Quiet Reeducation 

I’ve been looking forward to tonight for days! Part of the fun is the anticipation right? I bought myself some wine, found a wonderful bath bomb, and planned to settle in for a sweat inducing, relaxing time with my book. 

I was so excited I told a friend at work, “So, I have a hot date with..” I trailed off for a split second as I reached for the next word. In that tiny moment I noticed her face grow bright with excitement as well, I could tell she wasn’t thinking what I was thinking. “A bath bomb and a bottle of wine!” I finished. Her face fell just enough. I’ve been single pretty much all of the four years I’ve worked there and while it was hard and I complained a bit about it for a while, in the last couple years I’ve grown to enjoy where I am in my life and the desire to have a significant other has passed for the time. What I was excited for was a date with myself. 

The next day was a the normal flavor of hectic; negotiating the circus act that is parenting, the struggle to get my coffee and breakfast, the endless joy (not) that is work, and a migraine to top it all off. I made it to the end of my shift and I knew I had a relaxing evening was waiting for me at home, so again I shared my excitement, with a different coworker this time.

“With a hot man? Or maybe a hot woman?” was the reply. Honestly, I’m beginning to think it’s impossible for anyone to enjoy themselves alone. She expressed that she didn’t understand why anyone would be excited for a night alone. Fun to her was being out with friends, not being at home alone reading a book or playing video games. To go a step farther, she even said she felt sorry for those people. 

The conversation meandered a bit and I tried to explain to her that as an introvert I need time alone; being around people is still fun for me, but it also takes a lot of energy sometimes. She said she didn’t actually know any introverts. That makes sense, she’s a highly extroverted person and most introverts wouldn’t fall into her social circles. On all points she couldn’t really relate. I told her she didn’t need to, but that she should respect others rights to be themselves and love what they love. I’ve heard her arguments before, but I tend to think of them as miseducation rather than offensive statements.

The introvert/extrovert subject is one that I’ve struggled with for a long time. When I was a child I was definitely introverted, but over the years I’ve figured out how to be more outgoing and even function as an actual extrovert at times. In Myers-Briggs and other personality tests I tend to register just barely as an introvert, straddling between the two. At this time of my life I’ve mostly returned to my introverted ways. Look back couple years ago and the last thing you’d think was that I needed time to myself. I probably didn’t, I was finding rest in being surrounded by friends. I’m learning that my needs change depending on what’s going on in my life and that I really just have to go with it. I suppose I have an advantage by being able to live in, and appreciate both worlds. 

My shift ended and I went to my car to resume my audiobook and make the 40 minute trek home. By some fluke of the universe (or perhaps the matrix is indeed real) the author was talking about her own struggle to embrace what she sees as fun, the exact argument I was just making for quiet time, books, and video games. I’ve been fighting hard to learn to love what I love without shame or regret. When your loves include things Sci-Fi, gaming, Fantasy, comics, anime, art, pottery, literary classics, Girl Scouts, teaching, history, languages, anthropology, civil rights, and a host of other random topics, you’re bound to find a few people who disagree and disrespect you and your interests. I decided that what I love is always to be embraced. My life doesn’t look like anyone else’s. That’s more than okay, that’s what makes me who I am. If I was to deny any part of what I love I would be losing something of myself. And the more things I love the more people I can connect with through the shared love of those things (see, there’s that extrovert). 

Embrace your loves, embrace yourself, and never let anyone tell you there’s something wrong with it. They just need to be reeducated.