I met up with Kylei for lunch yesterday and while we were talking about this ze said, "of course, you're an introvert!" and I said no, absolutely not. Being alone for a large chunk of time is not sustainable for me -- after that week alone I went out in a frenzy of social activity over the weekend. The key for me is to have uninterrupted alone time, where no one is making demands on me for any interaction. This is part of the reason I cannot stand to have people randomly call me (unless it's an emergency or I know they will be okay with me being like "can't talk now bye" *click* with no pleasantries), and I don't usually engage in random IMs -- though texting is okay, because it doesn't demand (most people don't expect an instant response). If I have a free moment, it's usually in my planned alone time, and I want to be writing or editing photos or resting my brain. I like social and alone pretty much equally, I just can't stand for them to mix into slush time. I think maybe it has to do with my ADD, I hate feeling torn between two intentions because it makes my brain freeze up where I cannot think or feel or be present. I have to place events into a box in order to be able to fully engage.
I really hate that introvert/extrovert binary, anyway. I feel like it justifies the fact that socializing is worse for some people. Social is more stress for some people (like me) because it comes with shit like sexism and racism and ableism and etcccccc. That's not an orientation, it's a billion effects of all kinds of things, and the primary issue is oppression! I'm sure that if we lived in an equal society, some people would still prefer majority alone time. I'm also sure that a giant chunk of people would suddenly love gathers so much more. People ask why if I want social, I don't go out to get it but want to bring people to my house instead. It's because I make my house a safe place. People know that if they say something problematic, they might get called on it (depending on my energy levels because that takes a LOT), and they will definitely be outside the norm, so they're a bit more careful. When I go out to a gather, even a gather of good-hearted spiritual or hippie people, it takes about 10 minutes before someone says something sexist or fatphobic or ableist (those are usually the first ones I hear because I'm white; but I have noticed that in a mostly white group if one or two people are of color, the racist remarks start happening, or if someone is read as trans the cissexist ones start happening). I go from feeling happy to feeling like someone stepped in front of me with their face 8 inches from mine and shouted "YOU'RE NOT WELCOME HERE," then turned around laughing and happy and everyone continued like it didn't happen. They don't even know something bad happened, and I have to try and build my energy back up after it got so wretchedly shut down. And since I've not been there often enough to build any social capital, I don't feel like anyone will listen if I say "hey, bitch is a gendered slur, using it contributes to oppression" etc. So then what? instead I make my own spaces when I can, and if I have an abundance of energy or a designated driver, I go to other spaces (if I am drunk I can talk back to microaggressions).