. Over and over again.
I am quiet. I am talkative. Depending on who you talk you'll get one truth.
I was the quiet child who skulked around in corners and spent hours during the summer staring at the too-bright blue sky imagining strange worlds.
I was the talkative child who would not shut up and was known as a chatterbox.
Then I became the almost too-quiet child. But still the chatterbox would emerge. In some ways I feel like I kept the loud, talker buried within. Some people saw that side of me. A few people.
But on the whole I am the kind of person who likes spending time by myself. I don't mind not talking. As long as I have a book or the Internet I'm good.
But....I only think I am quiet when someone brings this up. I don't think of myself as the silent type really. I can speak in public without dissolving into a puddle. I can make presentations and I get the usual nervousness but nothing drastic. Heck! I taught public speaking as a TA for some years. I can talk. I even like to talk. To discuss. To break ideas apart and bring them together. I like puns and jokes and when I am in my element I can make people laugh.
So, while I come up with those same, predicatable responses, apologetic for not being a phuljari, patakha kind of gal (Oh! how I wish I was, sometimes) I wonder if I am indeed quiet. Or am I putting on a show? Unconsciously...but a show nevertheless.
After this very long post I add another question: Am I a narcissist? A quiet narcissist?