I’ve always known I was an introvert. I may not have always known or understood the word well, but I knew what I needed (quiet, alone time) and it was easy to get as a kid. When I didn’t want to play with the neighbourhood kids or my cousins anymore, I grabbed my book, climbed the stairs to my room (or found a quiet corner at my relatives’ home) and settled into my happy place. After school, I would go to my room, pull out my journal and ‘hang out’ with my best friend – me. In high school, I journaled about living in an apartment (on my own) overlooking English Bay, with a solarium covered in thick, white carpet to mute out noise, and big comfy pillows on which to sprawl out and read. I also daydreamed about owning my own acreage: miles and miles of treed land, a cozy home and little ol’ me.
I don’t believe that everything is a group activity; I never liked team sports but gravitate toward yoga, walking, or zumba. While zumba sounds like a group activity with all those people in the room, it doesn’t feel that way to me. I don’t go with friends. It’s just me and the music. And it’s So. Much. Fun. I wouldn’t mind having a friend there, but I certainly don’t need to invite someone to come with me. Likewise, I enjoy eating at a restaurant or going for coffee alone. It’s fun to do with friends or on dates, but I have never thought it awkward or ‘lonely’ to do something like that solo – especially as an adult when I started to fully step into who I am.
It’s not that I don’t like people. Oh my goodness, I LOVE YOU people! I had a GREAT childhood because it was filled with relatives, lip sync contests, made-up games, creative play with the neighbourhood kids, etc. My friendships run deep and long (going on 30 years for some!) and my ties with family are strong. I can have the best time at a dinner party and definitely don’t shy away from conversation – in fact, my conversations can also run deep and long.
I think about people all the time, too…what makes them tick, why they make the choices they make, how we can all live together in peace…and what my part in the whole matter is. I have feelings for others I had to learn how to get a handle on – my empathy sometimes immobilized me when I saw social injustice: a street resident rummaging through garbage, or an elderly person being mistreated. People are beautiful and mysterious, and are forever teaching me about hope and resilience and goodness.
I’m also not shy, necessarily. Put a microphone in my hand and I will speak to hundreds of people on topics of my heart. I enjoy MC’ing events, too. As much as I am in love with the idea of being a songwriter, I would also not hesitate to be a performer (I’m leaving talent out of the equation here). I would be nervous but also excited. I love the adrenaline rush of getting up there, and then that whatever-it-is that washes over me afterward…like the after-glow, and the exclamation marks that dance all around me singing, “I totally want to do this AGAIN!!”
When it’s all said and done, I need to be alone. In the quiet. And preferably, in the dark. Or at least a dimly-lit room. Re-charge my battery. Get back in my beautiful, cozy, familiar mind. This was once possible. *Sigh*
May I remind you of my current life?
I am the mother of a 7 year old girl, almost 5 year old boy and a little girl who just turned 1.
You know what it’s like with kids this young? They like the noisy things. (They’re even yelling just to pose for this picture!) They play noisy, they fight noisy, they shriek-cause-they-can’t-talk noisy (that’s the baby). I have to say, my older two (when they’re happy with each other) will play quietly together in other parts of the house for extended periods of time, and I don’t even have to wonder what they’re up to. Or my older daughter will go to her room for her quiet time (which brings on a wave of nostalgia for me!) and my son will play with his bins of cars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, speaking only to himself in a soft voice.
The 1 year old doesn’t do that yet. Now, I have been at this stage twice before and I remember it vividly. I remember sitting on the kitchen floor crying, or hiding in the bathroom, or escaping mentally to a log cabin in the woods. Things don’t look as bleak now as they did back then because now I have a few tools on my belt that help me get through the moments of the-baby-won’t-nap-and-she’s-so-miserable-and-I-just-want-QUIET.
If you see yourself in any part of this post, I’d love to hear it in the comments! And hang tight for my next one; I will talk about 5 tools to help you recharge your battery the way is natural for you.
Thanks for reading!