Sunday, June 29, 2014

Not Your Typical Introversion Post... Or Is It?

During the past several months oodles of Buzzfeed and Buzzfeedesque websites have published lists about introversion. For instance: 27 Problems Only Introverts Will Understand. The other trend? People, mostly extroverts, are sick of hearing about introversion. I get it. But here's what you might not get... we live in your world, at least we do here in 'Merica. Some of us have been doing so for twenty-some years or more, and all of our lives we've either been told there's something wrong with us or that we're weird or that we're snooty.

I promise we aren't. Seriously, take a walk in my flip-flops for a day, especially one of my high school days. In no particular order are a few moments from my high school years in which I've been publicly shamed or had to find a way to avoid public shame because of qualities that stem from my introversion.

1. I start to walk to the front of the classroom to give a presentation, and I hear, "Awwwww. She's so cuuuttte." No. I was a student who was not fond of public speaking who had to speak publicly. I was and am still not a fucking toddler who did the cutest thing ever or some adorable dog who'd just rolled over. I was a 17 year old student trying to do what I was told to do. Officially not cute or awe worthy.

2. "Julie, what's wrong?" Nothing. Why? "You look mad." No. This is just my face.

3. I was never much for going out. My friends used to think my mom was a total bitch because if I got an invite to do something that I didn't want to do, it was easier to say my mom wouldn't let me than to have to answer the endless questions about why I didn't want to go out to the mall or to a party or whatever was happening.

4. After showing a video for a group project for sophomore year English, someone turned around, and said, "Wow. I always thought you were boring, but you're actually a fun person!" Thanks? I'm not sure why you made that assumption... because I still don't understand how quiet and studious equals boring. This is probably why I had a rebellious phase in college. I thought I had to prove I was "cool."

5. "Why aren't you going to the school dance?" There was never a good answer to this question. I tried them all. I even tried to go to a dance because I thought I would regret not going to my senior prom. The only positive of attending that dance is I have future memoir material. I had to kiss a dude I didn't want to kiss because he wouldn't stop trying to kiss me. It was less awkward to kiss him than continue to avoid. I should have kicked him.   

Now that we've revisited a bit of high school, albeit very briefly (Thank you, sweet baby Jesus), let's take a look at why despite the above incidents, I supposedly should still not whole-heartedly embrace my introversion now that I'm slowing heading toward thirty, the supposed age of self-acceptance.

According to Chelsea Fagan at Thought Catalog reason 14 (out of 21) she's sick of hearing about all of us introverts: "...but often we use the struggles introverts face as a good excuse for them to be outright unkind to, or inconsiderate of, other people. (And don’t you deny that shit, either, you know you guys are constantly talking about why you shouldn’t have to be expected to call people back or show up to things.)"

First of all, you have a run-on sentence unless "either" (without its pal "or") is some magical new conjunction I missed whilst learning. Maybe you were too busy being an extrovert to properly edit your piece. Second, you're a bitch (if you're smart, you picked up on this in my first sentence). And just so we're crystal clear, that statement does not stem from my introversion or my smarty pants, introverted brain deciding I can call you a bitch and blame it on my introversion. I actually think you're an ignorant bitch. Clearly, no one has ever deemed you boring or bitchy because you don't talk enough, you read too much, you like school, and/or you need extra alone time to "recharge." Do you know how that feels? Why am I even asking. Of course you don't know because you just decided and wrote a blanket statement that I along with my introverted friends are the real assholes.

You're also an ignorant bitch for this one too: "And frankly, if it’s an aspect of your personality that you hold onto that firmly, I highly recommend investing in actual personality traits, such as “sense of humor” or “good listener,” or even just “makes a pretty good frittata.”"

Duder. You don't get it. So you should just shut the fuck up. Have you ever talked to an introvert? Because, you know, we actually do talk. How do you know I'm not a good listener? Frankly, I'm not sure why they let you publish this list because you have no fucking clue what you're talking about because one of the traits of being an introvert is BEING A GOOD LISTENER. Also, introversion is actually a personality trait ( Being an introvert likely indicates a person has several other more specific personality traits. But again, being an introvert is a mother fucking personality trait as is extroversion. It's like little houses of personality traits. So when we introverts embrace being introverted, we are embracing multiple traits at once. We are probably doing so because for so many years we've been called weird or geeky or quirky or some other adjective all because of a collection of items listed below*
  1. We prefer one-on-one conversations... maybe with some tea or coffee but maybe not. I personally think chatting over some tasty lattes is an excellent way to socialize. But hey, if you want water or tea or soda, then get one of those beverages. 
  2. We aren't much for parties. They over-stimulate our minds. Don't get me wrong, I've been to several good parties and had excellent times. But I usually had to talk myself into going. I could honestly go for a good old fashioned game of beer pong right now.
  3. We prefer chilling at home. It's even better if a book is involved!
  4. We are "reserved" because we don't talk "enough." I can guarantee you there are at least two people who would gladly trade places with you for at least a day. Right Jeff? I'm sure there's been at least one time he'd have put a zipper on my mouth if it were possible.
  5. We are "aloof" because we haven't said all that much. In reality, we are absorbing the shit out of our surroundings.
  6. We over-think things, or we're way too intense. So what if an illustration of our minds looks like this:
  7. We tend to do well in school. Apparently this is some fatal flaw unless someone forgot to do their homework. I've fallen prey to the "Can I borrow your worksheet?" one too many times all because I was horrified of saying no because I already felt so uncool because of all of the other issues I've mentioned. Don't ask me now though. This bitch has learned to be assertive when needed. 
  8. Need I say more? I could, but I shouldn't have to do so. So I won't. If you don't get it now, go pick up a book on introversion, even if it's just to prove that you too like books. 
So yes, we are embracing the hell out of our introversion. No longer will we allow you to think the things you've thought about us all because we like books and video games and prefer in-depth conversations with one person rather than brief conversations with a throng of people. No longer will allow you to think we're boring weirdos who don't like to do the shit you do. We are far from boring-- that graphic says it all. You just have to give us a chance. We know you prefer and/or can handle being around large crowds more than us, and that's okay. We also know you like books and being alone sometimes too. So we aren't weird. We never called you weird. We've never not invited you somewhere (because again, contrary to popular opinion we actually go out and know how to have fun) or overlooked you or didn't talk to you because we thought you were boring as fuck. Hell, we might even make for good pals-- sometimes we need to go out to a club or bar and dance the night away too. And sometimes the best person to do that with is an extrovert (plus, you totally handle the bar situation better than us).

*Sources (not in proper format because I'm too lazy for that shit since this is not an academic paper):

1. Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
2. MBTI Basics:
3. 23 Signs You're Secretly An Introvert:
4. My brain... I realize I cannot actually cite myself, but I'm doing it because my students always ask me if they can be their own source. No you can't, but I'm going to be my own source because I'm the teacher! Boom. Yes, this is completely devoid of logic, but it's my blog. Boom, boom.

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