Friday, July 19, 2013

On Being An Introvert

I'm an introvert.

I've always been an introvert.  It isn't something you choose.  It's something you are born with.   Nor is it something that can be fixed.  It's the way your brain is wired. 

For years, the common thought was introvert = shy, and extrovert = outgoing, but that isn't what those terms mean. True, some introverts are shy, it's much more complex than that.  

Unfortunately, as a child I was shy.  Very shy. Painfully shy.  

Now that I'm grown, I often wonder if my shyness was really shyness, or if I was just reacting to the pressure society places on people-- especially girls-- to be bubbly and outgoing.  It didn't help that my sister was bubbly and outgoing, and I seemed sullen and morose by comparison.

Even as an adult, I often thought of myself as shy.  It took me a long time to figure out that I am not shy.  I am an introvert.

I've known for a while, even before I knew the name.  I've known that being around people and in social situations exhausts me.  I've known that I need time to myself or I get unbelievably stressed.  I know that too much noise and activity gets me flustered.

Now I know that those are all common characteristics of being an introvert.

Still, for a long time, I considered introversion to be some sort of personality defect.  So does most of society, by the way.  The bubbly, outgoing types still get all the attention.  They still feel the need to help us "break out of our shell".

But thanks to a couple of Facebook pages, Social Introverts and Introverts Are Awesome, I'm learning to embrace my introversion.  Just finding a place where we can be us,  where we are considered normal, where we can say, "hey, I do that, too!" has been so refreshing to me. 

Now, I don't have to walk around with my head down mumbling, "I'm sorry, I'm an introvert." 

I can hold my head up and say with pride, "Hey!  I'm an introvert!"

You know what? 

Audrey Hepburn, she was in introvert, too.

Like me. 

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