It’s only now that I am an adult and have been reading more about characteristics of introverts that I realize there’s nothing wrong with me. It’s simply who I am.
Sometimes I hate it.
I hate it even more that my oldest son is just like me and I am sad for all the things he’s likely to choose to skip out on because he shares the same unavoidable introverted traits.
Since he was a toddler, Nick would never do anything in public if he hadn’t yet perfected it his place of comfort – home.
Several times, his daycare would call me at work… “Great news,” they called to tell me, “Nick is walking!”
“Ummm… okay?” I responded confusedly, “He’s been walking at home for a while.” “We just wanted to let you know that Nick said his first words today!” said the director on another occasion.
“He what? He’s been speaking at home for months in full sentences,” I replied.
And so it has gone for all 13 years of his life.
Most recently, he has struggled with the decision of whether or not to continue taking piano and guitar lessons. Why? Because a new curriculum now requires a performance to graduate to the next level.
For that, he’s willing to throw away two years of learning.
But then there he is on stage for his school play for the second year in a row – in front of more than a hundred people.
“I don’t get it,” I said to him, “How is this any different? A five-minute performance in front of a few people is far less daunting than what you’re doing on stage.”
“It IS different,” he said, “I’m playing a ROLE. And besides, if I mess up, there’s always someone there to pick it back up and keep it going.”
Now, THOSE are terms I understand.
“Nick,” I started, “You know I’m shy? And I don’t like to initiate conversations with people I don’t know, right?”
He nodded. “Do you know that I worked at a music store when I was a teenager? And my job was to go up and talk to strangers to see if they needed anything? I was actually good at it! Do you know WHY I was good at it?”
“No,” he responded. “Because I put on my uniform and stepped into the role. People saw me with my shirt and nametag and expected nothing less of me.”
The reality is that everything in life – parenting, jobs, relationships — is a role that you step into regardless of whether or not you have the physical uniform to go with it.
And whether that role requires you to perform for one, a few or a few hundred, there is always someone there to back you up and keep you moving – even if that person is you