Sunday, December 9, 2012


Friends visited yesterday to see my new place. They brought me a lovely house-warming gift and stayed for dinner. It was really nice to see them. And about half-way through the visit I started to itch. On the inside. Of my brain.

I live a really quiet life. I've lived alone for longer than I've lived with other people. I feel like that's supposed to be sad, and I guess it is. I live a very, very good life. It's just probably quieter (literally; I'm not trying to be symbolic) than yours.

I'm an introvert, but I suppose my environment over the years has contributed to that. So it's a mix of nature and nurture, which is what just about everything is. Sometimes a person will say they are an introvert and, I guess because I own that label and experience, I'll think, "Are you out of your mind?" I've decided that a lot of people don't know what those personalty theories refer to. I do, of course, but they don't. You cannot have a big fucking mouth and want to be around other people with big fucking mouths all the time and crave attention and love parties and be energized by large groups and hate being alone and also call yourself an introvert. Or, I should say, you can. By all means. But I will be judging you while you do it.

So my friends left, and I wanted to breathe into a paper bag but instead I got ready for a date, and then my date canceled, and then a friend texted, and then I went out to meet my friend for a drink. Two people. One conversation. A small table, four little chairs, party of two. Afterward I went home very satisfied and proceeded to almost have an anxiety attack thinking through my busy, loud plans for today. I guiltily e-mailed my friend and canceled, just explaining that I needed time alone. It's hard for that particular friend when I do that, I believe, because she is an Ex! Tro! Vert! I think it's difficult and feels very personal when I change plans or ask for time alone. I don't know what to tell her, and I don't know what to tell anyone else other than: It's not you, it's me. I need time quiet alone at very regular intervals just as much as they need food and water at regular intervals. It's not to get away from certain people. It's because I feel like I will die without it. It's not you. It's me.

In other news, I've gained a bunch of weight in the past (ugh, struggling to not say "quarter" . . . I've been in finance for 19 years, people, it's how I think) few months and I'm getting frustrated with what is much too much to cutely be called a muffin top. What is more than a muffin top? Anyway. As I've mentioned, I lost a lot of weight a few years ago so even though I know objectively that I'm overweight right now, it's not terribly emotional for me. I'm not devastated by it. I've been much more overweight, I know how to lose weight, I'm not surprised that I'm a bit fat right now because I understand the concept of choice and consequences.

I am concerned about it on another level, however. (Well, and I'm sick of feeling uncomfortable. Christ, being overweight is uncomfortable.) Gaining weight has, in the past, been a way for me to protest something. I can be outspoken and I'm comfortable verbalizing a lot, but there is a point where I feel unable to do that and if it's an important enough - core enough - issue, I guess I've found another way to say: No. I object. And also, I'm here. I matter. I can have an opinion, too.

So I'm going to get about the business of figuring out what it is I'm trying to express, and then I will express it verbally and stop eating cookies. There's so much to do in this world and being overweight keeps me from doing some of it. And frankly, that's the best thing it does. The other stuff I experience as a result of being overweight is way worse. Time to do the hard work, the very hard work, of being present and accounted for. All the time. I've got a long way to go, but I've been there before. I know the way.



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I love YOU oodles and oodles, is what I MEANT to type. *sigh* And after I got the I Am Not A Robot nonsense on the first try, too.

  3. That final sign you posted? HA!

    I've spent the majority of my life fat so I get what you're talking about when you say it's about hiding or keeping safe or not expressing. Uh, yeah, me too. I'm wishing I could have it all figured out but the best I got is knowing when I'm doing it- not necessarily stopping it.

    I'm an extrovert but I have introvert tendencies. Is that a thing? I'm making it a thing. I crave alone time even as much as I like making plans with people. I opt out of a lot of big deals more and more in my old age. There's a huge crowd? It starts at 10pm? I have a lot of "rules" around my engagements now. I'm also married to an introvert (with extrovert tendencies) so I am learning a lot about them.

    All this is to say, I love you and miss your face.

  4. I have full confidence in you being able to straddle any obstacle in your path.

  5. Okay. You definitely sound like a true introvert, and if you say you've gained some weight, I'll believe that, too. But, for the record and to clear the air, I am a much bigger introvert than you, Missy!

  6. Is it now haute to be an introvert? It seems like I'm reading so much about us lately when it has felt my whole life like people are trying to reform me or something. But if I say something about being one, people argue with me. I absolutely CAN be the very chatty one at the party ... after a few glasses of wine and a week of not leaving the house or speaking to anyone. It requires a LOT of mental preparation and then a big crash. In fact, if I were in your situation, after all those people left my house, I absolutely would not have gone out again to socialize for at least 48 hours.

    My husband is an extrovert - his children, who are very much like their mother (my husband's ex) are ginormous extroverts. Any silence is awkward and music always has to be loud and the TV always has to be going and they always have to be interrupting each other ... and I feel my brain is going to explode after 45 minutes in their presence. So we've been doing a lot of talking about how introverts and extroverts are different. My husband gets it in theory but he still gets hurt when we have plans to socialize Friday AND Saturday night and I ask him to pick only one he wants me to attend because I can't do both. And forget crowds. I go to a concert once about every five years and that's as much noise and overstimulation as I can handle. I also cancel on people - or am tempted to - way too often. It's the guilt trips that keep me showing up places.

    It's funny, for the longest time he thought his business travel would bother me. I love when he travels. Don't get me wrong, I very much enjoy his company. But (especially since I've been unemployed) it means I get an absolutely silent house I have no reason to leave for however long he's gone. I could evolve into full-blown hermit status if I don't watch out.

    But I still get people who argue with me because I'm not a shy wallflower on occasions that they've seen me. They just don't know what mental gymnastics I go through to be that person.

  7. Great comments, and I wanted to say that I think there are 1,000 different varieties of introversion, and also a lot of other factors that come into play. Kristen, I can relate to so much of what you said. For my job, there are times when I've led 50 or 100 or so people in some rambunctious activity, and years where I've been (and had to be) energetic and "on" when in the spotlight. That's not my comfort zone but I can do it. And it does require a lot of recovery time afterwards. I think one factor why I've remained un-partnered is because I can't see myself dealing well with the couple issues that come into play when intros and extros pair up. And yet, would I want to be with another introvert, locked away in our cave for our whole lives? Ok, maybe :) But that doesn't sound very fun.

    Thanks for your thoughts, my people.