I think of myself as a solitary person. I have a husband and a cat and a couple of close friends, but I am also prone to long stretches of not speaking to anyone, or wandering off from parties to avoid conversation.
I may require solitude, but I need community as well. And when I am in my low periods, I talk myself out of the communities that I love. I don’t post a joke on your page, because I have considered how to craft it a few different ways and none of them really say “I’m still here and I love you.” I don’t write that review for a book, because I worry that I’m praising the wrong things, and that I’ll find some way to offend you. I am afraid of talking, so I don’t, because solitude is comfortable until it is a cage.
Obviously these are foolish worries. That doesn’t stop them from happening.
I am trying to call myself out for these behaviors. I have had help. My writing group, who meets monthly to chat even if we haven’t got anything new to share, has become a bright spot of conversation when I feel like I can’t put a full sentence together. A game of Dungeons&Dragons, where I can play someone different from myself, someone talkative and enthusiastic, has helped me recognize that often times saying something silly is better than not contributing.
So I’m saying it here: I am silly. I forget that I need the communities I’ve shambled into. I am sorry if I have been absent, or too quiet, or if I’ve wandered away from a party when you were looking to talk to me. I’m going to fight my instinct to hide. Because I am still here. And I love you.