The Screaming Introvert

When our Premier’s office announced an extension of the forty-day lock-down period to another two weeks, as it neared an end, emotions surged across the country-some happy for they reasoned it will help the already stretched health care service, while others sank further down their rabbit  hole of moroseness. Some cheered, while some jeered. Some hailed, some wailed and I sighed. No, I shall not foray into the economics or the politics of this precarious situation for it demands a careful assessment and discussion. Yes, the economy is in shambles, the new normal remains vaguely uncertain, countries have been accusing each other, people have been accusing the government, and a few groups have been marginalising others. While the virus continues to rage war against us, we are quite happily setting the premise for a war against one another, having cremated subjectivity and rationality, determined to push the world into an era of perpetual darkness!

I, for one, had slipped, quite easily, into the routine of being at home, working, reading, cleaning and gardening-the rewards of being an introvert, if you ask me. Choosing to call the lock-down a ‘nesting period’ (the credit to Amy) to steer away from the pessimism and a draconian image that the former word conjures I have been largely complacent, contrary to the general mood of despondency bubbling across the country and elsewhere. I have savoured the family time with my cousins, aunt and uncle, who are, quite to my uncle’s chagrin, stuck here ever since the nesting period commenced. At the beginning card games, everybody donning the chef’s hat, cleaning, and conversations over cups of tea became the norm while rigorous washing of hands, sanitising every little packet delivered, bleaching, disinfecting, wiping, scrubbing were akin to breathing.

However, when the initial three weeks became five, which then turned to a more than a month, the introverted me began convulsing. A fanatic and desperate plea for a space, a silence, a quiet corner to read a book, to think, to stare into nothingness I zone out often inciting rebuke from my cousins. Call me selfish, call me self-centred, but I need to fade away to recharge my drained battery! I need to plug in the earphones to let music be the backdrop for conversations inside my head, I need to cosy up on my couch and read Dostoevsky, I need a quiet space to practice my French lessons. I am now missing my lone quiet walks, the occasional filter coffee, reading at a café and indulging in the simple joys of life outside home. Moreover when everybody decides to turn into a chef, when YouTube aids them to experiment new recipes and for a family, which loves to eat (while I am the black sheep), and when my failed attempts to force everybody to reading, and to switch off the television the phrase ‘this is over’ crops up every day! All the more gruesome does it sound when for the present times a bare minimum could be peaceful and any additional penny saved may help someone in need, especially for a populous and developing nation that I live in. Contribute, help, educate rather than making strange concoctions, sugar, spice and everything not nice, to aid your immunity fall upon deaf ears.

As I maddeningly type this, looking from the corner of my eyes at the baffled face of my cousin who has been asking why I am quiet today, listening to the pathetic sound of a mundane television show floating from the other room to my corner in our little apartment, it dawns upon me that I have been ranting! Oh well! Dishevelled, my hair morphing gradually into a nest, breathing in and out, seeking solitude, an island, a cabin in the hills, I am reminded of Virginia Woolf,

Orlando naturally loved solitary places, vast views, and to feel himself for ever and ever and ever alone.

Hear me out reader, listen to my mundaneness of everyday, my need to seek that stretch of nothingness, the beseeching prayer of the quintessential (internally) screaming introvert.

91 thoughts on “The Screaming Introvert

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  1. This virus is nature’s way of promoting the introverts in the Darwinian scheme of evolution. Others will eventually step out, get the virus and die 😁

    Introvertism is here to stay!

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  2. Can totally totally understand what you are trying to say. And, you don’t always have to be an introvert to feel that way. I mean an extrovert would also need space. Our family norms and culture are such that people equate someone being quiet with something being amiss, which translates to some emotional need that needs to be fixed by the rest. People around just start feeling uncomfortable and they don’t get the needing space thing at all, you wouldn’t even be able to explain to some. If you have lived alone (which I assume you would have) for a certain period of time and you are happy with your solitude, it gets all the more difficult. I feel quite the same way sometimes even when my parents are here – the TV running on is something I can relate to that. Some of the flip sides of the lockdown, and if it’s your parents you can still tell them but with relatives it’s tricky. Many people have such unique and individualised stories – some grave, some not so much, some simply annoying. The 2-3 bedroom flats we live in does not allow that space and invariably everyone lands up stepping onto each other. An independent house on the other hand is a different story altogether. And, your Shillong upbringing surely means you would be used to the latter rather than the former.

