Loving People as an Introvert: A Paradox

November 21, 2016

I’m an outgoing introvert.

No, that was not a slip or a lie rolling off the tongue or dark magic to sneak smoke between your eyes and my words or even a false identity. It was not a bullet slowing down before hitting its mark or a ship capsized in the suffocating blue. I exist as you do, facing breezes and frosts like everyone else, loving and hating and wanting and needing and sometimes not being able to tell the difference and swallowing my pride and standing terrified as I face my demons.

Every day I leave as an introvert, a girl already too comfortable in her own skin without having to put on someone else’s, facing a world that thinks introvert equals shy stuck-up awkward uncommon useless. But every day I walk confidently as an introvert, leaving unasked questions on my bedside table when I enter the world in the morning just so people don’t scatter too quickly before I can see their magic.

Every day I leave in this skin wrapped around my talkative core, and I am the loudest quiet in the room. I buy my weight in sandpaper and minutes from people who would pull me up a mountain before I even open my mouth to ask, I live on the edges of the pits in my stomach that strangers can fill, I live on the highs I ride like waves every time I lean back in a chair from letting go and laughing too hard but don’t fall because a beautiful human is there to catch me and I cling to them, still too scared to ask for the word love.

But after spending so many hours with my species it feels like winter should have passed, I close my eyes and fall back headfirst into the sleep of writing and music and knowing all the oxygen in a room is mine to breathe, I don’t have to share it with anyone. I delve into every dream I’ve lived that day, painting murals and lining corners with what I wished I had said and what I’m glad I did say and what I’ll remember for as long as I can. I am an introvert not because I am silent but because the spikes of emotion that those people bring, the same people who tell me I talk too loudly, the same people I love, drain me. People pull the air out of me hour by hour and I deflate, and only I can fill myself back up. I capture energy every time I open a notebook, slip on headphones, dream a story.

And as an introvert who loves people too much for her own good, I struggle to tangle their lives into mine just enough to let her cry on my shoulder, twist his hair in my hands, turn around to see them behind me every step of the way, without tying impossible knots that scare them all to death. It is a gift and a curse. I am bound so tightly to these people, but as the two sides of me pull at one another in an extreme tug-of-war, my foundation crumbles too easily and sometimes I break with wanting.

But at the end of the day I’m just as I am, writing and thinking and dreaming, not needing to be an extrovert to talk to you or laugh with you or fall for you, needing to be wanted but wanting to be needed, just another climber on this treacherous slope we call love.

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