The Evil Introvert.

Last post I referred to how difficult I think it must be to be both an activist and an introvert.

I’ve spent much of my life believing that, what I now realise is a totally valid and legitimate part of my personality, was a unpleasant and embarrasing disability that should be railed against with all my might until I started to enjoy spending lots and lots of time with other people, dammit.

You see, I grew up in a household that consisted of two parents; one of whom was, and indeed is, crazy for the social life. Many friends, life full of social engagements, you know the type (Hell, you probably ARE the type). The other parent was the one who didn’t really enjoy spending time with other people. He didn’t have many close friends and would always choose to not go to social events if he could possibly get out of it. When he did go, may I point out that he totally rocked any social gathering, but he would just rather not have been there in the first place.

So I was raised with the belief that one of my parents was good and happy and sociable, and one was anti-social, didn’t really need friends and was, therefore, less worthy ( a claim that he readily made. He often warned me to ‘not turn out like him’).

As you can imagine, wedded bliss did not ensue. (On what I’d like to pretend is a completely unrelated point, can I just say that if there’s anyone currently involved in the whole ‘let’s stay together for the children’ school of marriage and child-raising then….don’t. That’s all. Just don’t. Rip off the band aid and move on rather than put your children through 20 years of misery. Seriously)

So I’ve spent my whole life believing that the fact that I really, really don’t enjoy parties, that I don’t have a huge list of friends that I can hang out with at a moments notice and that I’d much rather spend a whole weekend at home instead of leaving the property was ‘less-than’ and something that I should fight against. Which is a fairly exhausting way to live, can I point out.

It was about a year ago that I was having a conversation with someone (can’t remember who, sadly) and I was gleefully recounting my recent experience of spending time in another city; not telling anyone that I was there and spending a wonderful evening reading in bed and ordering room service. It was shortly after an incredibly difficult time in my life, and the memory of this warm, dark (5 star, mind you) cocoon I still remember fondly.

Anyway, the person I was talking to said “Ah, you’re an introvert, I see’, which I was a bit affronted by, I’ve got to say. An introvert is a very quiet, mousey person and I am an absolute hoot once I get my mojo on, to be honest. It may be a bit like pulling teeth to actually get me there, but once I arrive then I pretty much carry the party. I’m that good 😉

The label of ‘introvert’ got me thinking and, of course, reading. And I was staggered. Absolutely floored by what I found. I wasn’t a socially retarded misanthrope who just had to try harder to be like ‘everyone else’. I was legitimate!!

I AM AN INTROVERT, AND EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK!

An introvert such as myself is exhausted by other people. It’s as if they actually suck the energy out of us. Extroverts get their energy from interactions with others; a concept that makes me feel a bit sick to be honest. For replenishment, introverts must be away from others. It’s not an abnormality or a failing, it’s just another way of being. I’m not a recluse or a misfit- my career is one in which I’m constantly surrounded by others and have to be ‘on’ all day. But theres no way on earth I could go out to a group dinner on a work day. Euch.

This does, believe it or not, have a bearing on my journey with faith.

I’ve always, at heart, been an activist, but it’s always been more in my heart than any where else. Anywhere else actually useful (Is that even possible? Is that like theoretically being a runner but not, you know, running?). But being an activist in our society; fighting for change, standing up and being counted, rallying the call for arms, is a nice added extra if you can swing it, but not really required. If you do it then that’s all well and good but it’s fairly low down the list for most people.

If I fully embraced Christianity, then I’d have to embrace full blown activism. I don’t see anyway around it. If you believe that Jesus was here, telling us how to behave, and then dying for his beliefs, then how can you not fight? Fight for the poor and the needy and the neglected and the hungry. How can you not get right in the face of governments and individuals and, well, everyone?

 Meeting with people, organising them in my own time, being surrounded by the needy and the sick, trying to do good. That scares the absolute tripe out of me.

I don’t feel bad about being an introvert. I’m fine with that. I just don’t want it to mean that I’m a coward as well.

9 thoughts on “The Evil Introvert.

  1. I am so like you an introvert, love my own company and don’t like social events very much. However I believe that God knows me, he made me and loves me. He really doesn’t ask me to do,what I find uncomfortable. I believe that is why He leads me to comment of web pages etc because I am at home in my cocoon so safe as I witness to His love for each of us.

    I know he loves you as an introvert and will require of you what you are suited for.

  2. As an introvert who also happens to be a Christian, I’m with you all the way. And I agree with you – if Christianity is true, it requires activism. It is utterly exhausting, though, and all the more reason to rely on Christ – as vague of a notion as that seems to be.

    • Thanks Adrian :). I’m so enjoying your blog, by the way. I’m going to make a ‘sites I love’ soon and I hope won’t mind if I include yours? ( my huuuuge readership will really benefit you. Hahahahaha).
      Eva

  3. Oh, Eva! How I related to this post… especially this: “An introvert such as myself is exhausted by other people. It’s as if they actually suck the energy out of us” and: “For replenishment, introverts must be away from others. It’s not an abnormality or a failing, it’s just another way of being.”

    I guess I wouldn’t have considered myself an introvert since I do believe myself to be socially successful, when in a group setting. I don’t mind the occasional soiree, but do SO prefer one-on-one or just two couples to larger groups, as well as my mindset is that I prefer QUALITY over quantity. But to say that others “actually suck the energy out of me” is SO very true!

    Thank you for every post; I so enjoy your writing. Just recently I was reminded of the words of a song that I love, and it’s taken from scripture, which happens to be my favorite: Jeremiah 29:11-14 “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I WILL BE FOUND BY YOU” declares the Lord,..

    My your search yield the answers you are seeking, and may you find favor with the Lord — and receive the eternal reward He gives to those who love and are committed to Him.

    And as for the activism? No one is alone in this; many are called to serve the poor, the disadvantaged, the orphaned and widowed, the sick and hurting — it’s not just one any one of us. After all, Jesus said that His yoke was easy and His burden was light.

    Keep seeking and KEEP WRITING! Your aspirations are inspirations to MANY.

    • I was surprised about the introvert thing too; I’m actually ok at speaking in front of hundreds of people, and I’m quite loud and opinionated, but I certainly need more down time than most people I know.
      I’d love to hear the details of that song sometimes- can I find it on iTunes?

      Eva

      • It’s an older song, from the 80’s. I looked on YouTube and could only find 1 guy singing it (well, I would have to say he tried to sing it but really butchered it). Maybe I can figure out how to upload it and send it to you. Maybe my son can help me with it. It’s a simple, quiet, meditative melody.

  4. I can also relate to the introvert thing in that I enjoy people a lot, but it does seem to drain me and I need to get away sometimes. Which was strange at times , beacuse I as a musician I have preformed in front of 1,000 plus people.

    As for activism and Christianity, I know for a fact that there are many good Christian people who do real world good (activism) in their lives. But I also know many non-Christian who are just as passionate and do much of the same good minus faith.
    I guess for me, I always worry that any good a Christian missionary or activist does will be cancelled out by their giving credebility to the Bible and it’s many harmful attitudes (like towards homosexuals) and superstitions (like witches and demons).

  5. I know that I was far more active regarding volunteering and selfless work when I was a full on atheist ( because I had more time before I had children!) so I absolutely know that selflessness doesn’t have to be connected to a faith back ground. Have you checked out Johnshore.com? The best place for a healthy dose of truly loving your neighbors ( especially if they are gay. And not in that ‘love the sinner hate the sin’ cop out type of way!).
    thanks for stopping by. I’m enjoying working my way through your blog.

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