Another Piece of the Puzzle

Let’s talk about me.

(But Kari, I don’t want to talk about you.)

Then you shouldn’t have clicked on the link.  It’s my blog and I want to talk about me.

(Fine.  What about you now?)

You ever have days when you look in the mirror and you aren’t sure what, exactly, you’re looking at?

(…I thought we were talking about you.)

I have days when I look in the mirror and I’m not sure what I’m looking at.  The good news is that they’ve been coming less frequently because I finally figured it out.

I am a puzzle.

I don’t mean that I am a problem you have to tilt your head at and consider before coming up with a solution.  I mean a puzzle made up of many pieces, and only in putting them together you can see a complete picture.

I’ve spoken of other pieces of my identity before, pieces I have struggled and searched to discover, but this one’s easy.

I’m an introvert.

(You?  Really?  I had no idea!)

Okay, if you’re being sarcastic…rude.

Some people, on finding this out, are genuinely surprised because I “like people.”  And I do…you know, usually.

But god, are they exhausting.

I know some people who seem more energized the longer they spend time with people.  It doesn’t work that way for me.  I start an event with a certain amount of fuel, and people slowly drain it out of me.  It’s why I was always more tired working four hours at the library than I ever am spending all day in my little cubicle.

The hard part is that it’s impossible to tell where my energy levels will land.  I last longer with a few close friends than in crowds of strangers, but if I start tired or anxious anyway, I require more energy to be social.  When I’m having a “bad week,” I can barely find any at all.  Alcohol can boost it some, but when I get to the point where I’m too tired to even drink, there’s no coming back from that.

(All right, I get it.  So why are you telling me this now?)

Because, for better or worse, it’s part of me and it affects how I interact with the world.  It kept me from doing something this weekend that would have been fun if I weren’t so worn out to begin with.  And that particular occasion reiterated something I’ve been learning as I try to take better care of myself: you have to listen to your body.  Even as I am trying to say yes more, “I can’t right now” can still be the right answer.  Even the people who mean to be looking out for you are not inside your head.  They may not see every puzzle piece.  Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine how each one is going to fit together.

It may not always look the way you want, but it’s going to feel a whole lot better.

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Categories: Tuesday Update | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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