Maria’s Stuff: An Introvert Living in a world of Extroverts

My side of the tale.

Having now lived for 50 odd years on this planet I have acquired a disguise of being a sociable person.  Truth is I hate big parties, weddings and events.

Bliss was found at an early age in between the covers of books, old or new I didn’t care. I would home in on a book shelf and find a cosy quiet corner and lose the world and myself in a book. The reasons are not generally known by those I hang out with these days but truth is I seemed to have been born with a sign on my head saying kick me, or target for bullies.

Primary school was a nightmare, I would have been happy to sit in a corner and read or dream but everyone was expected to play with everyone. Teachers were relentless in their coaxing, cajoling and often scolding if you were seen to be not mixing.  When I was spotted writing with my left hand this was blown up into an insufferable event. Teachers tried to convince me to do the normal thing and write with my right hand. A conversation overheard by two teachers about my lack of writing skill still stays with me today, 49 years later.

I found freedom and happiness in unexpected places. The two I loved most were my grandfathers company and the library. Both were a fountain of knowledge about different worlds and experiences.  I learnt to let callous taunts and scathing remarks go in one ear and out the other. I sought refuge in my mind. I learnt that not everyone has to conform to the boxes set out for them.

The point of this post.

Is to ask parents not to push or prod their children into doing the socially acceptable thing. Some of us need time alone, time to explore, learn and most of all let the creative side flow.

If a child asks for sketch pads and crayons don’t feel obliged to run out and buy the newest version of paint for the computer. Let them be themselves.

In Ireland last week a couple were fighting the system regarding home schooling and educating children.  Their eleven year old daughter appeared with them on TV and I admired her for her well-chosen comment. She spoke quietly and well. I sat back and thought, I would vote for her.

I would love to know other introverts feelings on how society functions and how they fit  or didn’t fit into the world they were growing up in. More importantly how did it make you feel? And how did you cope?

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20 thoughts on “Maria’s Stuff: An Introvert Living in a world of Extroverts

  1. All but the most advanced (and, generally, looked upon with suspicion) education systems are set on squeezing everyone into the round holes that the round pegs fit into – and slicing off the corners of the square pegs instead of finding square holes for them.

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  2. Your post strikes a chord, Maria. We can’t all be extroverts and the system is not really set up to deal with those who are introverts… but actually, a lot of people are introverts.

    When I was younger the pressure not to be an introvert had the opposite effect. It’s only now I’m older and the pressure has disappeared that I’ve stopped being an introvert.

    You’re right, it’s important to let people be themselves.

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    • Thank you Denise,
      Both of my children were inclined to be introverts but as time went by and they grew they became more outgoing. So your point is highly valid, maybe it is the constant pressure from schools to conform that makes so many of us remain introverts for so long.

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  3. 🙂 I see Col is one of your readers. Must be a good blog then!!

    You’ve nailed it. Introverted children (and people in general), the thinkers, the creators, the artists, are looked upon with suspicion by “the system” that tries to make everyone into one of three things: An office worker, a soldier or a convict.

    Homeschooling is brilliant but can get lonely even for the introverts. My kids were getting a bit too shy in company from not having enough peer interaction, so I packed them back off to school after homeschooling. But I’m watching, if those teachers start targeting one of my children again, I’ll be very fast to move. Currently a young math teacher is under my hawk’s eye… grrrrr….

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    • Thank you. You are the first home schooling parent to make a comment. Interesting about the shyness, I suppose socialising is a big part of the school system.
      Your kids are lucky to have such a protective attentive parent watching over them. Thank you for reading the post and checking out my blog.

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      • 🙂 And thank you too! I had to cut myself short, there’s such a LOT I want to say for homeschooling. It’s the best. The dreamers are always victimized by the system. (But – lol – I have the whole staff of that school in terror of me.)

        It’s funny how the Universe answers my questions. A few days back (in frustration) I asked, what is it that books add to a person’s life, that cannot be replaced by computer games, facebook or movies? Your blog answered me. Thank you.

