The Excruciating yet Extraordinary Life of an Introvert
Updated: Oct 12
My attempt at visually explaining my side of the story as an introverted creative person.
The Party Pooper
Have you declined going to a party or left it much earlier dragging your friends away from it? Did it even come to a point where your colleagues no longer included you on their guest list and your superiors singled you out because they found you unsocial towards them (in other words, not kissing their asses)? In our Filipino culture, especially in the working environment, there is a word more valuable than reliability, "pakikisama", which roughly translates "to get along."
As I grew older, I started to analyze why my personality seemed to repel people in some way that resulted to problems in my profession as well as my personal relationships. Even my family thought I loathed them for locking myself inside my room most of the time.
You know what? It turned out, I am just fine. Psychologists would classify me as an introvert, which many do not understand because more people are extroverts, who thrive in social activities. It doesn’t mean I am shy or timid or a recluse but rather, I simply have very little tolerance to people who try to invade my little space in this big world—however well-meaning. That coveted personal space also allowed me to explore my creative side. In it I am more imaginative, mindful, secure, quiet and even happier.
In our Filipino culture, especially in the working environment, there is a word more valuable than reliability, "pakikisama", which roughly translates "to get along."
An introvert lives in a bubble, a fragile fortress of solitude. Prick it and the introvert is automatically in distress. While a cognizant introvert would have to conjure another bubble and try to interact with extreme caution and difficulty, the other type would just walk away because it takes the least effort.
Introverts possess a certain degree of mindfulness about their environment bordering autism! We find joy in the little things that matter to us and focus on the fine details of the objects of our fancy. Staring in space can either be a visual exercise or mindful pause.
Personal space is the most valuable property an introvert can have and it feels like heaven to be in it undisturbed. When our energy is depleted from socializing, we retreat back into our shells to recharge until we‘re ready to repeat the whole process again.
An introvert is forever misunderstood. It’s because we love peace, suffer in silence, keep secrets to the grave, avoid unnecessary attention, and are bitches resting while we calculate our next move and at the same time analyze yours.
Do you know how much mental preparation an introvert needs before he/she joins a group of people?
It’s different when standing in front of a crowd, as many introverts can still perform. Give me a microphone and I will sing my heart out at any given time on a stage before legions. The distinct boundary between the performer and the audience is the introvert's protection. Throw him or her into the crowd and you will witness a wriggling fish out of water. Socializing within a group can be a performance that can get really exhausting after hours of needless small talks and observations of the weather likewise people.
Whereas one-on-one musings about life and the world all around can be a lot stimulating and will make the introvert pay more attention and thus participate.
An introvert’s poker face is another layer of protection. Giving away too much emotion is like revealing the heart and soul. But believe me it’s there—only dormant or even bubbling inside waiting for the right time to explode. If it does happen you won’t see it because by then the introvert would be back in the fortress shielded away from curious stares and prying questions.
It also shows cautiousness before speaking out. An introvert ponders first before responding, while the opposite multitasks by thinking and talking at the same time, which oftentimes sounds like an endless jibber-jabber of sorts.
People are a combination of characteristics but there will always be one trait that stands out. Realizing your dominant personality trait could help you understand yourself even more and possibly check your behavior in any social situation. My only wish is that people not only decipher the differences between personalities but also respect that we are complicated individuals finding our way in a complex society.