I’m not a complete loner. I like to have friends and family, especially the friends, which I never had many of until recently. I need to be alone, though. If I don’t get alone time on a regular basis, I become a very not-nice person.
Part of that is the strain of maintaining masks and meeting expectations for the people I am around. When people are around me, I am constantly thinking about how I look, what do other people think about my actions, am I behaving appropriately, etc. I don’t need to do this with Brian or my kids, but I do with pretty much everybody else in the world, even my parents to a certain extent. That creates a drain on my inner resources, and I need the down time of being alone in order to recover and reset. If I go to an event, I need to have a place that I can retreat to and be alone (which means I will never be sharing a room with a roomie at Con).
Another piece of the puzzle is a need for periods when I am not interrupted. Being interrupted in a task is very hard for me. I have a very hard time getting back to where I was when interrupted, and again, if it happens too much, I become a very not-nice person. This is where sometimes I can’t even be around my family, because no matter how nicely I ask or how hard they try, generally my kids can’t avoid interrupting me on a regular basis. Brian can do it, if I ask him to. When I need to be alone for this reason, sometimes a public place will do. I can go to a coffee shop or a park or someplace where people are around, as long as they are strangers and don’t want to talk to me. I’ll do this for studying.
A third reason I need to be alone sometimes is just interaction. Any interaction. Sometimes, I need to go into my own little world and not be touched, not be spoken to, not have anything expected of me. I might respond to text messages and similar non-verbal, non-corporeal communication, but that’s it. I can get to this level after a long day, after a day of travel or of being with the kids away from home for a long period of time. Sometimes a few hours of being at Foster will trigger it, or even being in ritual space for a while, with the constant noise and people and needing to watch Kender and talk to everybody and pay attention, and again I become a very not-nice person until I get my alone time.
I need each of these, to some degree, every day to stay at my best.
I have gotten the impression over the years that this need to be alone, to not communicate for extended periods, is abnormal, and that people are offended when I need to go away. This makes me feel like seeking alone time is not appropriate, and I feel bad about it. Perhaps I just need to be more up-front about my needs and my reasons, and not worry about what people think. I also need to be aware of the need and plan better for it, plan my escapes and my necessary alone periods when I know I’m going to be around people a lot, so that I can recover and regroup before I become that very not-nice person.
I am an extrovert and Foster does that to me. I describe my mind as feeling like it has been in a tornado. I do agree with being more upfront with your needs. I am learning to do this too; it is hard.
If you just come up to one of us and say :”introvert time,” we would happily help with the kids, we just don’t know when. or, you can even text one of us as you walk away. We want you to enjoy hs events too.
When I’m in a large group I become a people watcher. I stopped with the mask and whatnot a while ago. I feel secure in who I am, if that bothers people it’s there problem. In large groups though I tend to clam up and watch from the sidelines, usually excusing myself early. Stop worrying about what other people think. The people that matter and love you will seek you out.
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