Redefining ‘normal’

A friend said that to me. “Maybe you just need to redefine what is normal to you, Erin. Your life has changed – why wouldn’t what you consider to be normal change too?”

It’s something I have been mulling over since we had the conversation. It struck me as pretty insightful at a time when perhaps my ability to view myself coherently has become a little clouded.

There are a few behaviours that I have decided fit into my new understanding of normal. This is, of course, subject to change. 😉

~ It is normal for me to be most content at home with my kitty.

~ It is normal for me to find social situations exhausting, and to limit my exposure to such situations.

~ It is normal for me to want to spend more time with friends and still feel torn about wanting to expend the necessary emotional energy to do so.

I am writing this post so that my friends can hopefully understand that I still love them (I do! Promise!) but it is hard for me, at least at this point in my life, to feel comfortable in large groups of people. That is why I have turned down invitations – I just couldn’t face doing the social butterfly routine. I’m much more likely to agree to plans if it is only one or two people, and there is a set time limit on how long we are hanging out. If it’s open-ended and I feel like I may get trapped and be unable to politely leave when I need to, I am much more likely to decline the invitation. That said, I am trying to reach out more right now. It’s baby steps because I don’t want to let friendships lapse due to neglect but I am struggling always against my desire to stay home.

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4 Responses to Redefining ‘normal’

  1. Birdpress says:

    Just came across this blog and though, “hey, I don’t remember writing that…” LOL, not really, but I could’ve written it for sure. 🙂

  2. erin says:

    It’s interesting that the more I explore and talk about what I’m feeling, the more I realize that other people have felt the same way.

    It appears I’m not special after all! *lol*

  3. Rachel says:

    I totally understand, and actually I’ve always been this way. Remember Teen Skate? Oh man, that was hell for me. But it was before I knew what introverts were so I thought I had to go and couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to. It’s hard figuring that stuff out when you’re 13 or however old we were!

    A few years ago I read this book called “The Introvert Advantage”, which you might find interesting. It talks about how introverts gain energy from being alone, and extroverts gain energy from being with people. And it’s a spectrum that you can slide along, but most people tend to move closer to the centre as they age. (For example, I’m still an introvert, but way more capable than I used to be of extroverting when necessary.)

    Also, I can’t remember exactly what the ratio was, but it said that there are far more extroverts than introverts. So introverts are often misunderstood, perceived to be anti-social or shy (when shyness is something completely different). Also I think our culture tends to value extroverted qualities more (everyone loves a “go-getter”!). Stop oppressing us, extroverts!!!

    (=

  4. erin says:

    Do you have a copy of the book or should I get it from the library?

    It’s been a slightly different path for me – I used to be an extreme extrovert and then I switched sides completely and because a not-as-extreme-but-not-really-close -to-centre-either introvert, and I seem to be sliding further away from centre, rather than getting closer. It’s much more exhausting for me now to be social in large groups of people than it was even just a few years ago.

    However, speaking of social, when are we doing dinner again? I need to return the books I borrowed and pillage your library again! 🙂

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