So I haven’t really posted in a while as my life has suddenly become incredibly busy (and I don’t really have much to say, if I’m completely honest – I know, how boring). But I’ve just started reading a new book, and it’s just given me the inspiration to write this new post. Please read until the end, I know I blabber on, but I do eventually get to a point. Enjoy!
I’m not much of a non-fiction fan, myself. Being an English literature student my life has been all about that…literature. I love reading fiction stories that are completely bizarre, that will make me laugh out loud or make me cry (but that’s not very hard. I’m a complete cry baby) – not books that will make me have to think, work out theorems or test my cognitive ability. Not that there’s anything wrong with those kind of books, but for my down-time, I like to read books that will reflect my mood, and not to determine my level insanity.
I’ve had the book ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain on my bookshelf for a while now and never really got around to reading it, until last week. I’m still making my way through it as it’s not something you can read all in one, but it has really got me thinking. The book is all about the power of introversion and the tag line just about sums it up – ‘The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking.’ And I bet the introverts are now thinking…’yup. I hear that, sister.’ There’s a section in the book that I just absolutely love, and each time I’ve picked up the book I’ve read the same passage again and again because it’s just so good. Ever read a quote and just think – this gets me? This passage does that. Here it is:
‘Now that you’re an adult, you might feel a pang of guilt when you decline a dinner invitation in favour of a good book. Or maybe you like to eat alone in restaurants and could do without the pitying looks from fellow diners. Or you’re told that you’re ‘in your head too much,’ a phrase that’s often deployed against the quiet and cerebral. Of course, there’s another word for such people: thinkers. – Susan Cain, Quiet.
Now, I’ve been an introvert for as long as I can remember. I used to bury myself in books as a child and avoid any form of contact that didn’t involve turning the pages of my YA fiction, and found that this carried onto into my teenage years and adulthood (yes, I guess I’m an adult now. And yes, it sucks).
Sure, I can be loud sometimes, and if I’m comfortable with people I’ll try my best to fit in. At university I really tried to make the most of my uni nights out and experience the ‘uni life’ that everyone harps on about, but I’d always want to go home at around 10 o’clock, get into my pyjamas, get into bed, watch tv or read. Because in all honestly, I find people exhausting. And I guess a mixture of social anxiety and introversion doesn’t make for a great people person.
Depending on the day, my levels of introversion change. Some days, I can be absolutely fine, and communicate with others – no problem. But other days, I find it incredibly difficult. I find people completely overpowering. I like to observe situations, I don’t like to be a part of them. And making conversations scares the hell out of me – completely. I had points during my time at university where I would physically make myself feel sick at the thought of going to a social event, because the thought of interacting with people, creating and keeping up the conversations with people, as well as worrying what others thought about me in these social situations made me incredibly anxious.
And I still have it today. If I’m surrounded by extremely extroverted people, you can guarantee that I’ll be the one cowering in the corner, not talking, with people asking me why I’m not enjoying myself. Most of the time it’s not that I’m not enjoying myself, but it’s because I like to observe situations, and like to observe from afar. I like to be a part of these situations, but can’t be a part of them in the way that other people can.
And you know what the weirdest part is? I write for a living. Every day I write blogs and articles that can connect with hundreds of people…but I couldn’t talk to them. I can write an article…but I don’t half bugger up my actually spoken sentences. And that’s true, sometimes i genuinely struggle to get out my sentences because of this. And it makes me feel silly, which doesn’t help, and we go full circle.
But this book has given me a new lease of life. I’ve always seen and been told that my introversion is a negative trait…but it’s the opposite. I am a thinker. I am an observer, and I think I’ve become more successful for it – because I channel the words that I know I can say into written words. And it seems to work. And just think of all of the other introverts out there who have used their for the better – one of the examples in the book is Rosa Parks. She was a shy, timid woman, but her small gesture of sitting on a bus created a huge knock-on effect and she’s since changed the course of history. Not saying I can change the world…or can I? Hmmm…
If you’re an introvert and often feel down in the dumps, just think – you’re the people that people actually want to talk to, because it’s normally the case with introverts that when they do have something to say – it’s meaningful. No offence, extroverts, but sometimes you do go on and spout a load of crap (I did say no offence). So what I say to the introverts like me is: you rock it! Don’t feel bad about turning down the dinner invitation. You read your book and you do you. Because it will have a bigger effect than you think. On you and those around you.
Woah. That got pretty deep real fast.