Cracking My Shell
This is going to sound really strange coming from me, but I sometimes wonder if I’m a good friend or even a good human being.
I think every human asks that question at least once during their lifetime, but I’ve been asking that question a lot lately. I’ve been taking a hard look at myself and wondering if I’m really up to the task of honoring the path I’ve chosen.
This whole question of being a good friend has been weighing on me a lot recently. While it’s true that I have many friends and I love spending time with them, I only have a tiny handful of friends with whom I do things on a regular basis. And then, most often, they’re the ones who do the inviting and planning. I just show up.
As reluctant as I am to admit it, I’m not someone who often reaches out to people just to say hi. I sometimes do, but it takes a supreme amount of effort for me to take the initiative. Heck, it’s difficult for me to even reach out to say hi to family.
I’m not even sure I can explain why. Every personality test I’ve ever taken says that I’m an extrovert. If you’ve ever interacted with me, you probably agree. Even I will admit that I’m an extrovert on the surface, but on the inside, I feel like an extreme introvert.
That admission surprises a lot of people – especially those who know me personally. Yes, I can strike up a conversation with anyone and I’m extremely comfortable in social situations. In fact, I’m often in the middle of whatever fun activity is going on at a party. I thrive in group settings. Depending on the energy around me, I can get intoxicated just from being around a group of cheerful, happy people.
However, once I’m alone, I’m a bit more… shall we say, reserved.
It’s almost like I withdraw into a shell from which I don’t want to emerge. I know that to some extent, that shell is a legacy from my lifelong relationship with depression. But… my introverted nature goes deeper than that. Once I’m in my shell I want to stay there. It takes a huge amount of personal and emotional effort for me to step out.
I could spend enormous amounts of time musing on the reasons, but I won’t. What I will say instead is that it’s hard – very hard – for me to engage in the “little things” that so many of us take for granted in our relationships. My extreme difficulty in texting, calling, or emailing my friends regularly is what makes me question whether or not I’m a good friend or even a decent human being.
I guess that’s why I’m reflecting on this today, because I need to get it off my chest. I want every individual who knows me personally to understand that just because I don’t send a text, DM, email, or call, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about you. Quite the opposite. I care very much. I just have a hard time expressing my concern and showing that I care in the ways society tells me I should.
I’m therefore very grateful to each of you who reaches out to say hello. Those who do quickly discover that they can crack my shell pretty easily… and once it’s cracked, I break free. I’m once again fully engaged and fully alive.
So… to those of you who have reached out, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. You have no idea how much you help me.
Please keep doing what you do, because you really do make a difference.
I have great love for each of you. Thank you for being part of my adventure.
About the Author
Appio Hunter is an author, speaker, spiritual guide, and self-described champion for living joyously. He uses his seminars and workshops to facilitate conversations about authenticity, alignment, and the daily experience of community, connection, and joy. Appio is also a weekly columnist with The Good Men Project and co-host of the Real Men Feel Show along with his good friend Andy Grant.