- Walter Benjamin
I can't begin to tell you exactly what Walter Benjamin meant when he wrote these words, but they hit me when I read them. I knew I had to write something before the feelings that they stirred to life inside of me got lost by other distractions. As a generally quiet and introverted person who prefers staying at home with a good book or a piece of art to work on I have been called asocial more than once. In the past I have been urged by teachers to be more social and more outgoing, and I really tried to follow their advice. I felt as if there had to be something wrong with me since they pointed it out. It is only in later years that I have come to realize and truly be at peace with the fact that I am just a little bit different. I'm an introvert and that's okay. I like to think or contemplate things if you will. I love to read and write and draw things. My interests are usually solitary exercises because I like quiet and peace of mind, just being alone with myself inside my own head.
(c) Anita K. Olsen Stoebakk
I don't want you all getting the idea that I am some kind of hermit because I'm not. I like hanging out with friends and family, and usually I am quite capable of having a good time with others. I am a highly functioning introvert. That sometimes means pretending like you are okay when you are surrounded by people even if you are not. Luckily I don't have to do that very often anymore. I'm surrounded by friends who are also introverts or at least who have introverted tendencies, and it makes life so much easier and more comfortable.
Society today almost demands that you are social and available at all times and I don't like it. That's one of the reasons why I never use the internet on my cellphone and limit my own use of social media as much as possible. We can't all be extroverts and we shouldn't try to be either. It's not healthy. I have to admit that I have felt exhausted more than once just by going to the local grocery store and back home again. It all just becomes too much for me to handle and the minute I am inside again I feel like slamming my back against the wall, sliding down to the floor and curling up into fetal position like a leading lady in a cheesy drama flick. It sounds very whiny even to me as I'm typing this, but it's the truth. Whenever this happens I am so grateful for having art in my life. It almost doesn't matter that I have a hard time getting jobs as an illustrator because even though it is not something I can make a living of (yet) it still gives me the chance to escape into my own little fortress of solitude. When I draw or paint I am free to contemplate things, to shrug of the stresses of life and figure out what may have triggered the feelings of being overwhelmed. I can do this in a personal space that is mine and mine alone because even my husband tries not to disturb me when I'm in the zone.
So I guess what I'm trying to say in this post without having a clear plan of action or planned moral to preach about is that it's not necessary to give in to the expectations of modern day life. You don't have to be little miss(or mister) Extrovert. It's okay to prefer solitude and even if people tell you that you have to do this or you have to be that it doesn't mean that they are right. And if you are like me then I hope that you have also found something that gives you peace of mind and helps you deal with things like art does for me.
a.k.a Anita K. Olsen Stoebakk