Life of INTROVERSION
“Solitude matters, and for some people, it’s the air they breathe”
― Susan Cain
There is a sound of buzzing between me and the rest of the world. I stand surrounded by others, yet the familiar lonely-around-people feeling settles in my chest. Every second of breathing the same air as five or thirty others is draining me from a life force. I can feel the exhaustion crawling into me slowly. I try to smile anyway, sweep it off of me. “It’s okay. Just do this for a few minutes. You can do it. They’re just people.” So I stand straight and look people in their eyes, laugh to brighten up the conversation. I hug, I ask questions. I try to act normal. The long-lasting effects of this are traumatizing. I try not to sit alone with my face drained of color and emotion because I’m tired of the ‘You never talk to me’. I want to, yet the words I want to speak get lost somewhere in my mind before I can say them. Sometimes I wish to whisper that I don’t want to, that I’d rather watch from afar because it makes me happy to observe.
After a few minutes of unbreakable, forced conversation, it somehow finds a way to break and then I’m moving from one foot to the other, fumbling with my fingers, glancing to my left and to my right, and giving replies that give no reason for continuing the conversation. Yet on it goes, and I find it hard to smile without looking like someone has split the black and white photograph of my face in half. I push the hair that is not covering my face because it’s high in a ponytail, and I tell myself not to be rude. I tell myself to be proper. I tell myself not to tell them that I must leave or to hide in the safety of my quiet room when they’re not looking. To go where the air feels lighter and the bed feels soft. Sometimes when the air stills and the conversations lead to more places than me, I sneak away to the world in my head and rest there for a while, running through daisy fields or writing in a snow-covered world, nestled by the fireplace. If it’s hours, by the time I leave I can barely stand, I long for the silence. I long for the buzzing between me and the rest of the world to settle away, for there to be the perfect arrangement of peace. Yet when I’m home, there are still people, there is still conversation. Sometimes it gets loud and the buzzing, static sort of feeling makes me want to hide away in a book and forget that I’m alive for some time. I avoid people and conversations, and more than often I avoid the people I know and take the long way to get to where I’m going.
“Often we come home from a sharing session with a feeling that something precious has been taken away from us or that holy ground has been trodden upon.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen
“Inside was where she lived, physically and mentally. She resided in the horn of plenty of her own prodigious mind, fertilized by inexhaustible curiosity.”
― Tim LaHaye,
I may be alone, but it’s never lonely. There are stories to tell, there are places to be, books to read. There are thoughts in my head that rise to the surface, painting the colors of the world in front of me in bright oranges and yellows. The tree outside my window looks beautiful, the gentle wind moving the branches full of leafs and the sun cracks through it every once in a while to blind me for a second. I can move without feeling the heavy weight of others resting on my shoulders, waiting for my answer even though I cannot give anything without sounding like I just learned how to speak. It’ll be better for them if they were patient enough to wait for me to write, and they’ll know me better if they read between the lines or the feelings hidden away behind certain quotes. I smile when I go outside and feel the wind brush my skin, and when I breathe the air that has been breathed before except no one is around. It feels good when the gentle calm settles in my world. When the sweet feeling of bliss comes from picking up a book, and the excitement that overtakes me when I think of going back to the places I’ve never really been to and seeing yet again, the people I’ve never really met. There, I can watch from the sidelines.
I’m content being alone because it feels fulfilling like there’s nothing more I need in this world. Yet sometimes I feel terribly afraid that I’m wasting the best years of my life, that I’m living in the circle of my comfort. I’m afraid, perhaps, that I might die and have nothing to remember, yet I can’t bring myself to think about it without suddenly being washed over with exhaustion. I’m afraid that I’m living a life of shadow, going by unnoticed, no matter how good it may feel. Then I’m afraid that perhaps my ideas of what life should be is written by the people who aren’t of my kind.
“I was born as a forest, but I feel
overwhelmed by all these trees.” ― Theladyfidgets