For the next seven years at GEMS, I continuously received a checkmark in introvert. It bugged me a lot. I always had the notion that I needed to get a checkmark in extrovert and my parents, teachers, and friends didn’t help me think otherwise. They were always nagging me about not talking openly, or not mixing with other groups. “Why don’t you speak?”, “Sushil doesn’t speak much”, were the common comments I heard most of the time. Some of the teachers even made me participate in debate and extempore competitions while my father wanted me to be in the dance club. [I negotiated with him and we settled for singing club.]
With all the nagging and the embarrassment that came with it, life was frustrating. At times, I felt like something was wrong with me, and at other times, I felt angry.
Even in my high school years, I was a quiet person. But, this time being an introvert didn’t feel so bad. First of all, the mark sheets didn’t discriminate among the students, secondly, with all the drama, fights and tragedies that were going on around me, being an introvert shielded me against it. I was a distant observer enjoying the free theater show. As I didn’t talk too much, I got better in listening. My friends use to share their problems with me and I would be a good listener to them. They would appreciate my act and being an introvert suddenly started to feel like a prestige. I started to get more comfortable with myself.
Looking back down the years, I feel proud of being an introvert. Introversion defines who I am today. It has taught me to be independent, to listen, to appreciate other’s ideas and more importantly, to cherish being myself. As a child, I was always made to feel that being an extrovert was better and it’s sad to remember that I wasted so much of my energy and time to achieve that. If only, I wasn’t made to feel that way, then maybe I would have learned to appreciate myself during my childhood.
Ten years later, people still make comments about me not talking more. But, now I don’t feel disappointed or angry rather I answer with a big smile and no words.