I just read that quote on a friends status update.
It inspired a thought (brace yourselves!)
When you’re an introvert, as I am. And shy, as I am (shut up! I know! Doesn’t mean I’m not shy!)
This can be a difficult concept to grasp. As an introvert, often we are unaware of the impact that our presence has on the world around us.
I’m typically a quiet person who hangs out in the back, I don’t draw a lot of attention to myself and try to stay our of people’s way. So I usually think people are unaware of me.
In a classroom setting, a studio setting, or anywhere that I am NOT the center of attention, you know, being Jemileh, I think I’m pretty much invisible.
I was very profoundly touched by the friends who have come around, who did indeed notice me and who cared about me in my darkest days.
In any case, one day about a year ago or so, when I was more in control of my emotions and able to interact more or less in what had become my new normal, I went to a day long training.
On my way to that training, I accidentally erased the very last message that my partner had left on my cell phone. I had faithfully kept this message and listened to it whenever I needed to hear his voice.
I had a major meltdown. I was sobbing hysterically as I called T-mobile and begged them to restore the message (they couldn’t) until the operator who tried to help me was also in tears.
I continued into my training, an interactive one where the trainees were people who worked with those with brain injuries as well as people who were hired to present them with services.
I tried to stay in the back. I had to share a table with a gentleman who had previously had a normal lifem until an electrical accident at work had caused him to lose consciousness and hit his head, leaving him with a significant brain injury from which he would never regain his normal level of functioning.
So I’m sitting around, struggling with how to manage my renewed feelings of loss and how to continue my day, let alone my life and this man, who had lost his wife, his child, his home, his job and everything that he felt had made him who he was, spent several hours trying to cheer me up.
I’d like to say that I looked at myself and was adult enough and unselfish enough to reward this person’s kindness.
No. I’m still me, even staring in the face of my own limitations.
I was not cheered. His ability to be cheerful in the face of his own loss was not inspiring to me. I was too sunk in the morass of my own pain and loss.
I finished my training, of which I learned not a thing, and went back to work.
I walked into an office, where there was laughter and people were cheerfully doing their work and it was like a lead bomb.
I headed into my corner, and started my day.
Where before there was lightness and joy, darkness now reigned.
Boy, I can be melodramatic.
Anyway, people went back to work, but there was no lightness, there was dragging to the day. My supervisor pulled me aside and asked me what was wrong.
I told her, and her response was why did I come into work? Why hadn’t I taken the rest of the day off?
My response was that just because I was miserable didn’t mean that I couldn’t work, after all, I had been doing that since M had passed away.
She asked me why hadn’t I thought about what I was doing to the rest of the team? That it had been a difficult couple of months for the group and had taken a great deal of effort for people to come to some sort of equilibrium.
I was stunned, why didn’t people understand my pain? Why didn’t they take that into account? And for an introvert, dude, I was stunned that *my* pain would be enough to bring the whole office down and that they wouldn’t be able to ignore me.
I try not to be selfish and to consider how my actions impact others, but being told, and reprimanded no less, about my *energy* was stunning to me.
So. No real deepness to this post, just as light occasionally dawns on Marblehead, this quote, randomly seen on Facebook, has helped me to *get* this concept.