Like many other writers, I am an introvert. I figured this out sometime in childhood, when at every family function I would go hide with a book, but I didn’t really understand it until college. I was raised in a tight-knit church community that met every Sunday and during any given week had two or three other social functions. The combination of these two things meant that I was socializing daily, and so when I left for college and was no longer in this environment, I realized: I was so, so tired. I had been tired for eighteen years.
I don’t mean this as a slight against the community I was raised in. I simply didn’t understand my own mental health needs until I was a young adult. I didn’t realize how much recharge time I need between social interactions until I suddenly could have that down time more easily.
I’ve also been lucky enough to have known people who don’t take up much social energy when I’m with them. One of them was my college roommate, who I chose to live with in later years because I felt comfortable with her and could easily recharge myself even in hanging out with just her.
Another of these people is my partner, who is an introvert from a family of introverts. Much of the time we spend together is in a shared space doing separate activities.
Being introverted doesn’t necessarily mean I dislike socializing. Sometimes I enjoy it! Would I choose to go to a club or a loud party? Probably not. Will I if it’s a special occasion or a more extroverted friend invites me out? Probably, especially if I know I’ll be able to recover the following day.
I’ve also been “adopted” by many extroverts in my time. My best friend of fourteen years is loud and opinionated and can make conversation with just about anyone in any context. I was especially close with a couple of extroverts in college (and still am!) who seemed to know everyone on campus and in town, and they encouraged me to branch out and try new things. They dragged me to keg parties and school functions. I was in the Theatre Arts department and surrounded by energetic extroverts every night for weeks whenever I took part in a production.
But all of this worked because at the end of the day, I could go be alone and recharge.
The world has become a far less social place in the last year, and for the first half of that, I was loving it. I loved not having to be anywhere or deal with people. I loved only seeing my partner. But the second half? The second half has made me realize that I do need some socialization. Not much, but some. Pre-pandemic, my partner and I hosted a weekly D&D game with a few other friends. Now, I sorely miss that interaction; it’s just not the same through a screen. We also had a larger group of friends we met with every month for a board game night, and I honestly can’t wait to have that back.
Everyone’s needs are different, and it’s been interesting to understand my own more clearly over the last year. I’m still an introvert, but I also need to socialize now and then to feel content. Maybe over time that will shift and evolve; maybe it won’t. But at the very least, for now I don’t have to go to parties.
What I wrote this week: Draft 4, Kita’s arc.
What I read this week: The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin; The Obelisk Gate by NK Jemisin.