“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” -Barbara de Angelis
I think this quote is true, although I am not sure if it is true because I am a woman, an introvert, or if it boils down to a combination of the two. Granted, I do believe that men can also require moments of solitude and reflection, but I really don’t have any personal experience with what it is like to be a man. I can only speak as a woman.
I am an introvert, so I know full well how important it is for me to have time in my own space. I can enjoy being with people in a loud and active environment…for a time, even a rather large chunk of time, but ultimately I can only do that if I have the ability to recharge in my own space. By my own space, I mean not only being in the comfort of my own home, or really any place so long as I have a measure of solitude, but also the ability to be in my own head space, for it is inside my head that the chaos reigns.
At any given moment, there are at least a dozen thoughts running through my mind, from the mundane to the complicated. Unfortunately, sometimes those thoughts keep me awake when I am most desperately in need of sleep. Most of these thoughts are not stressful. They are frequently just random, innocuous and uncontrollable. A few nights ago, I lost a couple of hours of sleep due to popcorn thoughts about screen printing, squatting, an unused game sitting in the closet that might appeal to a young girl I know, a potential name for a potential collaboration between Abby and I, and at least a dozen more completely unimportant thoughts. Being out and about and social doesn’t stop those thoughts from flooding my mind. Clearing my head may occur in a variety of ways, but it seldom takes place at all unless I am immersed in solitude and self-reflection.
While I would never take it upon myself to speak for how others see me, I like to believe that I am a giving, thoughtful person, at least most of the time. At work, I put a lot of myself into what I do. My job is menial and greatly unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but I strive to do my job well. My job involves dealing with the public and quite often that public is rude, obnoxious, and ignorant. Dealing with the public is emotionally, mentally and physically draining. Is it any wonder that I feel mentally fried by the end of my Friday?
Interactions with good friends is a different situation entirely. I truly enjoy spending time with the special, amazing people who are important to me. I can give much more of myself with these people before ever feeling like I am draining my batteries. Tomorrow afternoon I get to spend some time with three special, lovely little girls, and I am looking forward to it with pleasure. I cannot help but love these girls. They belong to my coach/trainer/friend and his equally amazing wife who is also my friend. The person I am takes great joy in being able to help a friend, even if this friend might think I am a brave woman for wanting to take his energetic daughters for a few hours in the afternoon. I don’t think I am being particularly brave. I just see it as doing what I can do in an effort to bless a friend, and really, those girls are the cutest and most fun to spend time with!
But the fun comes tomorrow afternoon. For now, for tonight, I am soaking up my opportunity for solitude and self-reflection. After the day that I’ve had, I need it. Desperately. The one positive from the craziness of the day…I haven’t had even a moment to dwell on yesterday’s squat frustration! At work, I am “in charge” only twice a week, on Saturday and Tuesday. Most of the time, my days in charge are rather good days, I think; however, the past three “in charge” days have been complicated by technical issues beyond my control. While I can roll with the punches and keep my feet moving despite treading on an uneven surface, the stresses of the work day can take their toll on me mentally and physically. I am exhausted, although it probably doesn’t help that I lost the last three hours of sleep last night due to waking up at 1:00 AM and being unable to fall back asleep until my alarm rang at 4:00 AM.
I had some errands to run after work and a cup of coffee to consume. Once the errands were run, then I had stuff to get done at home before I could even begin to think about taking time for myself. I am currently enjoying a quiet house. Two children are quietly occupied in their own spaces. One child is at work. My husband is at the gym. The quiet is most lovely, soothing and restorative. Soon I shall drag myself to bed, because I need the sleep. Tomorrow is a new day, and I shall be fresh and recharged to face all that it brings my way.