Mar 12, 2015

You Got Us All Wrong! (Confessions of an INTROVERT)


I'm an introvert. Well, I'm probably the most outgoing introvert given the fact that I am also bipolar. Although bipolar is understatement when in fact I sometimes feel like I have more than two sides. Know what I'm saying? Uhuh~ most people don't. So, to those who think introverts are some kind of psychos who could actually lose it anytime and therefore should be detained in a maximum security prison, well I'm here to give you a little enlightenment so it won't be necessary to call security. Ready?

For the last I-can't-count-anymore months, I have been reading about my kind of people ~ INTROVERTS. I probably got more curious about how introverts live in this noisy world when I have seen Susan Cain's TED talk while I was in China. Eventually I was browsing her website and checking out how on earth I can get a signed copy of her book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World ThatCan't Stop Talking". I just found myself nodding along to most of the things that she was saying in her TED talk. I believe my exact words were "Holy shit, that's exactly how I feel!!!" And it gave me a sigh of relief; I had that "AHA!" moment. Knowing that I'm not alone in this stereotype that most people cage me in was really empowering. I knew that something was different with me but I also knew that I don't have any physical abnormalities or disabilities. I just think and feel way too different from others who call themselves 'normal'. But for quite some time, those 'normal' people somehow made me feel like what I'm doing was totally wrong and that I should just be used as shark food since I have no use at all. I exist but no one would even notice when I'm gone. I lived like that for years. As I grew older, I tried to 'fit in' but it was just a little too painful when people still won't let you 'in' when you gave it your best shot just to be seen or heard. But I still tried to be more sociable even though I slightly despised it. I started talking more to people and learned how to look straight in their eyes when I do. I realized I still prefer to be on my own but that it won't hurt if I'd talk to people from time to time.

Before I get all dramatic here, I'd like to share a few things that people don't normally get about us introverts. I'm hoping that this might clear some misconceptions about those who prefer silence over too much noise.


1. We are not THAT shy. 
Seriously, have you seen my YouTube videos??? A shy person would never post videos online EVER! I just happen to be very choosy with whom I would open up to. Would a random person be interested to know about my love life? My never ending series of unrequited love? Or how I reject people just because I want to? I don't think so! So, I won't make a scene blabbering about just everything to random people UNLESS we do have a certain connection. I usually know when I can trust someone with very sensitive issues in my life. And it takes years of friendship before I can actually do this to a limited number of people. I, on the other hand, usually experience being on the other side of this communication thingy. Whether they are my friends or not, eventually people find me sort of accommodating. I dunno how that happened, but that's what I have been experiencing since I changed my mind about shutting people out all the time. It was only after I quit from my very first job when I realized that I'm actually fit to be a customer service representative. I enjoy helping and HEARING PEOPLE OUT even if I myself am hesitant to share about what's going on inside my tiny head. Which leads me to the next misconception...

2. We don't totally hate people.


this is me introverting at a park somewhere in Chaoyang, Beijing! It was so peaceful man!!!
(trivia: I placed my camera on a trash can!)
We hate noise, yeah. All those nonsense talks, chit chats along the hallway or bus or train or restrooms. But I know that everyone has the right to talk whenever they want, except in movie theaters, libraries, museums or temples and other sacred places...that's why we prefer to go to these places. We need a place where people shut the hell up for a long time. We NEED that to restore our energy because we get drained from trying to be extroverts just so you guys would think that we are 'normal'. Our batteries run out too, and we recharge through SOLITUDE. We do have quite a number of friends that we make time for and we have to deal with occasional reunions with our families and believe me when I say it takes a lot of effort for us to be in those kinds of socializing shits when all we really want is to rest and relax at home and do our thing! Not to mention the company parties or outings or lunch outs or anything that involves getting our asses off our seats and cubicles and being in the same room with more than 5 people. It's not agoraphobia! I won't mind staying in a room filled with people meditating or doing yoga. But a room filled with unending chitchats? No, thank you. Really, it depends on the person. Or should I say it depends on the decibel level of a person.

3. We really like to communicate.



seeing me like this freaked the hell out of my roommate, she couldn't help capturing this moment! (I was actually talking to people from different countries WHILE doing some paperwork on the side)
While most people think that communication always involves sound, I would respectfully disagree. I usually talk for a living, that's probably one of the reasons why when I get home or when I am anywhere outside my cubicle, I prefer to shut up. That's my only chance to save my voice! But, I can let my hands do the talking. I can shut up for a long time but I am probably talking to a number of people, some of which are halfway across the globe. I have been texting since I was a teenager, that's nothing new to me. And with this growing technology, people are also fond of chatting or video calling. Although we try to stay away from anything that would involve moving our lips too much. So, email, chat or text message ~ you can reach us through any of these but you might want to avoid calling us because we are rarely in the mood to talk over the phone, or in person, UNLESS we are going to talk about something that really fascinates us. If that's the case we can actually talk for hours! Trust me! So, we must have a common ground before we can actually communicate properly.

