Introvert in Denial

I always want to have me-time

After going through a long period of identity crisis, I finally know who I am. As I grow old, I get to know myself better. The more people I get to know, the more I get to know myself. And it is a revelation for me to know that I am an introvert. This is not how I would want to describe myself ten years ago. But real life situations have brought me to this self-diagnosis. Yes, I am an introvert. I am just in denial.

 Here are some of my introvert signs

  • When people give their first impression about me, they always say I’m quiet.
  • I develop social anxiety when I’m joining a new group.
  • I always talk to myself.  This is why I find it necessary to own a blog. This is also the reason why my writings are lengthy.
  • I always want to have me-time. People don’t understand this but I am very much satisfied shopping by myself, eating by myself.
  • It is easier for me to be lonely (or at least people see me lonely. I’m alone but it does not mean I’m lonely) than to be with someone I have to make so many adjustments. Loneliness is better than stress.
  • You can hear these lines from me in real life: “I need to find myself” “I need space” “I just want to be alone.”
  • I value privacy. I share almost every highlight of my life online, Hence, I’m not comfortable with people who are nosy enough to ask me things that I don’t share in Facebook, Instagram, or my blog. If I don’t share it online, it means I’m not also willing to share it offline.
  • I am not a fan of big parties, big group. I prefer small and intimate conversations.
  • I have a hard time to start and sustain conversation with people (1) who are pretentious, (2)  share nothing in common. “Don’t you think how boring people can talk. Making smart with their words again, well I’m bored“- Lorde
  • I dream of traveling alone.

It is hard for me to admit that I am an introvert. For one reason, our society has a culture bias towards extroverts. The student who always raises his hand for graded recitation is the smartest kid in class. The person who is assertive and aggressive gets a high position in an organization. The cheerleader is popular in school while the girl who reads a lot may not be recognized in yearbooks. The people who are quiet are perceived boring and the people who are noisy are perceived interesting.

Thanks to the talk of Susan Cain – The Power of Introverts. I learn to appreciate my introvert qualities. She said that teachers often think that the ideal student is an extrovert but introverts are in fact knowledgeable. Sometimes, the students who excel in exams are the quiet ones. When it comes to leadership, think about the world’s major religions. Moses, Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad have been to the wilderness. They meditate and contemplate. They have moments of solitude. And according to Cain, solitude is a crucial ingredient for creativity. And I’ll never forget what she said:

“Groups famously follow the opinion of the most dominant or the most charismatic person in the room even though there is a zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”

I believe in her cause to let introverts be themselves and I support her call for action: to stop the madness for constant group work and to go to the wilderness and be like Buddha.

This is just one side of me but it tells a lot of my introversion. To my closest friends, it might be slightly different. I might be described someone rowdy, talkative, and frank. There is a wide spectrum between introvert and extrovert. I just wish wherever I am in that spectrum, the environment welcomes my personality without bias.

If you are an introvert, I highly recommend to watch Susan Cain’s  TED talk on The Power of Introverts.

Inner Beauty is a Myth

On the radio….

DJ 1: “Do you believe in inner beauty”

DJ2: “Inner beauty is  for ugly people who want to feel good about themselves.”

I don’t believe in inner beauty too. I don’t believe that beauty is measured by character, attitude and whatsoever. When you are beautiful, you are beautiful. When you are not, you are not. No justifications can be made. As what they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

There is something wrong on the belief of inner beauty. They say real beauty is skin deep. We always take it as a compliment when someone says, “You have a beautiful face, beautiful body, beautiful hair. ” O f course, we are flattered when someone tells us that we are beautiful inside and out. But how about when someone says, “You are beautiful inside?” In the deep layers of your thoughts, you are thinking, I am ugly outside or I am ugly enough for someone to commend my ehem …inner beauty? If truth be told, you’d rather have someone tell you, you are beautiful outside than inside. That’s the time inner beauty is more of an insult than a compliment.

It’s like having a conversation with a friend about a girl whom she has not met. She asks you, “Is she beautiful?” Then you reply, “She is mabait (kind)” If inner beauty is for real, then why don’t immediately say, “She is beautiful.”?

When you describe someone “beautiful”, you are referring to someone’s eyes, skin, nose and lips. You are not referring about a person who does community work, goes to church and feed  street children. That’s how the sentence “You are beautiful” functions though it is not equivalent to “You are a beautiful person.”

They say it does not matter how you look. What matters is your are kind, good to other people. This is the inner beauty theory. But this idea does not sell well to me. I don’t like that kind of mentality, “ok lang na hindi ako maganda pero mabait naman ako.”

I believe real beauty is not about being charitable because beauty is not synonymous to kindness. Real beauty is acknowledging that your eyes, your nose, lips, ears, are perfectly made and they fit well to who you are. It is rejecting the idea that you are trapped or cursed in the wrong face and body. Each of us has his/her own beauty. It’s either you accept that or you don’t. It’s not about having it and not having it.

Beauty is not also equivalent to conformity. Women who appeared in magazines are described beautiful. Sometimes, a person thinks if she looks like this model, she is beautiful too. What people fail to take consideration is that the magazine cover is not only eye candy because of its model. A stunning appearance of a model is a product of the efforts made by art director, photographer, make-up artist, and stylist. It is a piece of art.

There are TV shows like America’s Next Top Model that tells stories about women trying to be thin, having their hair short to appear taller. This sometimes creates an illusion that these women work hard for beauty. But it’s not for beauty. It’s for conformity.

Beauty is about everything you see in the mirror. It is how you see yourself. In your lifetime, someone will describe you with pretty, average, ugly, indescribable, cannot-be-categorized looks. One’s perception is always a variable. But what you believe in yourself can be permanent. If you believe you are beautiful, it will radiate in your skin, body, and soul.