Embracing the Introvert

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I have tried writing a post about my introverted-ness (I just made up that word) many, many times. It is only recently that I said the word out loud. It wasn’t a secret, really, that I struggled with interacting, but in a way it was news to me.

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Either you are introverted or you’re not, you say. I agree, to an extent. How does one not know what sets her off? What makes her cry? Scream? Want to run away?

I haven’t always been this way.

Well, when I was younger, I kept to myself, but that was more by default than an actual desire. My evenings and summers were spent reading every library book I could get my hands on, and that was fine with me. I was alone physically, but the characters were my friends.

It sounds lonely, but trust me, it wasn’t. Our family just preferred to stay at home, and that’s okay. Going places and being around people didn’t bother me, it was just that we didn’t go many places.

However, as I got older and became more confident, I loved to go. I loved people. I loved to be out, and disliked being alone. I was the epitome of extrovert, and I was thriving.

And then I got married.

Now before you begin to think I’m ashamed of my hubby and that’s why I don’t like going out, that’s not it at all. I think my brain began shifting focus back toward a desire to be home.

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Our life together revolved around being out; Shane was a mobile deejay, and we had gigs – dances, weddings, corporate events – almost every weekend. I was fine going with him, but I dreaded when the actual event started because then I would have to talk to people. Imagine that! ;) I know it sounds terrible, but I was slowly moving away from feeling comfortable around others. I totally faked it, though, and as far as I know, no one ever knew I would have rather been anywhere but there.

And then the worst thing that could happen to an introvert happened: my husband became a pastor. {I know, right? All of you fellow introverts are smacking your hand to your face and saying, “Better her than me!”}

Yes, one of the professions in this world that requires the spouse to be front-and-center whether she likes it or not is the profession my husband fell into. It was a thrilling time for him, but for me it was pretty rough. Not only was I now on everyone’s radar, but I also had to change my way of thinking. If everyone wasn’t already looking at me to set an example, they surely were now. A lot of responsibility was put on my shoulders, some of it real, some of it perceived. Either way, it was there. And it was a heavy burden.

And then, I started a small business that requires me to interact with people. One of the things I have chosen to do in my business is have small, home education meetings, which means I open my home and talk to people. I’m getting better, and I really enjoy the time spent with people who come, but I always breathe better when it’s over. The worry of possibly messing up is a lot to handle.

How can someone with roles such as mine, ever be successful if she would rather hide away than ever have a conversation with anyone?

I like my little world. In my head, everything is nicely and neatly organized. I can be myself with myself. But I was lying to myself. I was “faking” being an extrovert. And it was slowly making me crazy.

I really evaluated myself by thinking about what I loved, and why I loved it, and what I dreaded and what would make me dread it.

What I Dread

Noise. I know, funny right? I have four kids and I dread noise. I love the sounds of my kids playing and giggling, but it’s when the level increases to major decibels that I can’t handle.

Large (or small) groups of people. I need to make up my mind, dontcha think? Large AND small groups give me the shakes. Conferences, conventions, large group settings, whatever you call them, I dread weeks beforehand. Oddly enough, our trip to Disneyland did not bother me at all. Even before I made new friends, I was feeling fine on my own.

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Small group settings can make me feel exposed and vulnerable (yet… I expose myself just fine here on this blog. Hmmm.) I have quite a bit of pride (a downfall at times) and I am very determined, so it must be that flat-out, refuse-to-fail spirit that keeps me keeping on.

Disorganization. I am highly Type-A. Things have be a certain (my) way or I can get easily freaked out.

What I’m Working On.

I tend to be hard on myself. In the past, I couldn’t figure out why I felt the way I did. I would get in a bad mood and be quite miserable. These days, I try to recognize my feelings for what they are, deal with them, and move on.

I have to tell myself, “It’s okay that I feel this way. It isn’t okay if I act out, but it’s okay to feel like this. It’s okay if I need a break from the noise/people/etc.”

I realize that I need a lot of sleep. While many of my friends can go on 4, 5, or 6 hours (or less), I need more along the lines of 8 or 9. I’m more productive, happier, and much more pleasant to be around when I have had my sleep. I’m currently working on a process to get more sleep. We will see if it works!

I need breaks. Several, short breaks (even going to the bathroom alone counts here!) throughout the day are helpful. I can close the door and breathe and emerge a little refreshed.

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Why I Don’t Give Up Homeschooling

If I need such a “break” from my kids because this is how some who read this can take it, why wouldn’t I give up the one thing that takes up most of my day?

Homeschooling gives me the greatest joy. It’s right up there after my children – I love homeschooling, I feel called to homeschool, and it is what works for our family. My greatest joys come from our time together learning. I love this post from Simple Homeschool, on Homeschooling as an introvert. I’m working on some of the strategies the author includes in her 6 Survival Strategies for the Introverted Mom.

I am tackling things as they come, rather than shying away. It can be hard at times, but I’ve come to realize that I have been the problem in some instances. If you know me, you probably fell out of your chair when you read that last sentence. I know. I almost fell out writing it. Yes, I can be wrong. Yes, I can admit it.

I’m not even sure if this post makes sense. I just needed to get it out, and I have. I am an introvert. And I’m owning it.

photo credit: jonycunha via photopin cc

Comments

  1. says

    While I am not an introvert, I appreciate your honesty as well as your owning up to the fact that just because we tend to be a certain way, doesn’t mean that it is okay to stay there if it isn’t what is best for us. I commend you for trying to support your husband even at the cost of trying to change yourself. This is a wonderful example for us that though change can be hard, it is worth it. Thanks!
    Heather @ My Overflowing Cup´s last blog post ..How Great Is My Faith?

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