You know that feeling when you suddenly realize something? Like you realize that you were doing something entirely wrong for your whole life and then something happens that open your eyes? I had one of those "clicks" recently when I read "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in The World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain. And the chance was that at the same time friend of mine visited me and opened my eyes even wider.
I'm an introvert. Wow, such a coming out.
But I felt like I didn't fit into the society since I was a kid. I was very quiet, shy and loved reading books and writing. Nobody has accepted that.
I was very often asked by my parents why I didn't go out. Why I didn't say anything when I should. Why I didn't argue when I was right and someone was wrong. Endless "whys". Why I didn't say this, say that, why I didn't say that louder, why I can't "sell myself", "sell what I'm doing".
The answer is so simple - it required way too much energy and I didn't feel it was worth it.
For the most part of my life, I was pissed off - but I'm Polish, and most of us was born pissed off. But I had different reasons for that - not only religious or political - I was pissed off because people who were shouting loudest were getting the most out of life. It started in the middle and high school. They were ruling the class, scheduling the times for tests or making the rules about the class life.
Somehow I made it through but because of the specifics of fine arts school - I paid for it with my health. Each drawing or painting or sculpture class was a nightmare for me, having to do those things with the teacher and other students around me and behind my back. I liked other ones more - the ones where we had a homework that I could do at my place without anyone looking.
After school, I went to "elite" studies so called by my parents. Well, quite quickly, after half a year I've realized that the rules are the same and that I don't want to follow them. I found a job in a photo lab, I was working the way I liked, behind the developing machine, most often hiding from the customers but I've heard from my mother that it's below my ambition so I didn't have much motivation to follow it as my relations with parents became very tense (my father didn't speak to me at all during that time) and they were very important to me.
I started other studies, this time about the subject that was interesting for me - photography. Well, once again I found out that studies aren't for me because students aren't judged by their knowledge but by personality. Some of them were talking bullshit but still were getting good grades just for talking. And talking. And talking bullshit.
So without much conviction, I finished my studies and started to send the CV with the usual "outgoing, open, team worker" shite which of course, didn't work. I could only make as far as the interview.
Finally, I've found a job in a bank in telephone customer service but I used to go back home shaking. So many of those talk with people were extremely unpleasant and draining my energy out.
Then pure chance brought me to Ireland. I have an idea for my own cafe so I started an internship in the cafe. Then I started to work there. Now I work in a buzzing restaurant full of lovely people but still quite often I come home drained because dealing with so many of them is exhausting. The constant noise is exhausting. I hear people talking, I hear music from two places, I have people walking behind my back, I am under pressure and others are under pressure. Sometimes I hate it, sometimes I don't mind although I really like my job. But I don't understand the constant need for noise in peoples lives. Why do they have to have music all the time on the full volume? Why can't they just focus on the work they do? Why can't they do that in silence? Why do they talk so much? Why they don't let me focus on my work? Do they even realize what they are doing to me?
I don't know but that environment is probably one of the reasons why I have problems with my health again. I want to downshift. I want to do the freelance work, want to write and do photos. And martial arts. But now I'm loosing too much energy. I like my work because it's manual and it makes me creative. But sometimes I just feel like running away or hiding somewhere calm and quiet.
I've decided to change my life a bit and my blog as well. I started it as a blog about travels because for my entire life I was told that if you write about everything you write about nothing and that you have to have one specialization. But I don't understand why. People of the Renaissance were specialized in Maths, Geography and Art and many other fields. What happened with people in XXI century that they have to be specialized and close their eyes for other things?
I've realized that I don't update my blog because I have much more things to talk about than travel. I love reading books, I love taking photos, cooking and I love jiu-jitsu and I'm sure that there are much more people like me out there in the world. And I'm gonna write about each of them and much more.
I remember one tread from some Polish forum. There was the strongly introverted person saying that she thinks that work in a library would suit her perfectly and was asking for the others opinions if she's right. Guess what? She was flooded with responses that in a library you have to deal with plenty of people and that's the work for the extroverts and she'll be better off somewhere else but nobody has told her where and I remember thinking while reading this "is there a place for us in this world"? In this job market where every company is looking for outgoing, competitive, team worker communicator? My fiancee once didn't get the job because he said that he prefers to communicate by e-mail than in person. This company could say that they want people to apply by phone - some people would then know to not bother. ;)
I meant to write about the book and what I did is a rant about the lack of understanding for introversion. But the book itself is very good, easy to read and if you're an introvert who feel like a weirdo in this world then this book is for you. It will help you realize that you are a full person and there are many possibilities for you in that noisy world.
And if you're an extrovert, especially a parent of an introverted child - take that book, read carefully and please, stop tormenting your child with all those "why" questions - especially "why you don't go out". Just let them be, and see what artists, professors, math specialists, lawyers, doctors, writers they will grow to. Just don't force them and let them experience the world in that gentle way they need. Don't push them, just lead them. I'm not a parent but I'm sure that I would be a much more happy child if everyone around me accepted the fact that I was quiet, shy, loved books and was too stressed to go out.