The wind was howling in my ear and the light rain drops splatters upon my face. I walked away as the sound of laughter and chatter fade. My steps slowed- I walked away, wondering if anybody would stop me any minute now to say goodbye; I walked away, wondering how long it would take for people to notice my absence. Eventually, I gave up on the fantasy of someone calling me in a heart-stopping hollywood moment and quicken my steps, wondering when it began to go wrong.
Thoughts came and went with the wind, a mash-up of worry, excitement, acceptance, disappointment; such a myriad that I no longer know what I was feeling anymore. My gaze fixed upon the creases of my umbrella- a result of my untidiness. It hit me hard that I am a wreck because of my own doing, my untidiness with relationships, my continual avoidance of difficult talks, my tendency to flee from confrontation, my escapist nature, my refusal to let people in at all. Hanging on to that thought, the memory of my conversation with my sister broke through, as I paused at the junction.
“I am socially awkward”, I admitted.
“Really?” She was bewildered by my confession but followed up with an assurance. “Me too. I wish I was a people person.”
I talked about how I hated being around people. Strangers, especially. The utterance surprised not just her, but myself, because I knew too, that I loved being surrounded by people, or I used to. I tried to trace back my steps to where I had gone wrong, but to no avail. The trail died off somewhere along in adolescence with perpetual struggles of acceptance and belonging. I tried to bring myself back to moment, to listen intently, and to speak up fearlessly. But it would only translate to small nods, occasionally a smile, short answers, and a whole mash up of thoughts in my head that I myself couldn’t decipher.
People say they cannot read my mind. Truth is, neither can I.
I knew there was no going back for me now. I’ve chosen to withdraw myself from various large groups, in exchange for a one-to-one, heartfelt exchanges. Unknowingly (and now knowingly), being in large group scares the shit out of me- I grow a little more claustrophobic and it’s almost like I’m scratching the imaginary walls around me for an escape. People think that it’s so “meaningful”, that they’d like heart-to-heart exchanges too, but they are so hypocritical about it that it disgusts me. Choosing this path is not easy, it’s a helluva fear, rejection (self-inflicted or otherwise), and heartache; it’s not being sure who’d be patient enough to sit you through your bullshit to realise there is more to your cool interior shells of a few words. Simply put and short of an even better way to put it, it’s just not as “Awwww” as people think it is.
The first time people pointed me out as an introvert in a stupid, lame orientation game called “First Impressions”, I was taken aback. I think to some extent, I was insulted.
How could it be? Haven’t I been spontaneous enough? Didn’t I talk a lot around people?
But I took it back with me, to my bed. As I laid there thinking about the conversation, where I sat there, stunned, with the sudden spotlight upon me. It then became clear that the feelings that washed over me was perhaps, shame and embarrassment of being an introvert.
Introversion seems like it’s been given the label it being “bad” thing- as is taking vices or homosexuality. People like the friendly people, the ones that can babble on about everything and anything, making every single thing from the weather to his/her lunch two days ago a topic. It’s almost like they have some gene mutation in their mother’s womb that I didn’t, and never fail to amaze me because I, struggle even to answer a question. Afterall, why would people wanna talk to someone who thwarts their every attempt to engage in a conversation and make them feel like they are talking to a wall? (I don’t even know why I’m trying to make this a point when it’s so starkly obvious.)
And for the longest time, I thought it was a bad thing too.
But it isn’t. For now I know that despite who or what, if you may say so, I am- I guess I still have friends, and I come to realize that if people love you despite your introversion, I swear that they really love you, because nothing is more frustrating that talking to a wall nor trying to phantom what goes on in our brains. And more importantly, I know I’m not alone. Meeting other introverts is kinda exciting because there are no spoken words, nor actual looks. Just weird nudges, the same repetitive actions, and the iconic staring into space. The best part is stealing that glance that says, “I know.”