The more I am around people, the more introverted I become. I am rooted in this notion of needing other people…of building community…of networking and connecting, but my spirit just wants to be alone. I desire a small, private life with limited interaction with others. The problem is that I know I cannot have all of the other things I want and need in my life without other people. Is it terribly wrong to think of people as necessary evils? That seems fundamentally wrong…but most people drain me like succubi, promising companionship and pleasure but wearing me out with demands and needs and selfishness. Social interactions make me tired thinking of them, and leave me exhausted with the effort. I don’t like admitting that, because “nice” people and “good” people like other people…that is fundamental in our society, but there are very few people I actually like and enjoy. What does that say about me? Am I intolerant? Am I selfish? Does that make me a bad and unlikeable person? Is it wrong to want to be alone, to prefer my own company to the company of others? Or at least to prefer the company of a select few to the hungry, feeding masses who come at me like a virus, taking over my body and mind, draining me of my health and resources?
People need community for times of pain and emergency. People need friends to help with jobs and other opportunities. People need community for companionship and entertainment. Right? What happens to a person who doesn’t develop friendships? Is it inevitable that they are lonely? Does everyone get lonely when they are devoid of multiple companions? How many is enough? How much community is insurance against loneliness and disaster? And can you actually count on anyone? Is it worth it to put up with people you don’t like just so you can have them there when times are hard? Do you even want them there when times are hard or would it be easier to do it alone? These are the questions I ask myself.
Maybe you develop friendships with just those 5 people you really like. You focus on them and limit your exposure and time with the others since a) they probably won’t be around in times of trial anyway and b) if they were around, you would want them to leave. Maybe you don’t spend so much time trying to befriend a lot of people you really don’t care for. Maybe life is just too short to dread being around people you don’t like. And maybe it is okay not to like them. If I am happier alone or with my few close people, why should that not be my life? Why try to force anything else? Who am I trying to please? What am I trying to protect myself from? What am I hoping to accomplish?
I am going to experiment with this concept of limiting my interactions with people who drain me. I am going to strive for more time alone and at home, in quiet environments that restore my soul and rejuvenate my spirit. I am going to schedule quiet time and eliminate chaos. This is the source of peace, and ultimately the source of strength for me. I can replenish the water in my creative well when I stop and wrap myself in silence.
Let my soul sit alone in the darkness.
Let my eyelids blanket my mind and still my thoughts.
Let my ears collapse in on themselves in the amplification of silence.
It is there that I dip my finger in the honey.
It is there that I step on the grapes.
It is there that I inhale the cooking stew.
Speak to me with the quietest voice.
Whisper the map.
Breathe a new consciousness into my gears and pinions.
Let me lose time.