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  4. Thanks for “liking” my recent pics. I was interested in your comments on primary school. It was the same or worse in my time – long before yours – if you were left-handed! That was in Ireland by the way. Here in New Zealand a generation later our son was criticised for sitting in a shady corner reading a book at “playtime”. We both survived! Our daughter was at least allowed to be left-handed. Her 3 children likewise, so sanity is being restored. Both “children”, now in their 50’s, are, in spite of being attached to books, performing successfully in the communication industry. I learned to be ambidextrous, very handy if one hand gets tired. Trouble is my compulsory right-handed writing has never been legible. Perhaps the point is that children normally survive the consequences of their schooling. They learn to overcome problems at an early age – a good preparation for life. Home schooling depends very much on the calibre of the parents. In a school the teachers usually have a different class each year.

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  5. I don’t wish things to be different. I rather say I prefer being an introvert, this way I had the chance to observe those ‘small’ details the extrovert people tend to ignore, to learn from the others, and yet, from myself, listening at my inner voice, on first, I could receive a worthwhile contribution. I know it sounds a little [..more] ‘self-seeking’, though I know there is no one having ‘The Answer’, so if we are born in a way, living as we are is just… meant for us, ‘changing’ does not suppose to tranform everything, we won’t be unique anymore, right?.. I am cautious, I might say, regarding this ‘flock syndrom’, especially of this era. Introverts rule!..

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  6. I am definitely an introvert. I feel exhausted after being with people for too long. This is probably why I am blogging through my dogs as I do not have the courage to “come out” into the world of the web. When I was still very young and first moved into the city, I was also painfully shy. I would wait until someone else on the transit requested to get off—I was too shy to ring the bell. I never thought I would have a job in which I traveled all over by myself, talking to people every day and doing public speaking. But I did it. However, I would fall into my hotel bed exhausted at night and yet would lie awake for hours unable to get the day out of my head. People would say that I didn’t talk much but when I did it counted. I suppose we introvert think a lot before we say something. In fact, I’d say we think a lot period. Gosh, I’ve said more here than I have on my own blog. Thank you for bringing this subject up on behalf of all introverts.

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  7. You must be my long lost relative because everything you describe is me, except for I’m not left-handed, but most every left-handed person I have met is highly creative which makes all lefties a notch above in my book!

    I live in the United States and I believe here they teach one way and if you do not learn in that given manner you are out of luck. I’m a visual learner, I need to see it, touch it and try it. That’s not the acceptable way to learn here. I think most creative individuals learn visually. So we get pegged as slow, because we don’t conform. In all honesty, I really hated school and being mainstreamed by other people’s standards. Only when I got to college, and of course it was a school focused on creativity did I thrive and feel at home. Of course, like you, at my core I’m an introvert, which I am proud of, it makes me who I am, sensitive, caring and creative, all good qualities I think. I too found comfort in books as a child and as an adult, through the written word I can push my imagination and see the story come to life!

    You hit a cord with me! Thank you for the very engaging post!

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  8. Dear Maria, your post really hits home to me, thank you for sharing :). I’m an introvert and a left handed. Only these past years I learned more about introvert, and discover it is okay to be one, in fact there are others out there who are just in the same shoes as myself. I used to think I’m strange because I’m not like the majority, felt guilty because I could not oblige them, but at the same time I had a stubborn heart… right from the start somehow I had this urge to silently stood my ground, but this made me a rebellion, a silent one that is :D. And through out my school years I always had teachers, adults telling me that it was wrong to write or do things with my left hand. All of these made me confused, angry and out of placed for years, and I guess those feelings still cling to me now. I got bewildered in sport class and music class. haha and also craft class, because I have to force myself to use scissors for the right handed, with my right hand. Luckily my parents and brothers are always supportive of me, and eventually in high school and college years I met friends that I can call “Best Friends”. Not so many I know, but true best friends that brought laughter to my days and accept me as who I really am with all my quirkiness ^_^.

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    • I am delighted to hear you made it through those bewildering first years and yes using a scissors was a nightmare for me and a can opener. As I have discovered like you a few best friends can make the world a sweeter place.
      Thank you for reading and commenting.

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