The other day on Twitter I wrote “I am at heart a very solitary person” to my surprise it got a rather large number of favourites and retweets mainly from other authors and bloggers. I think it would be safe to assume that those communities harbour their fair share of introverts certainly being a writer has long been a profession associated with introverts and over the course of history a fair number of authors who have been renowned for being hermits.
I am definitely not hermit material, being completely on my own and away from all human interaction all the time would make me exceptionally unhappy but I am a person who can only function well/happily if I get plenty of time on my own. Despite @domsigns often joking that I don’t like people he is in some regards right, because I find people can be utterly exhausting. I love going out and seeing people, I love time spent with my friends or going to events but too much of it and the craving for a few moments of peace and quiet will gradually start to niggle in my brain until eventually it is all I can think about. It is not a reflection of the people I am with but a reflection me and what makes me function best.
It has taken me many years to accept and understand this about myself. For many years I believed I was shy, it was term I would often use to describe myself but then other people would look at me with disbelief when I used it which was rather confusing. Over time I realised that rather than being quiet and reserved because shyness was making me that way, I would at time chose to be quiet and reserved and even solitary because that is what I wanted and needed, which is very different from being that way because you don’t have a choice. Hence introverted as opposed to shy.
As I have got older I have got better at finding at creating a balance in my life so that my introverted soul can be nourished. it has probably been one of the most challenging parts of being a parent actually, when they were small it didn’t seem to be as much as a challenge as it is now they are grown, after all having a child sleeping in your arms or lost in their own imaginary play world still leaves you space for your own quiet. That increasingly disappears as they get older but the guilt that comes with your own feelings of needing time and space doesn’t. However understanding myself better and why I feel the way I do at times, has made it easier.
One of the things I have learned plays a bigger part in my life than just being something I like doing is my photography. I love the creative side of it, from thinking about the images I want to create, to finding the locations, shooting the images and editing them afterwards. The whole thing makes me happy, even on those days when the light fails me, my camera battery dies or I just can’t get the shot to be the way I want it and I feel like screaming with frustration, I still love it. Once the moment has passed I will be looking ahead to the next opportunity to take pictures. However there is more to it than that, because going out with my camera is one of those things I do when I really need to ‘check out’ of the world for a bit. There is something very therapeutic about disappearing off for an hour or so into the woods or across the fields with my camera. No matter the location really, it is the opportunity for there to be quiet, not in the literal sense, although that is often the case but in the solitary sense. It is just me and the world around me, no one needs my attention, for just a little while I am all that there is and I love it.