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From Our Readers: What It's Like To Be An Introvert

There's absolutely nothing wrong with being one.
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I am introvert and I know it. And I'm never really sure if it's a good thing or not. I have been trying to step outside of my comfort zone and trying to interact with people as much as I can, but it can sometimes get so overwhelming that it literally drains me. I get so tired and restless that I feel like I need to isolate myself from everyone. And I hate myself for doing so.

Once I try to sneak in some alone time with myself, I start to feel guilty for ditching my friends and paranoid about missing out on a lot of stuff. It makes me feel like there's something wrong with me—that it's not normal for a person to be this way. 

I know I'm boring. There aren't a lot of things that interest me in life except for books and coffee. I like keeping a lot of things to myself. I enjoy being sort of mysterious sometimes and I enjoy my own company. But why do people make me feel like it's a crime to want to be alone at times?

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This is the side of me that most people don't understand. Everyone's idea of fun is to go out and party but for me, fun is being able to read a good book without being disrupted and having time to write down my thoughts in my journal.

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It's not that I hate people. It's just that talking to people can sometimes give me anxiety. I do have a lot of friends, but I prefer being in the company of just a few of them at a time. Whenever I end up in a room full of people I just tend to stay in the corner and wait for someone to talk to me. Being around too many people is overwhelming—it makes me panic. So instead of nervously approaching a person to make small talk, I'd rather stay by the sidelines and be a wallflower.

I hate it that people call me anti-social for being quiet and wanting to spend time on my own. I do go out with my friends on a lot of occasions, but just because I refused an invite to the so-called biggest party of the year doesn't mean that I dislike people in general. 

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I am more comfortable being with myself since I already know who I am. Being alone gives me time to think and appreciate everything that is happening around me. But just because I enjoy my own company doesn't mean that I haven't been making an effort to interact with people. 

I know that I am shy and I have been all my life but, I have indeed grown a lot. From being that kid who only spoke once a year in elementary school, to that girl in high school who only had a few close friends, I am now a woman who tries to make as many acquaintances as I can. I am slowly stepping outside of my comfort zone and trying to interact with the people around me. But it still can get overwhelming sometimes.

There comes a time when I get tired from being around so much people that I start to shut the my whole social life off and lock myself in my own little world. I just need to get a hold of myself and let myself breathe. We all need to take a break sometime right?

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Yes, I am an introvert and I shouldn't feel ashamed about it. People may think that I'm alone and anti-social but that's not true. I am just really comfortable with being with myself—and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Cath Talavera blogs at bookishcath.tumblr.com

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If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.

And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.

Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.

Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”

They say time heals all wounds, but it has been ages - is heartbreak exempted?

I have forgotten when was the last time we shared a smile - the last time when I saw the glow in your eyes and the last time when you whispered an I love you to me. I have forgotten when, but here I am - writing to you again.

I do not know if you will read this or you will just add this one to my proses and poems that you left unread, but you see, I am still hoping. I am mailing the pain of us to the gods out there - hoping they can take the pain away. I should have gotten over you, but instead of forgetting and accepting our ending, I am writing about us in tissue sheets, carving about us on trees, telling about us on the back of my journals, hoping that a thousand or a million write ups about us, can make me forget about what happened.

I am writing, waiting for the point where I can no longer write anymore, for I have none to tell - but when? I have nothing in me anymore, but the memories of us - and no matter how hard I try put those to its own grave, the memories grow back like lilies in the swamp - painful and beautiful at the same time.

No matter how hard I try to silence those and put it at the back of my mind, those ring back, playing like the favorite song we used to listen. They say heartbreaks turn into poetry and that is what happening to us - but poetry should be dulcet and dreamy, why does ours sound like pain and agony? They say time heals all wounds, but it has been ages - is heartbreak exempted? Darling, I guess not.

Anne Luna A day ago
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