A common misconception when people first meet me, is to naturally assume that I am outgoing and an a natural extrovert. Probably because I teach drama, write and direct shows, and come across as quirky and bubbly.
Yes, I can do all those things – but believe me when I say:
I LOVE ‘me time’, I love being alone, getting lost in a book or in a gripping series, or hanging out in a coffee shop (by myself- ha).
Introverted people can be conversational, confident, creative. YET, they desperately need time alone to recharge. Extroverts feel charged up and energized when they are with people, are in big crowds, leading conversations. They thrive and recharge around people, and enjoy being busy.
I have always preferred smaller crowds to that of bigger busier crowds. I can chat with everyone, but small talk kills me – I literally feel as if the life is being drained from me in small talk. Yet, I can very easily get lost in deep conversation with strangers to people I know rather well. People open up to very quickly with me, and often looked shocked after saying to me;
“Cass, I am so sorry, I am not sure why I told you all of that?” (Maybe I give off that Oprah meets- Tyra Banks meets – Dr Phil vibes???)
I’m used to it though, and I love that people feel comfortable around me, and trust me that way.
My personality allows for me: to read the atmosphere of the room, to read someones body language and emotional presence, and I somehow know how to be around and adapt in that space comfortably, and somehow make others feel comfortable in different atmospheres.
But because I feel things easily, and strongly, I get drained VERY quickly. Hence, down time and alone time = are my favourite times.
Being a drama teacher can be emotionally exhausting, as you’re easily dealing with 100’s of different personalities daily/weekly. Then add being a mom to a child who is emotionally sensitive, and you can very easily feel like vapor at the end of most days.
Malakai (my son) and I are very similar. He feels everything strongly and is very intuitive, therefore, he feels what I feel, I feel what he feels, and YIP – we are both riding an emotional roller coaster 24/7 (ha, it’s crazy and wild!)
Malakai is also currently the only child, which means I am:
- His best friend (until dad comes home) his mom,
- His psychologist,
- His teacher slash tutor,
- His personal chef,
- His cheerleader (he thrives on affirmation)
- and everything else that he may need.
Then I still need to do everything else :
- Grocery shop,
- Menu plan,
- Sorting out the house,
- Planning everyone’s schedules and around everyone’s schedules,
THEN, let’s not forget there is:
- Freelance work,
- AND other life commitments (work functions, birthdays, baby-showers, bridal showers,weddings, and hey maybe the odd funeral #RIP)
It’s hard to find those moments where I can just switch off and recharge in and among-st the daily hustle.
Please don’t think I am moaning or feeling sorry for myself. Some people thrive off keeping this busy, I kinda admire that quality in others. Me on the other hand – I honestly cannot keep up without coming close to a burn out.
Because I am wired differently, and If I am not aware of pacing myself and honoring my pace – I know that I will fall apart. Been there done that, and failed hopelessly. I tried to keep up according to what I perceived to be the “normal” way of going about things. I was hard on myself, and pushed myself to do it like all those “perfect in control women”…
Meanwhile, I was suffering in the process, and ignoring what I truly needed:
- Slowing down,
- Breathing a little more,
- Having more grace and being kinder to myself,
- and lastly embracing the idea of resting – without feeling guilty- and doing it whenever I felt it necessary.
If I had too be honest with you, there are days where I feel guilty, because I can’t emotionally always keep up like I would like too. But after experiencing a burn out, I can honestly say that it’s not worth it to go back there.
Therefore, I know I need to have healthy honest boundaries in place, and communicate with loved ones that I need down time, alone time, as a means of resting and recharging. I’d rather also communicate with family and friends about it, instead of suffering in silence or have them assume that I am being off and weird towards them. Support and understanding from loved ones are so important, if not vital.
INTROVERTED MAMA OR FELLOW FRIEND PLEASE REMEMBER…
- Whether you are introverted or extroverted, it’s important to take care of yourself.
- Feed your soul in a way that is special and personal to you.
- Look after yourself, as a means of looking after your family and those around you.
- Let family and close friends in when it comes to your mental and emotional health.
- Don’t suffer in silence, communicate, off load, embrace support and encouragement from loved ones.
- It’s okay to take time out for yourself, as much as you need to. Every person is different, and how they recharge is different. Do what works for you.
AND LASTLY, IF NOT MOST IMPORTANTLY…
You are not a failure as a mom / wife / friend / father / husband, if you can’t seem to do it all, or do it like the next person.
Your journey, your life experience , your wiring is unique and different, therefore, live it differently to that of the next.
Your life is not worthy of comparison, take care of yourself, and know that you are doing YOUR best by looking after the heart and soul of who you are.
Pics Via Nestling Photography.