There is nothing I love more than writing novels. I enjoy listening to classical music, reading, and a nice cup of lavender tea. I'm fond of analyzing literature, petting my cat, and browsing memes on my phone.
From this description, you'd assume I was the poster introvert. And for a while, I tried to be. In fact, I think I'm still trying.
But the thing is, I'm not.
I'm an extrovert.
I can't spend the day without interacting with someone. I schedule my time around other people, and if I can't meet up with anyone, texting my friends or playing games of chess over the phone is the next-best thing. There's the problem with me; I don't fit into a box.
Being a self-proclaimed intellectual is often frowned upon; those who enjoy stimulating their brains don't often make this fact known, for fear of being labelled as "pretentious" or "nerdy". Although the term "nerd" carries far less negative connotation than it used to, the term "nerd" isn't to be worn with pride for people like me. I'm the wrong type of nerd.
Good nerds are introverts. They keep to themselves, wearing cute, yet sensible, outfits. They're often reading a book or listening to music with headphones in. They're talented, but they keep their talent tastefully hidden away. They're mysterious and alluring. Everyone wants to date them or be their friend, but they don't want that. And somehow, that makes them even more desirable.
Nerds like me are loud. We're brash and confident, and may come across as a little arrogant. We have all the knowledge and intellect of a "good nerd," but none of the class. We want nothing more than to share our knowledge, because it's really interesting to us and we want the deep conversations that come with that, but people don't want it. We're too open. We shout things out in class and try to start philosophical discussions whenever we can. We get good grades, but sometimes we wish we could trade those for good friends.
On the occasion that we do make friends, they never seek us out. Rather, we come to them. And once they get to know us, it's always the same remark: "Wow, you're not as annoying as I thought you were going to be!"
For people like me, the internet is a fantastic place. I get to learn as much as I want to, about anything I want to, and I can find blogs and forums I can use to instantly communicate with others who have the same interests as I do. The internet would be heaven, if not for the one certain craze that's been sweeping it for the past few years.
Now, I don't have a problem with introverts. I know plenty of them, and many are genuinely nice people. It's not the acceptance of introverts that's the problem, but the treatment that extroverts face.
I can understand why introverts have taken over the internet- they like it for all the same reasons I do, with the added bonus of being able to express themselves without having to come face-to-face with others. And that's fine, but us extroverts do get swept to the wayside online.
If you don't get what I mean, look up "Introvert Problems" on YouTube. You'll find hundreds of videos expressing the terrible fear of (gasp!) Netflix not working, or the absolute horror of (swoon!) running into an extrovert! Videos like these, as well as posts on sites such as Tumblr, have gotten popular, and it's easy to see why. But there's another side to such posts that nobody seems to be discussing.
Through all this introvert praise, the extrovert is reduced to a stereotype. We are either drunk, partying frat boys or the real-life equivalents of cartoony comic-relief characters. There are plenty of scientists and artists you can name off the top of your head that were introverts- Madame Curie, Einstein, Van Gogh, Frederic Chopin. When looking at extroverts, most of the names that come to mind are celebrities, such as singers or actors. Although these people may be talented, their fame usually does not come from their intellect. And though many successful entrepreneurs are extroverts and are often highly intelligent, their success comes mainly from their ability to communicate with others.
But what about the Neil Tysons and Joseph Haydns of the world? Both of these people, like many others, are considered influential in their respective fields, having revolutionized science and music, respectively. Both have extroverted personalities. But people like Tyson and Haydn are rare, and are expected to be.
I subjected myself to constant humiliation every time I walked into class for the past three years. It seemed there was always something I was interested in, be it history, art, music, or reading. I felt, and still feel, the need to share my thoughts on the effects of the Columbian Exchange, for example, or an author's beautiful use of metaphors.
The thing is, most people at school aren't here to learn. They're here to prepare for college, and then to prepare for a career. A lot of people couldn't care less about the things I'm interested in. That doesn't make me better than them; it really just makes me sort of sad.
I'm well aware at how obnoxious I am, and so I try to be silent. But I can't allow the perfect opportunity to speak to pass me by, and so I speak. The classes I'm the most enthusiastic about are the ones I hate the most.
I'm weird because I don't fit into the stereotype of an extrovert. I don't party. I'm socially awkward. Heck, I've never even dated. But I'm still loud. I'm still obnoxious. Because I need friends.
It's not that I don't have friends; I have a good amount. But that isn't enough. I want to meet as many people as possible, people that I can make a connection with in some way. I want to impact lives. But it's hard doing all the work to find them alone.
Once I do find a good friend, though, I treasure them. I keep them close to me and I don't let go. But forming a connection takes a while, except in the rare occasion I meet another person like myself. However, when that connection is formed, it lasts a lifetime.
I wish this is what people knew about extroverts. I wish they could see our struggles to make and keep friends, and our unsurpassed joy when we succeed. I wish they could see the fact that we're deep, multidimensional human beings who want to be loved and respected. And as for other extroverts, including myself, I wish we were more accepting of the fact that it's okay to be who we are.