The Lonely Introvert

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I am an introvert. I’m not sure if I always was. Life and circumstances have a way of changing us. But as an adult, I have certainly always been an introvert. I don’t think that’s a negative think, it’s just the way I’m wired.

I wouldn’t say that I’m shy or socially awkward. I think being shy and being an introvert are different things. I’m never afraid to speak my mind or stand up for myself or others. I can behave extremely normally at social functions (whatever that means!). I just kind of feel really drained after.

A lot of people can be seriously draining to introverts. Or really large social settings where everyone looks like they are having the time of their lives. And I’m wondering when I can go home! Introverts, like me, tend to like smaller circles. I often joke that I don’t really like people; I prefer animals, which is sometimes very true. The people I do love, I love hard. They are easy to be around. I don’t have to worry about anything but just being me.

As an introvert, I’ve had to put myself out there and go outside my comfort zone. It’s been necessary for my job and my social life. I try hard to be a more charming version of myself, usually failing. I think it’s good to push yourself even if it goes against your natural inclination. As an introvert, I feel like I have to be “on” in some of these settings. But I don’t think I’m ever far from my genuine self, just maybe a bit more talkative.

I need a break after times like these. I need to cocoon a bit and recharge. I’ve always been fine by myself. I don’t mind going places and doing things by myself; never minded traveling alone. Through all my travels, I never had more than a few sentence conversation with anyone sitting beside me. I wouldn’t say I’m not friendly. I just tend to have my nose in a book. I’m rarely interested in what’s going on around me.

However, I do get lonely. That may seem contrary to everything I’ve just written thus far. I never feel lonely at home. I’m blessed to have an amazing connection with a great man. I just sometimes feel disconnected. Most of my favorite people are not close by. And because I work for a huge company with colleagues all over the globe, I don’t really see anyone all day. Most meetings are virtual and literally no one sits around me when I go into the office. It can be really isolating.

The truth is the older you get the harder it is to keep and make friends. We stay in touch with those closest by and who we have the most in common. I could do better. I don’t call my west coast friends near enough. I don’t make plans with the ones closer enough. Because you know, life gets in the way: responsibilities, projects and work. I want to be a better friend. I want the people I love to know it. I am grateful and thankful for them every day, and I know that even if it’s been a day or month or a year, we are always in each other’s hearts.

As I reflect on friendships, I can’t help but also think about the friends I have lost. Most because we fell out of touch or grew apart; others needed to be let go. Even if we haven’t talked in years, there are so many out there that are and were wonderful lights in my life. There is a sadness that comes with this when you think back to people who were such important parts of your life. Now they are just people you used to know. In times like these, I think mostly of two friends that I still miss and think about all the time. I met them at a critical time in my life. I was trying to start fresh and carve out a place for myself in a new city and new school. The weight of everything that had happened in my young 20 years wasn’t clear, not yet any way. I needed to have fun. I needed friends. I needed people to see me differently than others did who already knew my story.

For the next six years, those two girls were so much to me. I couldn’t have survived without them. I believe I was a good friend, too. I’m still not really sure what happened that caused our rift. I haven’t seen them now in over a decade. But I keep up with them. I have so much love for them and wish them joy and happiness. They’ll never read this. They’ll never know how much I think of them. I’ll probably never see them again. It’s sad but that’s life. It’s not fair but sometimes people are only in your life for a short time and hopefully for a good reason.

Loneliness is not my unique malady. I’m sure we all suffer episodes of it. Loneliness isn’t about being alone. I’ve felt lonely in a room of people. It’s not about not wanting time alone. That I don’t mind and recommend. Loneliness is about the absence of the faces and voices you love. It’s about not being able to say everything or nothing at all to the people you want by your side. Loneliness is the feeling of wanting to be connected to more than just your own thoughts and feelings. It’s a powerful emotion, one often hard to detect and even harder to remedy.

What’s even more interesting is that we enter and leave this world alone. Humans are not solitary creatures by nature. Yet loneliness may be an evolved emotion as our brains and social structures have matured. So should we be lonely? I don’t know. I just know that I am sometimes. My ask to you is that if you are lonely or missing someone you love, reach out to them. But don’t mistake any company for a cure to loneliness. Sometimes we are better off on our own. It’s knowing the difference that’s so hard.

22 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

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As a professional introvert, it takes time to get to know me. However, if you read my blog then you’re on the express path since I’m more apt to share my stories here than at a party or social outing. Lucky for you I’ve got lots more to share! I was just thinking the other day about random things that are important to me and what makes up someone’s character. So here’s a quick list of some possibly insightful, possibly funny tidbits. You’ll leave with something, maybe even some giggles.

