And here you see, an otherwise fairly busy street in my city, in the dead of night (around 2:30am). In all 4 directions, not a car or person in sight. All is silent all around me, sparing a running locomotive on the tracks somewhere to the west of me. For me, this is the best time of any to walk around.
One thing that has stuck with me pretty much my whole life (beginning in my early to late teen years), has been my enjoyment of the nothingness that the city at night provides. No matter what situation I was stuck in within daily life at the time, was all forgotten on these walks (or if I had the means, bike rides). One of my favourite areas to ride or walk around in, being the east end of the city, home to many hills, a few parks and a bike path that leads right out of town, if you have the time and energy to make the journey.
For me (in optimal weather anyway), these late-night lingers have been a great time for reflection. A time of peace and quiet, in which case you can let your mind wander pretty much where ever, be it on an important or pressing issue of the time, or on nothing in general.
I just came across this pic on Facebook, and it seems to fit right in with this entry, because of its accuracy in my life. When I’m out for my walks, I’m not ever really alone. These are emotions that are only stirred up by the presence of either people I am uncomfortable with (in the past, classmates. In the present, nasty customers and some current co-workers). And these feelings are also stirred up by idle time, times when you’re just sitting around doing nothing. This is why I try to minimize the downtime in my life.
My loner tendencies, like some other aspects of my life and personality, has in the past, been something that I’ve always tried to reverse and fight, with really no luck. Like other aspects of my personality and existence, I’ve always been told by friends, family and society in general, that being a loner is a negative thing. People who enjoy being alone, are strange, weird and otherwise odd. And I have always heard this, yet never EVER grown used to the situations that I am “supposed” to enjoy, such as a crowded noisy bar.
That was before I discovered the term “Introvert“.
Contrary to what most people think, an introvert is not simply a person who is shy. In fact, being shy has little to do with being an introvert! Shyness has an element of apprehension, nervousness and anxiety, and while an introvert may also be shy, introversion itself is not shyness. Basically, an introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people.
Introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind. They enjoy thinking, exploring their thoughts and feelings. They often avoid social situations because being around people drains their energy. This is true even if they have good social skills. After being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to “recharge.”
This was a term that I had just come across fairly recently, maybe a year or 2 ago. Which brought it all into perspective. Extroverts thrive on social interaction. Being with people and in crowds energizes and drives them. Introverted personalities however thrive on alone time.
Unfortunately for us though, since extroverted personalities dominate the world, and introversion is not well understood, us introverts all to often get looked at in a negative light, because of our differing personality from the norm.
For me, though knowing this years ago would have been great, self-awareness now is also great.
Being on these “reflection” walks has taught me a lot. And in recent years, the most important lesson is that pandering to the bias and misinformation of others is not worth the effort. As is demanding those around you to accept you as a person.
I once tried to shy away from showing the more “controversial” areas of my personality (such as my interest in online religious and political debate) by throwing up obstacles so friends and family didn’t have to see or “face” it. But I’ve recently made a new life rule, mainly in terms of my online persona (my most visible one to my friends and family).
As opposed to building a brick wall around my hobbies and interests by using aliases and other methodology of “hiding” my activities, I decided to just post openly, like myself (into various groups and onto various pages on Facebook). Though my activities were never directed or involving friends or family, they may have been indirectly able to see due to news feed posts (Facebook is nearly impossible to configure).
The idea is one of 2 things. The first is a way to let the Christians on my list know that the Christians and there at times idiotic prayer requests (such as to clear up a runny nose), are not the dominant ones (these posts have always irked me when I thought I had to hide mine).
And the 2ed was to just forget about other people and BE AS I AM. Drop the act, be me, with no expectations. Do not ask those around you for acceptance, leave the choice to them. Either they get used to it and move on, or they don’t. For those that don’t, whatever (they were likely to drag in your life anyway).
So in a nutshell, I guess this post is about self-acceptance and putting it above all else. If you are different from “the normal” people in society, you should not look at that in a negative way, you should embrace it. And when it comes to how “people” will react, though it may seem unimaginable at first, you must be yourself.
Show your true colours. You do run the risk that some, may get offended/weird-ed out (whatever), but in the big picture, THOSE folks are probably dragging on you anyway!
The people that stick with you, are your true friends and allies