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Friday, April 22, 2016

Socializing the introvert- Claustrophobia

I have always loved small spaces, like John from Ally Macbeal, I need a hole where I can crawl in to get away from the rest of the world.

When my little cousins came to live with us, I looked for a bed sheet and draped it across the room to separate-MY side from HER side. In high school; my aunt, her child and nanny moved into the same bedroom. To me, I had been kicked out, there was no room for me.
Uncle cleaned out a store room and said we might use it as an extra room. I found a mattress and relocated right away, but he said the room could fit two beds. I put a padlock at the door.
Mean, right?
And selfish too
But I can explain.

I need space and not in the true sense of the word. I could be in a big room with only one other person but it still feels crowded, especially if the other person loves the sound of his voice.
When there is two of us in a room, this is how the space is shared out.

And I cannot write, think or pray when other people or other person is too close.

I will
Either have to leave the room
Start talking non-stop
Walk about doing nothing in particular, just collecting lint from the atmosphere
Or sit cross legged and read a single page for two hours

The discomfiture of seeing boundary lines puts me right in a tense mood
But I realise I might be claustrophobic and this can happen anywhere.

A few years back I was living near a bunch of people who needed people about them for them to think. They would be very offended that I turned down yet another cook- out that week.
We later became inseparable but there was always the question they could not get round, ‘why did I like to be so lonely?’ and made efforts to have my house warmed by guests at every opportunity, and I resented it and became quite cold towards them.
Many times I could have burrowed into the floor for privacy.
I would not have minded another two cats or five, but people around meant

I had to be on all the time.

On deeper thought, it might be genetic. My mother is happy in her own company. While uncle spend, 95% of his waking hours , I mean 97%.
He spends it inside the napier grass plantation and only comes out when the moorland is clear.
Granny, on the other hand loved crowds before ALZ hit. She was a public speaker and a good percentage of the families take after her. There might be a psychological explanation to this.
I’ll know some day

Meanwhile, I try to go against this by inviting people to hang out with me against my inner will.
It turns out well most of the time.

I get soaking with people-talk and have little time to think. How did I do? How did it go. One of my mother’s sisters understood me and kept me supplied with newspapers, magazines and reader’s digests and told people to leave me alone. But she died.
So really, these are my first steps at human interaction. I’ll get there.
(ONLY one sketch belongs to me. the rest are borrowed thank you very much)


  1. I concur.... my previous roommate puts it down to spending time with too many people during the day.. that I only really converse at lunchtime.:-) I am neither a morning person nor a night owl.. go figure... sijielewi. but I try. for other peoples sakes

  2. :)maybe there is another group that hasn't been documented..midday people,,reason why you won't stop talking during lunch :):)..

  3. haaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaa only with you

  4. Thank you very much for writing such an interesting article on this topic. This has really made me think and I hope to read more.

    1. You are welcome, Ghori.
      We are all trying to figure it out right? Keep reading. :)