1.      I’ve been to the Olympics. I was in Sydney during the 2000 games. I went to the women’s soccer gold medal match; the U.S. lost. I also met a German man who had just won a silver medal in weightlifting. He let us all try it on.

2.      I am not scared of spiders. I will often transplant them back outside if possible. They are good to have around, mainly because they eat mosquitoes.

3.      I take care of my skin. I’ve been getting facials and treatments for about 15 years. More importantly, I stay out of the sun; after all, I am transparent. I always wear sunscreen and haven’t had a burn in over a decade. Please take care of your skin; not just for vanity. It’s the largest and often most abused organ.

4.      I rarely wear lipstick. People ask me a lot about what kind of lip product I use. It’s chapstick. I am no makeup expert so I usually don’t wear lipstick or lip gloss unless I have a professional doing it.

5.      I will never hate or look down on someone because they are different than me; rather that be because of race, gender, religion, sexuality, education or socio-economic differences. I choose to live my life embracing the differences of everyone and believing everyone is human and deserves to be treated as such.

6.      My mom had lots of nicknames for me. She called me Buffy mostly, which many of my friends who I’ve known my whole life still call me. She also used to call me Trixie. I’ve never really had a nickname as an adult. It’s just Beth. But on that note, I have never gone by Elizabeth. If someone called me that, I usually don’t respond because I don’t think they are talking to me.

7.      I do judge people by their movie choices. Don’t tell me a movie from 20 years ago is a classic. I will stop talking to you forever.

8.      If I could have lunch with three people, I’d choose my mom, Sara Bareilles and Jennifer Weiner.

9.      I have horrible motion sickness. I’ve gotten sick on every type of transpiration available: car, plane, boat and train.

10. My favorite place is Paris. If I had the option, I’d live there.

11. I love learning. I’d be a professional student if that were possible. I’d love to go to law school and get a Ph.D. in marketing.

12. The first real concert I went to (because I refuse to count NKOTB) was Pink Floyd. Since then I’ve seen basically every group I love, including the Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead (before Jerry died), Fleetwood Mac (multiple times), Aerosmith, the Eagles (multiple times), The Killers, The Who, U2, Dave Matthews Band (about 30 times), Heart, Def Leopard, One Republic, O.A.R., Sara Bareilles (multiple times) and many more big and small artists. My only regret is not seeing Prince before he passed. Music has informed a lot of my life. I have always found it very healing and a catalyst for creativity. I am, however, not musically inclined myself. My brief foray into piano lasted not very long. But almost every guy I’ve ever dated or been in a relationship with has been a musician or had musical talents.

13. My belly button is crooked. It wasn’t always but after three surgeries it’s kind of lopsided. It use to bother me; not so much anymore.

14. I use to love scary movies. Now, not so much. I like the idea of them and watching the trailer. But now I’m a big wuss. I still have nightmares about the scariest movie I ever saw, which will remain nameless so I don’t start thinking about it (too late, I’m SCARED!).

15. I am not a good bike rider. It’s been a while. I’m not so sure it’s like “getting back on a bike” easy. I should really address this. I’m missing out. It’s totally embarrassing.

16. I’ve never broken a bone, which is amazing, because I fall a lot. I wouldn’t say I’m a klutz. I have just taken many tumbles in my day, so many which often included stairs. These bones must be like Wolverine grade.

17. My most prized possessions are:

·         Postcards my mom sent me when she was in Europe

·         The Pink Lady figurine that was my Granny Helen’s

·         Some amazing shoes I bought in Paris

·         A pink painted plate that was my Granny Faye’s

·         A bracelet Justin gave me

18.  I am a Pisces. I am no Astrology expert nor do I read my horoscope. I will say that almost every other Pisces I’ve ever met, I’ve gotten along with wonderfully. We immediately hit it off and had lots in common before finding out of our shared sign.

19. This makes the most upset: People who don’t spay and neuter their animals. Or those that chain dogs up and call that a life. Also, please adopt don’t shop.

20. My favorite sounds in the world are the sweet moan that Honey makes just for me and Justin’s voice – it’s so calming.

21. My first crush was J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman). I cried for an hour when he died. Dallas was my favorite TV show ever. I remember watching it with my mom. I was probably too young, but I’m glad she let me watch it. I’m going to the real Southfork this fall when we go to Dallas.

22.  I’ve kept every journal I’ve ever had since I was very young. There’s some interesting stuff in there. I’d tell my younger self to lighten up a bit, and enjoy the moment.