Editor’s note for this series: Times are weird right now. Confusion. Anxiety. Panic. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions these past few days. There’s a lot to observe when we’ve been forced to take a long collective pause. For our writers, they are working on their classic vulnerable OOM stories, and they are also bringing the funny, the reflective, and the weird bits we’ve all been experiencing during isolation. This new series, “Isolation Observation,” is meant to bring you into the very real worlds of our writers. Some go deep, some very light, and some in between. We’re all here in this together. xo Alex
I’m an introvert. Some who meet me may be surprised at this. I put on a good show; even my husband remarks how often I befriend grocery store employees, baristas, and random people walking their dogs. But, truth be told, I love being alone. I need to be alone. I recharge in solitude. To exist as an introvert, I must set boundaries for myself. I don’t answer texts promptly. I don’t answer my phone…all the time. I may leave you on read on Instagram. FaceTime? Please, let’s make an appointment beforehand.
Currently, I have 58 unread texts and 10 unread DMs. And I promise, this is of no intended harm to anyone who sent them. Many of these texts include plans of setting up FaceTime calls; others are warm, “Just thinking of you; would love to catch up” texts. I love everyone who has reached out to me. But I’ve noticed that with the many stay-at-home ordinances in effect, folks are ready to connect in a new way immediately. Me? I’m still connecting how I’ve always been.
My boundaries haven’t changed since being home, nor have the ways or frequency that I connect with people. If anything, they’ve only tightened. I really want to join in on FaceTime calls, Zoom parties, and Facebook live sessions all in one day—but I can’t. I’m lucky if I make it to one of those during the week. It isn’t that I’m ungrateful, unattached, immune to the innate loyalty required in friendships, or not yearning for this social connectivity. It’s that I’m really sensitive to others’ energies. Yes, I can still become depleted even if there’s just a screen between us.
My boundaries haven’t changed since being home, nor have the ways or frequency that I connect with people. If anything, they’ve only tightened.
I had hoped that this wasn’t the case for a brief moment, thinking that perhaps I could join in on every digital invitation I received—become the social butterfly my astrological sign says I’m supposed to be. But overstepping my boundaries in how I socialize leaves me with an emotional hangover. I was reminded of how delicate my boundaries are when I stayed on social media all day, responding to DMs and engaging in conversation while simultaneously juggling a series of FaceTime calls. It felt so natural, just engaging with my loved ones and remarking on the current state of affairs. However, after a day of engaging with multiple people, I was depleted. Tired and grumpy, I retreated to the bedroom, closed the door, and fell asleep earlier than usual. The next morning, I had zero interest in speaking to anyone. It wasn’t that I was upset, it was simply that I had nothing left. Due to the nature of my work, I can’t risk burning myself out before my workday even begins. Being at home doesn’t equate being available.
When I have had enough sleep, meditation, time in silence, and walks in nature; when I feel I have filled my cup, I will then scroll through my phone and respond to messages one by one. For my newer friends, I will explain my introverted nature. And for my day-ones, well, they’ll get an impromptu FaceTime from me that they’ll inevitably answer with, “She’s alive!”
This is the crux of being an introvert – deeply yearning for connection while minding to my need for quiet. Those closest to me know to take this aspect of myself in jest. No harm, no foul—I hath risen from the depths of social recharging! Alive and well, I’m ready to connect.