“The Misunderstood Introvert”

Hey bro, you trying to go out tonight? It’s this new club opening up, heard there is going to be some baddies in the building. “Baddies” is a slang word for beautiful women in case you’re wondering. It’s going to be lit man, come on get out the house.

It’s usually Friday night when I usually receive this call to go out with friends or family. At this moment with false sincerity in my voice I respond, “Sure man, if anything I’ll meet you there”. But, after several moments of contemplation, I usually respond “You know what I think I’m going to just chill tonight.” Chill is my code word for a few things. I would choose a nice quiet evening of listening to music, watch some sports or a movie, or I can just masturdate instead. Wait a minute, I said mastur(D)ate, which is basically taking yourself out on a date alone. To some of you, this may sound lonely, it may even resemble an ad on TV for an anti-depressant medication. But to me this is peace. My name is Devon and I am an Introvert. Whew! I’m glad that is off my chest.

Of course, if you are unfamiliar with personality types, an introvert can be a mixture of different personality traits, which can include being shy, quiet, or soft-spoken. But these are small traits in the sense of what makes one an introvert. The best way to define an introvert is one who focuses and recharges their energy inward. While the opposite of the spectrum of personalities is described as extroverts, share traits such as out-going, social, confident. The baseline to their personality is recharging through social interaction or external stimulation. It is the balance of personalities that make us, as human beings unique.

Ironically, what inspired this topic was a book by Susan Cain. The Title is “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”. Susan Cain opened my eyes to the reality of the world in which we live. It appears that anywhere we turn extroverts take center stage. Three examples of the extrovert agenda are 1. Our past election which was won by the candidate who was the most outspoken. 2. Television and Movies have served as a way to push the extrovert agenda with the majority of lead characters being sociable, charming, and out-going. 3. Social Media has given each of us a platform if we choose it, to become vocal, entertaining, and even watered-down celebrities. Where exactly does an introvert fit into today’s society? A better question is where does an introvert like myself fit in? It’s safe to say that we humans love labels. If you look like, sound like, or even walk like an image in our mind we can definitely find a label for you. I understand this need to categorize, but please don’t try to place me in your box. I will never fit in something that small.

It was actually at a young age my introversion started. The majority of my adolescence I was overweight, underprivileged, and lacked confidence. I felt invisible. Being one out of six kids, often times I felt unheard. I began to channel all my thoughts inward, I often daydreamed about my future, never wanting to be in the present. It wasn’t until I was praised for a sport that people started to see me. To them, I was somebody now. Now I’m being told there is a certain way I have to act, and I believed it. I bought into the stereotype of “The Jock”. Too afraid that they would not acknowledge me otherwise. I find myself still constantly battling stereotypes today. People often view my appearance and before I have a chance to open my mouth, assume what they will about me. I’ve been labeled a thug because I have tattoos and wear my hair in locs. A ladies’ man or player because now I am viewed as attractive. It’s laughable. I often walk in rooms and receive attention that I honestly don’t even want. I say this not out of arrogance or cockiness but out of awareness of myself. No longer am I afraid to be me.

Ultimately, I have begun to do things that get me completely out of my comfort zone. Becoming raw and exposed has its benefits because rarely do I share my thoughts with others. Small talk often painful to me. I rarely care to partake in conversations that lead nowhere. I want to remind us of the power of content over context. Which is why I reflect on introvert leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, who’s non-violence approach liberated India, in which he was once quoted “My life is my message”. Rosa Parks who decided that she was not to soft-spoken to utter a single word “No”, which sparked the civil rights movement. Although we are sold on being brash and bold, silence can turn out to be the loudest sound. So in a world that prefers to be seen and heard, I opt to be felt. Because people may forget what you had on, they may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel.


Devon Lewis-Buchanan

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