Introversion is perceived in several versions of a characteristic in one’s self. Introversion may be being in one’s head more than what is spoken, it may be how one reacts to being around a group of people, it may be needing one’s personal space more often than expected, it may be taking more time for self reflection and thought. Introverts are a bit mysterious and give off a demeanor that may not be well received in situations. Introverts can also be the life of the party, yet also display the fact that when they leave they take time for themselves to regroup and be in their minds for a while without the chatter of others around them. Introversion may be seen as a negative trait, not as well liked, and sometimes a bit cross. Despite any stereotype, each person who claims to be an introvert is one for all different reasons. To talk about introversion is quite a step for an introvert, and I am taking on that challenge in this dialogue to talk about my experience in my own introverted self.
I did not come to terms with my introversion until I entered college. I knew I was not as social as many of my peers, and I knew I also needed my alone time when I was not surrounded by friends and family. I always thought that being bubbly and smiling all the time was a way to hide this introverted side of myself, and that nobody would think different of the fact that sometimes I just did not want to talk or contribute to a conversation. Sometimes, I would just want to be with my own thoughts and emotions and not share them with everyone, and that was perceived as weird and off-putting, hence why I did not “fit in.” I was never one to talk about nonsense and things to just have something to say. If I did not have something to say, then that would be that. If I had opinion, then I would want to find the way I would want to phrase it, then present it, and then think about it after. It is almost like I have a whole conversation in my head before I have a conversation with the person I am speaking with. I have done this for as long as I can remember, teachers would notice my glazed expression and tell me to pay attention; the fact was that I was still paying attention, but I also was figuring out my own way of processing the information and then asking questions. I have sped up this process throughout my own self learning and have been able to control my facial expressions, yet I am still in my head 24/7. I realized this in college because I was aware from my first interaction with a friend who always reminded me to take the time I needed to think about what I have to say, and then speak my mind. He reassured me that it was okay to have thoughts and be in my head, but then also speak up when I have something valuable to contribute and be confident in what my opinions entail. This assurance brought me to the realization that I am introverted, and I need to embrace that part of myself in order to function at my best.
Some have said, “Well why do you have to think so much, just do, actions are louder than words.” I find this to be an interesting statement. It is true in some cases especially when advocating for a certain movement, or when you physically need to show some sort of actionable representation, however, words are my vice. Thinking has value to a whole different degree in my life. It allows me to process, plan, act, then reflect. This is what works for me. Thinking makes this process possible and it is important to the way I approach many scenarios in my experience. If I could not process what needs to be done, then plan based off the process, act in accordance with a plan, then reflect after the act is completed I would not be being honest with myself about what I need in order to learn and grow from different experiences. Like I said before, every person who identifies with being an introvert is different, and this is what makes sense to me. I am proud of being an introvert, and I look forward to exploring this side of myself even more in the future.