For the longest time, I considered myself misanthropic, but really, I’m just an introvert with misanthropic tendencies. To most people, if you like to be alone, there’s something wrong with you. You’re a hermit, and you need to get out of your shell, because being a “loner” is unacceptable. My perfect day would involve being alone, alternating between a crappy reality show and a novel. (Fifty Shades, anyone?) For my birthday this year, I told my husband what I wanted was to get a hotel room (ALONE) and watch TV. Is that weird? Yeah, maybe, but it’s my weird bliss.
For me, I think the hardest part about being an introvert is having an over-the-top extroverted child. I love my son, Matthew. If I could’ve ordered a kid with exact specifications, I’d get Matthew. He is such an amazing kid, super incredibly sweet, and I am lucky to be his mom. But. Matthew, bless his heart, wants everyone to be his friend. Matthew forces me to make interactions with people I wouldn’t normally have to make. If he goes to play with your kid, it forces me to talk to you. I am not saying you’re a bad person or you’re not worth getting to know, but this is who I am. I am an introvert, and the idea of these coerced interactions make me cringe.
Being introverted is more than just being shy. Being surrounded by people exhausts me. Being an Army wife and mother has pushed me so far out of my comfort zone, it’s unsettling sometimes. I have a beautiful group of friends whom I spend time with, and I volunteer for practically everything I feel qualified to do. I think I do that, because on some level, I am hoping I can just snap out of my introverted mindset and magically become this extroverted social butterfly. Well, that hasn’t happened. Now that we’re talking about it, I’m pretty sure that’s not ever going to happen. I am who I am; a person who was doing backflips the first day of preschool. (Other parents were sad. I just couldn’t imagine why.) I’m a person who counts down the seconds until everyone in the house is in bed, so I can have some down time. I’m a person who is socially awkward and has heart palpitations before attending things like luncheons or meetings, because the anticipation of those events are exhausting in and of itself. I am a person who NEEDS a lot of down time to recharge.
I am done thinking being introverted is a character flaw. I am done feeling guilty. It’s just who I am. It doesn’t mean I love my husband less than you love your spouse, because I wanted to be alone on my birthday. It doesn’t mean I love my son less than you love your kid(s), because I was skipping to my car after dropping him off at his first day of school. It doesn’t mean my friends are less awesome than your friends are, because I enjoy staying home. It just means that I love differently, and, finally, I’m okay with that.