Introverted

I wonder what’s wrong with me. I often feel like, pardon the cliché, I’ve gone off the beaten path. Or off the deep end. The things that excite everyone around the holidays are unimportant to me. How I handled it this year is a case in point.

A recent news feature talked about a man who was alone on Thanksgiving and figured there must be many others like him; so, he planned a dinner for anyone who had no place else to go. The first year he had twelve guests; it grew and now he has over sixty.

His event is so busy he doesn’t have time to sit down and eat dinner himself. He loves it; it makes him feel good. Some of his guests were interviewed and remarked that they attend every year, often meet the same people and how they’ve become friends.

As the holiday neared, I realized I just wasn’t up for anything. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not lonely. I have plenty of friends, places to go and things to do. In fact the week before Thanksgiving, I spent three days at a rented lake house with eleven girlfriends. We had many group meals, toasts to the past and future and lots of laughs. Maybe that was a thanksgiving of a different sort.

I had two options this year and passed on both.  I woke up that morning and it felt like just any other day. I picked up my medications. The pharmacy thought it was just another day. Then I went to the grocery store. Same there, with families, couples and singles slowly perusing the aisles as though they had all the time in the world.

After putting groceries away, I did some reading and catching up on a few taped TV programs. I took a short nap. Later, I watched the Thanksgiving Day Parade I’d previously taped. The three hours took one to watch on fast forward, stopping only when it looked interesting.  The Rockettes were great!

I had Sloppy Joes for lunch and dinner. Hardly any prep or clean up time. My phone never rang once and I spoke to no one all day.  That might sound dismal but for me it was peace and serenity. Watching the pre-Black Friday crowds on TV made me thankful I didn’t need anything that bad.

Part of that day’s reading was a new revelation about myself from, of all unlikely sources, Amy Schumer. In her new memoir, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, this overly outspoken, generally potty- mouthed but funny stand-up comedian insists she’s an introvert.

After initially laughing out loud, then reading further, I wondered if this was also me. Intrigued and wanting more definitive information, I headed for the dictionary, on-line, not a book.

The word comes from the Latin: intro-, “inward,” and vertere, “turning.” A person who tends to turn inward mentally……who is energized by spending time alone….often found in their homes, libraries, quiet parks that not many people know about, or other secluded places;introverts like to think and be alone.

Contrary to popular belief, not all introverts are shy. Some may have great social lives and love talking to their friends but just need some time to be alone to “recharge” afterwards. The word “Introvert” has negative connotations that need to be destroyed. Introverts are simply misunderstood because the majority of the population consists of extroverts.

An old memory suddenly surfaced. I was living in the UP over thirty years ago, newly divorced with a boyfriend who was unemployed and home alone all day. When I arrived from work, he’d literally pounce on me. He was the talkative, touchy feely type we ladies say we want in our lives. But it was too much.

That was my first memory of needing time alone. Fast forward to many years of work, school, life and another divorce from an overly needy man who occupied every waking minute of my life. I wasn’t self-aware enough back then and thought that was how it was supposed to be. So of course, my need to be alone was once again ignored.

But, in a recent conversation with my friend, Diana, she revealed she was an introvert. I’d always worried since she runs her own editing business from her home and I wondered if her social needs were being met. But not to worry after our talk. She’s just fine. And, as it turns out, so am I.

Amy Schumer says writing her memoir was one of the greatest pleasures of her life because she spent her days sitting and writing and talking to no one. That sounded so familiar and how I begin each day alone at my computer. It also gave me a feeling of relief and calm. She’s discovered that being an introvert isn’t a character flaw and encourages all introverts to find time to be alone.

Maybe that’s why I love to write. It’s just introverted me and the computer screen. From now on, I’ll follow the advice from this unlikely source, stop feeling weird or odd and give myself the gift of quiet time. There’s nothing wrong with me.

 

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