It’s true. Behind the bright lipstick and winged liner is Nicole: a quiet, observant introvert living in a pro-extrovert world. People are often surprised by this aspect of my personality because the stereotypical introverted girl is usually described as mousy and insecure – two things that I am not. Yes, introverts can be stylish! Yes, introverts can be confident!
I wasn’t always stylish and confident though. I have spent most of my life not uttering a word, letting people walk over me, not raising my hand when I know an answer, and crushing on boys in the secrecy of my journals. I did this all while dreaming of a bigger and better life for myself.
But, here’s the kicker: I never wanted to change who I was.
Sure, that super outgoing girl in my class had more friends, better relationships with teachers, and an easier time getting lead roles in school plays, but I never wanted to be like her. My entire life has been a crusade in decoding how I can be comfortable with being an introvert and achieve all of my goals, without sacrificing an ounce of my identity.
Like many introverts, I felt the pressure to discover and perfect my “extrovert mask” (introverts know exactly what that is), but I always desired to figure out a way to bury that thing in a hole and never use it again.
Our society’s view of introversion is one big misunderstanding. Introverts are judged as lazy, anti-social, bitchy, arrogant, among other things. As many experts explain, these opinions stem from the introvert’s way of expelling their energy inward rather than outward.
For example, introverts think before they speak, they regain their energy through spending time alone rather than surrounded by people, and they prefer to maintain a small group of valuable relationships rather than a large group of acquaintances. As a result, this slower process of thinking and responding is seen as a weakness in our “go! go! go!” world. The need for alone time is seen as insulting or anti-social. And the few amount of friends they have labels them loners or unable to make personal connections.
Despite experiencing all of these struggles firsthand, this introvert has done quite well for herself! I graduated high school a year early at the age of 16, I backpacked Europe at the age of 19, and I have completed three internships including one with Latina Magazine by the age of 21. And during all of that, I founded this blog. I did it all being exactly who I am and I want you all to do the same.
In this new series, I wish to talk more about my experiences as an introvert, or in my “sparkly shell” as I like to describe it. I am going to discuss how I have found success in the classroom, the workplace, in dating situations, and peace within myself. Hopefully that will help some of you introverts out there gain more confidence and contentment with your true identities. So get comfy in those sparkly shells of yours and stay tuned. Introverts unite!
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Click to read the rest of my “Inside My Sparkly Shell” series and learn more about my experiences as an introvert!