POST 25. Conversation with a Chameleon

Conversation with a Chameleon

Dear Reader,
It is often necessary for us to converse with our parents, favorite cousins, friends…even employers. 
Sometimes the best conversations are with our cats, dogs, or childhood stuffed animals, you know, that tattered teddy bear up there in the attic trunk. 
And once in a while, a worthy conversation with a chameleon is justified. 
According to family lore, I came out of the womb a delightful, infant extrovert. There are photos that provide evidence. If the name Shirley Temple is familiar to you, then you understand. 

 Sadly, in 1949, when I was four years old, I was stricken with an unknown, year-long illness, most spent in isolation at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. The extroverted child disappeared altogether . My parents lamented the loss of their happy little girl and wondered where she’d gone as she floundered through school and college.
Understand that in the early 1950’s, there was precious little emotional support for hospitalized children and even less for their parents! 


Stuck in myself all those years …  Until after college, that is. It’s not surprising that I majored in English. I didn’t really mind the isolation. I loved to read, so my days were happy enough. I didn’t even mind being something of a loner, rather proud of my misfit status, content to live in the world I created inside my head and found on the written page.

 But what to do with my life after college?
I was offered a job as an eleventh grade English teacher, and out of a lack of options, I accepted the position. Over the course of that first year as a teacher, a transformation took place. I became passionate about teaching. I loved the material, and for reasons I will never understand, I understood and enjoyed kids, despite their myriad of problems.
 It was the right fit. Period. It didn’t matter the age of the student or the subjects I taught, I simply shed my too-tight skin, ever eager for a bolder, more colorful skin in which to thrive. 
So for 43 years, I was an extrovert, a take charge leader and creator. As I aged and health failed, I had to retire, but I lingered at school for as long as I could. 


The years following retirement brought changes.. I needed less and less external stimulation. The change was so gradual that I barely noticed.
Then COVID-19 struck! It brought normal life to a halt. For those of us lucky enough not to be out of work or in financial decline, we tried to figure out how to create a new social norm.
I was not stressed.  Nor did I go stir crazy, not one bit. I was content to read, sit in my garden, read, paint, cook! I didn’t mind eating in, and I was quite content to do my shopping online, happy to have my groceries delivered.
I still do.
My car was quite content to reside in the garage. 
It still does, though the battery dies from long periods of disuse. I’m on first name terms with the folks at AAA! 
Ask my friends, and they will tell you I’m an extrovert. But I don’t see myself that way. I’d rather text than make a phone call.  I’m probably the only person I know who dislikes baby showers, bridal showers, and large gatherings of any kind! I become overwhelmed.

Can I be both an extrovert and an introvert? A morph of the two perhaps. Sometimes one and sometimes the other, a chameleon of sorts?
The conversation with the chameleon version of myself continues .  


Introvert? Extrovert? Chameleon? Do you know who you are?

And does it really matter, so long as you are content with yourself?

Remember Boy George of the Culture Club and his hit song “Karma Chameleon?” 2014

Remember, I’m listening!

Signed by 

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Photos courtesy of Google

Illustration by the chameleon

Blogger does not have audio, So Karma Chameleon sadly not included  here
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