Neat, it’s knitters’ night here at the café. There’s a ton of people and even more yarn. Somehow the background chatter helps me to focus on writing. I like it.

The contest entries are blowing me away. I am really excited to choose one from this list. There are so many good ideas here! I’ll have to decide tomorrow and get started on whichever I choose.

On Friday night, the MSG and I went out to dinner at Thep Phanom with Ergazork and tyee. I was delighted by the food, but even more by the company. It’s so nice to spend a quiet evening with friends, when the conversation meanders and wriggles around and shines. And it got me thinking …

I know I’ve written about this before, but the feelings have resurfaced and I can’t find the words to re-read so I can affirm who it is I really am. So it’s time to write about it again.

I have lost friends over my introversion. It isn’t ever as simple as that, but that is what is underneath. Now I understand why I am so drawn to connecting to people online and not off. Interacting with people in person takes a lot out of me, and when I say “a lot” I don’t mean “I’m sleepy afterwards”. I mean I need twice as much time alone as I do with other people. That is one of the reasons my reverse commute was so appealing to me: I get to live in the City, plus I get to be isolated during the ferry ride.

I’m fairly sure that even my closest friends don’t understand how social my job is. When I’m at work 8-10 hours a day, my natural state is to crave being left totally alone for the rest of my weekday. That means I’m not especially chatty on the phone, and making plans, even marginally social ones, is mostly unappealing to me. I like using instant messengers because I can be social while maintaining enough distance so I’m not exhausted by it. It’s the same with this journal; I can have a very slow, very relaxed conversation with a bunch of people I like and respect.

I used to feel just awful about being this way. I used to think, “what is wrong with me?” and blame it on clinical depression or the like. I used to feel so guilty for not wanting to go to parties, and force myself because I didn’t want people to stop liking me. Now I just feel … resigned. This is where it stands with me. Goodness knows I’ve tried to change it. I will continue to extend myself whenever I can, and communicate to my friends when I can’t.

I sometimes go out to dinner alone during the week. I rather enjoy this; I like to read or write while I am waiting for my food to arrive. Five of the last six times I have been out to eat by myself, I’ve had people ask me to eat with them. The look on their faces is always the same: how sad, she has no one to have dinner with. She must be so lonely. I’m sure some people wonder why I go out to dinner by myself when I can make plans with someone I haven’t seen in a while. If I have the time, wouldn’t I want to spend it with my friends? I don’t have a good answer for this except: no. I like being alone, much more than seems socially acceptable, especially for someone who genuinely likes people. You see, I don’t dislike people in general. There are so many wonderful people in my life, and I like them all quite a bit. But I also like seeing them every once in a while instead of every week or two. I can’t even say that I like myself more than I like anyone else. That’s just not true. The two “likes” are so very different.

I would hate to isolate myself so much that I lose even more friends. But my favorite hobbies – writing, reading, and thinking – are all solitary activities. I don’t know how to reconcile these two things in a constructive way.

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.