Thursday, December 27, 2012

"I" Before "E" Except After "C"

Vacation is waning, waxing into twilight.

I'm 2/3 of the way through this glorious week filled with nothing much and it dawns on me tonight it's time to get back to my regularly scheduled program which does not include leisurely morning coffee in front of the computer or long, luxurious, afternoon naps or bathrobe-wrapped evenings writing or listening to music from the past.

The first 6 days haven't been just that, to be sure. I've been out and about doing and seeing and feeding and feeling and giving and receiving and all that crap. There have been planned outings and unexpected urgencies and people who continue to need me even when there's not much me left to give. That's nothing new.

The difference is that there is much more me to offer when I have a break between demands to re-charge.

And that's what this week has been. A long-overdue opportunity to re-charge even as fresh requests for my time are issued.

Lex made a comment just a bit ago. He said, "Your stress level is way down. I can tell. You've really seemed to enjoy this vacation...needed this vacation. I didn't know until now just how stressed you've been."

That surprised me. He would have been the only one to know really.

A couple of months ago, I had a complete emotional meltdown on him. I was mired down with stress and angst and had NO MORE JUICE. It was an epic meltdown in which I demanded of him that I just get some gawd damn alone time already! He was making me nuts! I didn't realize I'd been letting resentment build and build and build - not being transparent, trying to manage my expectations - until he invited someone else in to share our space too frequently.

I snapped.

It was ugly.

We've mostly gotten past it.

But it wasn't until last night when he reluctantly announced, fairly late, that his visiting from out-of-town friend and friend's new girlfriend were on their way over and all I said was, "Great!" that he finally realized just how much I needed this down time.

He finally got it. He finally understood that I ride the line - sometimes a delicate one - between introvert and extrovert.

I am, at my core, an introvert. I need lots and lots of down time in order to function in a world full of people who need lots of my attention and time. But I'm also an extrovert in some ways. I thrive in the attention of other people. I need and want and love to give people my time, my energy, my attention when I've got it. It's a constant battle between these two sides of me.

It's why, for me, "home" is reserved for ME time. I rarely invite people into The Grotto and, when I do, it's because I have both energy to spare and can control when they leave. Otherwise, it's me going out and expending that extroverted energy away from "home". It's why Lex and I have, mostly, gotten on so well...because he is a consummate introvert and doesn't want anyone to interact with him pretty much ever...

Until he does. And then he wants them to only interact with him in his space, on his time. You know, like an introvert.

Which is fine...except when it's not. And why I imploded.

He and I both would do well to remember this one grammatical rule.

While it should never be all about me, we would do well to remember it's "I" before "E"...except after "C". 

Introvert before Extrovert except after Charge.


Gaelyn said...

Being in a similar dichotomy I'm glad others like to "be" the house to gather at.

Unknown said...

Are you sure we aren't the same person?

Unknown said...

As an introvert who functions as an extrovert when at work with students, the down-time, alone time is entirely necessary. It has been hard accepting my mostly hermit status outside of work. Really hard, since it feels way outside that damn word, "normal." Yet more inner work that needs done inside my head, grr. Thanks for helping me to feel a little less "alone" in my introversion!

Graciewilde said...

I;m right there with Melanie. I have to be the extrovert and I can do that well but it leaves me exhausted. I must have ALONE time. Sigh. and breathe.