I’m… Normal

old books in Château de Breteuil, France

Maybe it’s because we like doing things alone…

So today, after fiddling with Excel to finish up my practical report due tomorrow (yes, I know, last minute work), I decided to give myself a little treat and check out YouTube (YOU MONSTER!). I don’t regret it at all, even if it means I have to finish up this post and sleep late again.

After all that soul-searching, I finally discovered that I am perfectly normal. So normal that I’m not The Strange Introvert, nor That Weirdo anymore. Okay, I knew that, it’s just that society puts that much preference on extroverts that introverts get perceived as weird, arrogant, emotionally-disabled and as one of my classmates puts it, forever alone. I found it fitting then, that I called myself the strange introvert, though I’ve met friends who are as introverted as I am too. I know the extroverts don’t understand. I, too can’t understand how extroverts can go around being with people all day. I can’t understand how their energy level stays high throughout the day. I can’t understand why they need to speak what they think all the time. The thing about this world is that introverts must learn to leave their comfort zone and spend less time with themselves while extroverts do it all correctly and don’t have to learn to socialize less and stay home more.

I’ve once had a friend telling me that I was too quiet for my own good. He wanted me to transform into an extrovert and participate in all sorts of activities in our new school so that I won’t seem like a loser. The question is, “Does being an introvert make you a social outcast?” I didn’t agree with him and told him that being quiet is part of my personality and having an aversion to social activities is part of who I am. I know that being a friend, he was worried I couldn’t make any friends and would feel miserable all day, but wanting me to change when I’m not at fault was too much for me to take. We haven’t spoken much since.

The world is a hot bed of misunderstandings, and as introverts who don’t speak our thoughts as openly as extroverts do, not many people understand us. Hence, the perception that we’re flawed and they’re normal.

People have labeled me as a girl-with-no-life because I go home right after school almost every single day. The thing is that I get so tired from all the people-meeting that I have to rush back to my sanctuary to rest and recover and prepare myself for the next day. It’s not as easy as the extroverts think. That is maybe why introverts do not enjoy school as much as extroverts do. If you beg to differ, do check out the kindergartens and primary school during the first few days of term. Those crying kids are likely to be introverts. I was one of them. Of course we learned to control our emotions as we grew up, but one thing has never changed: I hate school.

The part about normality, however, is the greatest mistake anyone can make about introverts. It doesn’t mean that since we don’t like meeting people, we don’t enjoy social activities. We do. Maybe more than they do sometimes, but we need a break from all that partying. We’re not noticed enjoying ourselves as well, because we hang out so discreetly with our select few friends instead of publicizing it through facebook.

So Dear Society, after reading everything mentioned above, are you willing to accept that there are lots of people who are overlooked just because they don’t speak out their thoughts? Are you willing to recognize these people who love being quiet? Are you not grateful of the thinkers in the world who came up with the greatest ideas that shaped the world? But most of all, are you going to see introverts as normal?

P.S. If you couldn’t get through the whole chunk of words above, or if you’re a more visual person, fret not. The video below is EXACTLY how I feel as an introvert in an extrovert-oriented world. (Charlie, you’re the best.)

(Charlie is really so cool like!)

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6 thoughts on “I’m… Normal

  1. I can relate. I don’t understand why some people feel the need mold me into a social butterfly. What is so awful about introverts? Society’s standards of what “normal” is can be a real pain sometimes, especially if you fall in that ‘abnormal’ category.

    • Sorry for the late reply! I agree! It’s so painful to be out there in the world with people advising you on changing yourself so that you talk more, or hang out with cool people more, as if you’re not good enough. The one HUGE problem about being an introvert is that you can sense what others are thinking about you, which makes the matter a whole lot worse.

      • That’s all right — I’m late in responding myself!

        Misconceptions surrounding introversion don’t help, either. Because I often choose to stay home and read a book over going out with people, others either think I’m boring, snobby, or depressed. It’s both frustrating and insulting at times!

        There’s a book out — Quiet by Susan Cain. Supposedly, she discusses introversion and how introverts are undervalued. I’ve not read it yet, but I already want to wave at these people and say, “Here: read!”

      • So true. One of my friends mentioned that I’m always forever alone! I would have loved to treat it as just a passing remark, but it still kind of stung when she said it.

        The book sounds really interesting! I’ll go check it out when I have the time. I also came across this article about introversion in Time quite awhile ago and I treasure that copy greatly. Yes, I also want to get the world to read it, but then, will they even choose to swallow tons of words about quiet, “lonely” people if they can do their socializing stuff? :/

      • Oh, I hate that. Sometimes it feels alone, too, when others seem to judge/misinterpret an introvert’s solitude and socially reserved nature. Commenting on how alone one is (or will be — assumed, of course) can exacerbate that feeling of isolation. It’s tough trying to ‘fit in’ as it is.

        My introversion is seen as snobby, if not weird or aloof. I really dislike people’s assumptions of others who don’t speak often. I once commented to a guy about how I felt sad that our class would end soon: “But you hardly talk in class!” Okay, I didn’t know I was supposed to engage in all conversations to take interest!

      • Indeed. I can still feel judging eyes all around me even though I’ve known my classmates for more than a year. It sounds ridiculous, but I feel alone even among friends. I rush home immediately after school whenever I can because I can’t stand being around huge masses of people all day.

        I really understand how you feel. I never participate in class unless I really have to, and that caused me some precious participation marks for the respective modules I’m taking. People can’t see through introverts, so they assume we don’t care about anything that happens around us, though in actual fact we think a whole lot more instead of voicing them out.

        Here here, a quote to help us both:

        “Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armour, and it can never be used to hurt you.” – George R. R. Martin [A Game of Thrones]

        Let’s fight this extrovert-driven world together… Quietly. 😉

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