I see you. But I pretend I don’t.
I saw your call. But I hit ignore.
I know what to say. But I don’t know how to say it.
Words flow from my hands. But they get fumbled in my mouth.
I know the party will be fun. But I’m busy.
You think I’m shy. But I’m an introvert.
Being an introvert
Somewhere along the way, being an introvert got labeled as being “shy.” As being someone who just doesn’t know how to act around other people. But in reality, it’s a personality type just like being extroverted.
All of the above are how I feel at certain times.
Because I’m an introvert.
I’m not a sheltered, timid person. I don’t talk much because I like to think before I talk.
I avoid conversations with people I know because I don’t ad lib well. I feel at a loss for words if I don’t know what I’m supposed to talk about. Starting a conversation just to start one seems terrifying.
But I want to talk to you. More than anything. I want to be able to start talking. I just don’t know what to say.
I’ve always been this way
I remember making 2 pieces of artwork in high school that reflected my personality.
One was made by covering a piece of thick carboard with all different colors of pastels and then painting over it with black paint. After it dried you would etch into the black paint, revealing the color underneath. Mine was a self portrait. Except instead of my mouth, I chose to draw a pencil. Because this is how I talked. In the background are lyrics that spoke about the power of writing.
The other piece was made using a photograph I developed. I used both the positive and negative images and placed them side by side to make a stark contrast. As an introvert, the way you are on the outside my be completely opposite of how you’re feeling on the inside. Then I glued the word “introvert” across the pictures. The idea was for the letters to be red, but I didn’t use enough red dye to stain them red. Hey, I was in high school art class.
They’re no Picassos, but I think they give some insight into what it can feel like as an introverted person sometimes.
I’m finding ways to finally use my personality type to my advantage, such as my writing. But it also helps for other people to understand.
It’s easy to shrug off an introverted person. But if you do, I guarantee they will shut down.
See when we finally share our opinion it’s something we’ve given a lot of thought to. So to be shut down or not listened to is equal to saying you don’t care what we have to say. I’m not saying this is true, I’m just saying that’s how it’s interpreted.
I think the hardest thing for an introvert is learning to be confident. At least it is for me. I write the things I do because I think the world needs to hear them. I feel I’ve been given these words to share. Finding the confidence to verbally say them is extremely difficult. But I’m learning to look to God for the affirmation my personality so desperately seeks. He is the only one that can quiet my soul.
Jason Gray, the incredible Christian singer/songwriter, totally gets this. Look at these words from his song How I Ended Up Here:
“See, I really want to be known
But I’m not quite as strong as the fear
That you won’t understand the fool that I am
And that’s how I ended up here”
This doesn’t mean I don’t like people or want to talk to them. It’s just hard. Talking to people all day would be exhausting. Going out to dinner and talking will make me incredibly tired after a couple hours.
But again, I like to do this. It just might affect me differently than some people. It doesn’t energize me. This would be the same as if you asked an extrovert to sit in a quiet room and write all day. It would drain the energy from them.
I’m writing this because I think there are plenty of people out there like me. And I want them to know it’s OK. You’re not weird. The word shy doesn’t have to define you.
For more, check out Ron Edmonson’s great posts on being introvert:
- True Confession: Life as an Introvert
- 7 Ways Extroverts Can Help Introverts
- How an Introvert Handles Awkward Situations
Are you an introvert?
I would love to hear from you in the comments.