It’s hard being an introvert. I mean, tremendously hard. My entire life, I’ve struggled with insecurities, shyness, internalizing my feelings, and living inside of my brain. I’m constantly in my head. And, it ain’t pretty in there. Trust me. I get lost all of the time.
People are often shocked to hear that I am shy. They have no idea what happens to me internally. It’s a miracle that I can even function, and it is excruciatingly hard work to appear normal. Beer helps.
This week, I had to attend a conference where I knew 10 people at most. There were 600 in attendance. I had to meet the majority of the 600. First of all, going into social situations like that are immensely challenging for me. Aside from the constant flow of butt crack sweat, my mouth gets dry and I don’t know what to say. Seriously, Parker has a more robust vocabulary than I do in those situations. I worry about my armpits, my breath and my nose hairs. After I do the small talk thing with someone, I replay the conversation and wonder if I said the right thing, what did they think, how did I come across? It’s annoying painful.
Before being a Papa, I would’ve come home after a week of meetings like this, told Travis to go play with his friends and crashed for the entire weekend. You would find me curled up in a blanket watching hours of mindless television. I would’ve recharged. That’s the thing. Introverts need to recharge. Our energy comes from being inside our head. Downtime is the most glorious adventure and silence is the most enchanting sound we’ve ever heard. Small talk is a distant memory and your thoughts are your best friend.
Now that I’m a Papa, I don’t have that luxury at all. I can’t binge watch Netflix all weekend long. I can’t spend 48 hours in my jammies. Gone are the days of complete silence. We have a toddler now. I am able to steal an hour here and there. My morning runs are my quiet time. And, I’m still trying to meditate (more on that in a future post). Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t been away from Parker for more than a couple of hours in the past eight months. So, after a week away, I miss him and Travis more than I miss my solitude. So, I rally (or try to) when I get home. I know I’ll eventually get some time to myself. Now, the giggles, snuggles and hugs are how I recharge. I wouldn’t change that for anything. It’s my life, and I love it and them. But, I’m still an introvert. Thank goodness Travis understands me now, and works hard to let me be an introvert. It must be hell on him. I wonder if he (and other extroverts) get the butt crack sweat when no one is talking. Maybe that’s why he gets cranky when I respond with huffs and grunts. He’s chafing.
For all of those extroverts out there, here are just a couple of things to remember when dealing with the introverted species – especially after a long week of social events.
- The resting b*tch face and eye rolls aren’t necessarily directed toward you. It’s just the introvert’s way of being still, followed by a physical manifestation of them “going into their head.”
- High energy people drain an introvert, so if you are asking questions or trying to engage and the introvert isn’t responding. It’s not intended to be rude. It’s just too much. No, I didn’t say you’re too much. IT. The situation. They are tired and need to recharge, quietly. Shhhh.
- If you want to talk with an introvert, pick a topic and give them an hour or two on their own to prepare for the conversation. For example, Travis usually sends me a text with the topic for the evening conversation before I get home, and it is brilliant! It gives me time to prepare for his laundry list of questions.
- If you want to make their day, ask an introvert to watch a tv show with you in silence. They’ll freaking adore you.
- Give an introvert a hug. They’re fragile souls. Especially when they’ve had a week of being “on” in social situations. Yes, they have to turn it on. Unlike extroverts. So, hug them. Quietly.
- Spontaneous tears and/or tantrums are to be expected after social situations. It’s not you. Just give them their space.
- Introverts really, really, really wish they were extroverts. And, recognize it’s not a vice versa kinda thing. (I would hate to speak for all introverts, so yes, this is a sweeping generalization). But, I can safely assume it’s true for 99% of introverts. (I find myself hoping and praying that Parker is not like me, because life would be much easier for him – in more ways than one).
I’m learning how to deal with my introverted-ness while still being there for my two boys. They are my reason for living, and I hope that I can always show up as my best self. But, when I don't, Travis has learned to tell me to go for a run, and I politely smile and hit the pavement.
Thanks for putting up with my grunts, eye rolls and grumpiness Travis. I promise it’s not you. . . most of the time!