“I am not my introversion”

Wake up. Go to a meeting. Go have lunch with your friends. Go to class. Grab dinner with someone. Go to a club event. Go home and talk about your day. We’re expected to be social 24/7. Society tells us to be involved in as many things as possible, which often require being around stimulation all the time. My personality is not built for this, and I know many others feel the same way.

I’m an introvert. Sometimes I’m shyer than others, and this trait doesn’t always affect my life, but it is an underlying piece of who I am. Being around sights, noises, and sounds all day drains me and I’m not the same person as when I’ve been in peace and quiet. Recently I went to Costco, a very overwhelming place for anyone, and between choosing what to buy, running on an empty stomach, and an argument that came up with the cashier at the end, I was spent by the end of the trip. It takes me a long time to open up to a group. A year ago I could not have imagined talking to my community service sorority during chapter meetings, and when I class first starts it can take me a couple weeks before I am comfortable enough to talk. Being introverted effects my personal interactions too. I sometimes share less with others. Someone I used to be in a relationship with thought I didn’t love him, but I did enormously and was thinking it all the time. Big things are hard to say and they have to count.

Being introverted means I may not always want to talk to you even if you are someone I love. I can have a blast at a party, but I may need to leave to have down time after. I can think about what comment I am going to make in class five times and still not be ready to say it. I have to write letters and memorize them before I have serious conversations with people. I have to make myself talk. You may think I’m holding back emotions or I don’t feel as much as others do, but I do; I have those same feelings of love and joy and sadness, they’re just folded a little deeper down in me. But I promise they’re there.

We’re taught from a young age the ideal person in society is an extrovert. Someone who can talk to crowds like J.F.K. Someone who speaks up in class. Someone who is a social butterfly. Someone who owns the company. But if everyone spoke all the time, no one would listen. I think there’s a lot to be said for quiet leadership, and introversion is undervalued.

I am not my introversion. It’s okay that I am awkward at times and have to remove myself from stimulation. I bring a different perspective to the table by being quiet and thinking deeply about the things that I say. Being introverted is part of what makes me a good listener, a gentle shoulder to lean on, a deep thinker, and an attentive friend. And it’s part of what makes me, me.