Last Wednesday I wrote about how most of my fellow countrymen are staying masked outdoors even though Covid regulations here have been relaxed recently.
I lamented that it seemed such a shame, as many faces including my (cough) forever handsome 25-year-old one, have stayed hidden for two long years. [For those new here, you’ll need to reverse the order of those numbers to come closer to my real age. Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?!]
Yet now, it seems people here are content to “stay hidden” even though the government has allowed us to go without a mask outdoors since March 29.
Meaning what? That people dislike change? That once a habit is formed, it stays forever? No more public displays of affection like hugs and handshakes, or even just plain old face-to-face conversations?
One of my initial conclusions, after observing how nearly everyone I saw this past fortnight still had their masks on outdoors, was that most people aren’t willing to change.
But, I smugly thought, yours truly was not most people.
Today, I’m re-thinking my stance cos I suddenly realise that the introvert that’s me is once again feeling that same agitation I had and wrote about two years ago!
That I, yours truly, am exactly like most people!
I. Dislike. Change!
Note to self: “You’re just like everyone else douchebag!”
One thing’s for sure. To have thought all along I’ve never quite belonged or fitted in anywhere, I can tell you that this latest revelation has been nothing short of a downer for me!
Yes, I still hold fast to my belief I’m a maverick, a contrarian. That I neither bow to convention nor march to the beat of everyone’s drums. That I’m a rebel and am the first in any room to offer a differing opinion. Most of the time any way.
Heck, the trajectory of my life these past few years, so beautifully captured (I hope) in this very blog that was created precisely to chronicle my raw and unfinished journey with life, says it all no?
It’s a monument to my greatness, my uniqueness, my compelling voice, my…
Oh who am I fooling?! I’m just like everyone else. And the sooner I come to grips with it, the sooner I can stop acting like a douchebag and really start to recognise what’s really going on.
And for that, I’ll have to review what I said two years ago.
“What did you say Mr Introvert?”
You see, in that introvert post I wrote two years ago this month, when Covid restrictions were first put in place in my country, I was expressing a feeling of having my introvert self invaded.
There were three reasons I thought.
Firstly, I lost my quiet introvert time when the pandemic restrictions first hit. Instead of my loved ones moving out daily to school or office (leaving little introvert me in peace and bliss), now everyone was studying or working from home right beside me!
Suddenly I felt trapped in my own home with a warm body everywhere I turn, and no quiet space in my already tiny 1,100 square feet abode housing six family members. There’s no worse feeling for an introvert than to be constantly surrounded by voices, devices, and just plain old noises!
And with no visible means of escape cos we were urged to stay indoors!
Secondly, I lost what I called my “alone time”. As already mentioned, it was impossible to be alone when everyone was locked down and stuck at home with me. By the time everyone’s gone to bed, the best “alone time”, I’m too beat myself from the day’s home-based studies and work, to stay awake and enjoy the privacy and peace the night afforded.
Thirdly, without the much-needed quiet and peace that comes from being alone, the introvert in me wasn’t able to “center” myself. Centering is all about recalibrating and reconnecting with me, myself, and I. Can’t do that when distractions are constantly around me during the day, leaving me too pooped at night to restore and recharge.
All of that is thanks to strict Covid regulations. Regulations that were recently relaxed!
Surely the introvert in me can finally be set free now right?
Right back where this introvert began
I now see that once again, I’m back to where I was two years ago.
Cos even though restrictions have eased now, and I can set my unhidden face gloriously in the direction of the breeze when I’m out, I feel the weight of others’ stares. Others who’ve kept their masks on and stared at me with barely concealed disdain!
Now which introvert craves stares, let alone judgmental ones like that?!
And then there was the return to more ‘normal’ Sunday church services these past two weeks.
By that I mean congregants in my church (and no doubt other churches in the country) were suddenly able to, well, congregate. To gather and tete-a-tete in clusters in the church lobbies and atriums after service once again.
Picture it. There I was three days ago, waiting outside his Sunday School to pick up my son after service ended.
Suddenly the main atrium of the church was saturated with folks pouring seemingly out of the woodworks! Guess all the months of pent-up longing to connect have finally been unleashed, now that worshippers weren’t asked to leave straight after service and fellowship safely outside church premises.
But while everyone seemed to be enjoying a grand reunion, I found myself panicking! All I could think of was getting my son and I outta there lickety-split. I might even have dashed past someone I knew who was about to greet me (sorry whoever it was)!
All I knew was my son and I just had to get out of that space as quickly as we can.
It was like I had been afflicted, not with Covid, but with agoraphobia!
Sighh…what’s an introvert like me to do now?