Updated: Sep 15, 2020
AnnaKate stays afloat this pandemic by keeping track of different phases of the MCO for her future kit(tens) to answer in their Histocats papers.
At the start of MCO, I found it odd to have my friend Raymond telling me he’s frustrated being at home and that he needed to go out. I couldn’t comprehend that as I was perfectly fine being confined at home.
My affable friend there revels in social interactions and is invigorated by them; a textbook example of an extrovert. The Energetic Explorer, I call him. Contrastingly for me, who identifies as an introvert, socialising depletes my energy and time alone is needed to recharge; a classic introvert. I have a fancy name for this too: The Silent Adventurer.
The only big change for me is working from home in the new norm. It’s a blessing in disguise! For one, I don’t go out much. I get to “Doraemon” myself in shorts and t-shirts with a pencil in my hair at “work” and make Dalgona coffee for brunch. The only downside for me was probably the MCO restricted others at home from going out and leaving me alone.
Another introvert friend of mine, Quan Saw, and I agree that time off work commutes gives us a huge mental health boost; sleeping in that extra 15 mins saves lives. Our gravest concern though, is there isn’t food being sold past midnight.
A drama queen in my life, Angel, however, told me that the MCO was a torture for her as an extrovert. She struggles with the “no-touch rule” as she’s used to giving hugs and handshakes when meeting people. Getting a Hangout with Malaysia’s subpar internet connection is a pain while distanced seating in social gatherings during the RMCO weird her out. But talking loudly to socialise during exam-hall-seating work lunches won’t be a problem as she’s born loud (everybody knows this).
Mei Qun, another drama queen and a fellow Silent Adventurer at SeriusAh, would beg to differ. With the new norm, she could give her true self full reign and disregard social niceties; no need of small talks and excuses to just stay home curled up with a book. One trick up her crown: wrap a royal scarf around your torso to look like a queen during Zoom meetings while staying in your royal pajamas.
Have I mentioned there’s another category from this human-imposed dichotomous paradigm of introversion and extroversion?
And most definitely, I have a name for it: The Grounded Butterfly; the debatable existence of the ambiverts. Thriving in the middle way, they sit comfortably between solitude and socialising.
While self-identified ambivert Daniel gets to sprinkle his day with fresh porous sourdough and casual freedom during the MCO, he contemplates on getting a gamer chair for longer working hours at home and “checks for the right kind of heavy breathings as a symptom of what may, or may not be, COVID-19” when he’s with someone. Bringing out his inner Plato, he said, “Adjustments are not necessarily bad and can be good to clean out some cobwebs and act as a catalyst to overcome inertia.”
Less enthused about the MCO, ambivert George feels like he’s taking on Mount Midoriyama, navigating the discourse of virtual (mis)communication. The absence of facial and tonal expressions has blindsided this Grounded Butterfly, leaving him with him frustrating encounters.
Making good use of his extra time to reflect, introvert FluffyBBunny has a more practical view on the MCO – it’s a disruption, yet a discovery. Wearing a mask to him is still an arduous, but needful, effort yet at the same time he realised that some things can actually be done more efficiently (read: digitally) is an eye-opener to him now that we’re all forced to adapt.
An ambivert who is a mother of four, Calyn, is faced with the challenge of her children not eating much as they would like varieties of food from takeaways and dine-ins, when they weren’t available during initial phases of the MCO. Contrastingly, Clarisse, who is also a mother but identifies as an introvert, said that being homebound has given her the chance to learn more home-cooked recipes for the family, with occasional takeaways. She is also thankful that her son is coping well even with most of his enrichment activities shifted home and she’s able to ensure his progress is not interrupted.
At the end of the day, whether you’re an Explorer, an Adventurer or a Butterfly, you don’t get out of this pandemic unscathed. You might think you are, but I’m pretty sure you could dig a little deeper. Did you have to religiously use hand sanitisers and wear a mask while you’re outside prior to this? I didn’t think so.
In one way or another, we deal with the pandemic in ways we know best for ourselves within the restrictions imposed for the benefit of all. There is no better way; neither there is a right nor wrong way to cope with drastic lifestyle changes that accompanied the pandemic.
But maybe, just maybe, knowing where you are on the spectrum of introversion and extroversion could help you navigate your way a little saner in this pandemic maze.