When I was a child, my mom used to worry about me. Of course all mom’s worry about their children, but mine worried about me because I seemed to have no interest in interacting with other kids my age. I was extremely shy and I could entertain myself for hours. I would just sit and read for hours and hours on end, never getting bored. My older sister always seemed to need someone to entertain her or play with her. She would always whine to my mom that she was bored and that I wouldn’t play with her.
As I got older, I started to socialize more and my mom’s worries melted away. I wasn’t the weird kid who never wanted to interact with anyone anymore! I was blossoming into the social butterfly she wanted me to be. But I wouldn’t ever describe myself that way. I am an introvert to my core. I always have been. I prefer to interact with people when I choose to, which isn’t really up to me most days.
At 25 years old, I feel that I am finally learning to embrace and fully understand this large part of my internal code. I have felt shame about being an introvert many times before because people don’t understand it. People think you are rude or weird or selfish or a brat. And that’s not it at all. Just the simple act of being around people drains my energy. It is essential for me to have time by myself daily so I can recharge. If not, I am a grumpy, sullen mess of a person.
It is okay to be a lone wolf. Allow yourself to be what you are. Don’t let other people tell you what you should be or not be. Those of you that are not introverts, don’t take our isolation personally. We aren’t doing it because we don’t love and care for you. We just need some time to rebuild ourselves so we can be the best we can be. Love us anyway. Just as we love you when you want to be around us all the time and want to push us out of the nearest window when we recede into ourselves.
Part of 2017 for me is going to be about understanding myself better. Especially habits and aspects of my personality that I have held with me since childhood. If they’ve been able to withstand all this time and hardship, they are innate. And in understanding myself better, I want to understand others better as well. Next time someone cancels plans on you, think about aspects of their personality. Maybe they are an introvert who has been around people way too much that day. Maybe they just need to recharge. Be patient with them. Be patient with yourself. Be who you are.