Tuesday, March 24, 2009
OuterBliss: Calling All Introverts to Come Out!
Listening to: From when he was so much younger.
Bliss: Going to the library yesterday just to see some people and coming home with one, excellent and helpful book.
When I was young, I loved to read. I didn't read books so much as I ate them. One after another. And there was nothing better in my eyes than a summer day accompanied by a fresh stack to work my way through with no interruptions.
But if my mother were around, she had different ideas.
"Go outside and play -- like a normal kid!"
But I was happy with my alone time. I was happy with reading, sitting by a window and sketching or painting, or just day dreaming.
As I got a little older, my chosen physical activities reflected this. I enjoyed tennis -- but never doubles. I danced, and though you may be in a line of dancers, it is just you and the steps and the music and the mirror.
I went to college as a theatre major, but quickly realized that I was uncomfortable with other theatre majors -- they were too invasive of my personal space and seemed to have no boundaries of their own. Finally, I became a literature major and I could get back to my reading where I belonged.
But all those years of being told -- in various ways by various sources -- that I was not "normal" because I liked my alone time took their toll.
By the time I was in my 20's, I was confused about my very nature, and talk about creative blocks! Not knowing who you really are -- that is the block of all blocks.
Little by little, I've been figuring it out. When I talk about bliss being a path, this is what I mean: making a concerted effort every day to live your truth.
Yoga, journaling, good friends, an amazing partner -- all of these things have helped, and then just yesterday, I picked up a book that was another piece of my puzzle.
For a while now, I have felt like one of the main things "wrong" with me is how tired people make me feel. It's confusing to go out with some friends and have a good time and then feel just exhausted by it. That's not normal, right?
It is if you're an introvert. Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life is Your Hidden Strength by Laurie A. Helgoe is teaching me so much and I am only a short way into the book.
We have many misperceptions of what it is to be an introvert, and segments of the medical population have managed to pathologize personality traits that we don't deem social enough in this very extroverted culture.
But here's the thing: Helgoe asserts that just over 50% of us are introverts who have worked their whole lives to pass as extroverts.
The anti-anxiety medications lining so many people's bags and cupboards start to make more sense, don't they?
Being an introvert has nothing to do with your social skills. An extrovert can be a loud mouthed ass, for example.
Being an introvert has to do with where you get your energy. Introverts get their energy sucked not by people but by the interactions with people. Extroverts receive energy from interactions.
Introverts have serious internal lives, are interested in ideas and imagination, and they need time alone to be able to process.
With the help of this book, I will now embrace what I call my "hermit" self and stop castigating myself for not being something else. I'll keep you posted on what I learn.
How about you? Are you one of the closeted introverts out there?