I grew up being an outgoing kid. At some point, I thought I was extrovert. I loved being around people. I preferred being the center of attention. That means on stage, not sitting at the back; performer, not observer.
Then school years saw me transform from that spotlight kid into a weirdo that stayed behind the school show, separated herself from class cliques, and never talked much in public. The feeling of being left out consumed me all the time, and at some point I seriously felt like I had lost my communication with the world. I could not connect outwards, while at the same time my connection with the inner world grew stronger. I was happy in it. Had always been, but only then did I figure it out.
Still, I missed the stage.
I missed feeling connected to people.
I missed being the attention whore I once thought I would become.
Younger years, from teens to early 20s, identity is always a mess. A mess we love to make.
Don’t know who we are, still think we can be everything. That’s the kind of fucked-up state of mind in youngsters that our old pals envy so much – the right to say “I don’t know who I am. I’m still exploring myself. I can be anything.” If we’re 40 and say the stuff, pretty sure people would think “You’re already nothing.”
So, looking for an identity is that important. Because of my introvert/extrovert complex, I chose a job that I thought would give me enough spotlight, while at the same time would accept me as an introvert – an extreme kind of introvert. I thought I saw a silver lining when I knew about this industry.
But, life is full of buts. Roughly one year ago, it hit me in the face that you can’t expect everyone to accept you for who you are. You can’t expect everyone to try connect to you while you drown yourself in that happy little world of yours. You can’t use introversion as an excuse for not reaching out to people.
Fitting in is the real thing. As arrogant and foolish and cool as you think you can be, this world has not been made by a bunch of not fitting in. It’s actually the opposite.
Introversion or extroversion, at the very core, is not about connecting to people. It’s about tracking the source of energy. Introversion does not mean shutting down connection with the world. It’s just the mingling and interpersonal interaction, which feel good at first for introverts, will soon turn into a nightmare because such activities consume their energy. We track down our energy from inside. We feel exhausted by love, literally.
I felt this very clearly last night. For the last three days I had had all my lunch and dinner with different groups of people – the catching-up lunch with old friends to celebration to mingling with new faces. They were all fun. I loved every minute of those meetings. Yet, I came home last night, feeling like a hollow shell.
There was nothing in me. I was scared of human voice. I was petrified by the mere thought of being near a human being again. Literally.
I needed myself.
That’s when you know you are an introvert by default.
Roughly a year ago, as I have mentioned, it hit me in the face that being different is not an easy thing in any kind of business. Even artists have hard times being different. Why did I even expect that in this business?
It’s just, as he told me “You have to change. But the inside you can keep.”
I was too angry to agree with him at that point. But now I may have to admit that he was right.
Fitting in is the real thing. However bad that sucks, you cannot blame people for not liking you, when you don’t even care about their feelings in the first place.
Still, if you’re lucky enough to be different, don’t ever change.
Because if you’re really that different, you’re not gonna change. At least not because of talking to a bigger bunch of people.
Still afraid of human beings right now.