Picture this: It’s late in the evening, there are a bunch of my very close friends downstairs in my home and I’m hiding in my bedroom. It’s a common occurrence when I host parties, though the scene is surprisingly similar if you are hosting the party as well. Except in that situation, I might be hiding in your bedroom rather than mine. I’m not panicking per-se, I just need a break, a small little, what I like to call, ‘baby break’.
See, I’m an outgoing introvert. This is a fairly new term and while everything I read about it seems to easily describe every single person on the planet, I very much identify with that term. In classes I took on Psychology in college I remember Exteroverts were categorized as such if they get their “batteries” recharged by being around other people and on the flip side Introverts get recharged by being alone.
I can turn “it” on all day, but when I need to turn it off, man it has to go off. Like really off!
I didn’t realize this about myself as I was growing up until I moved to Austin in high school. I grew up on a horse/cattle farm in Washington State, so before moving to Texas my hours of getting overwhelmed by chaos and highly social situations were logged at around approximately zero. If anything, I spent way more time, on horseback, gazing at the skyline in silence, dreaming of what life would be like when I moved to the big city one-day. Not once, in one of those daydreams, did I picture myself hiding in my room, during a super fun party filled with my favorite friends. Who knew?
I didn’t even realize it about myself when in college I would just up and leave a party at some point during the night. Always embarrassed to say I wanted to go home, I would usually mention offhandedly that I was going to go use the restroom, pray that no girlfriends would say they needed to go too, and then I would poof, disappear. It became known that if I ever told you that I would “meet you there”, you would not see me again until the next day at best. Let’s hope my friends loved me enough to forgive my disappearing act or it must have been that my daytime schtick was strong enough to at least get invited back to the next party.
Once I graduated I entered the extremely social world of advertising. There I would stay “on” with friends, colleges and clients often until the wee hours of the morning working. I would soon realize that once I got home at night I couldn’t even watch TV because the noise of it would be too much. When I got home I would sit in complete silence for a bit to regain myself. This was often confusing to guys I would date who would see me so outgoing during the day, laughing and telling stories, only to hang out with me at night and see my true introvert on full blast.
Fast forward a few years to marrying my “shy-extroverted” husband and add a baby into the picture and you get some time for real soul-searching. The isolation of having a new baby and not working right away was confusing. I missed my daily banter with co-workers and clients but enjoyed the quiet moments with a sleeping baby. Long story short, it’s been a battle of trying to find the balance. Some years I’ve over committed to too many social things and end the year feeling drained and off kilter. Other years I’ve scaled back so much that I feel isolated and lonely and begin to feel I’m losing my social skills all together.
All I can do is continue to juggle. I have amazing friends who understand that while I want to do absolutely every fun thing around I might need throw up the white flag every once in a while and opt out. I also have to check in with myself. Make sure I’m not over committing or under committing and remind myself that it’s my job to stay on top of it so that my family doesn’t suffer and only get what’s left over at the end of the day/week/month/year. I take self-care pretty seriously because I’ve seen what damage can be done by ignoring it but am still pretty bad at it if I’m honest, but I’m working on it.
I do little things that make me feel like I’m taking care of myself. I’ve gotten really interested in the effects of essential oils and if nothing else during the day a big whiff of Surrender, or Joy, or Christmas Spirit can remind me to take a deep breath and to slow down. I now have a ridiculously long face regimen at night with several steps which, even if I didn’t get to shower that day, I still feel like a human being with a nice clean face at bedtime.
And most importantly I allow myself to hide in the bathroom, for that “baby break”, whenever I need it and I don’t feel bad about it. Even if it is, pretty weird.
Oh and I escape into Podcasts…but that’s another blog…like literally another one of my blogs. Go check it out!
So my mantra is “Hide if you have to, but be true to you”!
Hey that would make a great bumper sticker!