    Well, all things come to an end. So will this. 🙂

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    1. “Our family norms and culture are such that people equate someone being quiet with something being amiss, which translates to some emotional need that needs to be fixed by the rest.” that is so very true. It is indeed hard to explain the need for silence for it is either mistaken for being rude or for that we need fixing! And yes in a smaller space it gets all the more difficult. I am often told how I detest family time which isn’t true. I like my me time as well. To just read or write or think. And yes Shillong upbringing allowed that freedom to gaze out of the window and just dream and do nothing.
      All things end and this will too. 🙂 You comments are always a posts my themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing!.. perhaps now is the time to contemplate your tomorrows, to perhaps to make subtle changes that you were too busy in the past to do… perhaps to ask yourself what you would like the future would be for you and start planning, start preparing for that new adventure… I believe the word is; evolution… “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” -(Maria Robinson).. 🙂

    Until we meet again…
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right! This is indeed a time to introspect and reflect on life and the changes that we must make for a life forward 🙂 A new beginning, you’re right. And I love the saying.

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  4. Oh I love little rants and then I recycle in the quietness, the cleaning business and another rant as I border on boredom on missing my freedom in w as liking outside! Here in spain it’s server🧐🙄 thank goodness I understand this time is all part of our mass shift of consciousness and is the reason I wrote my live story❤️ Enjoy all the moments🥰 much love Barbara x

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  5. I wish there was a love button, because I would so press it really hard right now. I too am an introvert, and I know the desperate need to be alone. Sometimes driving down a highway just to be alone for an hour. To as you say recharge. I pray this virus ends soon. I pray that things get back to normal or the new normal so that is introverts can once again have our nice quiet corners of our would to find peace in. Praying for you. Stay safe and keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Dee!!!! Means so much to me. I know what you mean that desperate need to be left with your thoughts or nothing at all. Just breathe and be. I am hoping for things to get better soon, and I hope it is sooner than we know 🙂
      Stay safe and my love and wishes to you 🙂

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  6. This resonates with me so much, and ranting always helps! My conversations with friends somehow end up both parties venting about the quarantine. I’m actually starting to think that I’m an introvert who would like to be surrounded by people and the hustle and bustle.

    Oh, and of course, I love the Woolf quote. There’s a Virginia Woolf quote for every dire situation, I feel like. Hope you feel better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Neriman! Indeed I keep toggling from extremes of emotions often, that need for space and that desperate need to see some flicker of hope.
      You are right Virginia Woolf wrote for times that transcends her time. They are eternal words. I feel much better, thank you 🙂

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  7. I hear you loud and clear, Marie. Very! It’s been almost 2 months and I’m about ready to loose it. The weather has kept me indoors on most days and when I can get out I run! Too much closeness is NOT a good thing. I NEED my own space! Today on my walk SO many people desperate for conversation actually stopped me to start to talk. All because I had binocs around my neck. OH how I drank those conversations up! And then the birds everywhere, calling, singing, flying! Out in my backyard later I detailed another garden (opening for the season), about 1.5 hours worth of work. The entire time I talked back and forth with a Baltimore Oriole and on my break went next door to hang with my horse friend, Karma, who talks with me too. SMILING! What a magical day!!
    I will not go into what I think about this that or the other regarding present day affairs, BUT! *sigh* As for the link thank you! That nesting word was appropriate a few weeks back but now? I’m crawling the walls! Every chance I get I’m out the door. And boy does it bug me I cannot get my hair done. Ten weeks now. Enough rant. Let’s just say I feel ya! (((HUGS)))!!! xo

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    1. I completely get it Amy! We need that space to breathe and that space to be with people, a fine balance. A space to have conversations within our heads, with anything inanimate or a flower for that matter. I am glad to read that you had a happy day! I can almost hear the birds singing in your comment. That’s what I want to zero in on, the sound of nature, of rustling leaves, of birds fluttering and feel at one than be bombarded by the sound of television or discussions that drain me! As far as nesting word is concerned, you are right it sounded happier earlier and now I feel I am stuck in a nest with some cuckoos and we are jostling for space. How I wish to fly, merge myself with the blue sky! I hope you are having a bright and peaceful day. Much love 🙂

