Although I love my city, for years I felt disconnected from my hometown. Big crowds overwhelmed me; small talk stressed me out; and dating was horrible.

Throughout high school, I had terrible panic attacks when I had to partake in group interactions, especially during lunch time. I hated lunch because everyone had groups. On the days my friend would fall ill, I would hurry up, grab my lunch, and sneak into the theatre room. I hid in the theatre room so much, my teacher started allowing me to eat in his classroom.

When I went to Seattle Central Community College, I began to explore the notion of introversion. I had no idea there was a name for people like me. During lunch time, I would go for walks at Cal Anderson Park. I would sit by the fountain and observe the locals. I watched Seattleites walk by quickly as if they had somewhere to go. I watched groups of friends smoke cigarettes and laugh. I watched couples have picnics at the park. I was fascinated by their interactions. The picture I created of these individuals in my head also made me wonder about their intriguing lives. Where are they going? What are they laughing about? And how do they make extroversion look so easy?

In order for me to reconnect with my city, I started blogging about my food adventures and favorite restaurants. I later began to write short stories about finding love in Seattle. I decided to use my imagination to create a world of humor and adventure. I allowed my characters to explore Seattle. In doing so, I explored Seattle. I took some of my characters to Seattle’s popular Dick’s drive-in restaurant, famous for its burgers. In return, I got to enjoy milkshakes and fries at Dick’s.

Reconnecting with Seattle and learning that introversion isn’t abnormal allowed me to deepen my love for my city. All I had to do was close my eyes, go wild with my thoughts, and then write them down. This is how I celebrate introversion. I love my city.