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"I'm not okay"

Updated on April 12, 2015

"31 unmistakable signs that you are an introvert"

Recently, I stumbled across a Buzzfeed article titled "31 unmistakable signs that you are an introvert."
As an introvert myself, my interest was immediately piqued.
"Gee, I'm an introvert, this should apply to me!", I thought as I clicked on the link.
And... I was wrong.
What was described to me by cute little poems and gifs was far from who I am as a person.
Instead, it accurately described someone who is suffering from an awful case of social anxiety. It insinuates that introverts are lazy, cowardly, sheltered, and socially inept people.
THREE of the reasons revolve around how "hilariously out of place" introverts are at parties.
That introverts don't want to be around people, immediately want to leave, and would rather hide in the bathroom the whole time than interact with people.
Another example showed a crowd at a concert and claimed that it was "my worst nightmare."
And while I'm reading these comments, I'm becoming more and more offended.
See, while there is nothing wrong with being shy or even suffering from social anxiety, that's not what defines an introvert.
In my opinion, and in the opinions of those more qualified than I, an introvert is someone who enjoys their own thoughts, is perfectly capable of, and frequently lavishes in spending time alone, perhaps doing something artistic, and is drained by constantly being around people. Introverts are people who are exhausted by constant communication, especially when it seems meaningless or is with someone you don't care to talk to.
It does not mean that I hide in my room, shades closed, lights off, praying I never have to encounter another human being.
It does not mean that I walk around, hands in my pockets, eyes on my feet, avoiding eye contact.
It just means that I need my time alone, I am perfectly happy getting lost in my thoughts, and I I don't want to talk just to hear the sound of my own voice.
Let's say, for example, I'm at home.
I'm sitting in my bed, headphones in, smashing away at one of these blogs.
I'm perfectly content with that.
If my best friend calls me, and asks if I want to drive around and enjoy the weather, I'd be okay with that.
If another friend sends me a message and invites me to a party, I'm perfectly okay with that too.
Ask anyone who has ever been to a party with me, I do some ridiculous stuff that doesn't involve "hiding with the food bowl" or being shunned in the bathroom.
The only difference is, at some point, I will get very tired of all the human interaction.
I will want to go home, close the door, and maybe get lost watching Netflix for a while.
I am a reserved individual who feels happiest when he's comfortably by himself with nothing weighing him down. I need time to recharge after being around people (especially the dreaded extroverts) for long periods of time. I think about what I say before I say it, and carefully plan before I do anything drastic. The biggest problem that I've had with being introverted in my life is that I can't ever seem to get any alone time! I'll occasionally just go for a drive by myself, rolling the window down and blaring some tunes, but gas is expensive! In fact, I am so desperate for alone time that I constantly stay up until 5 or 6 in the morning. Just so I can be alone.
I turn my phone off, I stay off social media, and often I just do nothing, for several hours.
It's really beautiful.
I would like to address something, and this is what came to mind as I was reading Buzzfeed's word-vomit.
There is nothing wrong with being socially awkward or having anxiety.
Sure, it's unpleasant, and I bet it makes meeting new people difficult, but there's nothing wrong with being shy.
Let me put it this way.
I read what I will now refer to as "lazy clickbait" and I had a revelation.
See, I was reading "31 unmistakable reasons that I'm a flower", but noticing that all of the signs were based solely on tulips!
This seemed odd because... Well.. I am a flower... But I'm a rose, not a tulip...
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being a tulip. Tulips are just as beautiful as roses. All I'm saying is that I'm proud to be a flower, and by assuming that all flowers are tulips, you've excluded me and a great number of famous people.
People like J.K. Rowling, Harrison Ford, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Abe Lincoln, Emma Watson, Gandhi, and even Einstein were all introverts.
Those are some quotable MF'ers, don't know how they ever did what they did in their rooms, or said what they said under their breath!
Dear Buzzfeed,
You and the people who say that we introverts are a group of socially inept, feeble people have severely underestimated a powerful group of people by insinuating we are all terrified of human interaction, getting dressed, or living full lives.
My shy friends and I reject your labels, and would prefer you kept to writing about "what Tom Cruise character we really are"
An offended and outspoken introvert.

"Just be okay"

Let me tell you something.
Nothing has pissed me off more in my entire life than when someone tells me to "just be okay".
I understand that on the surface, it's meant to be compassionate. That the person saying they are concerned for my mental well-being and wants me to be... well... okay.
But I have two problems with this.
This really is referring to a specific theme, so I might have come in a little vague but... I'm fine.
If you're introverted, you know the struggle all to well, and if you're not, I'm going to try to explain it to you.
Nothing is more frustrating than when you want to be alone, just because you need to recharge, you need some time to yourself...
And someone is constantly barging in and worrying about you.
That seems like I'm being ungrateful, and I get it, but dude...
Seriously. If I say I'm okay, that I'm just tired or want some time to myself.
It's because I... am... tired... and... I... want... some... time... to... myself.
I'm not suicidal.
I'm not seriously depressed, I just GAHHH.
I need time to recharge my batteries and get my head together.
Space is like air for introverts, and constantly pushing your "concern" where it is clearly unneeded and unwanted is only creating the problem that wasn't there to begin with!

And two- Uh, nobody is okay all the time.
I'm serious. Even the peppiest of extroverts has days when he or she feels miserable.
Life isn't about being happy and springy all the time. Life isn't even about being happy! Sure, it's nice to be happy, and I think that if we all had a choice, we'd choose to be happy, but...
Isn't that a little silly?
Change isn't only inevitable but it's happening right now.
The world never stops changing.
Some of those changes will be great, but others most certainly will not be.
Accepting change is very hard, and you're allowed to be upset.
Even if it means you aren't okay.

Putting a bow on it.

I am an introvert, but I harbor no ill will for extroverts.
My most successful romances have been with extroverts.
My very best friends are extroverts.
Even my dog is an extrovert.
I love the energy and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to be around.
I, and I think I'm speaking for the introvert collective here, need the space that we ask for. We need the time to get our heads together and recharge.
We are not "projects" that you need to drag out of ruts.
We are not "depressed" or some other lazy cliché.
We're just the tails to your heads, and we'd like our space.
Thank you very much.


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      anniegelderman 2 years ago

      I really enjoyed this, and as another introvert, I say (loudly in a room full of strangers,) "THANK YOU!"