A couple weeks ago, I made an escape to Homegoods and Barnes and Noble for a little "me" time. Yes. You heard me... Home decor and book stores are FUN to me. Homegoods with their neat, colorful and beautifully displayed knick-knacks for the home. Sifting through their clearance shelves is much like digging for treasure to me. Barnes and Noble, a quiet little haven far, far away from whiners, criers, tattle talers and temper tantrum-ers.
During one of my trips to Barnes and Noble for some free quiet, I came across, The Introverts Way: Living A Quiet Life In A Noisy World by Sophia Dembling. In other words, this sounds like it could be the manual to me. But since this trip was strictly for some free quiet, I swore I'd come back for it during the summer while the kids are away and I'm less distracted.
And I'm so glad I did.
For anyone who's ever felt down on themselves for instinctively searching for the quiet corner at every party & was called the "party pooper"... for those of us who got stuck with the labels "SHY", "ANTI SOCIAL", "SNOB", "NEGATIVE", "SOCIALLY INEPT" or the one I heard most often "BITCH" because we didn't walk around smiling like a dufuss and starting conversations with people simply because we have that we're breathing the same air in common... this book is for YOU.
Like the author charmingly puts it... "Introverts are not failed extroverts."For as long as I could remember, I felt there was something wrong with me because I wasn't like everyone else. (At least it seemed like everyone else.)
I spent (and still do) at least 80% of my day living in my own head. I was labeled the "daydreamer" by almost every teacher I had from 1st grade through high school. I wasn't as loud and rambunctious as the funny kids in class, but I sure as hell have a sense of humor. I was told I was wrong for wanting to sit alone on the swings rather than run around with the other kids. Watching the rest of the kids running around all blue in the face was fun for me, and besides... I was always a shitty runner.
I was never a social butterfly, but I had friends. I didn't smile as much as the others or laugh as loudly but it didn't mean I was always unhappy. I preferred to read, write and draw over sports, plays, and socializing. I was overly cautious. Quiet. Painfully shy (not so much anymore). Observant.
"Slow." (Yes. This term, slow... or as it's said in Spanish boba, or medía boba, has haunted me the most, even as an adult. I was SO quiet that apparently my mental health was in question. I forgive the people who apparently confused medía boba for being deaf or sorda as well but... anyway... let's move on.)
I'm not fucking slow. Pendejos.
I like to be alone. A lot. I don't always like people. Not many people understand how important it is for me to have my space without taking it personally, even if I really DO like them. This makes it really hard to connect with people... But not impossible. For the few who do understand... I treasure them deeply.
This book reiterated what I've been telling myself for a few years now- There's nothing wrong with ME. Let me tell ya... it's one thing to say it to yourself. It's AMAZING when the people you hold near and dear accept and understand you. But to read someone else's candid take and experience with being an introvert is LIBERATING. (In a very quiet, private and personal way, that is.)
We don't need to be fixed. This statement is geared towards the extroverts of the world who have made it their duty to fix in us what doesn't need fixin'. Some of those extroverts try to "correct" us out of love and concern that our quietness, our solitary nature, and our sensitivity is something to be cured with a prescription. (Or prayer like my grandmother tried to do when I was a teenager.)
Introversion isn't a disease of the mind, much less a problem to be fixed or something to overcome. It's not a negative characteristic or a lack thereof. If there was ever a time I wished to be an extrovert, (not gonna lie, there's been many) it's only because I've gotten tired of hearing I need to be less of me in order to be more like her. The overly peppy, extremely talkative, ridiculously annoying her because that's what society deemed normal behavior for a young girl. I don't WANNA be like her... I like being me. In my bubble. I like my bubble.
Our silence being misconstrued into something negative isn't our problem. (Yeah-hu... this book says so.) It's the judgemental loud folks with the problem. It's about time we start standing up for our right to NOT want to party like a rock star, cause quite frankly, it's exhausting! Why should we be forced to mingle among strangers when all we really want is to sit next to the table with the cocktail weenies- or better yet... go home and rip off our bra!? It's tight, it's binding and it sucks! I don't wanna be friends with ANYONE who thinks it's fun to be tight and binded! And who made extroverts the BOSS of what's considered socially acceptable behavior in the first place?! Who invented BRAS anyway?!
There's nothing wrong with choosing not to pour into people who don't pour into you.
There's nothing wrong with wanting to be alone in order to preserve your sanity.
There's nothing wrong with having just a handful (or less) of friends and feeling like they're more than enough because they're all you need to feel FULL. Especially, when every interaction outside of them leaves you feeling empty.
There's nothing wrong with being quiet. Maybe I'm just thinking. Maybe I'm observing... or listening... or daydreaming. Maybe you're boring the s@!% out of me and I'm just waiting for you to shut up OR I'm hoping someone else changes the subject.
There's nothing wrong with preferring a movie night in sweats to the club scene or hanging out in groups.
There's nothing wrong with not wanting to pick up the phone for just anyone, for just anything.
There's nothing wrong with not smiling all the time or being slow to warm up to people- especially those who seem to have made up their minds at first glance about you judging by their sideways glance and forced smile.
There's nothing wrong with preserving the best of me for the people who know what naturally makes me want to shine for them.
Screw what society says... there's nothing wrong with you either, my introverted friend.
P.S. There's nothing wrong with extroverts. I love y'all! Seriously! I do!
Just leave me alone.