Introvert Survival: Any Small Thing

One of the most powerful remedies for feelings of depression, loneliness, and rejection is a hobby or discipline that commands your intimate attention.  As a kid I loved insects and all kinds of small life.  I gained an appreciation early on by dissecting bugs from the garden under a stereoscope.  I realized just how intricate and otherworldly they were.  I had already seen how most people passed them over, only noticing them long enough to kill them.

Years later during the deep black states of mind of my teen years, I learned that by doing something intimate and intricate with my surrounding environment could revive me.

Once as I high school junior, I was crushingly depressed and lonely.  It was a depressingly sunny cheerful day near the end of the school year when everyone else seemed so happy and unified.

I turned my attention as I had done since childhood to the leaves and branches of various shrubs.  I knew well how to search.  I soon noticed small bumps that I instantly recognized as plant galls.  Plant galls, I well knew were the nurseries of the larva of tiny parasitic wasps.

I broke off some galls and snuck into the biology lab.  No one was there but me.

I delicately cut open the galls and extracted the larvae for viewing under the microscope.

My state of mind was much improved when I was done.

Something, any small thing that makes you appreciate the enormous intricate beauty of our universe will save you.

Any small thing at all will work.  Sometimes all I had to do to ground myself was simply to stop and watch the afternoon shadows of swaying tree branches, a single autumn leaf drift all the way from its branch to the ground, a ray of sunlight suddenly shoot through a high window as the sun rose just the tiniest bit higher.  The key is shifting one’s attention from the social plane and becoming aware of the vast, chaotic extra-social reality that surrounds us.  Eventually that outer Void becomes home.

Zygmunt blogs at Kingdom of Introversion (and elsewhere).

Introvert Survival: Any Small Thing appears here by permission.

[image via Flickr/Creative Commons]

on 12/5/11 in Art/Play/Myth, featured | 2 Comments | Read More

Comments (2)


  1. Camille says:

    i totally understand this. on my way to school i always watch the sky, be it sunny, rainy or snowy. its really calming, making me feel at ease. its the most beautiful thing in the world, and people are always looking down on the ground or straight ahead - man-made and always changing. to me, the sky, like you said, is “home”. :)

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