Saturday, March 15, 2014

Tending my inner opposite


Riding in my mom's old red truck moving my grandfather for the second time, my uncle and I chatted about life. I was speaking definitively about myself. "I am extroverted," I said, "but sometimes I just need to be alone. There are times when I really do feel so drained by other people. Maybe I am turning into an introvert."

He looked at me very seriously and pointed his wisdom directly into my psyche. "Everyone has an inner extrovert and introvert. You let one of them become more dominate but it is extremely important to take care of them both. If you only tend to one and not the other then you will experience their outbursts as they claim your attention."

I've thought about that a lot. While people still chuckle ironically when I talk about my inner introvert, I still know when I have ignored her. I can go days or weeks with continual human interaction and it will sustain me for a long time. However, there will be a day when I cannot imagine being around anyone. Every now and then, I notice my introvert raising her head to catch my eye. When I ignore her for too long I feel tired when I am well rested. I start reflecting on the experiences of my life with negative energy. I start seeing people as creatures who are trying to take something from me and never leave me alone. When I leave my introvert uncared for she raises her will with anger and depression.

My uncle says it is similar for introverts who ignore their inner extrovert. Suddenly they find themselves yelling at someone in a moment of uncontrolled rage. They blurt out everything that has bothered them for months in one sitting. They say the one thing that would hurt someone most. He says that failing to give your inner extrovert time with people brings forth the negative side of it's potential just like it does with the ignored inner introvert.

Sensing that old familiar feeling bubble up inside me, I knew today had to be an introvert day. I turned down three exciting invitations, each of them right up my alley.The largest St. Patty's Day pub crawl (in the world), all day Irish music/beer festival that Joel played in, and a day at the White Water Center, all with great friends and family. I turned each of them down. Instead, I bought flowers and made a patio garden. I went for a long run and then I stretched for even longer. I listened to a meditation CD that I have been meaning to hear. I cooked vegetarian masala and took a long shower. It's been a wonderful day and my inner introvert feels so loved and tended to. 

Thank you, Uncle Will.