Sunday, June 5, 2016

Introversion introspection

There’s a lot of talk about introverts right now.

I don’t quite know where it came from, but within the last two years my social media newsfeed has been been flooded with introversion: introvert memes, introvert photos, accounts of introvert misery inflicted upon a poor introvert at a tortuous social gathering, and depictions of relieved individuals hiding in bed in their pajamas while the weekly Friday night adventures unfold around them.

On behalf of introverts everywhere, I beg the internet to stop. Take your spotlight. Shove it up your ass.

Yes, I’m an introvert. A pretty big one. In fact, I’ve just been at an art gallery for the opening reception of an exhibit about which I will be paid to blog, and on the walk home (during which I finally allowed myself to breathe and also began the arduous process of berating myself for every idiotic thing I said) I started wondering just when the world decided to bring introverts back into the limelight.

Because we hate it.

Introverts are popular, suddenly. They’re hip, even. It’s hip to be an introvert but in a rather lamentable way. And the ironic thing about all of this attention is that, while the introverts are happy to be recognized as such and hopeful that the extroverts will come to understand us via these memes and perhaps require less of us socially, the very spotlight that will potentially illuminate the plight of the introvert makes us incredibly uncomfortable. We don’t want you looking at us, wondering why we’re in a meme wearing flannel pants. Because if you start wondering, you might get a little too interested in us. You might want to talk. Or drink coffee together. Or--eghads--introduce us to new people.

And we sure as shit can’t have that.

We, the introverts, just wish that all of this introvert bullshit would go away. Hey internet, stop drawing attention to that miserable person at that vibrant party lest some well-meaning extrovert attempt to extricate him from the corner where he’s been happily petting the hosts’ dog for the last 67 minutes. He likes that corner.

Well, “likes” is a strong word. The introvert likes a corner the way a squirrel "likes" to sit in the silver maple while our German Shepherd stands on her hind legs barking and slobbering in a vain attempt to reach him. Truth be told, it sucks in that tree. It’s hot and muggy and there's a twig poking his crotch.

But as Daenerys Targaryen said, "People learn to love their chains."

Extroverts, don’t try to peel us off the wall. Don’t try to better us for our own good. Do you know what you’re doing? You’re throwing a toddler into the pool in order to teach them to swim. And do you know what? If you do that, we, the toddlers, will purposefully choose to drown just so we don’t have to face that social gathering any longer. That’s right: drowning is the better choice. We’d prefer to sink to the bottom of the party and suck liquid solitude into our lungs rather than make small talk with people we don’t know.

I mean, really, what are we going to talk about with strangers? "Hey, I like your hat. I have a big sun hat myself because the doctor found a precancerous mole. Yeah. Suspicious borders on that one. Cut it right off. Long healing process. I had to bathe in the sink."

That's an actual thing I said to a stranger, once. 

So don’t try to help us. You'll make it worse by providing us with an opportunity to say things that will haunt us every night as we try to fall asleep. In fact, if you see an introvert hugging the wall/dog/aquarium at a party, treat them as you would a rabid possum. Lookie but no touchy. Unless, of course, you’re another pitiable introvert. If you’re uncomfortable too, that’s a horse of a different color. Go over and take your rightful place by the fish tank and share your discomfort. The only way to save a drowning introvert is to throw another one at them. Usually, they’ll form some sort of polar covalent bond and stick to each other until they bob right out of the pool and mutually agree that social events suck and decide to go see a movie.

Then again, if you knew anything about introverts at all, you wouldn’t have invited one over to begin with.

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