It is really a bit of a problem when what you do is in direct opposition to who you are. I am not talking about some big homo/hetero thing here. What I am talking about is an introvert/extrovert thing.
I am really VERY introverted. I can function in the world, but after a while, I need to get away. It really wears me down when I cannot get renewal time. This is something that other introverts will understand, and something that many extroverts just don't get.
I know my career is not the best for introverts. Being a clergy means that one needs to be out in the public world. But also, being a clergy means that we usually have an office into which we can retreat.
But when you are an introverted clergy who also works at Starbucks, it gets crazy. There seems to be no way to get recharged. The job involves being in an area with no escape, dealing with people who are just being what they should be, self-centered consumers. There is no way to get out of the spotlight.
Yesterday I had one of those humiliating events happen. Being closed into close working surroundings with someone who is acting very childish.(This person is 19 and is painfully extroverted.) I tend to back away because he can be so overbearing, but he sees it as rejection. He sees the overbearing as "trying to cheer you up!" I have tried to explain but it does no good. In many ways, this feels as attacking as a physical attack. I could not get away from the behavior. I could not get the person to talk to me. I just about walked off the job. All this for just $8.50 an hour without tips.
My problem is that when I get cornered, I go into escape overdrive. Major panic attack mode. THIS IS VERY EMBARRASSING! I don't want to return today because I am embarrassed for my actions. I feel like some kind of drama queen.
I just want to do my job.
Though i am a big extrovert, I understand the introvert need for space. As I get older, I need it more myself. (Thus, I took a silent retreat). You are brave to soldier on with such. I wish you the best and have you in my prayers (really).
Ben, I think we are very much alike in this respect. At heart I am also an introvert. I prefer to be by myself. As you noted, that's not the best personality type for clergy. It was much better suited for my life as a programmer, working all day in my cubicle.
I also can relate to the feelings of panic when an extrovert "attacks". I recall an incident in high school when I literally backed up to a wall and tried to "climb it on my back" when an extroverted girl did this to me.
My discomfort level on this very matter is high this weekend as I return to a former parish. The word is out that I'll be there and I've been getting emails from folks who are "excited" about my coming. On my side, all the old feelings (not the good ones) are welling up in me and I am reliving all the reasons why I left.
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