When one thinks of introverts vs. extroverts, you typically think of either shy wall flower vs. party animal. Or someone who wants to stay home and watch The Killing vs. going to this year’s Mardi gras parades. It does go beyond that. As introverts, we are capable of attending events, although we might actively avoid those with big crowds. It really boils down to a matter of energizing oneself. As an introvert, I get downright cantankerous and/or depressed if I can’t get a moment’s F’ing peace without having to talk to someone/having someone talk to me.
You can see where I fall on this spectrum.
It’s incredibly difficult living in any type of family environment when you are an introvert. Depending on what expert you’re citing, you could be amongst a lonely 10-15% of the population. It’s not that you don’t love or enjoy the people in your environment. It’s just that sometimes you need them to get the hell out of your face for about 30 minutes. 5-6 hours would be better, but minutes will do.
Will is more extroverted than I am. That means he truly does not understand that sometimes I just need to be alone. Like when I got to take a shower – one of my really good showers when I’ve been with people/kids all day, haven’t bathed in a few days and need to shave my legs. I just want to be alone for the duration – from undressing to taking out my contacts to getting the water temp just right to bathing to moisturizing to dressing in PJs. I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll have at least 2-3 visitors before I’m done. Usually by the time I’m trying to put lotion on and simultaneously hide my hideous post-2-baby flub I have them all there: Stella in front with Will holding Felix behind. All of them. Looking at me. Talking to me.
I try to shut the bedroom door, to give a hint that I want to be alone for just 15 blessed minutes. It doesn’t resonate. I can’t blame Felix. He’s an infant. Even Stella gets a pass.
That leads me to my major issue. My kids are too young to know about the whole introvert/extrovert thing. I think by default all kids are extroverts, in that they usually want to be with people. Sure, they have moments when they want to be alone and play quietly. Those are the moments that give me hope. But Felix? He loves me. I’m number 1 right now. And depending on the time of day, I’m also Stella’s parent du jour. I can’t deny them that, no matter how I might grit my teeth.
But when they’re asleep, that’s when my introverted monster comes out. My cats usually swarm me, as that’s when it’s safe for them to come out and get love. Only I don’t love anything living at that moment in time. I cuss them. I feel guilty, but I simply need a few moments of respite before having another living thing up my behind.
I hate Will’s work schedule in that he usually doesn’t get home until 8:00 or 9:00 at night. That means that I’m putting both kids down every night solo. It gets old. However, as much as I want him the hell out of retail and in a better job, it’s those occasional nights when both kids pass out at 6:10, and he’s working late that I get a couple of hours BY MYSELF.
I feel so bitchy, but there needs to be a world or a center/service for people like me, where we can go together to be left alone for a while, so that we can better take care of the people who need/want us or at least tolerate better the screeching on top of the requests for “Chocolate milk? I want my pink swimsuit? Cheese?” on top of bloody Elmo on top of the sound of barfing cat.