Extroverts Can Have Introvert Moments, And That’s Okay

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I was sitting in the sand, looking out into the water as the waves came crashing in. I was sitting with my feet under me, arms stretched out. There was a breeze hitting my face, blowing my hair into my face. There was a piece of hair stuck to my lips. My arms fell down to my sides, and I let my hands dig into the sand surrounding me. I started to grab the sand, lifting it, and then letting it fall between my fingers into the ground. Some of the sand got on my legs. I made patterns in the sand by sweeping my arms back and forth, as if I were a little girl twirling with a new dress. The air smelled like salt. I was cold from the breeze, but hot from the sun hitting my back at the same time.

All around me was motion. Frisbees being thrown, footballs being tossed. Some children running into the cold water. But all around me was still. I did not hear or see any of it, though my eyes were open. I only saw the water. The water and the sand. I only heard the massive waves hitting the mountains. I could barely hear the wind. My feet began to fall asleep underneath me. I didn’t want to move. My world was peaceful. My world was beautiful.

Somewhere in the distance, friends calling my name. I can hear their footsteps, loud and strong, coming towards me. Their voices get louder. The steps quiet down as they approach me. They are cautious and scared, for once unable to judge my mood. “Are you ok?” someone asks. I nod my head and smile. I tell them I’m watching the water. “Ok, well we’re over here if you want to join, we were just checking on you.” They walk away. The loud world starts to quiet down again, and I shift positions.

Later on the drive home someone turns to me to make sure I am okay, if I am happy. I am confused. What made them think I wasn’t happy?  I just had the most incredible weekend. I just witnessed the most remarkable parts of life. They are confused too. “Why were you so quiet?” “Was something wrong? Were you upset?” I successfully convince them I am very happy. They are glad and relieved. “You’re just normally so loud and bubbly” is what they tell me. I now understand their concern.

I am an extrovert. I have been an extrovert my entire life. My mother used to tell me she was never scared I’d be kidnapped, she was scared I’d invite strangers over. I use to talk to people in restaurants who I didn’t know all the time and had to learn not to tell them things like my address. I am a social being. I find my strength and peace in the company of others. When I think of relaxing, I often picture people with me. I have travelled alone, yes, but I easily make friends and connections wherever I go. My life is full of people, activities, and events. And that is the way I like it. That is the way I prefer.

Yet that day on the beach was different. I wanted to see and speak to no one. Admittedly, it was uncharacteristic of me. My friends’ concern was valid. But I was having an introvert moment. I am learning to find peace in myself and my surroundings without people present. I am becoming more confident in myself in the process. A whole new world has opened its doors to me. I can still feel the sand under me and I can feel the stickiness of the air that day. Never before have I remembered so vividly a specific place.

I am not ashamed to be an extrovert. I am brave and outgoing and proud of everything that encompasses. But that doesn’t mean I cannot be alone. That I cannot learn to adopt some of the wonderful qualities introverts possess. More often than not, I will want you there. My voice will be heard as I meet new people, try new things. But if there comes a time when I am quiet, when I am different, know that will soon return to myself. I am simply having a moment, and that is okay. TC Mark

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