I’ve spent my life thinking that I’m an introvert. After all, as a teenager I was a bookworm who spent bus trips staring out the window daydreaming. As a youngster I was uncomfortable with small talk and much preferred to be left alone with my thoughts. It made me see myself as shy. Was that introversion or just a difficult time of life?
We have so many labels for people. Introvert. Extrovert. Shy. Outgoing. There are more harmful labels, the ones no one should use when thinking about themselves. For years, even up to a few weeks ago when I started really thinking about it, I thought I was an introvert. I even bought the t-shirt. The one that says, “Introverts Unite, occasionally, in small groups and for limited periods of time.” I loved it and still do.
The problem is that once someone internalizes that label and accepts it as ‘their own’, they rarely challenge the notion that it could be wrong.
I am taking up the challenge. I am not an introvert. After careful consideration, I may have to call myself an extrovert.
Last year I was excited to attend a writer’s convention, and I didn’t know a single person going. One of my coworkers knew that and asked me if I was nervous. I said, “No. Because we’re all going for the same reason. It will be easy to talk to them.” He said, “Oh, they’re your people.” Yes. They are.
This year I started full court basketball and yoga at the local gym. I didn’t know a person there. My husband wondered that I could walk into a strange place with people I never met and just start playing. It got me thinking. A label that I internalized and applied to myself is untrue. I really am not an introvert. Maybe I’m not an extrovert because I don’t necessarily talk to the neighbors if we both happen to be outside, but I’m not an introvert.
I can walk into a place where I don’t know people without fear whether it is a conference, court, or seminar. I’ll never be a party girl who goes and hangs out with people for hours just to hang out with people, but that’s just one aspect of the definition.
How does this blog apply to you? Well, I would say to challenge whatever is holding you back, whatever you ‘think’ you are. For the ten-year old whose teacher gave him an F in English. Guess what? It’s just a grade, a single snapshot of one moment in your life, and you can change the picture. In a few short years, you could be writing circles around your teacher. It just takes practice and challenging your self-image.
I have a new series on Amazon. Click Elemental Rage. Free if you’re enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.