The beast within

Bought the album. Went to the concert. Got THIS EXACT SHIRT DESIGN.

A friend and reader got in touch recently asking whether I'd seen Logan, the latest movie in Marvel's Wolverine franchise. I haven't, yet, but intend to... eventually. (Unfortunately I tend to be pretty slow about this sort of thing.) The reason he asked about it was because, as a fellow deep introvert, he saw through the CGI trickery and the big-ass explosions and the epic fight sequences to the real core of the movie.

As anyone who has watched either The Wolverine (which is a truly great action film) or Logan can attest, Hugh Jackman's Wolverine is an introverted loner who deliberately shuts himself away from society as much as he can. This is not because he cannot succeed in society; in both the comics and the films, Wolverine's character is shown to be a highly capable and extremely intelligent tactician, strategist, fighter, and leader. He is very clearly an Alpha male, but also a highly introverted one.

No, he shuts himself away from society because of the rage-filled beast within himself- and fear of the terrible consequences that he knows will follow from letting the monster out.

He fears his own power. He fears the rage that can turn him into an unthinking berserker. He fears for the safety of those that he loves if he were to unchain himself.

Many self-secure deep introverts can, at some level, relate.

Now let's be clear about something. There are two types of introverts who struggle to contain what is within ourselves.

Omegas and Gammas- the chronically unsuccessful, the loners-by-default, the socio-sexual rejects, the Secret Kings who can never admit that they are wrong, even to themselves- struggle to contain their own self-loathing and their narcissism. Their rage-monster is directed at themselves. They have no real power, and they hate that fact. Their method of control over their beast takes the form of snark and condescension, and even at times complete and total batshit insanity.

But stronger and more grounded types, especially the Sigmas, seek to control their own tempers- because they know, understand, and at some level even fear, the consequences of losing control over themselves.

The strong-willed, strong-minded introvert can lead and take command of others if he must- but he almost never actually wants to. It is not in his nature to seek out the spotlight and he will only do so if he has no other choice.

Because of this, he considers it a great shame to display weakness or lose his composure in front of others, as such a loss of control immediately invites attention- and the one thing that a strong deep introvert does not want or need is excessive attention.

His rage-monster was not spawned from inner torment or childhood demons, but from the fear of losing control over his own power- and thereby forcing others to pay the price for his weakness.

Such men know and understand the need for absolute self-mastery. Unfortunately, the world around them simply will not leave them alone. From the perspective of strong introverted men, people around them act rather a lot like small and very stupid children poking a bear in an iron cage with sharp sticks.

That doesn't end well. Sooner or later, the bear will strike back.

Each deep introvert responds in different ways that suit their own particular preferences. Some go for long runs through the countryside, losing themselves in the beauty of their surroundings and the "runner's high". Some lose themselves in their work, putting in hours that make them seem almost inhuman. Some put all of their efforts and spare time into the composition and performance of music or other similar artistic endeavours.

In my own case, I use powerlifting, martial arts, and writing as outlets.

I have been lifting stupidly heavy weights for more than six years now. I long ago stopped viewing powerlifting as mere "exercise"; it has transcended that purpose and become an integral part of my life. I cannot imagine what life would be like without the temple of steel, the crucible of pain, that is the squat rack. I rarely feel more alive, more connected with who and what I am, than when I am squatting and deadlifting and benching.

This is in spite of the very real physical and mental toll that lifting takes on me. Quite apart from the tremendous soreness and pain that results from lifting hard and heavy for months at a time, there is a social cost to pay as well. In my building, the little gym with the squat rack in it is located right next to the pool area- and this being summer, every afternoon and evening that I am lifting is one in which couples and families are out there by the poolside, sunning themselves and being sociable.

Meanwhile, I'm throwing around weights like an angry gorilla maybe thirty feet away from them. I look, sound, and act like a beast- and I don't doubt that I intimidate and frighten most of the women, and probably more than a few of the men too.

Yet, if you would ask me to switch places with any of them, I would turn you down.

This is not because I dislike the company of pretty women in bikinis. (To be quite honest, there aren't that many of those in my building anyway. I live not far from Libtard Central, USA, where warpigs and swamp donkeys abound.) It is not because I dislike sunshine and happy company.

It is because the very personal, very intimate rewards that come from lifting hard and heavy, are far greater than anything that mere shallow people that I don't know and don't care about can possibly offer.

The same holds true of martial arts. Most "normal" people consider the idea of getting onto the sparring mat at midday in the summer heat and humidity for the explicit purpose of getting punched and kicked in the face to be flatly insane. But for me, it is a great way to combine the virtues and benefits of hard work, discipline, physical exercise, and time spent with close friends into a single activity.

Whatever the activity, the goal remains the same for all deep introverts: to achieve discipline and focus, and to provide an outlet, a way to vent one's frustrations with the world around us.

It is no secret that introvert brains are wired very differently from those of our extroverted counterparts. We find excessive socialisation to be extremely irritating and very tiring. Dealing with stupid people and stupid issues during the workday- or, really, at any point in time- takes a severe toll on our patience and our willpower.

Yet the thought of losing control over one's emotions and simply lashing out is anathema to most strong introverts. Loss of control, for us, results in damaged relationships, forgone business opportunities, and even potential physical harm. So we seek outlets to deal with the fact that the world around us simply will not leave us alone.

The struggle to contain the rage-monster within us is sometimes difficult, but it is always critical to our continued success and growth as individuals. That ongoing struggle to contain and channel our own power is one of the defining features of any self-aware and self-confident introvert. Those of us who have achieved mastery over it are rarely shaken by events and tend to be able to handle adversity far better than those who have not.

Whether we like it or not, keeping that beast under control is something that every masculine deep introvert has to deal with. It is simply a part of who and what we are.

Comments

  1. I am introverted, but realized something important... We still need the occasional human companionship.

    I personally find my companionship (aside from my pet) in short, intense bursts... be incredibly social for a half an hour, and I have filled my 'socialization meter' for the next couple of days... I am good.

    My job allows me to be a loner most of every day, but that has brought home the fact that like all humans, I need the occasional jolt of socialization to keep me stable and to appreciate the solitude.

    Humans are not social creatures, we are socializing creatures... Ants are social creatures, rats are social creatures. Humans just need to contact other humans occasionally. Living in too close constant social contact actually damages us, even the ones who seem to enjoy it.

    BTW- what t h is a 'sigma'?

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