The Highly Sensitive Introvert’s Guide to Surviving the Worst Season Ever.

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“I’m just so glad it’s finally summer!” the masses announce.

“Yeah, uh…me too,” you agree, the exhaled lie hovering like steam. You nod and smile, afraid to admit the unsavory truth—that maybe, just maybe, you freaking hate summer.

For the sensitive introverts among us, summertime harkens traumatic memories of being shoved into the harshly lit world of the outdoors. We’d been so happily enjoying lying in our dark closets, binge reading Judy Bloom books by flashlight or making installation art to boldly portray the bittersweet nature of time with a pile of old rusty, broken watches.

Then, without warning, our ethereal flow was severed.

“Go play!” our parents cried. “Take advantage of the beautiful day,” they urged, mixing up a voluptuous pitcher of Kool-Aid.

And just like that, we were cast from the sweet Eden of our cool, quiet cocoon and foisted into the angry jaws of summer.

And there, amidst the cancerous ultraviolet rays, the pretending began.

For us sensitive souls, the pressure of summer, with its extended daylight and forced social interaction, can feel insurmountable. It’s like facing down an army of 90 New Year’s Eves, lined up in an endless row of overinflated expectations about all the impending fun of summertime. And everyone wants to know what our lofty resolutions are. “So, what are your summer plans?” people ask with those goofy summer-drunk looks on their lightly bronzed faces.

But what if “fun” just isn’t our jam?

If you have children, summer just got a zillion times worse.

Kids will refuse to go to bed when sunlight still trickles through their bedroom windows and they can hear the sounds of the neighbor kids having endless summertime fun outside. Then, inevitably, these same children will wake up the next morning at an unholy hour and patter over to your prone, sleeping body—where we float in sweet dream clouds of autumn, winter, or spring—and holler, “Mom! I’m hungry!” or “Dad! My bed feels wet…”

Besides being woken up early, there’s the indignity of being forced to sleep without the soothing weight of our favorite comforter. In summertime, we’re expected to enter slumber wrapped only in the filmiest of sheets. Clearly, this is madness.

If the intense sleep deprivation isn’t enough, other “summer loving” parents will ask you what type of elaborate summertime enrichment experiences you’ve curated for your children. When you say, simply, “They’re going to rec camp,” they’re likely to raise their eyebrows and slowly retreat into a silent haze of judgment.

So what to do when you’re facing yet another humid season brimming with beach parties and the incessant carcinogenic scent of barbecue? Besides sheathe yourself in yet another layer of sunscreen and swat away the hordes of mosquitoes? Besides move to Antarctica and snuggle with the dying penguins?

Call in a vacation. Tell your boss that you’re taking a few days or months off to spend at the beach. “Good for you. Soak up some rays for me, yeah?” summer-worshiping boss bro says. Then, head home. Pull the shades, bring all the fans you own into your room, and bundle up in your favorite cardigan—or maybe even multiple cardigans. Lay yourself on a bed of plush plaid scarves in varying hues of autumn, place a steaming pumpkin spice latte by your side, and read, or watch Netflix, or create melodramatic art projects to your heart’s content.

And remember—this summer, too, shall pass.

~

author: Lynn Shattuck

Image: Unsplash/Rikky Alves

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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Lynn Shattuck

Lynn Shattuck lives in Portland, Maine with her husband and two young children. She blogs about parenting, imperfection, spirit, and truth telling—you can connect with her through her website or find her on Facebook.

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Julie Phillips Jul 27, 2018 4:09am

It's good to know I'm not the only one hates Summer.

Galina Singer Jul 3, 2018 11:39am

Loved this! It actually made me laugh and I had to read it to my daughter, the introvert, with whom I just had this exact conversation: me trying to get her to come out of her room and enjoy the glorious day and her resisting. Thank you for reminding me how different everyone's experience is and there is no "right" or "wrong."

Michael Mitchell Jul 2, 2018 3:49pm

Funny article- I totally get it but here I sit at the beach this morning in foggy/sunny San Diego and love the long warm days. Kids grown up, I have freedom to do what I want and much of that is introvert mode reading and writing about life and what makes us the unique people we are with such potential.

John Backman Jul 2, 2018 12:39pm

Oh dear...I have a client to see this morning, and now the pull of fans, cardigans and pumpkin spice lattes is just too alluring. Must...resist.... ; )

Lynn Shattuck Jun 28, 2018 5:01pm

Thanks Claire! Glad-- yet sorry-- you can relate. Down with summer, indeed!

Claire White Jun 28, 2018 8:00am

I'm an introvert and I can't tell you how much I appreciate your article! Summer is absolute hell, it feels like a complete sensory overload. It isn't just the heat, but the intense brightness. I also love to have my windows open because I don't have air con, so that means I'm subjected daily to the intrusive sound of the conversations of complete strangers. The only hope that's currently helping me to cope is the certainty of another autumn and winter! I feel then that I have more control of my environment. Thank you for your sensitivity. Your article totally understands my feelings. DOWN WITH SUMMER!!! 😭🌞