BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Introversion Is a Gift

I've been called many names, in so many different ways and in the angriest of voices. The boyfriend calls me "the bitch girlfriend from hell, an unstable being and an inconsistent introvert living inside her own bubble" while the dad thinks that with his usually gentle and patient demeanor and my -- for lack of a better word -- bitchy ways, the nurses at the Nursery must have mistakenly switched my tag with a kinder soul the day I was born. Hence, I came from a different family with the bitchy genes, my dad thinks.

Friends way back in college call me autistic. The doctors must have failed to detect or to diagnose me when I was a child, they say. Because I love being alone and I love to travel by myself. I find bliss in solitude and between being stuck with a boring person and reading the words of Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Truman Capote, I would opt for the latter.

The little sister sees me as the bitchy protege of the mother.

Bitchy? In the eyes of others, no doubt. In this lifetime, I have took to task so many people I can't even count how many. They have either wronged me or have done a great disservice for the service I paid for -- hustlers, street hawkers, foreigners, cashiers, sales ladies, erring drivers, traffic enforcers along Taft Avenue, members of the Manila Police District, Customs officials, PR people, government officials, cabinet secretaries and even immigration officers who think of themselves as God -- you name it, I've given them hell -- momentarily or otherwise.

This is not to say that I am indeed a bitch but really, I don't mind being labeled as one. Unlike most everyone I know, I don't live to impress other people or to get their affirmation. I don't sleep at night worried of what the neighbors or the landlady would say. That's pretense. Me, I just don't care. I know who and what I am even if nobody else does. Some people surrender to the comfort of thinking ill about others to make up for their own inadequacies. I used to wish that amidst all the pretense, pain and noise in the world, there is at least one whom I can say in all honesty, "hey this person gets me."

Now, I need not look far, thanks to a book I discovered about introversion. The Introvert's Way by Sophia Dembling is a liberating book. "It helps and encourages introverts to embrace their nature, to respect traits they may have been ashamed of and reframe them as assets."

"The single most important skill for introverts is managing our energy. Most of us don't want to hide from life and we like being engaged with the world. But if we can't manage our energy, we are quickly depleted. And when we're depleted, bitchy happens. Managing our energy can help us enjoy social interactions more," Dembling writes.

"Be assured: You're not mentally ill. You're not dangerous. Or weird. Or lacking in any way. You just like to be alone sometimes. You were born that way."

Thank you for this book. I highly recommend it to everyone who wants to understand the introverts in their lives.

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