The Burden of the Un-Bubbly, Only-Child, introvert


I am an only child. I was often left to my own devices as a kid when it came to entertainment. I didn’t have a sibling to cry to when a boy broke my heart or to help me remain entertained on snow days trapped at home. I talked to myself, read books, watched the Wizard of Oz an unhealthy amount of times and tried to get my cat to wear people clothes… I believe that may be the source of my reserved, self sufficient personality.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind being reserved, self-reliant or quiet. I like to think and listen and watch. However, my personality type is rarely understood and rarely well received. I am not the type of girl thats going to giggle and jump up and down every time something good happens. I don’t giggle and I rarely jump. People seem to love girls that giggle. I am happy, extremely happy, despite my giggless persona; Most people also don’t seem to understand that. I don’t feel genuine to walk around with a smile plastered to my face 24/7, I don’t know why! I love to see people smile and to make people smile- I obsess over the perfect christmas gift because I love to see someone’s face when they receive the perfect gift.. but I don’t care to smile myself too much. I  don’t ever fake emotion- I WISH I could but I just don’t have that gene. Unfortunately though, my reserved demeanor is off-putting to so many people.
Please don’t get me wrong-this is not to say that people who are outwardly happy, giggly and outgoing are being fake. I am not saying I am this way because I am authentic and others who smile and laugh aren’t authentic. Just that this is what feels real to me, this is how I am comfortable and I wish that was’t offensive or off-putting to people.
My personality type does seem to be a draw to some people and I know there are more people out there like me- every once in a while I come across one and we click right away. My friend Payton is one of my tribe. Independent, sarcastic, slow to warm up and misunderstood. All in all though, I think we are a dying breed, especially in LA. I think Matt likes those introverted qualities in me and its part of what drew him to me- but its definitely not for everyone. I guess its kind of like the difference between cats and dogs. I’m more of a cat.. I’m not gonna run up wagging my tail like a dog would, ill wait patiently for you to come to me… but that doesn’t mean I’m not nice.
Now I don’t want to get hyper-feminist on you guys, but I also feel like I am judged so much differently than my male counterparts. I am expected to be smiling and always brimming with excitement and if I’m not, I’m a bitch.
If you have a shy, reserved personality as a female and you are even remotely attractive, you are automatically labeled a bitch or asked if you are unhappy. Men love to come up to me and say “ you should smile more..”. I’m sorry but it feels unnatural to me to be smiling from ear to ear while I’m standing alone mixing sugar into my coffee. If you are quiet and a man on the other hand, you’re thoughtful and powerful. People expect me to be outgoing and if I’m not I’m automatically judged. The issue is I grew up with anxiety, at a point it became so crippling I could barely leave the house without having a full scale panic attack.
The source of my panic was always feeling like people were looking at me and that I was failing in some way- failing to live up to an expectation or to entertain them or make them feel comfortable. It took me a long time to realize that in trying to live up to everyones expectations that I wasn’t living at all. I wasn’t even functioning. Unfortunately, I still deal with this struggle on a constant basis even though I have managed to get over my anxiety for the most part.
I am really friendly, I’m just not always one to initiate a conversation. I don’t like feeling like maybe I am infringing on someone’s space or putting someone on the spot that doesn’t want to talk to me. If you start to talk to me you’ll see in a matter of seconds that I will be warm and interested in talking to you. Is it so horrible that I don’t love to begin a conversation if I am happy to be part of one and will gladly chat if someone talks to me?
The issue is that I like people- I don’t want my demeanor to make people uncomfortable.. but I don’t know how to be expressive and to look happy enough to make everyone feel comfortable without compromising my authenticity. I don’t know why I am quiet and slow to warm up- it’s just who I am, who I have always been. As a friend and as a partner I am viciously loyal, I will show up for my friends any way I can, I am dependable and honest. I am a good friend, teacher and person- but unfortunately so many people are put off my outward persona that they don’t get to know that side of me.
I hope that people can learn to give us a chance— the shy ones, the introverts, the quiet ones. A quiet personality doesn’t always mean that someone is upset, mad or mean. We are all created differently and that is the beauty of life. This is what is true to me and honest for me and I hope it doesn’t continue to make people uncomfortable, because thats the last thing I would want. Give us a chance, come say hello to us grumpy looking introverts, we don’t giggle but we don’t bite either…. well..unless we’re hungry.