A Portrait of An Introvert

Photo by my friend Katie Dingman, who really needs to have her own Facebook page and become an artist already. Love you Katie.

I collapse in bed from an internal breakdown. I’m introverting, as I like to call it. My sensory and emotional capacity went overload over the noise of loud music, boisterous laughter, and hum of conversations. University parties can be weird, fun at times but weird.

Someone had asked me “so what have you been up to socially?” (is it just me or is that a really weird question?). My mind had blanked and the only reply I could think of was “uh I like to read.” That conversation didn’t last long.

I’m just not suited for those kind of parties. I can and do enjoy them but I don’t suit them. The reason? Mostly because of this dreaded thing that people do called small talk.

I get the importance of small talk. You need to get through the small talk in order to talk about things that are important to you. You don’t just randomly talk about the deep things in life. However when the small talk doesn’t lead to anywhere, that is when it gets exhausting.  I get tired of just talking about what I study, what my job is, and how do I know so-and-so.  The art of talking but not really connecting, it exhausts me. The reason? Mostly because I am an introvert.

I am exhausted by people, I think to myself, now shutting my eyes, things I have done over the weekend blurring into one. A house party with friendly and sociable people and meeting friends for coffee and picnics, and their smiles have all blended together. I have enjoyed all of it but I have done little else but that and I am tired. No more people at this moment, no more people.

But whenever I think that, I remind myself that I need people. Don’t get me wrong. I do need time to myself, time for myself to be myself without anyone around me. I will go for a walk, read a book, write in my journal, hide away in my room and daydream. I need that in order to go and be fully present, aware, and here with people. That doesn’t mean that I don’t value people.

I have a burning curiosity about people and about their stories.  I crave those conversations about ideas and stories.

I laugh. I cry. I cry with laughter. Humanity does that to you. I become angry, annoyed, upset, and distant. Humanity does that to you. I ache. I grin so wide that my face hurts. Humanity does that to you. I am eternally curious about humanity.

Last weekend, I giggled with my friends over the story of my six-year-old neighbor who tried to debate with me over Christianity and Islam. I talked to Rachel after church over sandwiches in a park about feminism, racism, and my brother. I’m going over to see her this late afternoon. I am preparing to go out and celebrate with my friend’s birthday by laughing, eating, and having a good conversation or two. I’ll do through some small talk even.

You see, sometimes I give myself too much me-time at the expense of spending time with others. I am reminded that people are important. Your people, your family and friends, are important. I am not exhausted by the people who talk honestly with me, who are open with me and allow me to be open with them, and by the people who care about whatever you say because they care for you. I know good people like that. You must know good people like that. One day you are going to miss them. I am going to miss them.

So introverts, let’s not be introverts when it comes to good relationships like these.

Let’s raise a glass to those kind of people.

Let’s never become exhausted of them.


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