I stood at the outskirt of the bachelorette party speechless. For once in my life I didn’t have much to say.
This, for me, was unusual. I love talking to people. Being in loud, rowdy conversations at a party on a Friday night is as essential to me as food and water. Without human interaction, I wilt. (Really, it’s true. I tried it one winter when I worked from home during a blizzard. By the third day I was so bored I was talking out loud to the voices in my head.)
Perhaps it’s genetics. Or perhaps it’s conditioning. Or perhaps it’s because my parents decided to drop that umlaut over the “e” in my name. But whatever the reason, I have always considered myself to be a highly-expressed extrovert.
That was until recently. In the past few months, there has been much of my usual desire to get in touch with friends on the East Coast, see old roommates for coffee, and make jokes to the lady next to me on the train. But there have also been instances of an extreme need to be alone, to shut out the noise of the world and sit in the stillness of my apartment. They arise like the aurora borealis on the horizon, unexpected and unexplained and strangely hypnotic. They suck me into their gravitational pull, and I find myself unable to resist.
When they first showed themselves, I felt a rumble in the distance and a slow, oncoming cloud of fear. When you have thought of yourself one particular way for most of your adult life, as a people person or a social being or whatever you want to call it, the threat of that piece of your personality disappearing is terrifying. It means trying to find a new way to exist in the world.
But after the third and fourth and fifth time these spells appeared, I figured that like any natural phenomena, there was no stopping them. So I decided to sit down and shut up and ride out the storm. And by doing so, I found the center. I found the eye.
There have been a lot of changes swirling around me these past eight months (a whole different blog post or four) and in the chatter of the world, I found an escape from them. But the hidden introvert in me, the one I never even knew existed, knew better. She knew I needed some quiet and some space and some time to reflect to get my house in order. And she wasn’t about to go unnoticed.
So after my initially panic, I slowly learned to embrace this need for quiet. I found that there is as much energy to draw from the inside as I often discover in the world around me. I learned that I have more “I” in me than I ever imagined, and I’ve learned that can be a very good thing.