4. We are NOT boring.


Yup, I'm standing at one of the watch towers at the Great Wall~
Honestly? It's you that we find boring. Mundane things insult the hell out of our wits so all we can really do is a much-needed but hidden eye roll and a quick escape. While some people might think we feel out of place that's why we tend to leave an event or a party early...well guess what? We actually have something else planned that does not involve phony conversations with people we barely know! Yes, it's important to socialize and you really don't know who you're going to bump into in parties. I started meeting strangers whom I think can help me make a move on my personal projects when I tried to be a bit more social. Yes, it was awesome! BUT, that does not happen 100% of the time. So, don't expect my name in a party list ALL.THE.TIME. We only get involved on things that really make sense to us. I for one have started to be slightly obsessed with fun runs around my city. I wasn't a runner way back in school but I somehow got my mind on it and though it took me a long time to get my ass at the starting line of my first fun run, I did it! And that's NOT boring! Training and conditioning your body before the actual run is not boring at all!

5. Not all of us are geeks.


    Another thing that most people associate introverts with are BOOKS. Honestly? I used to hate reading when I was in grade school, along came Harry Potter. I have never been so serious about reading books (aside from fairy tales) before they published Harry Potter. But who doesn't like Harry Potter??? Written by another well-known introvert, it certainly did cast a spell on me. I can't explain the feeling of watching the movies knowing that I know what's going to happen because I have already read it. The only question is whether the thing I'll see on the screen would match the ones I have created in my mind. Actually, even until now, I still find it hard to get myself to read / finish reading a certain book. But books are not boring, they are a great source of wisdom! Fantasy/fiction books can take you to places you've never been. They can take you to other worlds if you let them. I don't read a lot of books though, if I do, they are mostly human manuals. I think I prefer writing, obviously! It was only a few years back when I actually realized that I prefer reading online stuff since I have more access to the Internet. I started reading blogs in my early 20's and I even started my own blog! I'm NOT a geek. I just think way too different than 'normal' people. Another thing that most people associate introverts with are BOOKS. Honestly? I used to hate reading when I was in grade school, along came Harry Potter. I have never been so serious about reading books (aside from fairy tales) before they published Harry Potter. But who doesn't like Harry Potter??? Written by another well-known introvert, it certainly did cast a spell on me. I can't explain the feeling of watching the movies knowing that I know what's going to happen because I have already read it. The only question is whether the thing I'll see on the screen would match the ones I have created in my mind. Actually, even until now, I still find it hard to get myself to read / finish reading a certain book. But books are not boring, they are a great source of wisdom! Fantasy/fiction books can take you to places you've never been. They can take you to other worlds if you let them. I don't read a lot of books though, if I do, they are mostly human manuals. I think I prefer writing, obviously! It was only a few years back when I actually realized that I prefer reading online stuff since I have more access to the Internet. I started reading blogs in my early 20's and I even started my own blog! I'm NOT a geek. I just think way too different than 'normal' people.

6. We are not ALWAYS sad.

That's me in the front seat of a speed boat, with no living human body sitting next to me and I'M totally FINE!
One of the most common misconception about anyone sitting alone is that he/she is SAD. Almost all my life I have been sitting by myself on park benches, lunchrooms and cafeterias and I like it!!! I like it when I don't have to move my mouth too much and just simply observe the world around me. Even during the time when I felt like I was an outcast, I secretly enjoyed keeping a distance from most people. Why? Because I feel like people can see me better that way. No blocking, no over-shadowing...it feels like I'm on a spotlight actually! I couldn't care less if people are talking about me and my irrational fear of being disturbed in my quiet times. As I grew older and got to know myself better, I realized that keeping my distance from people was my defense from absorbing too much negative energies. Yup, I'm an introverted empath, I feel way too much! 

