Friday afternoon this week saw us (the three at home) begin the epic task of re-watching The Lord of The Rings trilogy…again. An hour or two in I realised that the mountain of marking I had brought home from school with me, was possibly more important than revisiting a tale that is now so familiar to me.
I assure you that in a few moments I will begin my ascent of Mt Markington again – but for now a quick reflection.
I’d been thinking through why it was that I was drawn to this story and it seems that the main reason seems to me to be the large number of characters in it, whom I would classify as introverted, or at least as extroverts who enjoy moments of solitude. Yes I did research a little – not too much time to do this at the moment – but my “research” involved …
The opening scene in The Shire sees Bilbo writing in his home – alone …
Frodo out in the country reading – alone …
Gandalf – travelling towards The Shire – alone …
As I watched I thought to myself “I love this because these are my kind of people (hobbits, wizards)”
I’ve recently purchased and commenced reading Quiet. In the first three chapters alone – I’ve cried tears of joy because in this, I see me, and my struggles … Yep I might just be a highly sensitive person (HSP) too … I’m not going to share my score .. it was a little overwhelming … joke 😉
In reading this book – or the first few chapters I’ve discovered why the words; collaboration, group activity, “turn to the person next to you”, team building activities, staff retreat, open work spaces, and the like have always struck fear into my heart. Most of them I can force myself to do … but it’s not a pleasant experience for me or those who speak to me leading up to it —as dread cloaks me in a thick blanket threathening to overwhelm me and all who dare to approach. Though having said that, I do very much enjoy the experience once it’s over.
In a society that increasingly prizes a group work and team mentality, Tolkien’s tale shows us that, while the Fellowship as a group needed to travel together to survive and draw upon the strengths of one another, solitude was also necessary for a number of the company.
For me, the tale, while a triumph of the group, is also a triumph of the introverted, solitude seeker.
Once again though, I can thank Susan Cain for starting me on the track of being okay to choose solitude. I’ve always needed it, but certainly since becoming a parent (almost 13 years ago) I have struggled to find it and I have struggled to pursue it without feeling as though I was being selfish.
While I was writing this I had the following conversation, with a boy I would classify as an introvert and probably a HSP too – perhaps not as introverted as I am – but introverted none the less.
My boy: Are you okay Mum?
Me: What do you mean?
My boy: Are you okay here on your own?
Me: On my own… in the quiet? I’m more than okay.
He seemed to think that a little strange of me – but he then headed back outside to play with the dogs.
One of whom might be a bit of an introvert too.
Oh dear now she’s typing her dog … is anyone safe from her amateur analysis ?!
Well, if you have to ask that question then you don’t know me at all and you must be a …. no I’m kidding but if it were possible for a dog to be introverted – then my Rhodesian Ridgeback would qualify.
While he can be sociable he will also let the overly-affectionate, noise makers in this house know when he’s had enough. They don’t understand that he’s not interested in constant interaction, so he’ll often get up only to lie down just out of reach and let out a deep sigh … as if to say “that’s enough now let me be in peace” …
Back to the Fellowship – those who survive the adventure – return to their home and the quiet life and reflect … ahhh the bliss. Or maybe they return to do the marking they put aside for a few hours .. 🙂