I came across this pin on Pinterest earlier today, and it's basically the motto of my life. I wish more people would follow this advice:
How true is this? Everyone has a different story, a different reason for why they are the way they are. The reasons for why I'm usually more content to listen in a group rather than be the center of one is many fold. I had a harsh and disciplined childhood. I had some really shitty things happen to me at a young age. I was always the youngest kid in class. I had a physical disability very early on (extremely poor eyesight) which made me the butt of schoolyard ridicule and made me retreat within myself even more. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
But the truth is: I was born an introvert. And society acts as if this is a bad thing. It's not! More people are introverts than are extraverts. Did you know that? Other countries do. America is one of the few that caters to the extravert, and it's damn annoying! In our society, the person with the biggest mouth is usually the one that everyone listens to. No matter the fact that such people are often brash, immature, judgemental, intolerant, and best of all -- usually wrong!
And just to clear things up: I am NOT shy! There is a world of difference between being shy and being an introvert. The two are not the same. I can speak before a large crowd when I need to, and I can look you directly in the eye when conversing individually. I can answer you perfectly well when asked a question, and I don't stutter or mumble my words. I'm not afraid of you ... I just sometimes wish you would cut out the small talk and only engage me when you have something interesting to say and worth my time hearing. Seriously, that's it in a nutshell.
Interesting enough, I was just reading this article on The Huffington Post the other day which covered pretty much exactly how I feel on the subject of introverts--i.e., people just like me. It lists the 10 ways that introverts interact differently with the world. To read the whole article and truly understand what makes me tick, click on this link for the full text. One passage in particular I want to highlight here:
"Shyness is about fear of social judgment," Cain said. "Introversion is more about how do you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation. So extraverts really crave large amounts of stimulation, whereas introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched on and their most capable when they are in quieter, more low-key environments."
Yes, exactly! I really take this to heart. When I am surrounded by large amounts of stimulation--crowds of people all trying to talk over one another are the worst!--I can figuratively feel the lifeforce slowly draining from me. I start to feel sluggish and numb, and all I want to do is get the hell home and crawl into a good book or Netflix documentary! Or work on one of my fiction stories. These activities rejuvenate me, make me feel whole again. I didn't really know how to express this all until reading that article. I mean, wow!
So this is who I am. I'm old enough now to no longer care what anyone else thinks about my peculiar traits. I don't need to fight it anymore. I am what I am, and this is just the way I am!
And, yes, the title of this post is an Eminem reference to one of my favorite of his rap tracks off the original Marshall Mathers LP. Take a listen why don't you? Warning for offensive language, but of course.