I read this very interesting link from this very interesting online magazine I subscribe to, called Brainpickings, and if you don’t subscribe to it, I’d recommend you do so immediately so you have lots of interesting stuff to pick your brain over. Disclaimer, the stuff here is of primary interest to creative folk, though the average person with no interest in the kind of things us creative folks slobber over might find some things worth not glazing their eyes over.
As usual I digressed in sentence one and made that paragraph one. So, as I was saying, I read this very interesting link in Brainpickings about how our culture is geared towards extroverts and basically how us introverts get the short end of the stick, metaphorically speaking of course. http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/10/23/susan-cain-molly-crabapple-rsa/
I fell to the ground and genuflected in gratitude immediately at the perceptiveness of the wise soul who said this, given that the rest of the lay populace looks at us barely speaking, socially inept, hide behind pillars and beneath table types like we are the social equivalent of vermin, or some very contagious kind of microbe best kept at the distance that Austrian guy was at while he was on the edge of that helium balloon of his before he tumbled off.
Seriously speaking, it is tough being an introvert. For one, you would rather behead yourself with a rusty axe than get togged up and venture forth without support on either side of you in terms of kind friends who will ensure you don’t run off screaming from the venue to a social gathering. Once at the social gathering, you spend the first ten minutes wondering whether everyone in a ten kilometer radius can hear the thudding of your panicking heart, and whether you might just drown out the soft playing music in the background with the unwarranted bass. Then there is the matter of the palms. They are generally sweaty. Embarassingly so. One tends to surreptitiously apply tissue to blot out the dripping beads of sweat before one is called on to make handshakes and other such mandates of civil behaviour. And you manage to solve all the unease by looking around, wild eyed, for the men in uniform bearing dutch courage on silver salvers and plonk yourself unceremoniously in their paths, down a couple, before you can be convinced to stay present in full line of vision instead of camouflaging yourself as part of the decor.
Are there any advantages to being an introvert, you might ask? Well, yes, there are. For one, you get left alone a lot, as people’s eyes glaze over and they fall asleep from sheer boredom while trying to hold a conversation with you, where your inevitable contribution is a deer caught in the headlights kind of a look, and panicky expression that has you looking longingly at the door. Once you’re left alone, you’re free to knock down the alcohol and people observe and that makes for good fodder for your writing. I speak for myself of course.
Then there is also the cloak of invisibility you get draped with if you are an introvert and like me, a woman over a certain age. Your presence is never registered. So people discuss things freely in your presence, making it perfect fly on the wall scenario. This is an education in human psychology, motives and such likes. You also get to see like tableaux being played out, which, if you were busy gabbing about you would have surely missed. And finally there is the lack of expectation of witty conversation from you. No one hanging onto your every word, hoping to be entertained. And then finally, there is that odd person at a get together, who will feel some kind of pity for the poor soul, standing all by herself in a remote corner and take it upon himself or herself to include you in the action, which ends up making you all the more embarrassed.
I’ve kind of solved my issues with being an introvert by not getting out too much, unless I have to have to for fear of death or losing a friend. I’d rather curl up with a nice book at home, than go out. In a crowd, I’ll be the one standing hesitantly on the fringe waiting for someone to come upto me and start a conversation, or bury myself in a book or my blackberry. It’s not so bad being an introvert, I guess, some of my best conversations are always with myself.