I thought I was crazy: Being an introvert (who really likes talking) in an extrovert world

It’s 4:45 am and I’m sitting quietly by my woodstove, sipping a warm cup of coffee, and reveling in the quiet of the morning. The cat is fed and the dishes are put away. The stove is starting to warm up and my toes are placed gently on the edge.

This is my happy place.

From a young child, I thought I may be crazy. I thought I was weird and messed up and flawed.

I thought there was something inherently wrong with me because I just didn’t seem to be like everyone else.

I didn’t seem to think the same things. I spent countless hours playing by myself in the woods and in my room – and not because I was an only child or anything. I had 5 sisters who were always around. But I couldn’t get enough alone time. I spent hours playing alone, making up different scenarios in my head, pretending to be Pocahontas and G.I. Jane, or whatever other cool female characters I was currently obsessed with.

In school, I never had a “group” of friends. I had friends and people liked me. I was actually really good at getting along with people and I loved to talk – but I was never part of the “group”. When I went to sleepovers I would become overwhelmed and overstimulated – though I didn’t know that’s what was happening then. I just knew I was really uncomfortable a lot of the time. If I didn’t get enough sleep I’d break down the next day. I was super ultra sensitive but at the time had no idea what was happening to me or why.

When I got to middle school and high school I did sports so I automatically had some friends but I still always felt like the outcast – again. I just never seemed to fit in and it didn’t make sense. Why didn’t I fit in?

I so desperately wanted to fit in – so I turned to going to parties and talked more than I already did – and probably louder.

As an adult, even not so long ago, I still hadn’t quite figured out JUST how introverted I was. I had figured out a lot – I knew that I needed my sleep, I knew that I needed alone time; but I didn’t realize just how much. I didn’t realize that it really was OK that I still didn’t have a core group of girlfriends or friends to hang out with. I hadn’t accepted that it truly was OK that I just had a few really close friends and that I kept to myself a lot. I hadn’t accepted that I actually wanted to be soft-spoken and often preferred to just listen. I hadn’t accepted that I really disliked big parties and going out dancing and being at loud restaurants and bars. Even groups of more than 4 are overwhelming to me. I still thought that there was something wrong with me.

Feeling like you’re an eternal screw up is not fun.

It really messes with your self-esteem, self-love, and how you function in the world. It affects your relationships. It affects your family and your friends and your work and how you take care of yourself. It affects everything.

I write this to give you permission to just be yourself.

It’s OK to need a lot of time to yourself. It’s OK to love reading a book more than going out to a party.

As you let yourself be OK with it all, the calm and peace that is possible in your life is overwhelming.

Now, most days, there is calmness in my heart. It feels good to accept myself for once. It feels good to take care of myself.

I treasure my mornings with my book and my journal, my hot cup of coffee, and the quiet of the darkness. The darkness wraps me like a warm blanket and I can only sit in gratitude and a full heart that I am lucky enough to have this time, a house, food in my belly, and people who love me. Because that, for me, is abundance. That for me is wealth. This is life. This is my life. And this is YOUR life. So just be you – and do what you love and what makes you happy – because really, does doing it any other way really make any sense?

Just be YOU and the world will love you for it.