As Toby Keith sings, today “I wanna talk about me/ Wanna talk about I/ Wanna talk about number one.” I don’t usually write about “me, Kate” but this topic has been on my heart for a long time, especially since moving up to North Carolina over a year ago and having to meet a lot of new people. I have always been a very reserved person. Even when I was a teenager, some adults told me I had an “old soul,” and I never found the typical activities of high school and college students fun. I was always okay being with myself. Many of my peers thought there was something wrong with me, but I knew that wasn’t the case. Fortunately, I had the wisdom to accept myself.
At parent-teacher conferences, my mom and dad were often told I was “too quiet,” like I was some sort of alien or something. I know this infuriated my mother who would fired back something to the effect of, “Do you want every kid in your classroom to be loud and obnoxious like so-and-so!?!” I’m not saying that gregarious people are obnoxious (although there are a lot of obnoxious people in this world), but it is okay to be reserved, too.
Recently, I have read a lot of articles about “traits of introverts,” and these lists describe me to a tee. I would willingly do a song and dance in front of the entire Orange Bowl (RIP) before I would go to Christmas party with people I don’t know. I find forced social interactions inauthentic and very uncomfortable. The month of December is my personal nightmare with all the holiday parties. I’m already mentally exhausted looking at my calendar for next week.
Nothing makes me more agitated than when Eric wants to mingle somewhere or “do the pee-pee dance” as I call it. Over the spring, I had to go on a weekender with a bunch of people I barely knew. It was the most awkward weekend of my life, and I really think I’m the only one who had a miserable time.
I also like to “get in and get out;” I’m highly efficient in everything I do. Wasting time kills me. We only have so much time on this earth. If you lose money, you often have the chance to earn it back, but time is lost forever. You might as well do the things that matter, at least that’s how I feel. If I commit my time to an organization, cause or friend, I’m all in. Don’t waste time being who you are not.
Some may describe me as an “aloof nerd” or “standoffish,” and I am fine with that. My husband even jokes that I am an “ice queen.” I can tilt my head back and give a sideways glance with the best of them. I am an observer who is usually satisfied with her own inner monologue. I have been blessed with the gift of discernment and don’t feel the need to talk unless I have something meaningful to contribute. I have been told on multiple occasions to “lighten up” or “fit in,” but I just can’t. I’m actually a very happy person and enjoy life in my own understated way.
Not to say that I don’t enjoy social interactions. I am actually quite normal and polite. Once I’m comfortable, I can talk your ear off about history, college football, Once Upon A Time, etc. A former co-worked once said her favorite thing about me was that I could sit there quietly for weeks, months, years, and then suddenly BAZINGA! If I played football, I would be a linebacker because I come out of nowhere and blindside.
Not everyone in this world can be an “entertainer.” Extroverts are great, but we introverts have our purpose, too. If everybody were talking all the time, nothing would ever get done. God gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason. Enjoy the quiet.