the imposition of an exhale

As an introvert, my urge to hibernate sometimes is nothing new.  Despite this, I can normally function pretty well in polite society!  I can act extroverted pretty easily, actually, and–contrary to popular belief–I prove the idea that introverts actually do like socializing…just not always and usually under certain conditions.  Normally, I don’t mind wearing the extrovert hat.  It can even be fun.

But, for several weeks now, I’ve been getting what I call my introvert–ahh–leave-me-alone, damnit–freakout feeling.  It started just before my roomie left for his trip back home.  I was hoping that weekend would give me an opportunity to chill the eff out, but it actually made it worse.  I had a little Introvert Paradise time, but I was pretty much taking care of a sick cat 24/7.  It’s been so bad that I haven’t even looked at a course I’ve been taking for fun–to fill my cup–in about 5 weeks.  The course ends in 1.  I’m pretty annoyed because it means I won’t really enjoy what I have left because I’ll be rushing to get it done.

I’ve also noticed that I’m just not coping well with irritations.  Things that normally don’t bother me really bother me.  And my tact is waning.

I’ve been counteracting it by trying to establish boundaries and asking for what I need.  But it’s difficult still.

I’ve just gotten through some pretty traumatic experiences, and my life is often just a routine traumatic event.  Most of my friends marvel by how resilient I am.  And more change is coming.  Huge, scary, stressful change–ultimately for the better, but requiring I dig a little deeper than normal.  I’m trying to heal some major stuff, but I can’t do it–really–if I feel like I need to run off in the woods and wear hoodies.

(Ugh…I used the woods…damn, roomie…rubbing off on me.  Excuse me…ahem…FOREST).

Honestly, I’m learning that I grieve differently than I expected.  It’s important for me to feel connected to people, but ultimately, I like to be separate for a while.  It takes me time to process the new reality I’m in and feel stable enough to not get blindsided or gutted by it.  I sorta felt like I forced myself to carry on too quickly–for better or worse–but the problem is that I ended up in a situation that really triggered my grief.  Taking care of another sick cat for more than a month has been hard on me–so, so hard.  He’s getting better, thankfully…one more round of antibiotics that’s hopefully his last.  But if the 4th round doesn’t end the problems, we may have to look at big bads…and I just can’t go there mentally right now.  I’ve gotten far too attached and knowing the risks to my other two cats?  That’s just a lot.

But nothing I can really do anything about.  I just spend all day with him, caring for him and loving the heck out of him–more and more.

It’s especially hard because I don’t want anything to do with it.  My heart wants to encase itself in steel and deflect any further attachments.  It’s how I love.  I’m obsessive or completely aloof.  Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m forced to be an extrovert all day long.  That I can’t have a bad day.  That I have to force myself to pretend smile when I’m sick and cold and worried.  When all I want to do is pretend no one else exists and get lost in my daydreams.  And then there’s school with its boring routine.  The non-intimate busy-talk I so loathe.  The subjects I saved for last because they’re just freakin’ dull.  I will get through it–I will–I always do.  But, man, I need time alone.  Time where what I say has no consequences because I’m a pretty easy going audience, and no one expects me to smile.  I can growl and cry if it feels right.  But I need room to stretch and finally exhale.  It’s not too much to ask.  I know this.

So, I’m feeling myself get more rigid about things I normally compromise.  Like my evenings.  Like bedtime.  I’m surprised that my introversion applies to animals–mostly because it never has before–but I’m learning to close the door.  There are conditions on cuddles.  Just for a little while–just until I feel like I can face the world again.  Without hyperventilating.

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