Intro or Extro?

I came to a realization recently and am quite shocked that it took me this long to figure it out. So today I am coming an Introvert.

There, I said it. I AM AN INTROVERT.

When our daughter was young I would watch the ways she would scope out a situation before joining in with anything. Even as young as 2 or 3 she would wait until most of the kids had gone before she went in McDonald's playland, then she would choose her playmates carefully. As she got older I encouraged her to be more social by taking her to the Boys and Girls Club in the summer. She hated it. I had her play baseball, she hated it. It looked like she constantly struggled socially and didn't have a lot friends. She preferred just to hang out at home and only for a brief time had two close friends. I invited those two girls-who did not know each other-to The Kid's birthday party. I got a nice room in a motel with a pool. Both of them became instant friends and totally went off and left my daughter to flail around alone. Talk about one pissed off Mama!

Flashback to when I was in 4th grade and would rather hang out with my favorite teacher at recess. I never felt I fit anywhere, I felt like a weirdo and even crazy for feeling the way I did. 

No wonder I didn't want to go to my 40th reunion this past weekend, it would like being in a roomful of strangers and trying to make small talk. An introvert's worst nightmare!

The difference between Introverts and Extroverts is so complex and has been analyzed since Carl Jung studied the two. A simple way to put it is: Introvert comes from Latin intro-, "inward," and vertere, "turning." It describes a person who tends to turn inward mentally. Introverts sometimes avoid large groups of people, feeling more energized by time alone. The opposite of an introvert is an extrovert, who finds energy in interactions with others. The brains are actually different between the two with the Introverted brain having a higher cortical arousal, basically meaning that we don't deal well in crowded noisy atmospheres as it causes us to go into overload. No wonder my daughter-in-law was so irritated with me and concluded we were not having a good time at our grandson's BD party.

My daughter came to realize her 'special powers' a few years. We would send each other FB jokes about it. Then literally a few weeks ago, I was reading one of them closely and then it all hit me. This is me! I am one of them! It all makes so much sense now; the whole uncomfortable people thing.

I admit, it's not easy and very often lonely to be an introvert. I wish there was a magic pill I could take to make me feel normal. I've beat myself up my whole life because I have felt so different and wished I could be anybody else but me. But now I get it. Being an Innie is a personality type, not a flaw in my being.

I shop early in the morning to avoid the crowds. I go to the gym for the same reason. I like to get all of my errands done early so I can get home to work in the yard or whatever. Our own lovely little church is a source of anxiety. A part of the service requires us to stand and hug people. I do it, but search out someone I know well. I can almost feel my daughter starting to sweat next to me as she stands frozen in her spot.

I'm not a total recluse. I get out and do things. Sometimes I force myself to do things I'm not comfortable with and will always encourage my daughter to do the same.  I have learned not to push her, but to encourage her. I can't make her do anything that I wouldn't do. If there is something I really want to do, I will, such as a concert. Or go to Alaska. I still can't believe I did that! We like to do things as a family and find ourselves drawn to nature walks, photography outings, and activities in a more chill atmosphere.

But I will no longer feel bad about not going somewhere if I'm not comfortable in a situation. Why torment myself when I would just rather stay home.


Grumpy said…
Coming to that realization is a good thing. Be who you are and don't feel bad about it.
Valerie said…
Welcome to the club. It took me a long time to sort out what was 'wrong' with me. I know now that there was nothing wrong... ever.

{PS - a lot of folk would love to be like us)
fernvalley01 said…
you are who you are, and from what I have read and come to know that is pretty awesome! I am not an introvert per se, but I do prefer small groups of close friends to crowds.And would rather people watch often than engage but sometimes I am okay to step up and be if not the life of the party at least you know , there
Mr. Shife said…
I think it's great and as long as you are comfortable in your own skin not hurting anyone then it's their problem. I consider myself an introvert, but I thought a lot it had to do with my single-sided deafness. I still have my introvert moments since I got the hearing aid implant, but I also feel myself being a little more social. Anyway, I'm just glad you are happy, kden. Take care.

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