I hesitate to write about this—the introverted mind. There seems to be a lot of posts, memes about introversion (It is a word). It is celebrated and understood now or maybe it always was, but the internet has just vocalized the okayness of being introverted. There are books and studies and tests that prove being an introvert is fine and actually sometimes a nice quality to have. What I am writing is not a scientific study. What I am writing right now are just my thoughts about the subject.
I wish I had known earlier on in my life that being an introvert was okay. When I was a teenager, I thought it was a bad thing I was suppose to overcome. I hated when people said “Is she okay?” Granted, it is good that people are concerned about your mental state, but still. It made me feel like I was mentally challenged. However, asking if I am okay was probably better than “How come you never talk?” or other versions of this question.
Those words were like the guaranteed mute button for me. I would really try to talk to people normally, but the more I tried it became an anxiety. I had these huge wonderful conversations in my head, but then when I was ready to speak these eloquent pieces in real conversations for some reason every eloquent word would float away. Good bye smooth talker. Welcome “Uh, um, well you know, like uh . . .” disaster. At least it felt like a disaster later as I analyzed every word, sentence, and reaction from the other person. I used to wonder “God, why am I like this?”
Yes, I love building relationships with people. Once I get to know someone, I talk. Sometimes I say too much and my family and some of my friends will testify. They would say I am not an introvert, but I am.
I am not really a big talker with strangers, especially a large group of strangers in a new environment. I fare a little better one on one, but with a large group I tend to freak out, unnecessarily.
Usually I think “There are a lot of people in this room who know how to talk, the talk better than me. What if someone talks to me and we run out of things to say? Then they start doing the sketchy eyes because they want to talk to someone more stimulating. I am probably compensating for my lack of not knowing what to say by smiling too big. Crap. They probably think the smile is creepy. Crap. There they go. Adios, my friend.”
That does not happen most of the time. I can manage and I usually enjoy myself. Yet it does take effort to talk like a privileged member of society when I am exhausted or discouraged. I usually want to talk like a grammar deficient gangster and say “Yo what up dude? I am tirred. Dude this truck with a trailer almost side swiped me today.” Of course, the person I am talking to is giving me that “I don’t really care. What is wrong with her?” smile and I think maybe I should stop talking before I give away a family secret or start psychoanalyzing the reason behind the truck not hitting me.
Then there is the option of not talking and enjoying the ebb and flow of conversation, but that’s not acceptable unless someone is giving you a monologue speech or you pretend you are texting a text-that cannot-wait. Still that’s rude. No excuses. Even though I just tried to validate the usage of my phone, it still is rude.
So I wonder if I should just tell relative strangers or acquaintances, “Hey I am tired today, so if what I am saying doesn’t make any sense, try to understand that my brain is a little slow today. Stringing together meaningful thoughts might not happen, but just think of it this way. You might learn a new vocabulary word or even a new idiom phrase that might be useful in the future.”
I should have said this Friday. School started last week, which usually means for a little controlled chaos which equals an eventual tiredness after a summer of leisure and lounging. I didn’t want to admit I was tired. I wanted to be the stoic person who says “What are you talking about tired? I am not tired. That’s kid’s stuff.” But my mind finally said “Yes, you’re tired.”
This truth became fully evident after a long day at school and I went to a party. I wanted to go for a friend, but I knew something was seriously wrong when after thirty seconds of conversation with anyone at my table I was mentally struggling with the appropriate questions and responses to give. I did a lot of nodding my head and saying “Okay, um . . . what about . . .” I even asked the same question to a girl. I wanted to put my head on the table and give a Hollywood worthy groan. I didn’t though. I walked away virtually unscathed or maybe my social shaming was all in my head.
Yes, I am an introvert and yes I have awkward moments. Sometimes I fail to communicate properly. Sometimes I say the wrong thing or don’t say anything, but I have learned that it will be okay. I have learned from my mistakes. It would be easier just to stay in bed and only talk to people who I know, but life is about growing. On most days I try not to wallow, and I think “Okay how can I learn from this?”
The irony of life is that most of the time our weaknesses make us stronger, if we let them. Any inspirational movie will tell you that—like The King’s Speech, Soul Surfer, Pacific Rim. . . You get the picture. What is your struggle? Who knows maybe your struggle will help someone through their own.
And hopefully this blog didn’t sound too crazy.