I’m leaving New Orleans tomorrow afternoon to go back home. In my last post, I talked about the feeling of loneliness and disorientation that I had felt during those first few days of the trip. In my case, the feelings weren’t coming from being alone, but more from being almost constantly with people (even those I love). I crave fairly large periods of alone time…it is during this time that I recharge my internal batteries; physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Walking through the streets of New Orleans with my brother and niece, I could see them come alive as we stopped to watch and listen to street bands and performers. I, on the other hand, was much more drawn to the quiet interiors of places like the St. Louis Cathedral and the Voodoo Spiritual Temple.
The older I get, the more I realize how vital it is to know ourselves. I’ve had countless conversations with people who have spent all of their lives thinking that there was something wrong with them for not being “more outgoing”. Even as small children, they were told to go outside and play (instead of staying inside reading a book) and often the message was, “there is something wrong with you if you don’t act like everyone else.”
When I was much younger (in my teens and early twenties) I didn’t like to be alone. I was constantly planning parties and get-togethers. When I turned 30, I got sober and found that I didn’t even know how to talk to people. I had no idea who I was. I’d always assumed that I was very outgoing, and so when I took a Myers Briggs personality test and came up a strong introvert, I was shocked and insulted. I thought it meant that I was a social misfit. I subsequently learned that being “introverted” was simply a way that some people (including me) processed life and life experience.
After spending 9 days with two people who see the world in their own unique ways (and who are much more extroverted than I am) I feel in awe of way that we are all so different, and how this is so perfect.
Today I plan to celebrate the perfection that is me. How about you? Would you care to join me?
p.s. I did go into the pool yesterday ….without my swim suit*
“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences”. Audre Lorde
* The B and B I’m staying at has a swimming pool is “clothing optional”