My introvert self it often seems is not introvert enough, or is mistaken to be something that will cause me to not react to anything that might be said or done to me. While if anything introverts are very reactive, even if we keep it inside of ourselves majority of the time. So its little surprise that there have been numerous times that I have been told, “oh, I didn’t know you had that in you.” Or that “I doubt you can do that given that you are a quiet person.” And I love it that I can prove both groups wrong-from time to time- because I don’t have to be just an introvert or just an extrovert.
It is however very frustrating, and of late, the have the discussion of my career choice has become a nuisance. For instance I recently began a job in whats called be a customer service position- and sharing that with others has led to the most uncomfortable conversations, especially if I say “I am don’t feel like I am ready to teach yet.” In stating my new job, I am often met with “but thats so not you, you are quiet person,” or “oh, it must be really hard for you.” While saying that I am taking a break from teaching, I am told up front, almost brutally, that I am making a mistake. That they don’t understand how someone “as good as you” is taking a break.
The first few times, I ignored the nagging feeling of annoyance at my friends and ex-coworkers upon having this conversation. However as the same situation began to repeat itself I began wonder why the majority was reacting as if I am doing something that should make me very unhappy when in reality I do not feel that way at all. Or if I should really began avoiding the conversation altogether, just to not be rejected. My new job is a challenge, no doubt there, since most of the times I am have done desk-jobs. Yet, if anything at all, being constantly engaged with customers and facing situations that sometimes make me feel a bit comfortable at their very worst, is not something that I would describe as a situation I am unhappy with. But actually a huge learning experience, after all, I am awkward with people, no doubt there. Yet I didn’t like it that I made to feel like I was doing something horribly wrong.
And than, upon reading a friend’s post on instagram, I realized, it’s really actually got nothing to do with me, but everything to with the image or how they see me in their mind’s eye.
So for very people who have seen me enthusiastically participate in my classes or worked with me at some- point, or have passionate discussions about writing or things that I am serious about in life, to them although its difficult to imagine me being any thing other than writer and professor, because they know how much passion I have for it; i am not stereotyped introvert. They also I know I face whatever life throws at me, head on. And they were the very few ones who were somewhat encouraging me to challenge myself to get over my awkwardness with people.
But to the majority, I am the girl who gets quiet very quickly, at seemingly random times, speaks way to fast when nervous and is more comfortable being in the background than foreground. In another words, mostly just shadow of the person I really am.
After all I am all of those things mentioned above. If nothing else, I am one contradiction after another. Someone who is shy, but also someone is who comfortable stating her opinion; someone who can be blunt, and be almost like a open book, but also someone who is very distant. But mostly I am someone who throughly enjoys the quiet, almost as much as being with people- when it is my choice. Thus a “customer-service” job is thrilling for me because I choose it for myself. Because for me its me preparing for the classroom, when I will be forced to interact with people and help them out- and even be responsible for them- by teaching them what will not only help them pass their class, but also further their life experience. So although on very crowded days I do miss the quiet moments working in branded store, but usually, I find myself looking forward to being helpful. So my introvert self gets pushed away by my desire to be productive and be helpful. And even if I don’t keep my current job for the years to come, it’s defiantly something I won’t regret.
Yet I can’t help and be offended that my limit set by society, especially in concerns with jobs I can do is, either being an artist of some sort, or something else, as long as I am far-far away from people. (mind you, not that I have any issue at all with being an artist, or desk job person) But it seems to me its easier for others to say that introverts don’t fit in, given those things. Thats really hurtful. Especially knowing that many people who are extroverts, face many challenges in life, especially with relationships, having empathy, or just living a tad-bit slower life. Its huge misunderstanding that extroverts are successful at everything. Its certainly does not come without hindrances to be someone who is assumed to be very confident, and out going all the time. So basically by confining people of both categories strictly to their categories, there is no room left for growth.
And thats I think is what often gets lost in discussion habits and challenges of introverts & extroverts: the aspect of growth. For it is not at all necessary, for someone who is shy, to no overcome that shyness in regards to something that’s very important to them. Or to not enjoy quiet moments, but also enjoying the buzz of company. Frequently its also over looked that someone who is usually an extrovert or introvert can become an introvert/extrovert over time due to their own experiences. Or more importantly, that an average person, is a little bit of both and as long as they are at some level ready to do the thing they want to do, start a new job, or relationship, or build a new habit, even if it does challenge them or make them a bit uncomfortable, the limits they have set upon them themselves, or are set by others, can be over come. And that is the beauty of being a human being- the ability to not just adapt, or change, but do both.