A little over two years ago, I was published on the Quiet Revolution website in an article about embracing my quiet nature. I wrote about feeling different, despite being a triplet:
I was content with stillness—I would watch a bug on a leaf for hours or imagine I was a princess, playing in the back of the woods of our house. I kept my head down in class and cried when my brother suffocated a bee in a glass jar. The world wasn’t so accepting of my views. When my brother struggled with writing, which we later learned was dyslexia, I whispered to him the answer on a test question and unfortunately was caught. I sobbed uncontrollably the rest of the day. I dreaded book reports and reading aloud, and I despised being put on the spot. These moments made me want to jump out of my skin. Even though I was a part of something as amazing as “triplets,” I often felt alone in the way I thought about the world and other people.
After my triplet sister read this, she mentioned to me how different I viewed her–which in my mind, was much more of an extrovert. She too struggled with feeling awkward and shy, but I mostly remember our teen years where she was making friends and getting dates and I was crying because I felt invisible. Shyness, of course, is awful. But what I was trying to get at wasn’t shyness at all. Instead, it was this inner feeling of not belonging to this world.
I didn’t write the article to pit my sister (or brother) against myself. Instead, I wrote it to bring light to how an introvert feels. Because I felt so different from everyone, it was hard for me to relate to my siblings or think they would ever understand me. Yes, I was insecure and it’s possible I felt jaded even when I wasn’t. But that wasn’t the point. We all have our viewpoints and perceptions. Whether we label them “wrong” or not is up for debate, but that wasn’t the intent of my article. Instead it was to show how introverts can often feel extremely lost inside their thoughts and how they view everything from nature to other people to dying.
Really, we tend to feel everything and know we aren’t like other people. Things can throw us for a loop rather quickly and we can feel off center while others tend to bounce back in a hurry. All those experiences I had as a child wasn’t an indictment on my family, but on introversion for being so hard to understand.
Maybe my sister proved my point without meaning to. Being an introvert, I still feel misunderstood, even when writing with clarity and purpose. It’s possibly just hard to understand an introvert unless you are one yourself. This is why we feel so alone because even when we try to explain ourselves, sometimes others don’t understand our perspective. “I don’t remember it that way at all” is the response we are given. That makes sense because they see things through their world and we see things through ours. It WAS different for them. But that doesn’t mean our feelings and experiences aren’t valid. We just see things from our own lenses in life.
Living in a world of extroverts and introverts who try to be extroverts, sometimes it is tiring to try to get others to understand us. Really though, we just need to understand ourselves.
What I hope every introvert understands through delving into their own personality type is that they do have a voice. Maybe others won’t understand you, but many of us do. That’s why I will keep speaking and writing. It’s why I still stand behind my original writings. I think the ending still applies today:
It’s in the quiet and stillness that these words speak the loudest: I am not alone. You are not alone. We have a voice in this world.