Introvert: 40/365

I am an introvert.

I don’t mean that in an extreme way: introvert vs. extrovert. I believe there exists a broad spectrum. At one end, introvert walking happily alone in the woods with her thoughts; at the other end, extrovert chatting gregariously amongst a large group of acquaintances at the third scheduled event of the day. There is a vastness between the two, and while I think we generally lean toward one end, our energy for people or desire for solitude fluctuates depending on mood, personality, social setting, geography, and where we are in our lives.

I’m an introvert who requires pockets of solitude and feels anxious when the calendar fills up. I love being with my friends. If you were to see me with a group of close friends, you’d find me talking and laughing, and might even mistake me for an extrovert. Being with my closest friends energizes me. Big parties, even events where I will know most of the guests, exhaust me, both the anticipation and the experience of the event.

Alcohol as social lubricant, I get that.

I’m terrible at small talk. I love conversation.

I prefer a peaceful walk on the beach to a walk through town.

I am less introverted during the summer.

I loved throwing parties in my twenties. Now I find it overwhelming. Except for small dinner parties and outdoor barbecues – just the thought makes me long for summer.

I am much less introverted at this stage of motherhood than during those first days, weeks, months.

I love small writing workshops and tend to warm up quickly, but I dread reading my work aloud.

I drown at Christmas time. This year I put together a Christmas folder with lists and timelines, a strategy to help with the overwhelm – or at least keep me organized.

I have finally gotten the knack for talking to other moms at the playground with ease.

In a culture that prizes extroversion, I often feel that my introverted nature means I do not fit very well into this world.

I was almost an extrovert when I lived in New York City.

I was an introvert when I lived in the Berkshires.

I was an extrovert when I lived in Santa Fe.

Upon meeting for the first time, I will let you reveal who you are before I share pieces of myself.

A day of solitude is bliss. A long stretch of solitude feels lonely. 

I can feel a person’s energy like a hot stove or cool water, an oppressive wind or warm sunshine. Bad energy can bring me down. But when it’s good, it’s the most potent elixir.

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Forthcoming: 32/365

Shhhhh.

Do you hear that?

QUIET.

Not the temporary quiet of sleeping baby. Not the little old lady from Goodnight Moon whispering hush. I’m talking husband with toddler taking a day trip across state lines to visit grandparents quiet. Blue sky almost-spring sunshine fed cats asleep in windows quiet. Alone in the house for a good big stretch of day quiet.

Drink. That. In.

This has not happened since I’ve become a mother. A whole entire day alone. I couldn’t relinquish her to the world for the span of an entire day until today. I know how bonkers that sounds. But it’s the truth. It took so long for the miracle of her to arrive, my life’s sole mission became protectress. It was nothing I planned and everything I had to be.

Fast forward to this week. Plans keep changing. People keep canceling, new things pop up. It must be planetary or something. So it was partly by chance I carved out this day and tasked myself with an assignment that, in reviewing the criteria this morning, seems insurmountable. Daunting at best. For the final section of this thing, I have no relevant awards I can think of nor big publications to brag about. Nothing forthcoming in Glimmertrain or The Sun or Brain, Child.

I’m just forthcoming.

But I have this day, and I’m going for it.

The Salt Marsh Smells Like Home: 14/365

I grew up next to a salt marsh. Tall grass and cattails, a muddy bottom estuary that filled and receded with the tide, meandering toward the town harbor. Low tide on summer nights, the breeze kicks up briny and strong. Good salt air. That is the smell of home.

As a girl I’d play behind the neighbor’s house, where the woods met the edge of the marsh. The trees made a canopy, dappled sunlight falling on a shallow pool of water surrounded by skunk cabbage and rocks. A small wood plank stretched between rocks allowing passage over the water. I’d hop from rock to rock, balance across the plank, poke the mud with a long stick, and make up stories out loud. I didn’t like to share that place. I preferred to be there alone, dreaming my words out loud to myself, Sarah, Queen of the Skunk Cabbage.