By Mandy McCarty Harris of Happy Like This
35-year-old mom, April Franklin, gave her first and only press conference on Tuesday morning to answer questions surrounding her recent announcement that she’s become an extrovert.
April approached the podium in a black t-shirt with the words “People Person” scrawled across her chest in sparkly rhinestones, her perky, bubbly, over-friendly new mom entourage bouncing and waving excitedly from the sidelines.
“Thank you all for coming today to hear the news straight from me. What you’ve heard is true. I used to be an introvert, but that was before my daughter’s friends’ mothers pointed out what a dull, isolated, pitiful life I was leading by refusing to be part of the clique. I used to think that camping with my family, reading books, and working in my garden was a life that fulfilled me, but I was wrong!
“I just needed strangers to push me over the social edge. It turns out that for my entire life I’ve just been selfish, lazy, and anti-social! Now I’ve seen the error of my ways, and I can proudly say I am an extrovert! Are there any questions?”
Hands went up across the conference room, reporters competing to have their questions heard. “April! April! What finally happened that brought you to the light?!”
“Well, um, it really all culminated when I tried to decline an invitation to a weekend women’s retreat with 11 women I barely knew. They had it all pre-planned—we would ride six people per mini-van for the 5 hours each way road trip. They assured me that I already had a bed reserved in the farmhouse chic bunk house where we would all spend 48 uninterrupted hours together, not even breaking the social contact for sleep. The bathroom schedule had been finalized so we’d all have adequate primp time each morning before meeting up for our fun-filled, jam-packed, micro-managed, soul-sucking…
“Oh. I’m sorry. Where was I?” April said, flushed and a bit sweaty.
“Oh, yes, the women’s weekend retreat. Of course. I already had plans for a hike with my family and some time in my garden that weekend, but the incessant dinging of the group text full of perky encouragements and borderline aggressive peer pressuring really opened my eyes.”
“April! April! Over here, April!”
April swayed a bit at the podium, pulled at the snug neck of her t-shirt, and reached her shaky hand out for her water bottle before calling on the next reporter. “Um, you. In the blue shirt,” she said with short breath.
“April, are you okay? Your skin seems to be having some sort of reaction,” the reporter in the blue shirt gestured to her neck and chest as she queried. Looking down, April’s eyes widened as she wiped a film of sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand.
“Oh, that? It’s just a few hives. I hardly notice them anymore, since they usually show up around the same time that I start sweating and feeling faint from everyone’s overwhelming questions and never-ending expectations. It’s no big deal, really. They’ll fade and, in a few days, you’ll barely be able to see them.
“I used to think that these physical symptoms were a sign from my body to slow down, draw personal boundaries, and establish healthy self-care practices, but boy was I wrong! Now I know it’s just weakness leaving my body and I must power through to meet the people-pleasing standards and social obligations set by others.
“Now that I’ve joined the proper side of life, I understand that I’m not really living until I’m exhausted, overwhelmed, forcibly socialized…” April faded into a flurry of murmurs, waving her hand around in confusion as reporters pounced once again.
“April! April! One more question! What advice do you have for introverts who dream of becoming extroverts?”
With a giant, fake, plastered smile, April looked up and said, “I guess I’d say, keep letting others push you to the point of socially induced anxiety. You’ll know you’re almost there when you feel like throwing up, and then you’ll just magically become an extrovert! It really is wonderful!
“Now, I think that’s all for today. I’ve got a group lunch to attend before picking up my children from school, hosting a class-wide play date in my home, preparing dinner for my husband’s co-workers, welcoming extended family for a week-long visit, and squeezing in at least four hours of sleep so I can make it to my 5am group exercise class in the morning.”
About the Author
Mandy lives happily in Northwest Arkansas with her husband, toddler daughter, two old dogs, and seven backyard chickens. She loves hiking, camping, gardening, reading, and writing about it all. She can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and at HappyLikeThis.com