Tension between my need to be around others and my desire for time alone defines my experience most of the time.

When gregarious I will go out of my way to stir up goings on to enjoy the company of others. At other times, puttering at home, reading and writing become so important I probably won’t answer the phone.

“The Soul selects her own Society”, by Emily Dickinson, gives voice to the distinct interest I have at times for private thoughts and pastimes.

The Soul selects her own Society –
Then – shuts the Door –
To her divine Majority –
Present no more –

Unmoved – she notes the Chariots – pausing –
At her low Gate –
Unmoved – an Emperor be kneeling
Opon her Mat –

I’ve known her – from an ample nation –
Choose One –
Then – close the Valves of her attention –
Like Stone –

If my observations are at all accurate, most people don’t share the illusion of split loyalties I’ve always been rather plagued by. But, to anyone else with these partitive needs, the poem is a poignant expression of the private self.

I am not a psychologist or other student of personality, so there is nothing authoritative about my saying this, but from what I’ve seen, people who are primarily quiet feel connected to others. It’s their nature to be alone. Not as an aversion to others.  Likewise, outgoing personalities are almost always in need of a crowd to feel charged up.   

When divergent parts of my personality are in a tug of war over which will have power, the “thinker”, “Then — shuts the Door — / To her divine Majority — / Present no more — ”.

There’s no lack of affection, for divine majorities comprise the greater of at least two aggregates who can stir me into action on their behalf. But, sometimes, “Unmoved — she notes the Chariots — pausing” to see if I am up for a game, a movie, a lunch at our favorite cafe. It’s nothing against anyone. I’d be as “Unmoved — an Emperor be kneeling”.

With vague recollections of the socially engaged parts of me, “I’ve known her — from an ample nation — ” of family and friends I passionately do not want to offend, nevertheless “Choose One —”. The only one, me, who cares for the minutiae of thought and emotion that demands I “then — close the Valves of her attention — ”.

Digest A Poem A Day — Accept What Comes Your Way

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