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Thursday, September 29, 2011

An Introvert Venting

How are you dear reader? How is your health? What have you been doing recently? Pray do tell.

Me? Why, thank you for asking. I'm feeling sorry for myself. The last few days I've been sick. Well, actually sick off and on for a couple of weeks, an initial cold followed by a creeping crud. Blech. When I'm sick I revert to form - a grumpy introvert. Unfortunately this is a busy time for us and the world has not let me hole up for days on end to indulge in rest and Jane Austen, so my grumpy introvert has been on public display. Apparently grumpy introverts are not popular people. I have not solicited much concern or sympathy. Bah. Humbug.

Usually I don't have extrovert envy. Usually I can fake it. I honestly care about people, and appreciate how extroverts are treated in society, and I can use that to make myself behave differently. I work to not feel, as Darcy does in Austen's Pride and Prejudice - "ill qualified to recommend myself to strangers." As Elizabeth Bennet says to Darcy regarding manners and socializing "My fingers do not move over this instrument [piano] in the masterly manner which I see so many women's do. ... But I have always supposed it to be my own fault- because I would not take the trouble of practicing." Thus I practice at being social, enough so that some people apparently have no idea that I'm an introvert who would rather on most days be reading a book with a cat on my lap, or puttering in the garden with my dog by my side than chit chatting with a group. And that's ok, because mostly I want people to feel I enjoy their company, and mostly, when I put myself out, I find I do enjoy their company.

But, when I'm sick, and tired, and over worked, I am vulnerable. I do not have the energy to be social. I feel unappreciated. When I see people I usually ask how they are and then really listen to what they say. When I'm not making an effort to be social I notice that they rarely do the same for me. That's really irritating. How dare they not reciprocate?!? Do they not know how much effort I have made over the years to seem interested in their petty concerns? Do they not know how hard it is to act as if it is effortless to put my energy into being with people? Do they not know I need something back now and then? No, apparently, they don't know. And I don't know how to ask. Which is why I usually just hole up when I'm sick, to spare us all the irritation of being together.

Since I can't hole up, I have been comforting myself with many cups of herbal honey-laced tea, late night binges of the BBC's Pride and Prejudice, and venting to you, poor dear reader.

Aren't you sorry you asked?

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