you & me

My Liminal Being: Confessions of an Extroverted Introvert.


Liminal beings are often portrayed in literature as half-human half-beast or those caught between two worlds, neither here nor there, both human and divine, both human and machine or both alive and dead.

They are often portrayed as especially gifted, having two worlds to understand, but in themselves difficult to understand, perhaps cursed with an eternal push and pull.

I have been on the precipice between introversion and extroversion. It’s quite impossible to tell where one ends or begins.

I met my grandmother Otilia at age three, the year my grandfather passed away. When they discovered that I could read that early, Otilia’s all-women household, all cousins of mine left in her care by their parents to keep her company, eagerly designated the sewing room to double as a library.

I was forced into extroversion. Sweet Otilia would give the guests a show of my early reading skills on pain of being swatted by her favorite flyswatter. I remember sobbing as I read, “Good morning (sob), Mr. Rabbit (sob).”

I spent as many hours in that library as I did darkening my skin under the sun with bronzed, dirty, smelly boys under my command scaling walls, playing out the latest neighborhood crime to desensitize ourselves, wetting our heads under the rain gutter, stoning the rabid dog, and lots of wrestling.

Cousins often caught me passed out on the library floor. I realized later that I held my breath too long in concentrated reading. The library was hardly replenished with new books over the nine years I spent there, my passing out soon faded from memory.

Later, via passive aggression, I forced my grandmother to send me to study in the city to be with my folks,  who were not too eager to take care of what seemed like a withdrawn, unkempt, blossoming dyke adolescent in their early 30s.

I withdrew again. But maybe being peculiar in my ways, my all-female high school drew me out with an acceptance that lasts even in reunions we have now. At home, I mostly kept to my room. My three sisters were too young.  Once in a while, out of pity for them, I would organize fun activities like Halloween parties, pet funerals and parlor games.

As a college student, I went back to being a loner at home dabbling with poetry, books and painting, enjoying cutting classes to watch a marathon of movies alone, yet belonging to six student organizations in the university, while being officer in three of them.

I have enjoyed these two worlds for a very long time. Feeling torn at times about the individuals who inhabit those two worlds and how I make them feel. I often recoil into introversion after intervals of showering too much attention on friends. Lately, this has shown itself with lots of writing and lonely sports like jogging, swimming, and tennis walling.

What if I fell in love with someone who is impressed with extroverts, should I conceal my introversion or let her in my lonesome part of the world?

What are these labels? They could be wounds for which we acquired degrees of repulsion. Does living in between worlds mean an indecisiveness that could be overpowered by the loud voices around me?

All these boxes exclude so many freedoms. They could also be self-defeating limits to greater expectations. Lines we draw within ourselves can leave us fragmented.

The truth is, there is no easy definition between introvert and extrovert except by self-identification.

People who say they are introverts can exhibit such assertiveness and gregariousness that could be envied by their peers; and people who think they are extroverts may be meditation seekers or those who center themselves during naps and early morning stares.

But in between worlds, such as between freedom and commitment, between this or that, between day and night, between lust and love, between chance and plan, between love and hate, is the soul infinite and formless, but not entirely boundless within this body which, being finite, needs to make choices that impact other souls in their finite gloves.

Indeed it is a valley of tears where only the understanding of love can lift us up and liberate our choices from confines and into creation.


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Tet Gallardo

Tet Gallardo

Tet Gallardo is a survivor of addiction to tragic narratives with sordid characters. She now seeks out the happy stories behind sad, droopy eyes; marvels at human endeavors; formulates quests with grandiose questions; and burnishes dulled dreams by disturbing obsolete self-concepts. She will be ordained church minister in the Unitarian Universalist (UU) faith in April 2013. She is a professional motivational speaker, leadership trainer, facilitator, and mediator. Her legendarily inexhaustible energy is fueled by awe, love, and inspiration drawn from spirited acts of kindness.
Tet Gallardo

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