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.

Alternative Pastime for Your Ears

Are you tired of listening to the same playlist in your media player? Watched the same music videos in Youtube? If music starts to be deafening, you can have this as an alternative pastime for your ears.

In my quiet moments, I browse videos of TEDx. For those of you who don’t know, “TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x=independently organized TED event. ” It carries a tagline  ” ideas worth sharing.”

I enjoy listening to speeches that are well crafted.  After all,  I finished a degree in Speech Communication. But I must admit that I have short attention span. Sometimes, I end up daydreaming after listening the first five minutes of   a lecture, a sermon, and a group discussion.  Well, listening to TEDx speeches is different. They are easy on the ears, that you forget you spent nine minutes listening. You can do it while working and browsing in the internet. Here are some of my favorites.

Craig Walzer – Artful Lies and Shelves of Fiction

On one vacation in Santorin, Greece, two American boys  looked for a bookshop but could not find one. This sprout the idea of building a bookshop.  After Craig graduated, he went back to Greece and  built a bookshop where people can read, tell stories, and make bonfires in the evening.

Cameron Russell –  Image is powerful

I admired this woman for being brutally honest about the modeling industry.  Her talk in TEDx has become viral and controversial. There are a lot of negative comments but I bet they don’t get her point. She does not sugarcoat, like showbiz people do.  She said: ” The real way that I became a model is that I won a genetic lottery, and I am the recipient of a legacy. What do I mean by legacy? Well, for the past few centuries we have defined beauty not just as health and youth and symmetry that we’re biologically programmed to admire, but also as tall, slender figures, and femininity and white skin. And this is a legacy that was built for me, and it’s a legacy that I’ve been cashing in on.”

Jarrett J. Krosoczka – How a boy became an artist

He is an illustrator and writer of children’s books. He has sense of humor and overflowing passion. This video brings me smiles.

Sabsy Ongkiko: Our Return of Investment

In the Philippines, my favorite TED talk is a speech of a public school teacher. She graduated in one of top universities in the Philippines. In spite of having outstanding credentials, she preferred to work as a  public school teacher. She is very inspiring. I was in tears while listening to her speech.  I know there are a lot of young leaders who want to make a difference  in the country but she is different from the rest.   Some do good and some fight for a cause because in return they will get merit and credit for what they do. On the other hand, this woman is  a genuine modern day hero. You can tell through her speech that she gives her service not for self-fulfillment sake.

Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter

Sarah Kay is a spoken word poet. She is a captivating speaker. I recommend not only her TEDx video but all her videos. You will cling to every word she says.

“It’s not that I think that spoken word poetry is the ideal art form. I’m always trying to find the best way to tell each story. I write musicals; I make short films alongside my poems. But I teach spoken word poetry because it’s accessible. Not everyone can read music or owns a camera, but everyone can communicate in some way, and everyone has stories that the rest of us can learn from. Plus, spoken word poetry allows for immediate connections. It’s not uncommon for people to feel like they’re alone or that nobody understands them, but spoken word teaches that if you have the ability to express yourself and the courage to present those stories and opinions, you could be rewarded with a room full of your peers, or your community, who will listen. “

I hope you get to watch these videos. I’m sure you’ll find far more interesting videos from TEDx. It’s a treasure box of ideas.