I have spent most of my holiday in a reflective haze. Being an introvert, reflection is a daily necessity in my life. I often take an hour out of each day just to think. Many people, my own parents included, have branded me weird because of this tradition of mine but it helps me maintain the façade of sanity that I need to survive in this ,our strange world.
I have been indulging in the mastermind that is Susan Cain’s book Quiet (The Power Of An Introvert In A World That Can’t Stop Talking) for the past few days. Never have I felt more validated as an introvert. Whilst reading this book I experienced the familiar evangelical zeal that I first felt when I listened to Chimamanda Adiche’s TedX talk about feminists.
As an introvert, I sometimes feel myself becoming overwhelmed by the constant need for connectivity and togetherness and wish the world would zip it’s mouth and let me curl up in a corner with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. Reading this book made me realise that this did not make me an anomaly. It makes me who I am. This book is perfection and I recommend it to one and all.
Lily the introvert . . .
I stand on the thin line between love and hate with regards to my high school experience because I felt that my school catered solely for extroverts. I had many days where sitting in the library or under a tree was more preferable to sitting with large groups of people and eating my boring lunch. I hated the fact that unless you belonged to a bigger group of beings , you were seen as anti-social.
I abhorred the constant collaboration. It tired me out and muddled up my brain. There was a group work project for every subject imaginable. Even mathematics. Most school leaders were chosen on the sole principle that they had extroverted personalities and would therefore be able to enforce discipline more easily. Better marks were given to extroverted learners .Teachers deny this but the energetic and perky students would automatically be awarded better grades than other students who were more subdued.
I was always slightly ashamed by my lack of extroversion and sought to make myself live up to extrovert ideals. I deemed myself anti-social on the basis that I hated going to large parties and surrounding myself with large groups of people. Most of my years during which things like friends and social lives became important were spent in complete agony ! I went through a very confused stage where I forced myself to interact without cessation because that’s what I thought was normal.
Most of my teachers, should they remember me ( not that I care anyway) , described me as quiet and aloof as if there was a fault in my desire to not have a spotlight perpetually centred upon my head. I shared my ideas when I wanted to and when I felt it necessary to have the class graced with my humble opinion. My English teacher , in particular, wished that I spoke up more in class because I apparently had “good ideas if only I could project just a little bit more louder and with more energy” .
One year later . . .
I haven’t attended as many parties as I “should” have and have not joined as many societies and committees as I “should” have but that’s fine. I have conquered the gruesome beast that is FOMO ( A psychological condition that has control over the lives of billions of people, usually stated as the Fear Of Missing Out).
FOMO is the constant, often obsessive, need to be involved, wanted, appreciated, seen and heard because the world teaches us that unless you’re always in the company of many others and posting billions of pictures of your adventurous and busy life on Instagram , you’re not living the right way. FOMO is a pathological agent bred out of the Extrovert Ideal that forces everyone to believe that unless you are interacting all the time or taking action all the time and being loud all the time , you are not leading a meaningful life.
I used to view my introspection as a weakness but I now realise that I can use it to my advantage in many situations. I will probably think myself into oblivion but that’s fine. A year away from high school has taught me that it’s perfectly fine to be an introvert. I do not have to aspire to the Extrovert Ideal that was preached to me insistently for the past five years . I love extroverts and most of my friendships are with people who are extroverted but I assert my right to not conform to this ideal of everlasting interaction and always having something to do on a Friday night.
Lots Of Lily Love ❤ (LOLL)