There's something about me that loves being on the periphery. Yes, I also love those times that I'm in front of a class helping students learn, and I love the occasions that someone notices "me" and wants to know me better. I'm social, I love people, I love having fun.
But I need a lot of alone time, too. I need to be able to be unnoticed, to have the space to observe (people, nature, the world) and reflect in an interrupted manner. Sometimes, I need to not think, to not be conscious of myself.
When I go to the gym, I feel like I go in disguise. I pull my hair back, wear my glasses and no make-up. I don't initiate conversations--I just want to focus on exercise, on making my body stronger, on feeling my heart beat and being present in my body (as a former yoga teacher used to say).
And sometimes when I'm in a group, I just need time to listen to conversations swirl around me. Sometimes, I need to not say anything.
Sometimes when I'm alone in public, I feel most social. I make small talk with store clerks, smile at strangers--but I don't really want to engage in long conversation.
Yeah, I love people and I love you. But sometimes, I just need time to myself. No, I need time for myself.