Stranger

When I saw you from across the cafe I recognized not you but the sadness behind your eyes was one I knew all too well

I know we have never met but I want to take this moment to sit next to you and tell you not my name but something far more important like

we are strangers but not even a stranger deserves to be alone and I will sit here with you all day if that means you decide to continue fighting

you are struggling to hold on to the last strands of hope you have left and you are hiding it so well but your eyes give you up

your eyes that tell stories of defeat, loss, heart break

I am reaching across the table now to hold your hand tight and confide in you that I too have been in the same place you have been and I know what you are feeling

We are strangers but allow me to hold onto you, allow me to take away some of this pain and hold it on my back for a while, allow me to take a shift of this long work day

allow me to help you find your way back home or maybe just back to yourself

life is hard and it will beat you up and hold you down until you can’t fight back but everything is easier when you have a friend

please allow this stranger to be your friend, all friends start out this way

you see I don’t have anything to get out of this but your happiness and I know you can fight back if only you knew you had someone in your corner so

let this stranger stand on the sidelines and tell you

you are not alone.

-CM

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For the love of an Introvert

I am an introvert. The dictionary definition describes us as “a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things”, as opposed to the dictionary definition of an extrovert being – “a person predominantly concerned with external things or objective considerations”. These are the psychological definitions, while simplified labels are shy versus outgoing. While no one can be boxed completely into either category, we all lean more heavily into one state of being. For me, I have always enjoyed the quiet of being alone with my thoughts, rather than abundant conversations and other activities that require me to socialize.

There is always an exception to this rule. Of course, I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, and if you were to see me around my family, best friend or boyfriend, you would have no idea that I am normally very quiet and closed off.

While the dictionary would label me as “shy”, this isn’t a term I connect with. I choose to keep to myself not because I am nervous or timid, but simply because that is what feels right to me. Sure, I have a history with social anxiety, but this keeps me from leaving my house – not from speaking when I actually do. I have no problem expressing my opinion if I am angry or irritated, or overjoyed even. I just don’t feel the need to always speak on the mundane and simple topics that normally fill everyday conversation.

For the longest time, I was ashamed to be labeled as an introvert. I thought there must be something wrong with me, some wiring in my brain that kept me from wanting to talk. I would beat myself up over it, and admire the people that could strike up a conversation about the tiniest of things, making friends as easy as counting to three.

I embrace the label now. I am proudly an introvert – if you feel the need to label me this way – because of the qualities that come with it. I am a good listener, an abundant feeler, and when I do choose to speak, I know I am saying the right thing. My opinions and thoughts are well thought out, I care deeply about everything and everyone, and I enjoy my own company. I don’t fear being alone with my thoughts anymore, because I am one of my own best friends.

Which label do you fall under? I personally find that most of us fall somewhere in between, and that is perfectly okay.