Sunday, 2 August 2015

The small miracle of introverts

One of my favourite characters, Kermit the frog, sings the pensive song, "It's not Easy Being Green." He laments how green blends in with everything and is kind of boring. He thinks perhaps orange or red would be more fun, but finally concludes that green, the colour of spring and trees and other wonderful things, is an okay thing to be.

I'm with you, Kermit, except I have a slightly different twist on it. I think it's not easy being seen.

I always thought of myself as shy, before I knew the word "introvert." Shy was a bad thing, and I tried to overcome it. With it came "socially awkward" "verbally inept" and not too bright. These were my perceptions of myself as a child, teenager and into adulthood. I struggled (and still do) with situations that others find easy, and it mades me mad.

Why do I cross the street or avert my eyes rather than talk to an acquaintance? Why do I hate telephones? Why do I cringe when I have to make small talk, and fladgulate myself emotionally because I am so pathetic at it?

On the other hand, how can I easily speak to a group of five hundred people? No butterflies, only passions to share my heart with them. How does that work?

Only recently have I learned that I am an introvert, and that's okay. I have something to offer. I can stop kicking myself.

I read an article, entitled, "15 Things an Introvert Would Never Tell You."1  Not all of them are true of me, but I found it insightful. I do care about birthdays, both mine and yours. I was brought up to believe the day you were born is special, and to be celebrated. I'm a good listener (it means I don't have to talk while I am listening...) and I'd be glad for you to tell me about your weekend.

But I do hate crowds, especially crowds where I am expected to make small talk. I went to church without my husband today, and although I was glad I went, it was hard work. My husband is the extrovert of all extroverts, and talks to everyone. When I am with him, the pressure is off me to interact. I can smile and be sociable, but without the pressure. Because the burden is lifted, I often have more meaningful conversations when he is with me. Small talk makes me curl up inside.

I love alone time, but not too much. I do get lonely, and long for company, but not too much company. Time with my husband or one or two good friends fills my cup. Large social events drain me.

At work, I try to bring my best self. I am friendly to everyone, smiling in greeting and attempting to make each person I encounter feel they are special. I listen. I ask questions. I go outside my comfort zone to be a blessing. At the end of the day, I am wasted, alonging for strong arms around me and that gravelly voice asking. "How was your day?"

The first time I met my husband's friends (in a large, party setting where I was quiet and withdrawn) they took him aside.They asked him how he ended up with someone like me. (I'm sure they didn't mean it to sound quite that insulting.) Then they questioned how it would work. A valid question, I suppose. The answer is--amazingly.

His boisterous, loud, jolly personality is a balance to my quiet, introspective one. He makes me laugh and come out of seclusion to experience adventures. When I suggest a thought or idea, he listens and considers it. We respect and validate each other.

I'm with you, Kermit. Being green, blending in, is not easy.
But it's who God made me, and He said it is good.

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