Confessions Of An Introvert
Confession: From childhood up into my 30s, I struggled with feelings of loneliness and being empty inside. It all started with losing my father and some close family members. Since then I've always felt as if people were just coming in and out of my life. I also assumed anyone close to me would leave just as others did.
At a young age I became accustomed to constantly moving due to my dad being in the military. When we lived overseas I would watch Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood everyday. Over time I felt as if he was my friend, part of my family, and even a father figure to me. He'd come on TV everyday to teach some sort of life lesson, or how to be a good person. I loved watching him every chance I could get. At the end of every show, when it was time to go, he would sing his goodbye song saying “Until we see each other next time...” I would then run to the TV and sing with him as I cried. Thinking back, I now realize how odd it was for me to cry at the end of each episode. As a child I thought it was normal because that was my favorite show. There was clearly more to it, right? Even more silly is the fact that I still get excited as an adult when I see this show. Those old feelings come back, and I am immediately filled with happiness, just as I did when I was a child.
As I got older, we eventually moved back to the States. Yet again, I was in a new location away from family and friends. I just wanted to feel normal and loved. I found new ways to use my imagination, and I even created this big happy family in my head. I imagined different ways to feel happiness, joy, and love. I imagined it so much that I started to distance myself from my real family. I started to become what they call a loner, or introvert. Being around people made me feel awkward and uncomfortable, so I avoided it at all cost.
Constantly moving made it hard to keep in touch with people, so I never had close friends. I continued to distance myself, and found every reason to stay in my room. Books became my best friend as I pretended and used my imagination. My books became my new pretend life. I could ignore everything going on outside of my room as I imagined more and more. This wasn’t normal for someone my age, but because I didn't fit in, I kept at it. Truthfully, I didn't try to be social because I didn't want anyone else to leave me. Go figure.
But life continued to happen and death continued to take place. People close to me were dying, and I was losing friends. I continued to move around. Fast forward several years later to my teens, I reconnected with an old friend, while out shopping one day. We ran into each other, and I thought to myself “This is my chance to feel normal again.” I wanted us to be close, like we were as kids. I felt it was fate. Why else would we cross paths after so many years? Especially in a completely different location. But so much time had passed, and things were different. It wasn't the same, and again I felt disappointed. From that moment on I decided never to get close to anyone again. I vowed to stay to myself. Maybe then, life and people would forget I existed and just leave me alone.
It didn't work, but I found more loners to connect with. A connection without words. A feeling of instant friendship until life changed and I was back to feeling alone again. I began to stop trusting others for fear that their only intention was to love me, and then leave. Talk about feeling hurt! As an adult it got to the point where I felt if I was loyal to someone and gave them my all, then and only then would they stay forever, and give me everything I needed. They would then give me all the attention and love I was needing.
Wrong!!! I started to become an angry person. I thought: “Why were they not as loyal to me as I was to them? Why don't they love me? Why don't they care about me? Why am I still alone?” I began to resent people because when I needed them, they weren’t there for me. I began to hold a grudge against everyone. Crazy right? But that's how I thought.
Finally, the breakthrough was coming. One day I just got tired of being hurt, tired of feeling alone and empty. I was tired of not getting anywhere in life. I was tired of trying to find happiness and trying to find love that made me feel as high as cloud nine. It was in that moment I realized, I wasn’t loyal to myself. I was chasing everyone else, but not chasing myself. I was helping everyone, but not helping myself. I had to learn how to love myself, respect myself, and care for myself. I had to work on my own goals and dreams. I needed to make ME happy. I needed to love myself the way I wanted others to love me. I started as a young child not acknowledging my own worth. No matter how many times someone said I was special, beautiful, and loved, I never felt it. I felt those compliments couldn’t be true because everyone kept leaving me, so I must not be worthy of anything.
I’ve been feeling this way for as long as I could remember. It has taken my entire life to get that way of thinking corrected. Once I realized my issues, I was able to work on myself and move on with my life. I am not ashamed to admit I needed a complete do-over.
I now know I'm worthy of love. I want to feel complete and happy with my life. I want to reach my goals because they are important to me and not anyone else. To anyone out there struggling with self-love, remember to show yourself loyalty first. Always know you’re worthy of love. Life is full of changes, and people will leave your life, but that’s okay. You will be okay.