Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thursday Thoughts...

“Socializing is as exhausting as giving blood. People assume we loners are misanthropes, just ­sitting thinking, ‘Oh, people are such a bunch of assholes,’ but it’s really not like that. We just have a smaller tolerance for what it takes to be with others. It means having to perform. I get so tired of communicating.” 

Anneli Rufus

I think more folk than we realise actually like being alone, enjoy that time, find it necessary even in order to do what they do in their lives.  I think it's a great descriptor "we just have a smaller tolerance for what it takes to be with others". That describes it pretty well for me - it's not that I don't like people, I do, I just don't seem to have as large a supply of the energy needed for the exchanges that are involved in socialising. I just get tired.

We have been pondering lately how different people's bodies are calibrated differently and some of us just don't tolerate as much of something (caffeine, sugar, fats, onions...whatever) in their diets as others do. And it seems I am just calibrated a bit differently, and don't have the same amount of energy for being with people, especially in groups, as others do. And that's fine really.

I enjoy people and their stories, I enjoy chatting one on one, I enjoy dinner parties with friends and coffee catch-ups, and I really enjoy coming home and being quiet.  For work-work I often have to facilitate large groups or host events for up to 500 people and I give out a lot of energy and perform.  I do it, I often enjoy it and yet I know I will go home exhausted. My supplies are depleted.

I just like being reminded every now and again that it's OK to be the quiet one, the introvert, the loner.

©2010 Fiona Dempster - detail of perspex engraved over paper "In silence stillness comes..."

26 comments:

  1. here's to all the loners of the world *raises glass*

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  2. Seems we're on the same wavelength, Fiona, and that line "we just have a smaller tolerance for what it takes to be with others" really does resonate :)

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    1. So true Robyn - it feels right for us doesn't' it? Sitting quietly, doing stuff...

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  3. Yes, exactly... and yet I still feel guilty for needing that stillness.

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    1. Mmmm Robyn, yes. Socially it can be hard to explain or not feel bad about in certain situations, and not appear selfish or rude too sometimes. But still, it is what nurtures and feeds me and I can't live without it.

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  4. Oh yes.. me, too. I imagine many of us creative types are this way. After all, there is a lot of time alone in the studio for us.

    I had my students here for a field trip all day on Saturday. We were running around in the forest, I was storytelling and singing and drumming and playing the Wise Woman of the Forest role. When they finally left, I crashed on the sofa for two hours. I'm usually here with my kitty, so 11 18-20 somethings was overwhelm! I'm back to stillness now as the semester has ended. I love your engraved Stillness.

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    1. Yes Valerianna, I totally get your two hour crash-out on the sofa afterwards! It's good to give, and great to share but boy do you need to re-fill and re-stock after. Go well.

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  5. As an introvert, I totally "get" this. Susan Cain has a great video on introverts (people that get energy and recharge their batteries via solitude and stillness) on the TEDtalksDirector YouTube channel. I won't post the link here, but I think you would enjoy it. :)

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    1. Hi Jane - I think there are a few of us around! I loved that TED talk and went and bought the book and also really enjoyed that. It's just nice to know we are not alone.

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  6. Only recently I started following at page at Facebook called Introverts Are Awesome. I've always been an introvert, need a ton of alone time, and connecting with others of my ilk has definitely broadened my perspective. I spend 99% of my time alone these days, and have never been happier!

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    1. Love it Connie! 'Tis good to find your tribe even if you're an introvert right? It's good to feel like you belong, without having to be there chatting! Time alone is nearly always time well spent I think...

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  7. It's always nice to have a little 'company' in my need for solitude, so I appreciate this quote and your observations about it, Fiona (& those of you who have also been inclined to comment on your need for solitude). I grew up in a very sociable family, and it took me a while to officially recognize/acknowledge just how much solitude I need to be content/feel balanced, but when I look back I see the 'trait' was always there. I suppose the difference now is that I don't lose (too much!) time feeling guilty about it. In Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh has a lot to say in praise of solitude. One such passage proposes that everyone "should be alone sometime during every year, some part of each week, and each day."
    I, too, raise my glass to all of us...and the beautiful work that we are able to contemplate & create in moments of solitude...

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  8. I like that approach Lisa- despite a desire for solitude there is still the desire for company/belonging, or at least with kindred spirits. I don't dislike people at all; I just deal best with them in small numbers and for short bursts. As I grow older I definitely worry less about needing to be there and be involved with and for other people - I still participate, but like you feel less guilty about those times when I just have to head off. Cheers to you as well - and to all that we create in those quiet times. Go well.

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  9. Just read this post for the second time as well as the comments. It truly is nice to know that I am in rather good company. A total introvert, I crave solitude and quiet at times - need them in fact - to recharge and restore my soul. My husband is very understanding of this and lets me take off for a weekend (or week...Pittsburgh and DC last week and Kansas at the end of May) alone while he cares for the girls.

    There is still the desire/need for connecting with kindred spirits. I am thankful to have found many thru the blogging world. It's opened the world.

    Enjoy!

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    1. So true Jennifer isn't it - blogging has enable us to participate in solitude in a way...we all catch up, hear what we're doing, talk about what we've done or seen, and yet we can do it happily and quietly on our own. A weird but wonderful thing! It's so wonderful when those close to us understand this part of us, and realise how we need that down time in order to fully be present and giving when we need to be. Here's cheers!

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    2. yet another amen. this is so true for me, anyway.

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    3. No need to say more is there really V? I think a few of us find a truth here...

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  10. I am not an introvert but rather a 'small-grouper' but I do so connect with what Lisa said above about how everyone should be alone sometime during each year, week, and day... so true but so difficult to manage in family life. I have to work at it - and especially at not feeling guilty about it. I also connect with the need for kindred spirits and the blessings of the art world and blogging. I'm quite new to it all but I find the knowledge that there are others out there battling with the same things very reassuring indeed. Thank you for sharing and letting me muscle-in on your conversations and allowing me to see your lovely work with its own sense of stillness and repose. That for me is the greatest blessing of all.

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  11. Thanks Charlton - you are most welcome at the table! The connections one can make across the world and across time zones and to participate in albeit distant ways in the creative process and results thereof are wonderful gifts to have access to in this interweb age I think. It has certainly been a boon for quiet folk like me who would never talk this much about themselves in other settings! I too think the quote from Lisa is one to ponder further - quiet time or solitude built in an important part of each day, week year...

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  12. your "stillness" is gorgeous!
    seems there are a lot of introverts in the blogging world. I can relate to every thing you have shared here. lovely weekend to you !

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    1. Thanks Tammie Lee - it almost feels as if blogging is a platform for both introverts and extroverts equally, and yet for different reasons. Glad you like stillness - it suits the softness of the paper behind the Perspex I think. Go well.

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  13. I cope best when I'm in a one-on-one or small group situation, and I'm very happy to be alone. Having to make small talk is one of my least favourite occupations and I think this is why I love to blog, and read blogs of like-minded people. Fiona, you mentioned finding your tribe - the perfect description of how I feel about the art community I find here. These are wonderful comments to go with your lovely, gentle post.

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    1. Thanks so much Carol - sorry to be so late with my reply. It's best for me too in those smaller group situations, and blogs do allow us to chat without too much conversation if that makes sense. We are fortunate to live in a time when we can share like this I think...

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I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.