10 February 2012

I am introvert, hear me ROAR!

I know I'm on a tangent away from my Shelf Project, but I can't resist the public library.

Being an introvert seems to be the cause celebre lately.  Time recently featured Introverts in their Jan 26 issue: "Shhh!  The Quiet Joys of the Introvert"

I read Laurie Helgoe's Introvert Power last week.  So refreshing to be reminded (if not taught for the first time) that I'm not some sort of misanthropic recluse just because I find some kind of parties difficult (if not intolerable) yet I love spending hours and hours with dear friends with whom I can be my "true self."

At times in my life I've thought that I was a little weird.  Everyone loves parties but me, right?!  I am an outgoing person.  I'm NOT shy, I'm cheeky, I enjoy conversation, and I love to perform (all those years of singing!).  Turns out that MANY performers are introverts.  Johnny Carson was a legendary introvert.

In college I read Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own.  OMG, yes.  And for two years, I actually HAD a room of my own.  I love my family, but I'd sure like a place to retreat from them sometimes.  A place all MINE.

Also solves the question of why I'm never bored, and love, no, CRAVE "alone time."  How could I EVER be bored when I have a house full of books, bins full of yarn, and more than six years of photos to scrapbook?  And why my extraverted husband and I often have a hard time enjoying the same sorts of social activities: he could go to parties every single weekend, but to me, that sounds awful.  When would I have time to "re-charge"?

(Sidebar: DS never dares to say "I'm bored" because he knows the answer he'll get from me every time: "Only boring people are bored.")

Helgoe gives advice on how to navigate the challenges of being an introvert in a culture that values extravertedness in the extreme.  Turns out I'm already doing several of her tips.  Like, if I need to leave the party before DS wants to, I give him 20 or 30 minutes warning that "I'm ready to go," and if he still wants to stay, I leave, and he'll need to find another ride home.  When I bring a knitting project to a gathering, that's another coping mechanism for me.  I'm usually knitting socks, but I guess I could be knitting a metaphorical security blanket...

It also explains why my very FAVORITE place to be is Manhattan or downtown Boston.  Bustling with interesting people and things to do and see, but not in a way that I necessarily need to interact in any kind of intense way.  I love the feeling of being lost in the crowd - the fly on the wall observing everyone else.  Why I treasure an opportunity to take a day, alone, to go to Boston and wander Copley Square, the Public Garden, the Museum of Fine Arts, and maybe over to Harvard Square, me, myself, my camera, and my journal.  Sigh.  LOVE.

But it's not that introvertedness is some sort of handicap.  Helgoe says that a little more than half the population identifies as introvert.  If anything, I think it's why I'm introspective, and I like that about myself.  If it wasn't for all the praying (and obedience..... and celibacy ;-), I could appreciate the lifestyle of a contemplative nun.

So I guess this blog is the ultimate introverted endeavor.  A book group by myself! Ha!


  1. I really enjoyed this blog entry Aimee. (I just happened upon it, look forward to more) The other day I said to our mutual friend Lisa, "I enjoy my own company so much I once thought I was an incredibly awesome person...turns out it's just that I'm an introvert." :-)

  2. Thank you Jane!! It's nice knowing who my fellow introverts are!!! ;-)