Tuesday, December 30, 2014

On Being an Introvert

I'm an only child.
I am an introvert.

When I began kindergarten my mom went back to work.  I would go to a neighbor's house after school, but as I got older I was able to stay in our apartment by myself after school.  I remember loving it~~being alone in my apartment.  Is that weird??

When I was in high school and my parents felt comfortable leaving me home alone at night, I would just about be giddy when they went out for the evening.  I never said so to them, I'm not really sure I recognized the feelings myself at the time, but I didn't feel lonely or abandoned or scared.  I felt at peace.

I was painfully shy as a child and I never really got over my discomfort of being in a large group of people, especially if I didn't know them.  I didn't know and still don't know how to do "small talk".     I was, and still am, always glad when the event is over.

During my college years (living in a dorm with other girls) and during my years of raising children (with all the chaos connected to that) I didn't get much alone time.  But I missed it.  Desperately!

One occasion stands out in my mind.  When my last two children were young we were eating dinner one night.  I was physically tired and mentally weary.  I looked at my husband and said something like, "I really need some alone time, could you take the kids out this Sat and let me stay home alone".

As I was speaking I could see his eyes begin to glaze over.  He had absolutely no comprehension of what I was saying and he obviously couldn't wrap his brain around the idea of me wanting to be home "alone".

Having said all of that, there are times when I want to be in large chaotic groups, I'm happy to be on the clean-up committee at church, I can joke around with the person behind me on line at the supermarket, etc.  I come away from those experiences refreshed.  But then I want need my solitude.

I used to think there was something wrong with me~~one minute I wanted to be in the center of the experience and then almost the next minute (it was never really that extreme of course) I would be craving solitude and silence.  I often wondered if I had a split personality...

The other day I read a post on facebook that I wished I had read, oh, so many years ago. It comes from the Huffington Post, written by Alena Hall and published in Nov 2014, entitled,
"10 Ways Introverts Interact Differently With the World".  
Each one of the following points has a paragraph or two explaining exactly what is meant:

1)  They withdraw in crowds~~guilty
2) Small talk stresses them, while deeper conversations make them feel alive~~guilty
3) They succeed on stage--just not in the chit-chat afterwards~~not sure about the stage part, but guilty about the chit-chat
4)They get distracted easily, but rarely feel bored~~guilty
5)They are naturally drawn to more creative, detail-oriented & solitary careers~~guilty
6)  When surrounded by people, they locate themselves close to an exit (in the paragraph that follows she states that they go so far as to only sit in aisle seats on planes)~~guilty
7)  They think before they speak~~not so guilty
8)  They don't take on the mood of their environment like extraverts do~~so/so
9)  They physically can't stand talking on the phone~~guilty now, not so much when younger
10)  They literally shut down when it's time to be alone~~guilty

And the piece de resistance of the entire article is the following quote:

"Solitude matters, and for some people, it is the air that they breathe"

Vs 13-14 of Psalm 139 say, "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." 
I  need to think on that more often.


Trisha said...

Beautiful image; great posting!

Far Side of Fifty said...

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