I have a confession to make: I am not the person you imagine me to be. In person, I am not as witty and outspoken as I seem here. Oh sure, I am still funny, hilarious even, but not in the beginning. In the beginning, I will stand awkwardly while making weird small talk that makes everyone uncomfortable. I will say things without thinking them through or just stand like a mute, smiling like an idiot.
The older I become, the more self-aware I’m becoming also. I know how I act, I see the flaws in it, but I just keep doing it.
Mostly I hate going to social events. I hate small talk and never know who I should talk to. I don’t like going up to people and starting conversations, I’ve never been good at shooting the shit with strangers. Truthfully, I thought it was because I just hated people.
Not you people, obviously, but other people.
But the more I learn about myself, it’s not that I don’t like people, I love people! Most people, anyway. People aren’t the problem, it’s just that I don’t want to be around the people. I’d rather stay home, under a blanket on the couch, away from the people. I like the people in short bursts and then I need a long rest from the people.
I’m an introvert and I never knew it.
For years I would have said I was an extrovert. Because I’m loud, I’m completely at ease in my circles, and I like going to parties. But I don’t want to talk to people at parties. I want to be loud with my small group of peeps and ignore the rest. I thought I was just a rude extrovert.
Nope, totally an introvert. And it took a few personality quizzes for me to finally accept it, like being an introvert was bad and shameful. I wanted to be the welcoming, friendly, gracious person that goes everywhere and can talk to everyone. But even typing that sentence makes me shudder. I don’t really want that, it’s just that I think it would be cool to be like that. (You know, when I’m daydreaming about how cool I am sitting in my bed reading a book for five hours on a Friday night. I don’t actually want to leave my house or even my bed, but if I did, God help everyone, I would be the life of the party.)
Realizing I’m an introvert has been freeing in a way. I don’t have to think something’s wrong with me when I really don’t want to go somewhere three nights in a row. When I long for a quiet night at home with just my little family and my snuggly dog. When I want this most nights, actually. Okay, when I want this every night. I like being home and making dinner (or ordering pizza, let’s be honest), organizing my closet, and falling asleep to a good book. I like sitting in my office after the girls are asleep and writing for hours. I like that my husband wants to watch TV all night so I can go off and do whatever my little heart desires. (You know what my heart desires a lot? Puttering. I love to putter around the house, doing random things, completely mindless but calming.)
Somewhere along the way, I got the idea that it was wrong to want these things. Maybe it’s just age that makes me more comfortable with myself and who I am. An introvert that would rather have a few close friends than a million sort-of friends. Someone who gets energy from being by myself.
And that’s hard to do with two little girls that want their mom all the time. And that’s hard to do when I teach needy middle schoolers all day that never stop saying my name and raising their hands with more questions. And that’s hard to do because life is busy, your life is busy and my life is busy.
But now that I’m aware of who I am, what I need, making it a priority is invigorating me and inspiring me in a new way. So I’m here to say proudly that I’m an introvert and I like to be by myself.
Whew, glad I got that off my chest.