It’s true. Behind the bright lipstick and winged liner is Nicole – a quiet, observant, introverted girl 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 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 bigger roles in school plays, I never wanted to be like her. My entire life has been a crusade in decoding how I can be comfortable with who I am and achieve all of my goals without sacrificing an ounce of my identity. Like many introverts, I felt the pressure to discover and refine 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. That is what I want to share with you all!
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, we think before we speak, we regain our energy through spending time alone rather than surrounded by people, and we 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 we have labels us as loners or unable to make personal connections. If only people knew that we don’t mean any harm and that most of us really are fascinated by people, not distasted by them.
Despite these struggles, I have done well for myself thus far. 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 the experiences in my “sparkly shell”. 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.