I’m Sorry We Haven’t Talked

I’d like to tell you a little story.

 Once upon a time, there was a girl named Suzie.

Suzie was an only child, the very loved and very lucky girl of two good families.

She grew up with a few select friends, but for the most part enjoyed playing imaginary games by herself. Most of her games included a cast of stuffed animals or pets to play all the roles she could not.

Soon she grew into a young lady. Suzie still had few friends, and still enjoyed activities by herself, such as computer games and reading.
One day, Suzie’s parents questioned, “Suzie, why do you always lock yourself in your room? Don’t you want to spend time with us? Are you upset? What’s wrong?”

And Suzie didn’t know how to respond.
She just really liked her alone time.

Over the years, she thought she might have something wrong with her. Maybe she was depressed. Maybe she was unhappy. Maybe she was lazy.

Over the years she decided on the excuse that her alone time was her need to “escape.”

Some people accepted this. Others did not.

Suzie still could not articulate why she always came home and refused to talk to her family or friends, choosing instead to be alone in her room.

Soon high school and University caused Suzie to interact more with the outside world. Soon she faced twelve hour days of work, having to work and focus and converse with others. And while she loved to do this, she also felt trapped.

When she came home, she would be impatient, aggravated, upset, tired. She thought something was still wrong with her. Perhaps mentally? Perhaps physically? Suzie didn’t know.

All Suzie knew was that she felt better when she was alone.

Suzie could only handle so much human interaction in a day. Some people thought of her as stuck up. Some people thought she was socially selective. Others could not understand her reservations around strangers.

People thought, “Suzie is in Theatre! She HAS to be outgoing! So she can act on stage in front of people, but not be able to socialize with them too?! How ludicrous!”

Suzie knew it was one thing to perform on stage, and a whole different story when it came to actually putting yourself out there to meet strangers.

Suzie started to screen her calls. And texts. AND emails. Sometimes she just didn’t have the mental energy to socialize with anyone, no matter what kind of communication they tried to reach her with.

Sometimes Suzie would stare off into space, thinking deeply about a new project or idea or situation, and would be interrupted by someone. Suzie was not good at handling these interruptions, and would seem irritated.

Suzie would have her moments where she could socialize, and moments when she could not. Large groups made her uncomfortable. Strangers made her uncomfortable. Idle chitchat was unfavourable compared to deep meaningful conversation and ideas. Books became more important than people, video games an escape.

All she wanted to do on her days off were hole up in her room and relax. No human contact, just for one day.

Soon she realized she was not a broken person. Soon she realized she was never upset, or unhappy, or mentally ill, or anti social.

Suzie is just an introvert.

 

I guess by now you’ve realized that Suzie represents me, you smart reader you.

I have only started to identify as an introvert in the past two-ish years. Before that, I had no idea what was wrong with me. All of my extroverted family and friends thought I was broken. Now I know better, but it’s still very hard to explain just what exactly I go through with introversion.

Let me try and give you an accurate comparison. You know when you’ve had a really hard workout at the gym? When you’ve drank five cups of coffee, and during this caffeine high, you’ve managed to do an hour on the treadmill at full running speed, lifted a crap ton of weights, and stretched as much as a contortionist? Then you get home, and your body is exhausted, you come down from your caffeine high, you can hardly muster the strength to think…then you eat some food. Glorious, glorious, post work out food for the gods of all things fitness. And you feel better again, hallelujah!

Well, for some introverts, socializing is like doing this workout. Every. Single. Day.

We get home and we are physically and mentally exhausted from being around people. And our glorious post-workout food is our alone time. We recharge on alone time. We need it to survive.

Introverts are not all shy. We can socialize like normal people. We don’t have to be self-centered, stuck up, or anti social. It’s rather unfortunate that these connotations are so widely linked to the definition of introversion. All introversion means is that we refuel by being alone, and prefer to focus our thoughts and ideas inwards rather than out.

I like to view my introversion like a blanket. Soft, warm, comfy, appealing. While extroverts go out on Friday nights, introverts are reminded of their beautiful blankets. “Go out? Nah. This blanket is super comfortable, and warm, and soft. I’d rather go snuggie it up at home.” I wrap myself in my blanket to shield me, let me recharge.

So if you don’t hear from me for a while, I’m sorry. I truly hope this may explain why I am the way I am. I have never meant to hurt anyone, or for anyone to take any of this personally. It has nothing to do with you or whether or not I like you, but all to do with me just trying to live a happier life.

At school, I had to be fully charged and on at all times for the last four years. Now it’s time I can step away, refocus my energy, and try to find a healthy balance for my sanity. I’m sorry if this means I drop off the face of the earth for a bit. Please know that I love all my family and friends. I don’t screen your texts out of spite. I don’t read your facebook messages and then refuse to respond out of malice. Sometimes it takes me days to gather my thoughts and know how I want to respond. Please don’t take it personally. I just need to find out how I function in the real world, now that I’ve finished living in the cocoon of University.

I hope you can understand this.
And know when I reach out to you it’s because I’m ready, and I appreciate you in my life.

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Posted on June 25, 2014, in Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hi Amy, I’ve taken part in a few conferences related to extroversion/introversion in students and the best description of how the two function that I’ve come across is this:
    Introverts operate, all the time, at an extremely high level of emotional/social “input”. In other words, everything around them is constantly being received and internalized for processing. As a result, introverts need only small doses of social interaction before their social/emotional “gastank” is full.
    Extroverts, on the other hand, function at a very low level of input and so they crave a vast amount of social/emotional input just to get up to “normal”. At the conference I was at it was jokingly said that if you only give an extrovert a standard amount of input they slip into a social/emotional coma.

  2. sounds pretty normal to me…better than being a workaholic…lol…you have always been a sweetheart….

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