How I Became A Proud Introvert After Many Years Of Being Called Misfit And "Lifeless"

Debarupa Bhattacharjee Debarupa Bhattacharjee in Let's Face It on 25 April, 2017

I have wanted to write something on this topic for the longest time but be it my daily chores or my other commitments, one thing or the other has kept me off from doing this. However, today is a Sunday and I have had enough time to oil my hair, put on that new burgundy nail paint, rearrange my wardrobe and now last but not the least, I am going to write my story because I genuinely feel that it needs to be told.

Honestly, to start with, being an introvert is probably one of the biggest truths of my life. It is a part of my identity and I have no qualms in accepting the fact that I am reserved and I like being on my own mostly.  

Yes, you won’t find me in a club being the life of a party or attending every other family function, or even hanging out with a huge group of friends over the weekend. But that’s just the way I am. Even if I do, I mostly like keeping to myself and wait for the time for all of it to get over, so that I can return to my own space at my own sweet home and be all by myself.    

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It’s not that I don’t care for those around me. I have very few people in my life who mean the world to me and I like to spend my quality time only with them, which is when I don’t feel like being alone.

I am a young and confident lady today. I have a job that I like. I am not afraid to exert my own freedom and individuality. To be honest, I don’t give a damn about what anyone else thinks of me now. Not even the slightest! But unfortunately, that was not always the case.

You know when you’re younger and way more naive, you take things to heart and they just become a part of you while growing up. That’s precisely what happened with me.

I grew up in a middle-class family with my parents and my elder brother, who was seven years older to me. I was a very sick child, who suffered from chronic asthma and had to spend most days at home.

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My parents were both working and my brother was busy with his studies and his own set of friends. All I could do was sit alone at home, and watch TV. I wouldn’t lie. That was the time I was the happiest, in my own pretty little world of imagination, along with all those characters from television and films, with no one to mock me around.

Truth be told, I don’t remember a single person from my childhood who didn’t judge me for being overtly shy or quiet and even awkward.  

They would poke fun at me, taunt me for not being able to talk confidently, for being low in energy than the other kids. And I am talking here about some of my close relatives, though I wouldn’t like to name anyone in particular. You see, I am considerate enough to think of their reputation even though they didn’t really care about my sentiments back then.

My teachers wouldn’t look at me in the class or ask me anything. It was always the more popular ones who got all the attention. I even remember a teacher calling me ‘lifeless’ once. I respect my teachers a lot, even today, but I feel that some of them should have at least made an effort to know the names of all the students in the class. Having said that, I know that it’s hard being a teacher, and I understand. Also, I know how it feels when people judge you for every little thing and no one ever says, ‘I understand’. No one ever does.   

When it comes to my classmates, some of them were the nastiest. They would make fun of the way I talked, I walked, the way I was as an individual. Some of them didn’t even care that I existed. I don’t really blame them for they were kids as well, but then we are either born empathetic or we are not. As simple as that! Their parents should have taught them better.

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Yes, one might say that being an introvert doesn’t mean that you have to be awkward or shy. Now that I look back, my shyness and awkwardness could have been a result of me being depressed in some way or the other. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in 2015, and I somehow feel that me being a misfit throughout my childhood had a huge role to play in it.   

I was told constantly that I wasn’t good enough, I was weird and I didn’t belong anywhere. I had stopped going out and my confidence had gotten completely shattered. I remember crying alone at night and talking to God, for I had no one else who would understand.

I asked God in my prayers, “Why did you make me like this? Why can’t I be like everyone else and have a good time? Why do I feel so suffocated when I see a lot of people around me? People think I am stupid but I know I am not and I want to prove it to each one of them because I am a human too and I get hurt as well!”  

Today, I have my own identity and when people see me, they see a confident young woman who speaks whatever is in her mind, without any sort of apprehension. Yes, I am unabashed and uninhibited in the way I speak now. I proudly wear the tag of being an ‘introvert’ and I take pride in being different from the rest.  

Over the years, I have learnt that it’s never about how much you speak; it’s about how well you do that. Also, the amount of talking one does, is not directly proportional to his or her intelligence. If you are strong, intelligent and sensitive, you will succeed, no matter what. Apparently, the greatest thinkers of this world were all introverts.

My introversion no longer includes the attributes of being shy or awkward. I have learnt from my failures, read countless articles and books, taken pills for my depression and anxiety and all of that has made me the person I am today.
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My job of an editor requires me to get in touch with so many people every single day and trust me, I don’t feel awkward or intimidated at all. I am hardly friends with any of them but I know how to do my job well. I don’t really enjoy a lot of those conversations, but I know how to go about with them in the best way possible.

All I would like to say through this story of mine is that if you have someone in your life who is a little different than the rest of you, be kind. The first rule to make someone open up to you is to be kind. Secondly, don’t judge and try to understand. Try to understand why that person is the way he or she is and listen to their side of the story.

Your affection and warmth might help in saving someone from the trap of depression. 
Author's Note:

And for all those who feel that you are weird and not normal, remember the fact that God has made each one of us unique and beautiful in our own right. It’s just the pressure of the society that is making you feel that you need to 'fit in' somewhere, to be a part of a group and to find a sense of belonging. It is completely fine if you don’t! It is not certainly the end of the world! 

Take pride in yourself. Take pride in your beliefs, your values and your choices. There is no set formula to lead your life as it doesn’t come with a user manual. Live it in a way you like as long as you’re not being the reason for someone else’s pain. Break the stereotype instead of becoming one. And remember, as long as you feel happy inside, you are on the right track.

Editor's Note:

Share this story because accepting yourself with all your imperfections is more important than being accepted by others.