Once upon a time on twitter, i read a post written by one of the coolest guys i have ever met on twitter about “introverts”. Okay. With each line that i read, i loved what he tweeted. He perfectly described introverts. And then i came to the conclusion that there are actually two types of introverts;
The introverts that let their fears overcome them. So much so that they are unable to break away from that fear.
The second type of introverts are introverts that are actually introverts but are really good at hiding it. Now in this write up i am a bit more concerned with this category of introverts because i like to believe i fall under this category.
On friday night, i had a chat with a friend, who opened up to me about the fact that she believes she suffers from social anxiety.
I further asked her, why she felt that way about herself, then she concluded it was because of a post she read on Quora; which highlights the qualities of one that suffers from social anxiety. Which very much conformed with herself.
The qualities were centered around how there is this Deep mental fear of being humiliated in public, embarrassed and rejected by people. The writer believed it to be a social phobia which is detrimental to the growth of a person; it resists them from trying something new. They always try hard to play safe in order to prevent themselves from any kind of criticism. The writef highlighted that it is a factor of introverts or people who suffer from inferiority complex.
Then i opened up to my friend that i too suffered from that, and that i was an introvert too, she was quite shocked. And it wasn’t the first time someone was shocked about me identifying myself as an introvert.
I absolutely loathe the idea of going out. The stress. The anxiety. The what to wear. The people’s faces. The whatever.
Once upon a time when i hanged out, with friends, i always feel insecure about my self, the stress was always too much for me to handle. I remember this time i went for a graduation meeting at my secondary school, where i met a lot of friends. Generally, at the end of every event like this that entailed me meeting friends, i always get exhausted, for doing nothing. Mostly because of the fake conversations, fake smiles. It just drains me. So what i did, whenever i went for gatherings like these was to come back home. Go to my mum’s room, switch off the lights and just calm down. And try to convince myself that i am no more in danger.
I am no more amidst the scrutiny of eyes of people. Right from secondary school, i have always been ‘people conscious’. I remember me being mocked for the way i walked sometimes, because each time i saw a pack of people at a place, i would get really nervous and it shows from the way i walk.
All these were signs of an introvert. I have always thought of myself, and i actually still think of myself as someone who had very little to offer. Being an introvert manifests in a number of ways. It even got to a point where i wasn’t comfortable with posting my pictures online, because of the compliments. And each time anyone posted a picture of me, a certain level of fear eludes me. I simply, hated and still hate to be center of attention.
If anyone knows me, then you know i absolutely hate compliments. I never believe, i am worthy of it. Each time anyone compliments me, i get confused. Are they saying it, for saying sake, are they being truthful? Is it really worth it? Or are they even mocking me?
I always felt myself to not be enough, prior to this point, i hardly tweeted on twitter, i was a silent observer, in group chats, i hardly typed anything. All that was to avoid embarrassments; which i simply never forgave myself for. In class, i did not want to say anything. Ask any questions. Answer any.
So there i was telling my friend about how i also am an introvert, but i just put in a great deal of job in hiding, which also increases my anxiety by ten fold. Okay, so i understand why my friend did not believe that i am an introvert.
It was because of how easily i relate with people, or better yet tried to. How i joked and laughed. How i got involved in debates in groups, how i now feel comfortable posting my pictures on whatsapp.
But then, the fact that i am an introvert is why i prefer to live alone. So i actually, stay alone, in a room meant for two at school. I stay alone. simply because i cannot deal with people.
Being an introvert has been something i have battled with for a long time. In every gathering, i hope that there is someone who would be the center of attention, while i prefer to just listen.
Each time, it is my turn to talk in a conversation, i end up stammering and just cutting it short, because of the fixed gaze.
Being an introvert is why i get scared when someone i don’t usually chat with sends me a message on whatsapp. or a DM. like how do i end this? Amicably?
I prefer to be alone, because it is easier to process my thougths, bring out new ideas, than when i am around people.
Being alone means, i don’t need to care about what someone thinks about my shoes(who even wears shoes when they are alone???) Or my makeup. Or my face. Or anything that i am insecure about. Being alone means i get to worry about myself alone, what i think about me, which i very much prefer than me thinking about others.
but then there are feelings that are quite bigger than my introvert tendencies, which is why my friend, believed that i wasn’t an introvert. these feelings include: the fact that i never want to make someone uncomfortable around me. I always want to make everyone feel at home.
Contrary, to popular believe, introverts can’t make new friends easily, but i believe it actually depends on the kind of introvert that you are.
I could relate to people on a number of things. And that has always been because of the book i read; ‘enjoy your life’ whilst growing up; a book, like many other, which i did not finish reading. sadly.
So each time, i talked to someone, i always try to bring up conversation fronts, mostly about them. so they won’t be bored. I try to make sure that everyone who interracts with me feels comfortable. I have been able to do that because of the book i read while growing up.
I never ever want someone to not feel among in a conversation.
A lot of introverts battle with a lot of emotions, they can’t talk in whatsapp groups despite having great ideas. Because they simply feel their ideas will be walked on.
I have been there. Each time i spoke out in a group, with a gush of adrenaline, which results in heart palpitations, loss of breath, sweaty hands. and my input ends up getting rejected, most times.
But then there is a particular difference between this said friend of mine and me. Which is like the similitude of the introverts i explained earlier
The difference simply lies in me not allowing myself to be caged up by my introvert inclinations.
There are situations that are always bigger than you being an introvert. Situations where you just have to put that aside. Situations like you not wanting to come off as a snob to the people around you. Situations where you don’t want to isolate yourself, so people will not feel there is something wrong with you. When in true essence, there is nothing wrong, you just prefer to be in your own niche.
Situations that require you to talk. To defend someone. To say something that would motivate someone. Change their lives for the better.
My biggest motivation to not being stuck as the former introvert is my goals. And how much my mind nags me into putting my work out there. To the public. How much i wish to inspire people.
I made peace with myself, that as long as at the end of the day i get to come back to a place i feel most comfortable with-where i can be alone and simply enjoy my company. Then i can actually endure the presence of people for a while.
So i need you to understand, that with each walk that i make, with each post that i publish on my blog, with each tweet, with each whatsapp post, with each comment. and whatever. The behind the scenes will always be a gush of adrenaline,a series of heart palpitations, and sweaty palms.
But that definitely won’t deter me from achieving my goals.