There are downsides to being a hermit hidden in the cave of your own mind.
Namely, that people, and, frankly, usually extroverted people, find you boring.
I can’t express how much this sense of my own dullness has worn down my self-esteem over the years. No matter how much I tell myself I do not care what other people think of me, deep down, I do care. A little bit.
I don’t mind the fact that people gravitate towards extroverts in social situations; I mean, that just leaves more breathing room for us to hide in a corner and whip out a book. What I mind is the fact that introverts are written off has having no personality, just a bland cardboard cut-out of a person strutting among real blood-and-flesh humans.
Am I the only one who has noticed this?
I used to feel a sinking feeling inside my chest every time I talked to someone while hanging out with an extroverted group of friends; because while they would dazzle the newcomer, I’d be standing to one side, feeling like the congealed food at the buffet that no-one wants to touch, just, you know, standing there, with a raincloud over my head, staring down at the metaphysical puddle of rejection pooling about my shoes. It’s an icky feeling. It makes you feel unappealing. It makes you feel a bit worthless.
It’s like if I’m not charismatic and talkative and bright as a firework, I’m nobody.
It’s definitely got something to do with the extrovert ideal salivated over by our society. Look on television, and all you see are bright and vibrant personalities, who chat freely and an express their sense of humor and wonderfulness in front of millions of people. I get that. People like stimulating people, and it’s easier to be stimulated by someone chatty rather than someone who talks quietly and seriously and avoids looking at the camera.
But that doesn’t mean introverts are boring. It just doesn’t. It’s like personalitial (it’s word now, yes) discrimination. It’s like saying all Asians are good at math (Side note, as an Asian-Australian myself, I am living proof of the erroneous nature of this statement. Mhm). You get what I mean? You’re generalizing an entire group of people, assuming they all have a particular quality, when we’re individuals. We’re not a homogenous group of silent sentinels, dull as a brick, or a wall of bricks. We’re individuals, do you hear me?
I’m sure some introverts are boring. There are boring people of all shades, of all nationalities, of all races, of all genders, of all sexualities, of all personalities. But just because we’re a little more reserved than your average Jane giggling with the boys, doesn’t mean we’re boring. It doesn’t mean we don’t have a personality. We just need a bit more teasing and coaxing and time for us to get comfortable with you, and for our own unique personalities to bubble to the surface.
Then again, what constitutes having “no personality”? I mean, that’s a rather subjective statement, isn’t it? It almost seems to suggest that having a personality means to be extroverted, doesn’t it? Well, that’s wrong. That’s messed up. It’s like saying the word “beauty” is synonymous to being white. Deliberate but subtle exclusion through the words we use that permeate our everyday lives and subconsciously embed certain concepts of the world in our heads. You’d be surprised at the power of language, and of what you see or hear constantly, through the media, among your social circles. We are absorbent creatures.
You know what? Seeing as we can’t change the mindset of society, my fellow introverts, let’s just leave this post with a secret flutter of joy in our hearts. Let’s think about it this way. We’re like the jewels at the bottom of the chest. The phoenix bird underneath the pile of pigeons. It takes work for people to break through our barriers and discover our personalities. Maybe the reason people say we don’t have personalities is because we’re so reserved, initially, though being reserved technically is a personality trait.
We’re not easy to get to know. But for the people who try – and they’re the only people who worth our time, anyway – once they dig through the layers, go hunting a bit, put in the effort, they can often discover something quite wonderful. I know that. Well, I don’t know if my personality is anything special, but I know that there are millions of introverts out there with beautiful hidden personalities, strange quirky sense of humors, sweet oddities and mannerisms. Even though I’m an introvert myself, I find lots of introverts downright adorable.
So, yeah, we do have a personality. But it’s up to you to put in the effort to get to know us, and discover that personality rather than brushing us off as being boring. We don’t deliver ourselves on a platter, eyeballs arranged tastefully next to hands, with a side dressing of hair, for you to tuck in (This concept is getting weird, fast. Just like to say that I do not, under any circumstances, condone cannibalism). We don’t come ready-made. You’ve got to assemble the phrenological components yourself, read the manual. You’ve got to cook and carve your own pig. And you know what?
We’re worth it. We really are.