My first encounter with introverts was at the age of 14. Sure, I may have encountered them before but was probably too caught up in my world to notice them.
Introverts to me, shine like a bright beacon over a sea of dark waves. Odd description, but that’s how they have always stood out to me. And like a moth to a light, I have always found myself drawn to them. I don’t know why I find them intriguing but I’d like to put it down to the fact that they possess a confident solitude that I greatly admire and appreciate and at that point of my life, didn’t have.
Everything about D shone. Amongst the gabbing geese of teenage gals, she was always the quiet one. But you knew she wasn’t shy. She just looked like a cat that got the cream…an inner secret that she kept to herself with quiet confidence. She was so different to the people I knew then…even the books she read were different. Whilst girls were taken with romance and mystery novels, she was reading David Eddings – fantasy books. The books with what I deemed scary, weird, completely left field. I used to…actually still do avoid the sci-fi/ fantasy section of bookstores. But there she would be every break time, reading her book quietly as chaos stirred around her.
Totally intrigued, I was bent on being friends with her, even though at that point she sat outside the clique of friends I had. And I did it the only way I knew – Like a bull in a china shop. I would imagine many would have probably not paid hither to me, but D simply smiled her quiet smile and let me sit beside her, jabbering away as she continued to read, thereby furthering the magic of introverts – their ability to rise about noise and distractions and continue along their way. We formed an unlikely friendship for a few months in secondary school, where we would just sit together in the mornings, she reading, me sometimes talking and slowly sometimes, not. She did share bits of her life, but always at her pace. I greatly admired her resolution that no matter how much I poked and prodded, she never felt the need to give in (another magic of introverts). Thank goodness, she probably found me more amusing than irritating. I was partly in awe that she let me in on her world, even if it was just the peripheral, and partly revelatory, that I learnt to enjoy these moments of quiet.
Eventually, the tenuous teen life pulled us in different directions. But, I never forgot D. As much as she hit all the right notes growing up like being one of the best students in school, she still marched to the beat of her own drum. Right when she was able to, she got her motorcycle license. You might not think much of it, but at that time, motorcycles, like tattoos, weren’t exactly the things good girls like D ran out to get when they turned 18. Today, she’s a writer and an expert rock climber – a potent combination of introversion and dare devilry.
Since D, I have met and developed relationships with a few introverts, not the least, the introvert of my life, B. Again, like shining beacons, I was drawn to them rather than the other way around. And I hope that it was because I did it with more finesse than with D that they let me in! I have also learnt a lot from them and about myself. During my very turbulent, hormonally raging teen years, I found solitude to be a comforting and constant friend. And while it is hard to believe, I do prefer to spend quite a lot of time on my own. And yes, during that time, I am actually quiet; not a sound from me. I would probably do it more often and in different ways like travel alone, if I wasn’t so burdened and easily terrified by an overactive imagination of ninjas trying to assassinate me.
So, this is dedicated to the introverts of my life. For teaching me so much…and for letting me be the bull in your china shop. You are some of my most loyal and understanding friends. It ain’t easy I would imagine, but I do love you all and I promise to knock before entering, ask before hugging, take your ‘no’ graciously and most important of all, speak as softly as I possibly can.