I don’t buy into all statistics, but one statistic that has always stood out to me is that only 25% of the population is truly introverted. My parents had 3 kids, and both my siblings are extremely extroverted so it stands to reason that one of us (namely me) would end up introverted. My favorite description for introverts is that we are ‘wired differently’. It’s a little better than other descriptions I’ve heard. Generally I’m “quirky” or “eccentric” or “weird” or my personal favorite “snobby”; I like to call it the Georgianna Darcy syndrome. I’m not proud, I’m just shy…well, maybe I’m a little proud too, but really it’s my introversion—my aversion to attention that keeps me at arm’s length from people around me.
“But Ashley!” You say, “You’re a teacher! How can you be an introvert?” Great question! Introversion doesn’t mean that you hate people. That’s misanthropy (which I’ve had struggles with), introversion is more about the way that you gain energy. Extroverts gain energy with the outer world by interacting with people while introverts gain energy by focusing on the inner world of ideas. To me, that’s textbook teacher, especially when combined with my other quirky personality traits (I’m an INFJ for anyone who has taken the Meyer’s Briggs test, you can get that). But I digress. Back to the introvert concept. For an introvert, like me, gaining energy is all about focusing on ideas, reflecting, processing, control, reading, writing, and quiet. So when we get in this writing challenge to SHARING, PUBLISHING, PROVOKING, these words stand out in all caps because they are terrifying.
The challenge for me is simple. Quit being a nerd bomber (yes, I did just pull a 90s sitcom reference) and really put yourself out there. It’s the only way that you will ever make a splash.
I’m getting ready to go on my trip to California where I will have a multitude of opportunities to read and write about many different subjects on a number of different thought provoking issues and to discuss them with colleagues from across this great nation of ours. Because, after all, isn’t that what is so great about living in this country of ours? We have the freedom to share, to publish and to provoke in whatever ways we can. Not everyone has that privilege, so I’ll gain energy from the writing and then I’ll expel it when I’m sharing. Because wheat is the point of gaining energy if you never use it?