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  8. I hear you, Parikhit. The situation is new for all of us (though it has been more than 40 days!). It has been like a rollercoaster ride, with its highs and lows. We craved togetherness earlier, now we vie for alone time. I have realised it is better to have a routine and give space to each member in the household. I had thought I would have loads of time to read and write but I am so exhausted after cleaning and cooking that the words remain simmering within.
    Take care.
    By the way, that quote was very apt.
    Also look kindly at foodies, it is their way of dealing with crisis. 🙂

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    1. You are right Punam. I keep swinging between the extremes of emotions! But like you wrote we all have your idiosyncratic ways of dealing with things. Honestly I relate with you when you say that you were barely able to do much. I had big plans and now I see myself working more, chores, and wondering. I love Virginia Woolf and all her quotes just get me 🙂

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      1. Yeah! All those plans were swept away with broom and sank in the sink with the dishes! 😂
        I have cried for no reason at all and have been upbeat when others at home became dejected. Living and learning, Parikhit.
        Virginia Woolf is really something. 🙂

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  9. Oh my God, I so much relate to this post. On the initial days of the lockdown, I had no issues, but as days turned into weeks, all I wanted, was a little space for myself and no one look at me and keep asking why am I so quiet. But most of all I relate to Woolf, sometimes so much that it scares me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You aren’t alone. I tell others that Virginia Woolf and I are involved. It is indeed scary how she gets us and I keep questioning myself am I that melancholic soul.
      And yes how I crave some peaceful silence to think and contemplate.

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  10. Parikhit you capture what everybody is feeling…mixed emotions and you are entitled to feel exactly as you need to feel. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and voice your needs. Good communication is key, saying what you need is a sign of respect for you and for others.

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    1. You are so right Marie. Boundaries are important and it is times like these that test our patience, our feeling that sway from one extreme to another. Truth be told I am so glad for blogging, words penned here which the find common souls feels cathartic. 🙂

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  11. I can relate to your post on many levels my friend. I too am baffled how people I live with choose comfort food and mundane, even brainless entertainment. And then I have to ask myself, Can I possibly stand in judgment of them? And forgiving them with all good intentions, a bigger challenge arises. Having turned a blind eye to their “coping strategies” I have to really try hard not to capitulate and give up my previous idealism and all my attempts to be straight and sane at a time like this. Do we not all have a perfect excuse to descend deep in the waters of despair and nihilism? I completely understand how you feel about being forced by goverment and corporate authorities to defer and delay our return to our very recent past and replace all of these routines and security for a “new normal” which may be new, but it is certainly not normal. So I can relate to your post as one writer to another. But I can also sense in your writing, and in my own, a global voice shift. Writers around the world are collectively reassessing our collective stamina. I sense that many artists and writers are still together and still communicating, but our initial resolve to see the silver lining in the global health threat has waned. But we continue to share and rant collectively. That is why your rant gives me hope. I would say we are half way through the initial wave of the pandemic and in spite of the dangers and second waves and residual infections, we are in this together as one world and that is very different to the terror and all out nation against nation that have characterized past world wars.

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    1. Your comments are posts in disguise and I so relish reading them! You are right, we are holding onto that hope much like ship-wrecked sailors hold onto, to save their souls from drowning in the lashing waters of the ocean, that little piece of log. We are together in strange ways in these extraordinary circumstances and I guess the shore is close by. What that island will be nobody knows but there is sand and there are palms groves swaying. A few more days, a little more, a little more.

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  12. I feel you! As an introvert myself, I really wish my husband could get back to work himself so that I could get my quiet daily routine back!!! He misses work desperately too, so I don’t feel bad wishing for him to go back!

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  13. As much as im talkative and friendly, i craved the silence. I used to wake up at 4, watch the runrise, sip my chai, whilst hankering for my takeout Capuccino. I loved being at home, recuperating from burnout. Today i returned to work, dreaded the long drive. Guess what, it was magic. The silence, the beauty and the sheer quiet freedom. Coming home was even better. Tired. Brain weary, i will rest well, blessed and content. I love my own company sometimes. Okay most times. 😉

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    1. Thank you so much Kavitha! 🙂 At 4 in the morning to see the sunrise, ah I envy you! Silence can be therapeutic so many times. I hope you are feeling rejuvenated and better now 🙂

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      1. Tell me about it! The other day I took out my denims and shirt and worked from my desk at home. It felt better. 😀 Although they had to go because I had to do the dishes and mop. 😀

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      2. My 19 year old son did nothing but isolate himself in his room, for FIVE week, a Tech Lover, he kept busy except for his daily meal and snacks (yes, one meal). He whatsapped me the menu for the day, lived in pyjamas for all that time. Eventually sent out his Dad to buy a hair cutting device and cut and blended his hair. Yes, actually did, was pleased to be able to save money in the figure and eturned to work yesterday.

