Part 1 – Childhood
The introvert I am writing about is me.
When I look back I feel that I have always been an introvert. This fits with what other people tell me, that I was “shy” and so on. One complicating factor was that at about 18months of age I had a couple of fits (probably due to the weather – it was on very hot summer days) which I don’t remember. This meant that I was on mild consciousness altering drugs until fourth grade. When I was taken off them my school work immediately improved.
My major impression of my life up to about 10 is feeling somewhat detached and puzzled. I didn’t understand why people did things the way they did or why I was expected to do particular things. I don’t remember this as being sad or feeling bad, I happily watched a lot of TV, played with the kids across the road (this was the end of the baby boom – I’m now 50 – and there were lots of other kids about) and usually enjoyed going to church (in Australia being a church going family was a bit unusual then, much more so now).
There were also mixed messages that I found strange. At church one morning we were told that it was good to share. At the municipal pool that afternoon I was told that I didn’t have to loan my zippy board (a plastic kickboard) just because someone asked me. What was I meant to do? What was the right thing to do? This made me puzzled and left me immobilised.
I also found it puzzling that I was expected to know how to do things. No one had shown me how and they expected me to know. All through school I was told to study something – but no one ever told me how. At the end of high school there was an after school class advertised as being on study skills. It turned out to be time management – not unimportant; but not how to study either. And this was in the last year of high school! In Australian schools students still aren’t taught how to study!
I vividly remember one evening repairing a hole in my parent’s quilt. I was shown how to sew over the hole and told to just keep doing it. This was a liberation for me, I remember thinking, “Oh, is that all there is too it? I can do that!”
Perhaps the major influence on my life was my mother’s anxiety. Her first child was still born – fifteen months before I was born. I then had a couple of fits at 18months. When she asked a medical specialist what she should do, she couldn’t stop me doing everything that might be remotely dangerous, he told her, “Don’t stop him, just watch him”. This reinforced my mother’s natural inclination to worry. I didn’t realise this at the time. It is only now that I realise my childhood was pervaded with a caring anxiety and that I concluded that the world was a scary place – but not in any particular way.
I’m wondering how you remember your childhood – whether you have the sense that you are very much the same person, or if you think you have changed very greatly? If you feel that you are an introvert or and extravert do you feel you were like this in childhood; or, if you feel you’ve changed, can your remember when this happened? Do you feel that your childhood experiences affected you – whether they were big or small experiences? Looking forward to hearing from you.
If you liked this post, you might also like this one,
An Introvert’s Authenticity
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I'm Evan Hadkins. I'm Evan Hadkins. To find out how to live a more satisfying life you can download my manifesto on living authentically. It is a book of exercises to guide you to finding, nourishing and living from the core of who you are.
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