a person who has grown too large for his house now wears it like clothing, and spreads his arms wide and smiles to the world.

Being an Extrovert During a Pandemic, Part 1

How many of you would consider yourself to be a “people person?” In my opinion, this pandemic is not going so well for individuals that love to socialize in community settings. I, for one, am one of those people who love hanging out and talking with family, friends, or colleagues.

Over a year into this pandemic, it is still affecting my day-to-day life.

I wasn't always an extrovert

Growing up, I used to be very timid and quiet. I never spoke up or to anyone for that matter unless someone talked to me first. Thinking back on it, I feel that it was a lack of confidence in myself. I used to get bullied a lot in school and never felt like I fit in, so I always kept to myself.

I was raised with just my mom for a very long time, so I felt that I acted a lot older than I was because it was just herself and me. I grew up very quickly not having a father and having to care for my two sisters while my mother was at work.

A new sense of confidence

It wasn’t until a few years back around the time I got diagnosed with HIV that I really started putting myself out there. I put myself out there more - not only in relationships but in friendships as well - because, for once, I finally knew who I was.

I felt like I found a new sense of confidence in myself and what I had to offer in a relationship or friendship after my diagnosis. I did not want people to look down on me, so I made sure to keep my head high and take on the world.

The toll on physical and mental health

At least, that is what I was doing until the pandemic started. Like many people around me, I did not think that this would still be around today.

At the beginning of this pandemic, I did not take it as seriously as I should have. I made sure to always wear my mask, but I did not social distance appropriately because I still wanted that time to socialize. I had no idea what effect having to isolate myself would do to my mental, physical and emotional health.

I miss connecting with people

I do enjoy going out on the weekends to have a few drinks or talk with friends over pizza and board games. Regardless of the activity, I enjoy being around people and having genuine in-person conversations.

I have always had my own apartment, but I never really spent time in my own apartment alone unless it was to go to bed at the end of the night. I would always have close friends over or even my sisters just to hang out and talk.

Am I really okay?

This lockdown really changed the dynamic of my overall day-to-day life because I was not constantly talking to people or seeing faces that I got used to always seeing. For the very first time, I sat down and asked myself, “Are you really okay?”

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