What do I mean by the 'full spectrum'? Trust me, I am not being deliberately obscure. It both surprised and amused me when a farewell card given to me by former colleagues had a number of them proclaiming they would miss my calm and cool presence. Yet, I am pretty sure that those on the same floor as me, or next door to me, wouldn't necessarily describe me as even-tempered. A few others even expressed their interest in finding out how I established a social life so quickly in a new city! This, for a socially shy person, was an even bigger surprise! I wondered what of myself I was projecting, or if all of this was largely a matter of perception.
I have little idea of how my new work-mates perceive me. I do know that I am more interested than ever in tearing down the good girl facade. I recall a friend in high school telling me that she thought of me as a 'goody two shoes' when she observed me from a distance, but changed her view entirely when we became close. I turned out to be the irreverent one, hiding Ayn Rand's 'Fountainhead' under my Maths textbook.
Of course I don't need a camouflage anymore - there are no parents or teachers to please in adult life. There are bosses and colleagues, but one can only go so far with facades. I can see how they served an important end in my first proper academic job. As a 27-year old in a coveted position, I wanted to look and feel the part. That is possibly why and how I pulled off coming across as calm and collected, the general opposite of my artistic and volatile self. I also made friends out of the sheer desperation of not knowing anyone in a new city. In my latest abode, I have seldom gone out of my way to be social. Instead, I have chosen to listen to whatever rhythm my body is sounding out, veering between intimacy and solitude. I have still made friends - only slowly, and I hope more organically. Most think of me as busy and crazy rather than calm. I can live with that!