In the past I have considered myself an extrovert. I get charged up around other people, and I enjoy being with them. That's practically the definition of an extrovert, right? It's ben interesting though, to acknowledge the changes I've seen in myself. Perhaps it's because I'm older now, or maybe because I have kids, so my energy is limited. Deeper down, though, I suspect it has to do with the 'masks' I wear when I'm around others, and my need to please.
It took a long time to come to the realization that I don't really enjoy being a frenetic crazy person, despite that being my default mode around those I don't know. That persona just allows me to interact with others on a superficial level so that I don't have to feel anxiety about meeting someone new, or being around a lot of others.
The problem with this persona Band-Aid is that it sets me up for people to assume that I'm always crazy and bubbly-hyper, which I'm often not. I have mellowed out into a relatively quiet, introspective woman. It often means I feel obligated to slip into that high energy place, even when I don't have the energy to spend.
More and more often I find myself coming away from these interactions drained, tired, and sometimes even physically ill. It takes everything out of me to be around so many others, and in particular those I don't know. I hadn't really given it a lot of thought - as I'm sure most people don't when they decide to have children - but I did seek out quiet, alone time with regularity, and I need it.
Children are people, and they require the same interaction, if not a great deal more interaction, than a normal person. Not only that, but they require a lot of physical interaction, a lot of being touched. By the end of the day, how can a person not be exhausted by that?
I'm an introvert, by choice or by design. Coming to terms with that identity and embracing it is a step in the right direction. Scheduling time that I am alone with myself, with nothing to do is a battery recharger, and as I move forward on this journey, I strive to make it a regular part of my self care routine.