Monday, September 12, 2016

Being an Introvert in the 21st Century.

The year is 2016. I thought that by now, we'd be a more accepting group of human beings, but alas, the past few months have 100% proven otherwise. We're constantly striving to be accepting of one another while another group of people is trying their hardest to shove their opinions down everyones' throat. In an ideal world, everyone would just worry about themselves. That's the world I want to live in. Because, perhaps in this make believe world, I never ever have to apologize for being an introvert.

Being an introvert is tough. Everyday, I have to explain to an extrovert why being in social situations is uncomfortable. My heart starts racing. My stomach churns and knots up. I get extreme bitch face because I legitimately do not know how to not clench my jaw in that moment. I probably want to vomit. My arms cross around me because I am literally trying to hold myself in instead of fall to pieces because I am so damn uncomfortable. I'm on the verge of tears. Then, when it's all over and if it wasn't terrible, I chide myself for being so awkward. However, if it was terrible, I'll take hours to calm down and be okay again. It's awful.

If you're an extrovert reading this, you're still not remotely understanding what I'm saying. And that's okay. I just need you to sympathize... And most importantly, leave me be. Here's the thing about extroverts. You guys NEVER have to explain yourselves to me. Ever. I totally understand that YOU enjoy this. Being around people super energizes you and makes you super happy about life. Being alone isn't something you like, at all. I toooooooootally get it. It literally has the opposite affect on me. Being in social situations drains all the life out of me. It drains all of my energy and all of my patience. I become a completely different person because I haven't had time to be alone and recharge my "introvert battery".

I have spent most of my life being told that I have an attitude problem. I don't completely deny it. I can have an attitude. But 90% of the time, when I have an attitude, it's because I'm just exhausted (or hungry. Hanger is a real emotion for me and you better not forget that). If I am in bitch mode but have been well fed, it's probably because I am at my wits end. I've probably been surrounded by people, non-stop, for days. I probably have only been alone to sleep and pee (but possibly not) by myself. If this is the case, I've probably had several people tell me to change or to "calm down" or to "suck it up". For. The. Love. Of. God. STOP TELLING INTROVERTS TO CHANGE!

I've noticed that people who are just stupid, get a pass. People who are lazy, get a pass. People who work really slowly, get a pass. People who are selfish, get a pass. People who are loud, get a pass. Extroverts, get a pass. Introverts? We never get a pass. We constantly get told to lose the attitude or to participate or to be more "excited" about activities. We are constantly told to change. We are constantly told that there is something wrong with us. We're told to just "suck it up" or to fake it and put on a happy face. We are told this our entire lives. And it's really damaging. It really hurts to be told for YEARS that there is something wrong with you.

There is nothing wrong with me. In all honesty, there's something wrong with you, if you believe that introverts have an actual problem. I have never once looked at an extrovert and said, "My God, how can she just get energy from being in a huge group and talking to people? What a freak. There must be something really wrong with her." Because I am an adult who knows that there are different people in the world and I understand that different people have different breaking points and that's okay. So why is this concept almost impossible for a huge group of people to understand?

I do socialize. I'll never have a "squad" or a "crew". I do have friends. I never feel lonely, but I do sometimes feel alone. I don't mind being alone. I love driving by myself for long distances. I love and hate being alone with my thoughts. I can 100% go to a party and schmooze (most likely with a lot of alcohol in my body). I can network and I can act like an grown up. But I will never be an extrovert. I will never be able to change who I am as a person. I will never be able to gain energy from being with and around other people. I just won't. So please, I'm begging you, if you have an introvert in your life, stop trying to force extroversion on them. Sure, try to bring them out of their box a little. But it's BABY STEPS and it's you taking on a true understanding that when this person says, "I cannot do this", you will give them breathing room. Don't throw them in a situation where people are watching and staring and potentially laughing. Don't force them into activities when they tell you that they're uncomfortable. Don't try to make them see the world the same way you see the world. Let them be the introverts that they are.

For further reading, this article illustrates everything I've just said perfectly.

 - so I can sigh eternally -