Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Confessions of an Introvert

1800s Library
Flickr Credit: Barta IV

Being an introvert is pretty chill. Three other members of my families are introverts, so it’s never been an issue—but I guess it has its drawbacks.

For example, as I write this, I have forgotten I like to read.

This is actually not as weird as it sounds. I first came across this idea in The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney, but it’s actually happened in cycles throughout my life. Basically, if an introvert doesn’t trigger a long-term memory association, then they may not remember that they like a thing. Everything seems sort of lame—everything (source).

Now, at least for me, this isn’t like, sporadic amnesia. I know I like to read. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t own so many books, follow so many book blogs, or be awaiting books in the mail. But at this moment, I can’t really remember why it’s fun.

The language? The plot? The villains? I mean, conceptually they all sound okay, but I can’t think of a specific example of why I loved a book I have read off the top of my head. There are reasons for this, of course:

a) the last few books I have read were filled with unadulterated suckishness, and the book I’m currently reading is for school

b) my bookshelf is packed away because of basement renovations, and whether or not the environment I’m in has anything to do with it, I do not have any books I considered fun at my immediate disposal

c) I’m not with anyone who can tell me why I like to read; I was with my best friend earlier, and we gushed over Fairest and Challenger Deep, and she could actively remind me of things I valued in those books—I, alone, have nothing

I have plenty of reading material on my Kindle, I have a growing TBR list kept online, I have a few “fun” physical books I was supposed to get through this summer, and I’m not opposed to the principle of reading.

I just don’t remember why I love to read—and thus, have no desire to pick up a book.

Does that sound scary? It kind of does, if I think about it. The desire to do something I like up and walked away one day, and though you know it was enjoyable at the time, it’s hard to imagine doing it now.

But I’m not worried. As I said, it cycles. There have been times when I haven’t liked, writing, activities, school, my family, and other things I typically appreciate, but the desire always comes back. For now, I’m content to enjoy things I do remember I like, like watching TV, spending time with my family, and writing—and when my desire to read comes back, I’ll happily resume whatever book I opened last.

Are you an introvert who experiences these sorts of things? How do you cope?

12 comments :

  1. My family is a mix of extroverts and introverts (but we introverts slightly outnumber), so I find personality types kind of interesting to read about. I've never heard of this before, but it actually makes sense! I've gone through periods of disinterest, but I always figured it was more of a slump or burnout. Usually, I just do whatever is keeping my interest at the moment until the other interest is sparked again.

    Very interesting!

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    1. It's definitely interesting to see where the dividing lines are, especially in families. It's something interesting, eh? But I agree with you there; usually I stick to where the fire is and wait until the spark to return elsewhere. Thanks for commenting, Jameson!

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  2. I know EXACTLY what you mean. This has happened to me with reading and other things as well. I went an entire year without watching television once. It started out I just wanted a break, but then I sort of...forgot that I even liked it. I didn't feel any desire to resume anything I had been watching. Now, THAT experience was actually quite good for me. But the whole not-reading thing is simply awful.

    It's one of the downsides to being an introvert, I think, although I've never really thought of it before. I can "forget" that I really like to hang out with my friends if I haven't been out for awhile! It sounds ridiculous, but it can be really hard to get back into the system of doing things you haven't done in awhile.

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    1. Huh, I feel like that would be super weird for me, just because I watch movies so much. Still, it's a great comparison, and I feel like yes, in that regard it would even be beneficial. Reading is a little different, though.

      I have felt that way, too! Hanging out with friends can sometimes be exhausting, and can cause a desire to withdraw, and then you can forget your favorite times spent with them. It takes some diligence on our part to keep our friends happy.

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  3. This is totally me--sometimes I go through times where I won't read anything, and then I'll swing in the other direction and read all the things. Although, if I'm not busy enough to get out of reading, I won't lose interest. But this applies to other areas of my life even more. Like, people wonder why I don't miss family members when they leave home or when I'm away, and I feel bad to admit it, but I really don't miss them. I don't even think of them much, and that doesn't mean I don't love or value them. It's just that they're out of the immediate picture--sort of on the back burner.

    I'm glad you live with other introverts. I have a few in my family, but I have one family member who thinks that being an introvert is somehow being disabled, and thus I should change and be more extraverted if I want to be a healthy person. Oh well, I'm glad to be an introvert.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Me too! Sometimes for me it depends on what I've been reading, or whether I feel motivated. It can be weird. Sometimes I don't miss family members when they're away, either. The back burner is a good way to put it!

      That is terrible. Clearly that person you know needs a firm talking to by a sensical introvert. I'm glad that we're both introverts!

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  4. I've never thought about this much actually, but I've definitely experienced it, even with reading sadly. I don't have as much time to read at the moment, so when I don't read regularly, I forget how much I like to read when I do have the time and consequently don't read. It's the same with a lot of things actually. I even forget how nice it can be to go out and see people when it's been a while since I made myself go and socialise. I'm very lucky in that almost all my family are introverts to some extent, so everyone understands our weirdness.

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    1. That's exactly how I feel! It's like once we introverts take a break from the cycle, we can forget to step back on again afterwards. I've definitely felt the same with people, too, but I'm glad your introverted family is able to be there for you!

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  5. YES! I've never connected it to my introversion, but I go through phases like no one can imagine. I'll be completely dedicated to a hobby for a while, and then spend all my money/time/energy on it; only to burn myself out and forget why I enjoyed it so much two weeks later. WHY DO WE DO THIS???
    Anyway, I hope you start to enjoy reading soon. But even if you don't, just try to enjoy this time as a well deserved little break, instead of forcing yourself into a hobby that you don't enjoy right now.
    Beth x
    www.thequietpeople.com

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    1. It's kind of nice, at least for me, to have science behind it, you know? I do exactly the same, and wonder about it, but it makes sense when we realize that we need to have long term memory associations to remind us what we like.

      Thanks for the encouragement. I think the reading slump is already starting to decline! Here's to hoping it stays that way. :)

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  6. So I never realized minor forgetfulness was an introvert thing. I might have to read that book you mentioned.

    I forget about books a lot. I remember that I liked a book, but I won't always remember why I liked it. If I read it last month (or even last week), I can recommend it to you, but I'll probably only says something vague like, "It was really good. There are swords and ships and pirates. Who doesn't like that?" So if I want to review a book, I either have to do immediate after reading the book (that never happens), or take notes while reading the book to refer to later. The latter one actually works really well, because in my notes I can tell how excited I was and just blown away with the book and it just ignites that excitement again.

    But this intermittent disinterest happens with other things too. Like clogging and guitar. Right now it's clogging, the only drawback is sense I teach, I can't exactly take a break from it.

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    1. Forgetfulness is a hard word to put on it... but yeah, the book explains it better. I highly recommend that you look the book up!

      Taking notes while reading is actually a great idea! I know that I basically work under the same principle when I have to annotate for school, and I find it's really helpful for tests and such. :) I'm glad that your notes are so helpful to you!

      And I'm sorry to hear that your clogging line is down right now. :( I hope that you perk back up soon!

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