When The Narwhal Calls Bossy

Throughout my childhood and into my teens, I always saw myself as an extrovert.  Not many scenarios made me feel shy.  I frequently won competitions for public speaking cuz I loved nothing more than the spotlight.  I once beat out 200 kids to get 1 of 2 roles on a community based children’s TV show (that quickly thereafter got cancelled…but I digress).

But as I entered into my 20s and found myself gainfully employed, in a setting where opinions, sharing lots of opinions, was valued, I was forced to ever so slowly and quietly begin doing some self-examination.

I remember very clearly when my boss (incredible human being that he was/is) took me aside after one meeting and politely told me “You need to speak up”.  I’m not sure I said a word in the prior meeting.  Yes, I was suffering from insecurity about my ideas when surrounded by a group of kick-ass, forward thinking people, but I remember also hearing a very quiet, very distinct voice from inside that I couldn’t quite place and thusly chose to ignore.

Twas my narwhal.

The only idea that my narwhal did provide that I did hear: What’s wrong with being quiet?

Fast forward to 15 years later.  Still in a job where opinions are currency and quiet leads to employers questioning why you’re getting a cheque.  I have taken what my boss said those 15 years earlier and ran with it; not worrying so much about looking stupid but instead having the courage to throw ideas into the atmosphere and not worrying if they suck.  I learned a lot of them didn’t and that confidence allowed me to keep talking.

And while I continue to confidently speak up for myself and my ideas, with age I am starting to slowly understand what my narwhal represents.  And I don’t know if it has always represented the same thing but at present, I believe my narwhal represents my inner introvert.

I like quiet.  I like to listen to people talk.  I don’t feel the desperate need to share about myself or utilize 50% of the conversation space.  I can keep a conversation going, usually, but if someone wants to sit in quiet, that’s cool too.  And again with age, I think I am going through a second phase of confidence where I’m really happy and comfortable knowing that I’m a bit of an enigma.  Quiet on the inside; loud on the outside.  There might be a candy bar reference here I’m missing.

I call that enigma my narwhal and as I continue to figure her out, I feel like she will continue to guide me to where I feel the most like me.  Without job pressures or societal pressures telling me what it should look like.

My narwhal will represent my introverted side.  And I love her.

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