jetsetgreen

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Oh How I Need You


The trouble with being a true extrovert is that you really need other people to keep your sanity and perspective. If I start to sink into the morass, J knows to send me out to be with people. Just as an introvert needs to be alone to recharge, I need company and conversation to ease my spirit.

I need you, in other words.

I was discussing this personality bent with Courtney; she who is, despite all evidence to the contrary, an introvert. I have a lot of friends who are introverts, and I married one to boot. I’ve grown to understand that they need to be alone, to cut me and the rest of the world off, that they crave this as much as I crave the communal. Too many days and gatherings take an emotional toll; they retreat into the salve of solitude.

The older I get the more I also need that solitude, but on my own terms and with finite boundaries. In truth, when I start to retreat too much, and I’ve recently felt the inclination, that’s when I need to reach out and be out more--or I sink deeper.

So I met Anne for breakfast and a needed connection. She leaned over a white table cloth, the remains of french toast and home fries closing our distance, smiled her sparest Anne smile and said, “The older I get the more I realize that my friends are the family that I choose.” I thought back to the day we met, during PE in junior high. The bus stop. A thousand parties. All the New Year’s Eves.
“That’s the thing,” I said, “We’ll always be friends.”
“And I apologize,” she said, “That I haven’t been around.”
“There’s no need.”
“Yes, there is, because you are the family that I choose.”

On a recent afternoon at the pool, I ran into one of my former professors (Women’s History and Civil Rights History.) We gave the kid age and gender rundown, since mothers must share those most crucial heart-based facts first. I asked her opinion about The Help. I remembered her discourse on pioneer and immigrant women. “It was a tremendous sacrifice for them, more than most realize, because women need other women. They left their homes, and yes the comforts of civilization, but more than that, they left their networks: their mothers, sisters, cousins and friends, probably to never see them again. Left their people to live often isolated frontier lives.”

I thought of that truth over the breakfast as Anne contemplated a life a thousand miles away.

People come into our lives because they are supposed to: the million coincidences, the friend of a friend, the providential entrances, the chance reunion. Introverts or extroverts, women need each other.

Just like I need you.

31 comments:

La Yen said...

Introvert all the way. Which is why I love that I can text you.

Sharon said...

"...she who is, despite all evidence to the contrary, an introvert." This is blowing my mind because that might be me and I never knew.

dalene said...

YES!

Megling said...

to quote the internet: YES. THIS.
to all of it, the introverted lovely friends and husband who need a break from me and everyone to recharge, the depression that starts to sink in when I go to long without connecting to other people.
Oh to be in Utah and meet you in person.

Kalli said...

I'm an introvert, shockingly enough.

But now more than ever I know that I need my friends. I need my solids, and I can't deny the hand of providence in putting these women into my life.

You know who you are.

myimaginaryblog said...

A while ago on my blog I asserted that I'm an introvert. A couple of my friends (especially ones who haven't met me in real life) didn't believe me--maybe because I'm obnoxious on the internet. I do love people, love to talk, and value relationships very highly. But I crave alone time and need a lot of it.

I had a class at BYU where we read personal writings of LDS women (journals, letters) through various time periods in church history. I remember reading parts of the journal of a young woman, recently married and living at Winter Quarters, whose husband was off on a mission. She spent her days sewing, visiting the sick, going to dances, going to church meetings, and other social engagements--she had a very full social calendar. She hated laundry days, but other than that she sounded very sincereley blithe and happy. I'm sure there were other women, especially the earliest settlers of very rural places, who became quite isolated, but I don't think that was a universal experience.

I don't mean to discount the sacrifice of leaving family and friends behind, but I do think there were often very satisfying compensations.

Miggy said...

Funny--when I took one of those personality tests many moons ago, the one with all the letters I thought for SURE I was an extrovert--like being front and center, not shy, class clown, etc--and when test was over I was an introvert. I was sure it was wrong until the overall pattern had me pegged as "the artist." And I understood that while I need people and fun and parties and all that I also NEED my alone time. So I don't know if that makes me a little bit of both, but extrover or introvert I also really need my female friends. Which is why this moving every 2-4 years is starting to take it's toll...but is also why having the gospel and thus a new ward and thus new women friends makes the moving even possible.

Anyway, I'm here for you. And if I ever get back to P-town lets please have lunch.

Azúcar said...