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  14. Oh my, you stated so perfectly both the delight and the frustration I have been experiencing these past weeks/days/hours…I mean, I love my husband, love being with him, love the sweetness of our discussions and scrabble games and cooking projects…but how I miss silence, the space to soar into my own thought, the delight of letting go…I am grateful not to be alone, but I crave solitude. Blessings, sweet Pari, stay well, and don’t look for me in the shadows of your words…that’s your quiet vcorner…*sunrise mountains**dancing flowers**smiling clouds*

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    1. Joan you exactly resonate my feelings 🙂 I am happy to have everyone around but there are moments when I need that space to sink inside my whirlwind of thoughts and emerge with a subtle smile on my face. The few precious moments of solitude and me time 🙂
      Keep well and stay blessed. Love and wishes 🙂

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  15. I agree with Darnell Cureton, it’s best to rant and let the emotions out. We don’t realise how much it helps. We introverts try to keep it in but sometimes a nice rant goes a long way in relieving. I relate to that post a 100% and am this close to losing my mind, yet funnily enough, one practice I’ve found beneficial, is being mindful – any time you feel that way, don’t think about what you’ve been through or what might happen – instead, focus on what each of your 5 senses are doing at that moment. Really take time and focus on those, you may feel relaxed.
    Also, gardening is so therapeutic…and noble. I hope that brings you peace.

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    1. Thank you so much for the suggestion. I will definitely practice mindfulness and focus on every bit happening around me 🙂 I guess we all wax and wane between extremes, especially introverts like us who need that calming silence. I hope you are better 🙂

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      1. That’s a charming way to describe introverts. Perhaps you should write a poem on that?

        With lines between work hours and me time blurred with work from home, I can’t say that I’m any better. Still there I guess. Mindfulness is a very difficult practice for poets who oscillate between nostalgia and hopeful dreams.

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  16. It’s okay to rant my friend occasionally because it is not your usual response to life issues.
    I wants went on a very long tiring bike ride. I was gone three days and covered a few hundred miles. Towards the end of the second day I was very tired. My biking buddy kept me going by telling me we were almost at camp, it was just over the hill. He did that for about an hour .
    Finally we found a spot and put up a tent and built our fire.

    Sometimes we just need a friend to help us hang in there a little bit longer.

    You’re almost there Parikhit, just a little longer.

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  17. I feel you. Seriously. I have been told to talk with the people around because that would make me happy and I should connect more rather than staying silent. And oh how I am depressed soul and I need to be tamed by conversing with everyone and indulging in fun activities. I only want to read and do my own work in silence. But it’s really difficult to tell people that your happiness lies in staying alone for sometime. Some conversation drains so much energy. I wish you a little peace Parikhit.🍃

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    1. Thank you so much Sameera! Indeed peace is what weary souls like us need often; the need to shut down and be with the crazy thoughts inside our heads. I completely get you when you say how you are asked to go and talk to people for that will make you happy but in fact they don’t understand that it can be draining! Well, the pangs of being the introvert 🙂

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  18. Very nice and almost everyone must be going thru this same zone like you, Parikhit. In the beginning everything is good but later you really want your space and quiet, reading your books or being to yourself. I too am cooking for the family and when have my time do some blogging and see some good spiritual talks or at times a move on NETFLIX. That is how we are all passing our time. I have published a poetry book called Poet’s Touch which is available on Amazon Kindle so am trying to promote my book too.

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    1. Thank you so much Kamal for your wonderful words, as you always do. I guess most of us need that little space of ours, to think and reflect. I am glad to read that you are having a joyous time with everybody at home 🙂 And thank you so much for letting me know about your book, I will definitely go and check it out 🙂 Congratulations on that 🙂

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