7. We can be successful too!


definitely one of the world's most famous introvert!
When I was in high school, I wrote a book
report about Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and that includes writing something about the writer of your chosen book. That's when I first knew about one of the most famous and richest introvert of our time ~ J.K. Rowling. She created her master piece while she was stuck in a train from Manchester to London. The idea of this wizard boy in a muggle world surfaced while she was sitting in a delayed train. Introverts work best when they are in situations like these, that's when bright ideas hit us the most. I was totally awestruck with her life story while I was doing the "About the Author" part of my paper. In a way, I can totally relate to her even though I'm not a struggling single mother. The way she sits in silence in a cafeteria while she writes parts of Harry Potter in scraps of paper...wow! You can check out the introversion stories of other famous introverts like Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Abrahan Lincolm, Emma Watson, Meryl Streep, Drew Barrymore, Mahatma Gandhi, Audrey Hepburn, Susan Cain, Christina Aguilera and so much more!!! These people are well-known and successful despite introversion.

8. We are not extremely rude nor arrogant.


  
this is me posing with a massage therapist in Beijing...who of course eventually became my friend!
and I was introduced to the other therapists who also asked if they can have a photo with me, and who am I to say no?! 
Our poker face, short replies and distant looks are often mistaken as rudeness and arrogance. We don't mean to offend you in whatever way, that's just how we look! I myself am trying my best not to look 'snotty' all the time especially when I am at a new place. Putting on a poker face has been like a defense to keep people at a bay, but that does not mean I NEVER want to talk you or get to know you. My friends can tell you that it takes a loooong time before I could actually let you in. But once I get to know you and as long as I know that you're fine hearing me talking some crazy shits, then we're good! Introverts are just not often seen chatting or laughing out loud but we do that too, a LOT actually! Our friends know how noisy and silly we can be in our own terms and conditions. So, if you don't hear us saying 'hello' first, please do the honor of saying it first and we can promise to reply with a smile. I'm trying my best to change this habit, but I just can't do it all the time.


this is me and the owner of the cozy cafe where I had breakfast once~ 
...and since I was the first customer that day, I get to sign on the board first! woohoo!

9. You can't FIX us.

I like living this way!
I am an inborn introvert ~ I was born this way. Just like I was born with dark brown eyes and curly hair, it's something that not everyone would be willing to change. If I want a different eye color, I can get some colored contact lenses. But, at the end of the day my real eye color is still dark brown. The same thing applies with introversion. We can exert a lot of effort trying to be an extrovert and going to as many events/parties as we can and talking to as many people as possible. However, at the end of the day we will still CRAVE for solitude. It is only through solitude that we can restore ourselves and be whole again.

I am not against extroverts. Some of my friends are extroverts and I like them that way because the world needs a good balance between introverts and extroverts. What I don't like is the way people treat introversion like it is some horrible dark cave that everyone needs to get out from. I get my energy by spending quality time alone; my extroverted friends need to be around people if they want to recharge and feel good. It's perfectly clear to me! People are not all wired the same way, and it's good because can you imagine what a noisy world it would be if we were all talking at the same time? Some of us have to listen, some of us have to think and plan and be creative. And that's what we are wired to do!


8 comments:

  1. You've just cemented that I am really an introvert.. But i'm trying to be more sociable now and i'm enjoying it, though there are still times that i want to be just by myself wherein i can daydream, talk to myself, think, study people and observe things around me..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi there!!! pleasure hearing from you~ nothing is wrong with craving for solitude, that's how we introverts recharge~ good to know that you are trying to be sociable though! It opens up doors you never even thought of knocking sometimes~

      Delete
  2. I'm an introvert too, and I can totally relate to what you've said. Well, most people tell me that I may be an ambivert because I have extrovert tendencies too. But either way, what matters I guess is that we don't let ourselves be stuck just because of the ~title~ that we have. We are ourselves, and we are different in our own ways. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey there Jhanz! I appreciate your comment on this post!!! Funny how at some point I also thought of myself as an ambivert~ but then I realized it was just me trying to turn my back on who I really am just so I can give people a chance to be in my life. I ended up being labeled as bipolar though~ haha! but just like what I said, that's an understatement. It's true when you said that we shouldn't get stuck with our 'titles' or stereotype or whatever. I don't like it so much when people label one activity as something that only extroverts do (ex. speaking in public or bunjee jumping). I couldn't agree more when you said 'we are different in our own ways'. That's the real beauty of human~

      Delete
  3. Cyndrel, I remember a quote after reading what you shared.
    Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner. – Lao Tzu

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing that quote, IB! I couldn't agree more with Mr. Lao Tzu~ I love almost every word/life lesson I get from that man! It is your job to set yourself free from the stigma that society cages you in. You can't control them, but you can definitely control how you respond/react to what they are doing or saying to you. Thanks for reading my post!

      Delete
  4. We can't please everyone, what others think of me is none of my business anymore ^ " ^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True~ :) never waste your precious time or energy thinking about what others think of you~ you got BETTER things to do!

      Delete

I wanna hear something from you!