I don't often get mail. In today's era of social media and technological advances, who does?
I sat across the table from Bill at lunch today, feeling increasingly paranoid that people were staring at me for no apparent reason. I've become familiar with the term "introvert" lately, as I have finally come to terms with the fact that it's a very clear way to define the personality traits that have overcome me in the last few years. I hide from the world, locked away for sometimes days on end, avoiding strangers and enjoying the company of my cats. Sitting there in a restaurant, feeling the eyes of strangers on me - I became unusually self conscious.
There was a time I delighted in the attention of strangers. I loved walking into a crowded room and feeling like everyone there was watching my every move. Those days are long gone, but why? That may be something only a psychologist can answer for now. I've changed. Deep within my core, I've changed. Years ago, I feared being alone. Today, I relish in it.
Human interaction is rare for me now. For the past month, I've worked a total of 4 days, and not having to put myself on the proverbial stage in an aircraft has been an eye-opening experience as to who I truly am these days. I never before gave myself the time to slow down and find out. I'm great with people, and I love making people laugh when I'm around them. But being alone? That's something you can't teach or learn. I didn't "learn" how to be alone. Rather, I discovered it; or more accurately, it discovered me.
When I returned to my home after lunch, the sense of peace settled in over me like a blanket. I checked my mail, brought it all inside and closed the door.
There, among the junk I usually get, I discovered a pastel envelope that felt like it contained a card. My birthday is still several months away, so I couldn't imagine what it could be! When I opened it, I had a bit of a surprise.
There was not only a sweet card, but also a gift card, from my 5th grade teacher, who recently had a photography competition on Facebook. I had apparently won the competition based on my submissions, and this was a congratulatory message.
After feeling so overwhelmed today at lunch, coming home to find this reminded me that it's perfectly OK to be in introvert. I'm still learning how to deal with it, since it's still so new to me, but that's OK too. I'm not alone. Neither are you.