The voice of an Introvert

Nishanthi Mathivanan

I've never asked someone why they talk a lot! Because, I consider it rude. 

But I've been asked, many a times, why I don't talk much!

There's the difference. 

   The difference here is considered a norm, a casual topic of conversation by the ignorant people, and they, the ones that decide a quiet, sensitive and shy child will barely survive in this "happening" world, are seemingly huge in number! Or so I thought. 

    Growing up unaware of my Introverted nature, I crawled through schooling, emotionally scathed and loathed myself for not being loud, gregarious and fun, I pushed myself to the conclusion that I'm indeed a sad person. The bouts of joy I had for little things in life, were regretted immensely, for not having to share it with anyone! As I started growing up, the thoughts became louder, the words became intense and my world became smaller. I had made friends, who could hear me and they still do. 

    Yet another chance to improve, I thought..when I had joined college. A chance to "become" someone I was not. My only mission was to get myself out there and I did. Whenever it got too tiring I switched off and went to be myself.

This consistent regressive nature of mine to shuffle between a shy person and an outgoing person had begun by imitating friends.. I had finally tipped the scale and learned to become an extrovert of a kind.

     From then, the people and surroundings, my mood and the possibilities of small talks, social anxiety and my tolerance levels, finally the age old question 'Is it all worth it' were unceremoniously analysed, to be the gregarious self and I chose when to leave that zone as well. I had practiced this incessantly and as I grew up I had started highlighting my characteristics, set boundaries, expectations, eventually calling myself a pseudo-extrovert than an ambivert! I had found comfort in being called the quiet one, than squirming under the skin of an introvert trying to socialise. But most importantly I had learned to articulate my thoughts when the flood of conversations trickled down to a streamlined manner. The right words in the right moment did wonders and I came into the spotlight squinting. I guess, I've made the little girl proud...!

   From the day, I had been asked to shout into a booming mike to appear confident among my fellow school mates, to the day I had been suggested to be more aggressive on feedback reviews by my colleagues, I had simply shrugged. I was being clear as reassured, why the loudness. 

Some people, even today, think that I'm more agreeable and less opinionated based on my self-effacing demeanor and meekness (my husband would beg to differ), I had simply smiled, try and know me, why the presumption.

My unvarying cadence during a pressurized situation had brought me praises and criticism. I had simply stood tall. Why the judgement.

"Well. That's just me"

It took me years to gain the confidence to say this and I wouldn't even dream about changing it! 

It's high time that we, as a society not just sit back and ask people to speak up, but rather lean forward to listen!!!

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