Happy New Year everybody! I hope that you have had a wonderful break and whether you like it or not, I hope you’re ready for another semester! I’ve had a pretty boring break, but I’ve been hard at work on an important Quidditch project for the IQA, so it has kept me busy. Also, if there are any Class of 2016ers who are reading the blog, welcome to the Duke family! We’re awaiting your arrival here in a short eight months (or four if you visit for Blue Devil Days).
If you have read my posts in the past, you know that I have often made known that I am an introvert (Actually, I’ve been pretty vocal about it, which has some ironic undertones). By saying that I am an introvert is in no way to undermine being an extrovert, but rather I want to make it well known that I identify as an introvert and I wouldn’t want to be mistaken otherwise. I’ve had to “come out” as an introvert a few times this past year since some people did not believe me. Needless to say, it can be very exhausting and disheartening when people don’t believe me, but alas, it’s the truth. It’s a shame that I’m often just assumed to be an extrovert, and on at least one occasion, I was pretty much assumed to be an extrovert because I am gay. This is also a serious case of stereotyping, but I reserve this argument for a later time.
I have made the argument in the past that the LGBTQ community is meant for extroverts. Bars, clubs, pride parades and other socials events provide evidence for my claim, with very little evidence for introvert-guided activities, at least that I’ve noticed in college. As an introvert, I have a difficult time immersing myself into a crowd of extroverts with the intention of meeting somebody. Being an introvert is not a temporary state or mood; it is a trait of personality, and by no means does it imply that I’m enjoying being single. Yet when the majority of the LGBT individuals I meet are highly outgoing and extroverted, I lose hope every day of finding another introvert. I have tried very hard to lean into discomfort and go to some events to meet people that made me feel very uncomfortable, but every time I do so, I feel like I’m being judged. I feel like people are fully aware of my social awkwardness and I beat myself up every time because of my looks and because I’m socially awkward, when in reality it is my introversion that holds me back from talking to new people at such events. The issues with my appearance deal with the lack of self-confidence I have in such situations because extroverts tend to exude confidence more, which is quite the downer for me.
I know that I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but I write this to make a point. And it’s a very simple point. A point that makes me very angry and upset at the very thought of it.
I wish I were an extrovert.
I have been struggling with this for a long time, since being extroverted is inherently not me. It’s a shame that I’m essentially trying to deny a very important part of my personality, but when I feel that I am repeatedly told by the gay community that introverts are “wrong,” I cannot help but feel this way. If I were an extrovert, I would be able to talk to guys with some social acuity. I would actually be able to talk to somebody on Facebook as opposed to opening a guy’s chat window (who is typically an extrovert), typing out various greetings, and then erasing them for fear of being perceived as a stalker or a creep. I would actually get to experience rejection from somebody else as opposed to experiencing self-rejection. And who knows? Maybe I would have a little better self-esteem and self-confidence.
Recently on the blog, there have been many posts on identity, insecurity, and questioning. I write my post to provide a different perspective on my own form of identity and insecurities attached to personality within the LGBTQ community. I am very proud of being an introvert, and in my daily activities, my introversion has been a blessing. But in the social realm, I’ve found it to be a curse. I am frequently misunderstood, and while I often place the social barriers on myself, I have to put on my “extroverted” mask in order to go out in public, especially to events with lots of gay guys so that I don’t come off as weird. Yet this act causes me to lose a large portion of my identity. It’s as if I’m living two lives to please everybody, except myself.
If anybody has any other perspective or advice to offer, I greatly appreciate it, not only for me, but others who can empathize with this post. Please know that you are not alone, and even though it may seem daunting, being yourself is truly the only way to be happy.