Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I am an Introvert

I am reading Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe, PhD. A self-proclaimed introvert herself, Helgoe frames the characteristics of introverts as strengths in themselves rather than the absence of gifts that extraverts possess--a refreshing perspective for anyone who has had someone attempt to fix their introversion.

I tend to think there is a genetic component to introversion.  I am the daughter of an introverted father, an introvert myself, and the mother of an introverted daughter and son. As a child I was labeled shy.  My mother, in an attempt to help me "overcome my shyness" signed me up for Brownie Scouts, the bane of my existence every Monday afternoon for two years. After a long day in the social swirl of school, I longed to soak in the calm of home.  Instead I was a Brownie.
The prospect of playing outdoors overwhelmed me as well.  Our yard had no fence, and I felt conspicuous outside.  My happiest outdoor memories were spent hidden under the lush lilac bushes outback, up a tree, or playing between rows of laundry hanging on the line. I was always most comfortable when I could place a curtain between me and the outside world.

Our culture rewards the outgoing.  By the time I was a teenager, I could pretend to be as extraverted as the next guy. Helgoe describes my personality type as the accessible introvert.  I can play the part of the social butterfly in order to meet society's expectations or to be successful in the workplace.  I look at it as part of the job. But when the end of the day rolls around, don't look for me at happy hour. I am not a "joiner", and I won't be attending whatever club might take the place of Brownie Scouts for adults. I will be home, likely indoors with a book in my hands, and I will be exceedingly happy.

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