A cool person named Mike posted a video about introversion on Facebook, and it got me thinking.
When I was in high school, one of the many identities I tried on for a while was that of an extrovert. It seemed like the ideal of a good, likable, righteous person. I saw extroverts as the bright, shiny, bubbly, popular people who did cool things and were loved by all. I felt a lot of pressure to get out there and make stuff happen and be bold and exciting and be friendly and fun. This pressure seemed to come from... well, everywhere. Peers. Teachers. Church leaders. The Media.
I tried really hard. I jumped into all sorts of stuff to "be outgoing." Although many of the activities were fun, the drive to be with people and seen by people never felt all that great to me. I could pretend, but I didn't like being the center of attention. Trying to constantly keep up with social events and friends and Cool People exhausted me.
It always seemed somewhat unfair to me that the qualities of extroverts were held as the highest traits a person could have, and that if someone hadn't yet attained those traits, they needed to get on it. Stuff like enjoying group work or public speaking skillz or finding parties to attend and getting in the middle of all the action. It made me uncomfortable that I simply wasn't like that, and it made me uncomfortable that no matter how hard I tried to enjoy those things, I was uncomfortable. I felt deficient.
I was not deficient. I am not deficient.
It has certainly taken a while, but I've come to understand myself better than ever. I'm an introvert, and I'm okay. I love spending time alone with my thoughts. Quality time alone is refreshing and energizing to me. I prefer to listen to conversations, rather than lead them. I'm not a huge fan of spending time with lots of people at once. I prefer books to parties, and spending time at home over Having Adventures.
While I have a few different theories about why I've struggled with depression, one that really stands out is feeling guilt over my introversion. I've been told so many times that my personality is wrong, and that I have to fix it. I have to anguish over making friends, and feel guilt when it takes a long time. Enjoying alone time makes me a loner, and that's bad.
Please don't misunderstand my complaining; extroverts are amazing, and I love them. But they are not socially superior, and we introverts have no reason to feel guilt over our quiet natures.
(Parents and other readers with sensitive constitutions, you are now invited to stop reading so you don't get offended by the dreadful language coming up, which would surely make you worry about my being thrust into the depths of Hell.)
I can honestly say that I like myself, and I'm happy with who I am. I am a really good person, and I have a perfectly wonderful personality. The world needs people like me. So you know what, Society? Suck it.