I love being an introvert. I love being an indoor kid. Nothing pleases me like settling into my couch with a book and a cup of tea. Or going to dinner with a friend and spending hours talking about my deepest desires. Most of the time I think the world isn't so bad for us introverts. But other times I get angry and frustrated with the way the world favours extroverts.
Here are two examples that are extremely relevant for me at the moment:
Applying for Jobs
Yep, I'm still at it. Living that #unemployedlife. Job hunting is frustrating, exhausting and soul crushing at best. I know, right? The traditional route of finding jobs and applying for them doesn't seem to be working anymore. Hello, broken system! So I've had well meaning friends and family suggest that I pound the pavement. That I go to the businesses and talk to them. To people who are extroverted this seems like a fine option but for us introverts this is the definition of hell. Add anxiety into the mix and we have no chance.
The problem with walking into a place where I'm not expected or necessarily welcome is that it produces so much anxiety. It's awkward having to ask for the manager. They're busy, they have better things to do with their time. I'm never at my best in these situations. I'm nervous and sweaty and that comes across as not confident. So it's a futile exercise because they're not in the right headspace to receive the information I'm giving and I'm too nervous to be any good at delivering it. Lose lose for everyone involved. Besides my introvertedness, my anxiety will kick in and tell me I'm not wanted there, I'm being really awkward, this is never going to work, etc.
But the world rewards the extroverts who can confidently knock on doors and get their foot in. People see that as showing initiative and taking charge, qualities that most businesses want in an employee. So where does that leave the introverts? There has to be a new system put in place that benefits us too. It can't be that we have to overcome our entire personality just to get a job.
Now I'm going to make an assumption and if you think I'm wrong please let me know. But I'm going to go out on a limb and say that most introverts hate public speaking. I know I do. In fact I avoid it whenever possible. The thought of standing in front of people and talking makes me shudder. The problem with being a creative person and hating public speaking is that your opportunities are severely limited. If you apply for funding for any sort of creative endeavour most likely it will involve doing a presentation or talk or public speaking of some sort. As a poet most of the opportunities available are for spoken word or performance. For those of us that write page poetry (poetry that is meant to be read rather than heard) this is tough.
Sure, spoken word is a lot sexier. It's loud and in your face. It gets you hyped up and excited. I'm a big fan of it myself, but it's just not the kind of thing I tend to write. So where are the opportunities where you're just writing, no performance no workshops?
It's easy to feel like the world isn't for us a lot of the time. That we're too quiet, too sensitive and too much in our own heads. Extroverts are rewarded while introverts are told to 'get over ourselves' or 'just get on with it'. I'm hopeful the world will one day value us as much as it does extroverts but until then we have to continue to fight and create our own opportunities and continue to support each other's work and accomplishments. We're all in this together, just separately, at home behind our computers. ;)