(This month’s writing prompt is Oh So Lonely: Write about what you do when you are alone — do you feel lonely or do you enjoy your own company?)
I’m a textbook introvert. Being alone is what helps me recharge after a long day or a big event (concert, party, meeting strangers, etc.). I enjoy being out and about, doing things with friends and family. But the only way I can have the energy to do those fun things is if I have time alone to build up that energy.
I’m an only child, and the daughter of an introverted reader. Growing up my friends were Laura Ingalls, Claudia Kincaid, and James Herriot. Books were the things I could turn to when I was tired of being bullied at school, or when I was sick of trying yet again to understand my math homework.
Even now, my favorite way to spend a day is with a book. It’s nice when my husband is nearby (usually playing computer games), and I can read him a particularly funny or poignant part.
I do get lonely sometimes — usually in a crowd. I have “high-functioning” anxiety, which means I’m “social enough to get invited to things, but so often find [myself] standing in a room where it feels like no one knows [me].”
I move to the edges of the room, look at what’s on the host’s bookshelves, smile at my husband (who’s having a good time) so he doesn’t notice my fear and have to make an excuse for us to leave early.
The last couple of years have brought a shift, however. I saw a therapist who encouraged me to come out of my shell. Slowly I started doing more things with people, and found myself enjoying being in a group more than any other time in my life.
The last year was terrible, and I spent a lot of time alone with my thoughts — not a great thing even in the best of circumstances. Getting out of my head and into the world saved me, and I don’t think I can ever go back to being quite as introverted as I once was.
Just don’t expect me to be thrilled by the idea of going clubbing.