I’m a homebody. This isn’t a secret. You can browse through my archive here and find a dozen identity articles. X Signs You’re A Homebody If, X Things Homebodies Do, Homebodies Are Homebodies Are Homebodies, yadda yadda. There’s no social butterfly act I’m hoping people will buy, I reaaaallly like to be at home. But I’m wondering at what cost?
When I sit back and realize I have no desire to be out, to mix and mingle, I have to face a question that makes me uncomfortable:
Is there something fundamentally wrong with me?
I love people, don’t get me wrong. I really, truly do. It’s funny, my college roommates would marvel that I somehow always saw the good in people (usually people they deemed to be assholes, and meh, maybe they were right). I’m an exuberant labrador puppy, just wanting to kiss and hug and comfort everyone I come across. It’s this interesting paradox, how much I love people and believe in them. I’m an optimist at the core, even when I’ve seen some of the darkest parts.
But as much as I enjoy other human beings, find them so beautiful in so many ways, I’m always craving solitude. Even with people I care about, I’m itching to escape. I’m calculating time left. I’m wondering when it’s okay to leave. My throat is closing and I’m afraid someone is going to know. I always talk and talk and talk. But now I need to leave. There’s a point I will want to run away.
I always eventually run away.
And I worry if it’s more than just being introverted. I worry it’s something else. A part of me that could take over if I’m not careful. Maybe it’s not okay to like being alone so much. I’m jealous of people who can sit with friends on couches and it’s all just wonderful and they aren’t fighting a running inner monologue, begging for release. Maybe it’s an addiction and I’ve been avoiding the truth. Shouldn’t I be worried that I’d rather watch Friends than be with real ones?
I’m addicted to being alone. And I romanticize it, paint into some picture of a writer bleeding her words. A hermit crab content in her shell, shying away from the hand that reaches into the cage.
But it’s not healthy. And I know it. I don’t need to be told. I don’t need people checking in, wanting to talk. Is that hypocritical of me? I try to make myself available to everyone and encourage getting help. I say, “Let’s talk it out! Let me help you!” But when it’s this? When it’s me? You’ll see skid marks from my tires. I’ll be twenty miles down the road, and you’ll be waving for me to come back.
It’s funny when it’s the joke, the material for benign articles like X Perks To Being A Homebody. But it’s a dangerous thing to feel lonely with people. How much I cringe when others just want to help. And it’s getting worse. I retreat further and further until I’m not even sure I’m here at all.
Every so often, I slip into an extreme case of social hibernation. It usually comes on right before a big change, or just following one. When routine swaps, it really throws me and I come around a lot slower than most. My first quarter at college was HELL. I went to class…and that was it. I lost an alarming amount of weight and had to see a nutritionist because I wouldn’t even venture into the dining halls. It was THAT bad. I was known as the antisocial girl on the floor. And I just hoped my neighbors couldn’t hear me crying into my pillow.
And I’m doing it again.
A few days ago, I turned my phone to “Do Not Disturb” and have left it there. I have only interacted with strangers on the internet, readers, my best friend who is one of the few people who gets me (and understands when I slip into this space), my family because I live with them. I’ve ghosted. I’m a twenty-three year old woman with no desire to be at bars or go out and meet people. I want to pick up my little sister from school and that’s it.
That’s all I want to do.
Am I okay?
Is this okay to feel so withdrawn from society? I want to throw my phone into the ocean and not talk to anyone for a month. I want to take Ambien and sleep until this part of me is over. I want to desire company. But right now, I don’t.
I think I’m in love with being lonely. And I’m not sure I’m ready for us to break up.