This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!
Although some people seem to find this surprising based on my blog persona, I am an introvert. I am very uncomfortable in group social situations and am usually the one looking for a way to escape. I don’t like crowds, and I don’t like unfamiliar situations. I detest loud and aggressive people. I don’t like being the focus or center of attention. I don’t like drop-in visitors. I don’t enjoy visiting on the phone. I am terrible at polite but meaningless conversation. But… I like people, I am fascinated by them and what makes them tick. I love to interact and have deep-thoughts discussions in one-on-one or small group situations; then I can go on and on for hours.
I find human interaction very draining though, even with people I adore, and require lots of down time/break time/rest time to recharge my batteries. I am happy at home by myself and have no burning need to go out and socialize, that’s why the Internet and blogging are perfect for me… I can have awesome friendships while retaining my personal space.
Independence is something that is incredibly important to me. As an Aquarian, I am freedom loving to the max. Freedom was one of the most used words in my former blog. Give me freedom to choose and room to breathe, and I will thrive; box me in, limit me with excessive rules and expectations, and I start to feeling suffocated… which leads to rebellion (more when I was younger than now) or depression.
Maybe my strong desire for independence and autonomy stems from my sense of being different, and that I don’t fit “in the box” very well. I used to feel that I had to somehow justify why I wanted to be or do something different, why I didn’t measure up to expectations set for me. In recent years I’ve come to embrace my uniqueness and celebrate being me. I am capable of thinking and acting on my own. I am capable of taking care of me. Papa Bear is wonderfully understanding about being ok with whoever I am, and what I want to do or not do. I never feel confined in this relationship, that is a first. He is such a blessing in my life!
Talking about independence and freedom brings to mind memories of times when I had neither. Now I’m talking about incarceration… being confined/detained against my will. I was briefly detained in a jail cell twice in my young adult life as a result of my choices. In the first case I was arrested for shoplifting and released on bond posted by friends in just a few hours. It was an admittedly dumb thing to do, and I’m not sure why I did, I guess just to prove that I could.
However, in the second case, I was not released, but rather remanded to the custody of the State Police in my home state who came, along with my father, in the middle of the night to retrieve me. It’s a long, complicated story, but the short of it is that I had run away from home late in the summer after I graduated from high school to go and live in another state with some people who were members of the same religious group I had joined. My parents knew where I was, and my father siezed this opportunity to get me away from them, which resulted in me being court-committed to a state mental hospital.
As it turns out, I was to be there for a period of 75 days, but I was told by those in control that I would be held there until I conformed to acceptable behavior/choices and was no longer considered “at risk”. In retrospect, I know that my father was acting in what he believed to be in my best interests. He had no idea of the hell he put me through in that place. I figured out very quickly that if I wanted to get out with my mind in tact I’d better play the game as they called it, or at least pay lip service. Thankfully, that worked.
It took me years to overcome the emotional trauma of that experience; and more than forty years later, I can still shut my eyes and replay the scenes in my head. Keep in mind that in the early 1970’s the care and conditions in such places were nothing like they are today. I could tell you horror stories about it… and maybe someday I will.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you enjoy spending time by yourself? Have you ever been placed in a situation where you had no control over what was happening to you?
Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts: