Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been an introvert. An introvert is someone who gains energy from being alone and is easily drained by other people. Introverts may or may not be shy (I can be shy in certain situations; I used to think that shyness was the same as being quiet).
I had no idea there was an actual name for having a quiet personality; I can remember my teachers saying, “She’s a good student; she does her work and doesn’t cause any trouble.” I can’t remember if they mentioned “quiet and shy” to refer to me but if they did, they didn’t view that as a problem (maybe I just really had great teachers! I’ve heard of some situations where the teachers view quiet children as a problem). As a child, I loved reading books, drawing, and writing stories. In school, I had friends but I was not a chatterbox.
When I was younger, I didn’t understand or even like my personality. I would read various magazine articles about overcoming shyness and often wished that I was more outgoing like my friends. I didn’t understand why I preferred being quiet instead talking but on the other hand, I couldn’t pretend to be someone I’m not. When I was in college, I experienced a lot of negative comments from people about my personality; as a result, I allowed them to cause me to withdraw into myself more and became even more self-conscious and insecure. Those comments didn’t force me to become more outgoing and it certainly didn’t make me desire their friendship, either.
Most of the time, I felt awkward and out of place and couldn’t understand why God made me this way until He led me to Isaiah 45:9—“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’” It took some time, but I learned to become comfortable with myself and my confidence began to improve.
If you’re a Black introvert, you probably feel like a unicorn or an alien in your own community. The common stereotype is that we’re loud, boisterous, jokesters, etc. and when you don’t fit into that box, you’re seen as “weird” or “strange.” When you avoid the chit-chat and gossip and focus on your work, it’s a problem. Sometimes I feel as if male introverts are accepted because there’s always that saying about a man being the “strong, silent type.” However, when a woman is quiet, she’s “stuck-up”, a “bitch,” or “sneaky.”
The only advice I have for you is to learn more about your personality and continue being yourself. God created you and you have every right to be here on this Earth. People with common sense will not care if you’re minding your own business and not creating problems with anyone. If your quiet demeanor “offends” someone, that’s their problem not yours. I’ve learned that people tend to project their own insecurities and issues on others—if they feel uncomfortable, they want to make you uncomfortable.
This blog is about a variety of topics: my relationship with God, writing, life experiences, current events, etc.