There’s my rallying cry.
In addition to her insightful posts, she links to a 2003 piece in The Atlantic Monthly entitled, “Caring for Your Introvert,” which helped me re-learn about myself, and learn a few new things, too, like why I enjoy speaking to large groups of people but feel overwhelmed in small groups. Actually, it didn’t explain why that was, just that often that’s the case with introverts. I like having a podium between me and a crowd. I do fairly well “working” a crowd. I always volunteered for these tasks back in my full-time working days, and I’ve always felt like I must be a “fake” introvert because of this, but apparently it’s fairly common for people who feel comfy in front of a hundred people to feel totally awkward in front of ten or fifteen.
Buoyed by Susan’s blog and her confidence as an introvert, I want to dedicate myself to living as my authentic, introverted Self. I can request to have a smaller, more intimate get-together with one or two moms rather than going out with a group to a restaurant or to an all-request piano bar (which turns out to be a variation of Hell for me). If I go to hear live music, I can make sure it’s a small venue with a corner I can hide in so I don’t feel so exposed. I can give myself permission to just stay home with a book or my blog if I need to recharge. And I can let myself leave the silences I’m accustomed to leaving in conversations as I consider what the other person has just said and what my reply should be. If other people fill in that silence without letting me speak, I suppose they don’t really need to hear what I had to say anyway. I can always blog about it later.
As an introvert, my facial expressions and body language are more subdued and often misinterpreted. A friend posted pictures of the homebirth of her second son. There’s a picture of her holding her baby for the first time, with her head thrown back, and smiling so large you can see all of her teeth. She’s clearly overjoyed. The picture of me holding my son for the first time shows me with furrowed brow, looking very serious at this little creature in my arms. I can assure you, the emotions I was feeling were closer to what my friend was expressing. I was absolutely elated. I still feel ecstatic when I think about my awesome homebirth. I just don’t show so many teeth when I think about it.
When I mentioned this difference to my friend, saying that I loved that picture of her and the emotion she expressed, but that I’m just not that emotive, she said, “Well, that’s something we’re going to have to change!”
I hadn’t really thought there was anything wrong with my reaction to my son’s birth until then, but I found myself agreeing with her that I should be more emotive. I’m choosing now to go back to feeling fine about my reaction as it was. This was me at my most authentic, my most exposed but also my most comfortable, confident, and powerful. I don’t want to change anything about that.
Are you an introvert? Are you ready to unite to help educate the extroverted world about our unique skills and offerings simply by not backing down from acting like ourselves?
Susan asks on her blog, “Are you with me?” I sure am. How about you?