MIB- It wasn't just an LDS pioneer perspective. I think many of those women, although they had to leave family members behind, had a support structure when they came. The class addressed also those women on the frontier who moved to remote places, usually homesteading, and lived much of their remaining days alone. If you were lucky enough to move someplace where there was a town or another group nearby, you could reestablish a network.

the emily said...

I used to need to be around people but the older I get the more I relish my alone time. But I really need you too, because I swear you make me smarter.

Celeste said...

people.
people who need people.
are the luckiest people in the world.

sorry, i couldn't resist.

Hailey said...

I'm an introvert who needs extroverts around me. And yes, you are one of those extroverts I love to be around.

Melody said...

Oh, my. Beautifully put.

I am alone tonight reading this. I am happy. And happy to know you.

kami @ nobiggie.net said...

beautifully written. I am a total introvert.

But I agree with needing people and the adult conversation.

soybeanlover said...

YES! I totally get this. It also explains why I've been depressed lately(hmm home alone, with kids, all day, in a foreign country...I wonder).

kristib said...

I love "Introverts or extroverts, women need each other." Yes.

And it is strange that although I don't know you, you are the first person I thought of when I saw the delicious-looking pie on the cover of the August issue of bon appetit?

Lani said...

This is great. Personally, I'm having an identity/personality crisis. I can't decide whether I'm an introvert or an extrovert anymore. I crave the company of both types at different times. And I hope you and I can finally meet in person someday!

talkingismyprimaryfunction said...

Here I sit in Poland. My friends and family are in Texas. It's just me and my twin boys home alone all day.

This extrovert is a mess right now. Also, married to an extreme introvert. *sigh*

kym said...

We women need to stick together.

Loved this post. I love people, especially my friends, but oh, how I love my alone time. I am a self-proclaimed introvert. I need time to relish in my thoughts or finish projects without interruption. Conversation comes when I am ready, and then it flows with ease.

However, in the past few years, because my daughter requires a little more time with her disability, I find myself at home alone more than I'd like, or in a dr's office, or at a PT appt, etc... All of which can feel a little too isolating. By Weds or Thurs, I am ready for some female companionship. In fact, my husband is always happy when he hears that I went to lunch or on a walk with a friend... or even better, we just sat around and talked, and of course, laughed. He says he can tell when I have been with one of my friends because I look and seem to feel recharged. (Making me a much nicer person to be around.)

So even though in most settings I prefer not to be the center of attention; I certainly love those that like to observe alongside with me. And then maybe afterwards we can talk about it, or at least text...

Hilary said...

You know, you think a lot about why people are in your life as you leave them. You hear a lot about the blessings you have brought.
It's interesting.

Kacy said...

So did she like The Help?

Azúcar said...
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Azúcar said...
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Azúcar said...
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Azúcar said...

She had some issues with the book. Probably not surprising that I had the same issues. As a story, it's a great tale. As a record of historical accuracy, not so much. The perspective and tropes used are cringe-inducing. I was uncomfortable with a lot of it (and not in the way the author intended.) e.g., The moment Stockett opened with Aibileen in dialect, I had issues.

My prof had the most problems with the character of Miss Celia of Sugar Ditch. Far from being ignorant and welcoming, her previous station would have made her hyper-aware of the differences between the races.

Here are a couple of perspectives:
A True Story from The Help's Daughter.

My Thoughts on The Help - an excellent analysis

Kacy said...

Thanks for the links. Interesting. I haven't seen it or finished the book yet.

Bebe McGooch said...

I read this post thinking it must be an invitation for me (an introvert) to come visit you sometime so I can meet your new little babe! And to visit one of my favorite extroverts as well!

Deb said...

And I need you. xo

Bebe McGooch said...

Thanks so much for the links about The Help, btw.

Angie said...

My heart is aching a little this week because I am the one moving to a life many miles away from the family I have chosen. This was beautifully written and soothed my hurts. Thanks.

acte gratuit said...

Great links! I really liked The Help, but then I'm guilty of being a very superficial reader. Glad to have alternate perspectives to deepen my feelings and thoughts.

Also, when you need some sociality, come on over to San Diego for a visit!

Candybottomgirl said...

Oh man, do I ever need you. It spoke right to my pokey gooey chocolate center at your kitchen table with Alison. We have much in common, us extroverts. Only, you're smarter like by a gazillion times.