I thought maybe I just liked to hide out more, because I was too tired with bad health stuff. The older and more exhausted I get, I seriously dream about how life would be easier being a hermit. I guess I associated introvert with shyness and I'm not shy at all. My daughter jokes that I'm the polar opposite of social anxiety. She saw me reading reviews and watching this video, so she read me the actual definition of extrovert. Oh, well I do not fit that all! Um, guess I should have read the definition a long time ago. As far back as I can remember, I made treks to the library, carrying stacks of books home. Then I built a fort to read in. I preferred puzzles with grown ups instead of joining the kids my age playing ball. I loved to talk to friends about books, and share books with them. That was way before my health stuff got crazy, so I've really always needed and enjoyed quiet time. Quiet recharges me. Noise, flashing lights and crowds of people for hours exhausts me and makes me feel ill. I think bad health stuff makes it more noticeable. I also think that goes the other way too. If a person with depression is also an extrovert, getting out and seeing people is needed even more when the depression gets worse.
I think one of the first times I realized I was really different from other people around me was on a 7th grade field trip to Montreal, Canada. I loved seeing so many flowers in the city. I wanted to see everything, because some of my ancestors were early citizens of Montreal and Quebec. I loved the old walls, the old buildings, the beautiful churches, the French accents, boats on the river... It was so beautiful to see and feel! A highlight of the trip was to watch a game in the Olympic stadium. I was sitting in the stadium... completely baffled. Everyone else was having a great time, so what was wrong with me? I get no pleasure from watching sports. It's so loud, so crowded, lots of fast movements, people yelling, whistles, echoes from announcements...how could anyone enjoy anything so loud I wondered? How did yelling make people happy? Or why did they yell when they were happy? How can anyone think in a complete sentence with so much noise?! People leaving trash and spilling popcorn every where, yuck...Then of course a massive headache begins. I spent the whole game watching people and their reactions, trying to make sense of it all, wishing I could walk back to the hotel room.. But I'm glad it makes other people happy. When I first got married, I told my husband I wouldn't stop him from watching sports, but I just could not watch games with him, way too much sensory overload for me. It's worked for us. Thankfully he enjoys sports but isn't obsessed with it.
So what would I like to do if I had tons of free time? What are my favorite ways to decompress? As soon as I walk into the Library of Virginia I feel immensely happy, excited, yet peaceful! A lifelong dream for me would be something like digitizing a collection at the National Archives. Or going to really old churches in Europe to help digitize their records. Once I went to an event at the DAR hall. I had to go around just to take a peek at the library, even though it was closed. I love visiting old farms where my ancestors were from or going to various libraries and archives. I love puzzles, board games, sewing with my mom, reading books, family history, trying to learn stuff on my violin, studying old maps of forgotten cemeteries (and homesteads) seeing how they fit together, gardening, more time with my husband and scanning (digitizing) while watching a BBC Masterpiece Theater movie on my computer, ...Pretty much all stuff that completely bores or isn't exciting enough for people who thrive on excitement. But I love that stuff.
A big challenge for me is that the rest of my family needs to be around lots of people to feel better. I've known people who had to go out to get popcorn or a drink, when it was in their cupboard. I couldn't grasp that concept. Getting in the car is never fun for me, and I despise shopping. (It's a chore) It would be so much nicer to eat allergy friendly popcorn in my quiet house, with birds outside my windows. So I've discovered I can be polar opposite of a lot of friends and family, but that's OK. If I need lots of people I can hang out with my big family. I have lots of friends, but like to meet in small cozy groups. When my daughter first asked me to go to the mall, just the thought made my heart race, immediately thinking "how can I get out of this?" Some of my kids over the years felt like they would shrivel up and die if they didn't see mobs of people or the mall, while at the same time I knew I would die and need 3 days in a dark quiet room to recover. I have to mentally remind myself these are normal and pretty safe things for teens to love. I am painfully aware now, that I was a very abnormal teen. I spent all my high school lunch time in the library, that overlooked the ocean. The librarian became a friend and put books aside for me that she knew I would like. I've never had any interest in bars, clubs or parties. My idea of fun was a walk on the beach with a few friends, sharing some chocolate. Or having a picnic at a beautiful place. Thankfully my husband doesn't get overloaded and can take the kids to big things. And its really nice that my daughter can drive herself to crazy busy places that I avoid like the plague. Then everyone keeps mostly content.
I do love the messages in the book and video. We don't want everyone to be forced to be introverted and vice versa. We each have our strengths. The world needs all kinds of people. This explains differences in how people think and feel (even physically) to better understand each other. All very helpful things for me.