Growing up, I was considered to be the shy child and my older sister referred to me as a “home body.” This nickname was due to me always being home and not out with friends. I preferred solitude to constant people stimulation. What I considered my God-given gift, writing, was best utilized alone. My creativity was all in my head and the only need for people was to share my stories and get feedback.
As I got older and moved out into the world, I found people and cultures different from my own very fascinating. It was very effortless to have wonderful social interactions with diverse people including those that are older. I loved being able to put my shyness in a box and embrace being a social creature. However, as I move towards forty, there seem to be a 180 degree turn back to the person I was but with a nasty twist – I am starting to really hate being around most people.
There were subtle things that indicated I was reverting. I first noticed it at church. Church was always a nice place to be most of the time. I did not always want to attend church because sleeping in seem better but when I did attend it had its pleasant social moments despite the issue that most of the teens in my age group had their cliques. A few years after college, I started to find it difficult to sit in church. Initially, I thought it was because I found church boring, after all, I had heard the same sermons repeatedly and no surprising new twists. I tried different churches and slowly I started to feel so uncomfortable to be around people as well as I kept experiencing a horrible negative internal reaction to even being in the same room. After trying to address the issue with prayer and forcing myself to church, I started my ongoing sabbatical (note that this is not the only reason for my church absence).
The job at that time and my former career choice in behavioral health were also affected. I could even say that my career choice was a major catalyst for my people withdrawal. I remember when I started that career path. I had lots of hope and enthusiasm about the difference I would make in people’s lives. Fast forward to today with an advanced degree and a former state licensure which are literally laid to waste.
The girl who loved enjoying people because they bring something new; the girl who wanted to help others; the girl who had visions of being an expert in my field is now someone who is capable of little compassion (depending on the situation), little ability to empathize, easily annoyed, can withdraw from others in the blink of an eye and would love to be on a little island somewhere with limited people interference. I will joke with my dear friend that I really hate (being around) people and sadly that joke is not very far from reality. How I manage to still have friendships is very surprising (maybe it’s divine intervention, thanks God :).
The once homebody turned social girl now wants to be a hermit. There are more days out of the year in which I would love to be in complete solitude than days that I want people’s interaction. Being introspective and learning to admit the difficult things to myself (hence the reason why writing this candid blog is not difficult at all and it’s not different from what I actually tell people), I concluded that this turn of event is a sad state to be. I do remember that shy girl who looked forward to interacting with her friends and the young woman who discovered so much about others by becoming more outgoing. When I stop long enough and think about my current state, I realize how much I miss that young woman. Unfortunately, in this here and now moment in my life, I find the idea of being a hermit with occasional visits with friends and family as a very peaceful thought.
PS I am willing to share the island but with distant neighbours.