If you stick with me I’ll prove to you that most people don’t really know what it means to be an introvert. While they’re perfectly willing to accept it’s not the same as being shy, they expect introverts to at least be reserved and hankered down behind a statue of some ancient Roman naked dude…
They certainly don’t expect me.
But I am an introvert. A hard one. I’m delighted that social media has cast an understanding light on introversion, even if most of the light comes from memes. And I’m insanely thankful that I’ve accumulated a whole bunch of friends who understand that with me, what you see is almost never what you get.
I’m pretty great at small talk. I can be bubbly, depending on my mood. I can be funny, depending on my level of sobriety. I can be fun, depending….wait…I’m not sure I’m necessarily fun, so let’s skip that one…
But when you get to know me, you find that while I’m all these things, I’m only these things once in a blue moon. My one friend says I go ‘underground’. I vanish. For weeks, I’ll remain in my home, locked away from humans and their sounds.
I need isolation to recharge my battery. And my battery has very limited capacity.
But there is a dark side to being an introvert that we…the hide-awayers of the world…don’t talk about.
My brother, his wife and two kids are coming to visit me from far away in a few days. I started cleaning house and doing laundry today, but it’s a massive operation with the one leg in a cast and no permission to put weight on it.
[If you have never tried to vacuum a room with only one leg, don’t talk to me about overcoming adversity…]
Anyway, as I’m clumsily falling my way through the house, I recognize how excited I am about my family coming to visit. But there is an unmistakable other emotion: resentment.
I resent people who inject themselves into my cocoon. I don’t want to and please understand that I am very clear about how assholey it is, but I do. Of course I hide it as best I can. Not that intense hiding is necessary as the resentment is usually replaced by joy as soon as the penetration has occurred.
It was such a privilege to watch my friends – the ones who really know me – in action when I broke my ankle and became bed-bound. Some were so gentle about coming to my house and offering to leave immediately. Some had deliverers drop groceries instead of coming around. Some said to me straight up: don’t be a shithead. I’m coming. Live with it.
Resentment: limited, almost gone.
It’s been liberating to submit myself and my home to people in the last month or so. But I’ve also been grateful for the days I received no visitors. Maybe if I keep inviting people to my house I’ll lose the resentment completely…
Not a chance…