I am sitting on a cramped tour bus, on my way to a hockey game with my team. There’s an iPod dock being fought over at the back and a chorus of loud and excited girls singing at the top of their lungs. They are all blonde, fit and beautiful. They all attend the same posh schools and go to the same parties. They’ve known each other since they were eight years old when they used to play minkey hockey together. They’ve all dated the same boys. And they’re all really nice.
“Hey Mickey” has just started a new wave of harmonies and I’m still sitting here, smiling at any of the pretty blondes who grace me with a glance, but still completely silent. I don’t feel excluded or lonely. In fact, I am feeling quite content at the moment, absorbing the excitement and adrenaline that’s bursting out of my fellow teammates. Every once in a while, one of the blondes strikes up a short conversation with me (because they’re nice), but they quickly end after a few exchanges about the upcoming game. But it’s cool. This is what introversion is all about.
Society doesn’t quite know how to deal with introverts. It is a difficult concept to get one’s head around. I mean, who could have even thought that people could be… *gasp*… different? We have these established rules of interaction that haven’t really accommodated for people who think and feel internally. We have yet to come to grips with the idea that some people need to retreat from social situations in order to ‘recharge’ and spend time alone. Instead of embracing introversion, society have labelled us as ‘shy’ and socially inept, in order to force a world full of extroverted outward socialisers.
In an hour’s time, I will be on the field as a goalkeeper, screaming support for my team, directing my fullbacks to their positions, and calling my halfbacks onto their players. I will be enthusiastic, loud and full of energy.
Tomorrow morning, I will be at school, giggling and shrieking with my best friends,making intellectual jokes at the idiots, and acting out my stories for anyone who will listen. I will be enthusiastic, loud and full of energy.
If I were to choose between going to a party or staying at home alone with a really good book, I would unashamedly choose the book one hundred times over. However, if I chose the party, I would dance, chat with friends, and meet new people. I’ve grown up, programmed as an introvert, in a dominantly extroverted world. Naturally, I’ve started to conform and display characteristics in all aspects of my life that quite distinctly belong to extraversion.
As a result of this conformity pressure by society, a new breed of people has been created. Introverts, extroverts, and ‘introverts in disguise’. These natural introverts have the best of both worlds, really. We can go through a deep and critical thought process and then continue to communicate it on a level that is acceptable to society.
So I’d just like to say, thank you world. Everyone wanted us to just fall in line and loss that silly little misfortune of a personality trait and match the dominant extraversion. Well we’ve done you one better, we’ve kept both and we’re ten times better than the lot of you.