Settling In, Being an Introvert, and Recollecting the Body

compassion & care, mental health & illness


I joined the juicing bandwagon — at least, for the next two weeks, I will have. My younger brother and his girlfriend shipped off to Taiwan this morning, so I asked if I could borrow his juicer. (The blender that I currently use cost $20 and gives off a smoky odor any time I try to blend anything; it’s terrific for the smoothies that I have when it’s warmer, but terrible for anything green.) This morning, at around 7 AM, I ran out to the tiny grocery store a few blocks down and bought two bags full of produce: kale, apples, mangoes, pears, celery, carrots, cucumbers, parsley. I’ve been making the juices as I get hungry throughout the day, and they’re delicious. So much tastier than “regular” juice, actually, because I tend to find fruit juice too sweet for my salt-loving tongue.

I got into a bit of a tussle with my therapist on Monday. I’ve been complaining of loneliness in this city; at the same time, I set roadblocks for myself in terms of actually becoming close to anyone. A few years ago, my natural introversion grew to the point where I found myself frustrated in any social setting in which I felt myself lacking chemistry with everyone, or most everyone, around me. I found myself meeting people, waiting for that “click” to happen, and not giving the burgeoning friendship a chance after two or three or four or five tries. I found myself meeting someone with whom I clicked immediately, therefore cementing in my mind that there were simply people that I matched well with, and that those people would be enough for me. This would be all right if not for the fact that all of my closest friends, with the exception of my partner, live miles and miles away from me — having moved away, simply chosen a different location after school, and so forth.

So my therapist suggested that I start making efforts to make “casual friends.” What sorts of casual friends, I asked. Well, friends you could have a brunch with on the weekend, for example, she said. So you wouldn’t have a terribly deep conversation, but you would at least be socializing.

I don’t know why that rankled me so much, but it did. These days, I like being alone. Like many introverts, I love to talk, but I hate small talk. I get overwhelmed by crowds. Socializing, even with people I like, exhausts me; after a while, I just want to hide in a small room. I’m not shy. When asked to describe me, one of my closest friends said, “Nostalgic, impulsive, and bold.”

I’ve been organizing old photographs for a large project, and I came across this one last night. I remember that dress; I remember that time in my life. I thought I was overweight at the time. I think even my mother told me I was overweight at the time. Now I look at this photo and I think, God, you can see my entire collarbone. Look at the width of my arm. I was desperately sad then.

Bodies. I took my first Pilates class last night with a physical therapist. Right now I’m quite misaligned and quite out of shape. My goal is to be more fit, but what I always realize when I do slow bodywork (like yoga, which my physical therapist doesn’t recommend for me, due to my issues with pelvic rotation) is that it helps me to realize I’m not just existing from the neck up. When the instructor says, Raise the right side of your waist and tilt your left thigh, I have to be aware of those moving parts. Most of the time, I get confused and it takes me a few seconds, because I’m not fully in my body. That’s what I hope Pilates can do for me — to feel more in my body, to be aware of it, to care for it. And if I become more physically fit, I would be happy with that, too.

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