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My Son Is All Alone

My son is all alone right now, and damned happy about it.

From Sunday to Friday, he was with his grandmother (driving cross-country) and/or his aunt (staying at her home outside Denver). Both of these women are extreme extroverts who have almost zero understanding of what it's like to be an introvert. Their ignorance isn't malicious. It simply is.

I know this because I grew up with them. For years, I was teased because my most common outcry as a child was, "I just want to be alone!" My mother, with no understanding of introversion, used to tell me I'd been born into the wrong family if alone-ness was what I wanted. I don't remember being crushed by that; I remember agreeing. And my extroverted little sister, poor thing, assumed her older sister must not like her much.

I did end up being what I call a "well-trained introvert." At age nine, I began in community theater, and continued working in community and regional theater until the summer before Dev was born. It didn't make me less of an introvert. It did make it easy for me to fool you into thinking I wasn't an introvert.

Come to think of it, Viable Paradise was the first event I attended where I let myself give in to every introvert urge. Thus I spent a great deal of emotionally-laden time in my room, alone, and was happy for it.

Looking back, I think my introversion was the reason I was so relieved to get my driver's license. It didn't matter if I just drove around in circles. I could drive alone.

So my son--who is not quite as introverted as I am, but certainly not the extrovert that my mother and sister are--is in his room gaming. Since he just got home last night, he was worried I'd be hurt by this.

Hell, no. I get it. Alone time is sanity time. If I'd spent a week with my female relatives, unable to escape for even a short drive, I'd want to be alone, too. It doesn't mean I don't love them, just as it doesn't mean my son doesn't love me.

It does indeed mean that my son knows when too much interaction is stressing him out, and I want him to both know that limit, and know he can act upon it without condemnation.

Besides-- Dev and I argue with each other much less when we both get our alone time. By the time I get home from running tonight's dojo party, he'll be relaxed enough for a little chitchat. By tomorrow, we'll both be ready to spend time together.

Yes, I'm glad I understand my son. But the equally important gift is that my son understands me.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
malkingrey
Sep. 21st, 2013 07:00 pm (UTC)
Viable Paradise was the first event I attended where I let myself give in to every introvert urge.

Viable Paradise is certainly one of the places where nobody is going to be the only introvert in the crowd. (Says the instructor who used to spend a lot of her free time off by herself, decompressing.)
blairmacg
Sep. 22nd, 2013 02:27 am (UTC)
It was wonderful. One of the coolest things was that no one tried to cajole me into doing anything else. My choice was simply respected as my choice. :)
sartorias
Sep. 22nd, 2013 01:17 am (UTC)
That sounds perfect for you both.
blairmacg
Sep. 22nd, 2013 02:27 am (UTC)
It does work out well. I am most grateful for it.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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