I Am One of Many

I like quiet. To be alone. To spend time reflecting. On life. And everything else.

But, then, I find myself, as part of those reflecting moments, to not want to be alone because it may eventually come true. Probably will.

What then?

This morning I was reading in the back room, focused and engaged in a mystery drama.

Suddenly, I paused. Took my eyes off the text. Stared out the window. And listened.

I heard Rudy in the kitchen. Turning on and off the KitchenAid mixer. I heard nothing else. Just the whir of the slowly spinning paddle. Mixing bread dough.

I just listened.

The sound of that mixer fills our home regularly. He’s always making something. The sound of Rudy in the kitchen feels comforting in the same way that being alone soothes my soul.

I want to be quiet, to be alone, and to reflect on everything. And just as important, I want human connection.

I’m an Introvert.

IMG_5263There’s an article going around on Facebook, you know the kind that always have a number in the title, like this one, 23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert by Carolyn Gregoire | The Huffington Post.

Well now, I zoomed right in, only to confirm what I already knew. I’m an introvert. And it’s no secret, unless of course you don’t know me, then well, maybe it is a secret, by default.

The article basically explains to the reader how to spot an introvert, that they aren’t always so obvious, and it even goes on to say how an introvert may not know they are indeed introverted. So here I sit, wondering, How is it that someone who’s shy, or withdrawn, or engaging with an inner hidden feeling of anxiety due to socializing, doesn’t know they are an introvert? I am guessing here, that the first ones to read such an article do so because it relates to them. Meaning, an introvert reads this article because it’s fun to read what they already know. Everyone enjoys things that pertain to them, personally. Right?

I’ve known forever, or at least as long as I began socializing, that I am an introvert. In my younger years, I was very uncomfortable with the prospect of being in situations with groups of people. Rather than engaging, I stood back worrying what everyone else was thinking and anxious about joining in. But as the years have passed, and though I still consider myself drawn-in, I socialize, hold conversations, and am overall content around others. Yet, rather than trying to be a person I’m not, someone others would probably feel more comfortable around, I have embraced my listening skills, rather than trying to overuse my voice. I now understand it’s okay to speak when I feel like it, rather than talking because others expect me to.

As a child, almost all my teachers told my parents I was too quiet, that I needed to participate more (that’s probably when I began to feel I wasn’t as awesome as everyone else seemed to be). And because of that, as a teacher of young kids, I never tell a student he or she needs to ‘come out of their shell’. They will discover their own voice, in their own time.

I remember being invited to a birthday party when I was about 10 years old. It was a sleep over, my first. And even though it should have been an exciting time, it actually brought out a tremendous amount of anxiety. Having to socialize and talk nonstop, tell secrets and giggle, was way too difficult for me. I never wanted to participate in that kind of gathering again. And I don’t think I ever did. Now, take me back to that time, but with the grown-up me, the person who now understands who I am, what I have to offer. I would have made the most of being an emotionally in-tune person. Also, time and again, it seems so many people are striving for what I, and many introverts, possess. Simply, quiet calmness. Someone who is balanced. A person who can interact with others when deemed necessary, even if it’s not always easy, but who is also comfortable being alone.

I suppose the article is simply bringing an introverts traits into the limelight, to our attention, so that we – well, not me – can be sure to understand the personalities of the quiet, or not so quiet, ones; the obvious introverts and the hidden kind, and make sure they are not overlooked but rather included, graciously.