Being an Introvert

What a relief to be identified, to finally find a place that you belong to! I have never felt so at home within the blogosphere when I discovered 61musings, never felt so relaxed to have something to say.

I have always known that I was an introvert, how could I not, when I have been persistently reminded of by my parents and by my extroverted siblings from the day I was born. It was not until later on in life, in one of the graduate management lectures, that I learnt about introverts, that I was not just “the shy one”, that I learnt shyness was ”fear of social judgement“, Susan Cain.

I remember the innumerable times I had been drawn out of my protective shell, only to be thrust forward and lavishly introduced, so that I would not be the embarrassing offspring not accounted for. I still remember like yesterday the apologetic smiles, the unuttered “forgive us”.  So on my own for the first time, afresh with determination to be rid of this disgrace, I threw myself into jobs that required hosting assemblies of strangers, convincing myself all the while that it was where I wanted to be.

I held on to this facade for every employment I took on, always immaculate and impassive; but if I were to have relented, I would have resented having been looked over the shoulder by employers, employees alike, resisted having to work inside a cubicle – a space, to put it simply, with the semblance of a room, but without a door. I loved office work, would have gladly slaved at the desk, but rejected having to leave my work space to attend meetings, or meet clients etc..

“When you spend too much time battling your own nature, the opposite happens – you deplete yourself”, Susan Cain. I was so exhausted that by the time I was married, I withdrew from every occasion that required me to interact with strangers. Being an introvert, though, does not mean I can live on a remote island without connecting to anybody; to have indulged myself in this state further depleted me of all the creativity I have gathered in my childhood. I enjoy being around people even if I do not take part actively, often even wish I was invisible (in fact it would do just the trick if I was invisible). I love looking at the way people express themselves through their faces, the way they dress themselves and the way they hold themselves. I resisted growing up because of the way I was allowed to observe people at lengths without being out of place as a child.

Being a quiet introvert also does not mean that I have a quiet mind, I am a thinker therefore I like to communicate actively, sometimes profusely when I am with like-minded people (though not in person); what we know we already know, it is the what we are yet to explore that preoccupies my mind. The thought of being with people who understand me energizes me, urges me on, to explore more, to experience more, so that when we eventually come back to this space, we have more to share , more to exchange.

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