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.
Heather Moss says
You nailed it with this one! I sometimes get upset when I don’t get a couple stay at home nights each week! The hubby is an extrovert and I’m an introvert. After almost 10 years of marriage we are still trying to balance one another out! It’s alway a work in progress 🙂
Chris is an introvert too, so I’m not sure how things would work if he was an extrovert. Glad you recognize your differences and still try to balance each other out!
Awesome post. I know you are hilarious. This is interesting because yesterday I just asked J of its normal that I never want to leave the house. In fact, I like to see how few times a week I actually do go out. I thought I was teetering on weird, but apparently in an introvert too.
You are definitely weird, but not because of this. 😉 I like to be home but after about two days, I have to get out. I’d prefer not talk to or see anyone I know, but I need to get out!
You got it! However, I *am* naturally an introvert. But I always feel guilty when the kids are with their father and my mom says, “You don’t have to spend the weekend all by your lonesome. You can come and hang out here with your dad and me.” And do what? Watch you watch tv-shows I don’t even like? Watch you play games on the computer? *sigh* I like being by my lonesome. Working in a school where it’s busy and loud and having 3 rambunctious kids takes its toll. I deserve to have lazy, quiet weekends….right? And now I’m going to stop feeling guilty about it. “Mom, I don’t mind being by myself and reading a book all weekend.” There. I feel better now!
I would love to lock myself in my house for a weekend–what a great way to re-energize! Just send your mom this post next time she invites you over. 🙂
Having my boys shifted something in me…while I enjoy good conversation and people, I prefer it on my terms (when I feel like it). Although, having 3 boys in under 3 years can do that… constant neediness and touching! I am completely content at home, curled up with a quilt, a book, and my guys… and fun mindless sitcoms. So when I see you at the next Influence meet up, know it’s not really my thing but it’s good for me to stretch myself (especially as the lone non-blogger). P.S. I think you would be super cool to hang out with.
jennifer bauer says
Love this….i can actually totally see this. I also think this is why you and Chris are great for each other because he is similar too. Love how real your posts are and how they make us reflect on ourselves and who we are. You are a breath of fresh air in my life. Glad to know you and call you my friend
Thanks Jen! I lucked out with Chris, I definitely didn’t know what I was doing ten years ago, but I’m glad the Lord did. 🙂 Lucky to call you a friend too.
I love that you come to the meetups and push yourself out of your comfort zone so much! I know that’s major, especially when we’re all like “blog blog blog.” 🙂 And I think we’d get along great in real life too.
Brandi J says
Hello, my name is Brandi and I am an introvert…
Hi, Brandi (said in monotone, AA style voice). 😉 😉
So ME right there..Mary, the way you just resonate with me at times..Check this out: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/20/introverts-signs-am-i-introverted_n_3721431.html
I am all those things on the list too! I would rather speak to an audience than one person and I love the solitude of writing! Thanks for sharing that article, it was obviously a popular one, I can’t believe I missed it.
I just found your blog and am enjoying the browse. I am an introvert, too. I am also going to be a teacher. Sometimes I wonder how that works. In my teaching experiences so far, I love it. I feel energized. Sometimes too energized – laying awake at night going over my interactions with and worries about students over and over. I wonder if I will go crazy teaching full time. However, I’ll be teaching high school. Somehow I think that teaching older kids will put a small but helpful distance between me and the cliffs of insanity.
I think you’ll find a groove and be just fine. It took me a while to figure out how to take care of 100 kids during the day and then come home and care for friends, family, etc. But I’ve figured out how and when to make sure I’m resting and getting some down time and you’ll figure that out. I think a lot of teachers are introverted, really. I also get about an hour and a half each morning to read my Bible and get ready in complete silence with no one else around and I love that time. I think the overload of worrying about students calms down too, once you find a rhythm. 🙂
Jaimeson Wright says
Mary, this was a heart-opening read for me. The way you write allows me to see myself through a clearer lens, and it’s refreshing. PS|you are hilarious and witty, whether in person or print; thank you for that.
Haha, thanks, Jaimeson. I appreciate you reading and the building up of my fragile ego. 🙂 It’s weird to think I didn’t know I was an introvert, but it just makes perfect sense now.