As a child, I was quickly labeled as shy. I would often hide behind my mother when she tried to introduce me to new people. I never liked playing games with other kids. I preferred roaming the playground alone at recess. I didn’t have a group of friends to sit with at lunch. Instead, I would sit wherever there was an unintimidating space, quickly eat, and then leave. Large groups, noise, and chaos were avoided at all costs. That little loner grew into a hermit, who spent most of her adolescence journaling and listening to music alone in her room. As I got older, not much changed. I chose quality over quantity and preferred a few close friends over a huge selection of acquaintances.

Now, having just entered my thirties, I finally understand who I am. I am an introvert. I prefer reading, going to museums, and all solitary, quiet acts. Knowing this has taken away a lot of my frustration and fear about not being “normal.” I’m comforted in the knowledge that I am not alone and this is, in fact, a “thing” people are. Yet, that doesn’t mean that it does not come with a unique set of challenges, most of which come to head in my career and personal relationships.

My passion has always been writing, which of course seems like the perfect job for an introvert because, for me, the act of creation takes place when I’m alone. The problem is that I loathe any sort of attention. It took me years to let anyone read anything I had written. It wasn’t a fear of failure or of not being good. It was a fear of success. It is hard to become successful when you resist any kind of self-promotion.

Despite the occasional struggles, I wouldn’t change being an introvert for the world. I’ve come to recognize introversion as a blessing. There is a power in being self-sufficient like  being able to go out to eat alone or do anything completely on your own. Some people want to do things but hold off until they have someone to do them with. Introverts just do it.