I started listening to Amy Schumer’s The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo recently and, when she described herself as an introvert, I was elated because I too struggle when I feel like I have to be “on” all the time. As a writer, I need a certain amount of time for personal reflection, introspection and regeneration. For me, long phone calls, rambling emails, nonstop texting and group social interactions are the emotional equivalent of sticking my finger in an electric socket. Way too intense and they leave me fried.
I think I’d have been better off living in an age before social media and cell phones. Although not too much before because (in case you hadn’t noticed) I’m biracial and a woman and not so long ago would’ve been considered a second-class citizen, or not even a citizen, or three-fifths of a person. Looking at my life as an outsider, you’d probably think I was an extrovert because I spend a lot of time hanging out with friends and I act and do comedy improv. But the truth is I’m a fan of short one-on-one interactions and a lot of alone time.
I might have fun at parties, but, afterwards, I feel like I’ve given away parts of myself – parts it takes days to get back. And the worst part is that it sneaks up on me. Two or three hours of “So where are you from” and “What do you do for a living?” and “How do you know so and so?” culminate in me needing to shut off my phone and shut out the world for at least 24 hours.
I think I need to be better about boundaries. But I also suffer from a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) so have a hard time saying no to things.
For some reason, I find myself thinking about an incident that happened when I was around fifteen or sixteen…
I was taking a shower and the next-door neighbor’s five year old son wandered into our house. He’d come over to see if my little sister could come outside to play, but, when he didn’t find her, he opened the bathroom door, pulled back the shower curtain and said, “Hi, Dara.” It was fairly hysterical but also an apt metaphor. I often feel just a little too exposed.
The whole introversion thing isn’t the only commonality I have with Amy (yup. In my mind, we’re on a first name basis). I also have my own tramp stamp – only, instead of on my back, I got my ink (a delicate, if somewhat slutty sun) on my stomach. So, when you do find me, naked and vulnerable, in the literal shower, you just may catch a peek of my lower abdominal tattoo.