The Curse of the Introvert

Photo by Prasanth Inturi on

When a person really listens to the conversations around them, that’s when they start to realize that they are disposable and strange, that no one likes the things they do, and no one is immune to the virus of awkward behavior. That’s what you see when you’re a quiet child and all around you people think that because your mouth is shut your ears must be as well and they begin to wag their tongues without hesitation, reassured of the security of their private conversations.

When you hear those private conversations you come to grasp the cold facts of reality. One, that you are not and never will be one of them. Two, that everywhere you go oblivious people smile to their friends without ever comprehending that those very same “friends” are hostile to their very existence. Knowing that no one is truly liked is comforting in some nihilistic manner. This means that you aren’t alone in being, ultimately, solely alone. The only thing that actually separates you from the conversing masses around you is your awareness of the pathetic status you hold in life. The blithe crowds rejoicing in their illusion of community are deserving of your pity, while, ironically, they pity you and the solitary existence you lead that is so much a mystery to them.

The duplicity of people is ever-present, like creeping many-legged things found under rocks, dispelling only in the presence of daylight. Most people are satisfied to convince themselves that they do not exist and neglect to expose those creeping things even when given the opportunity. You see the ugliness at once because it is never hidden from you. Your, sitting on the bus seat unmoving and dumb, you are the rock. To you, the grotesque and clandestine facts of human nature can never be obscured because there is no daylight to you. All the darkness in your mind lets those creatures run freely and they skitter through your brain and ricochet off your skull. All those fragmented phrases that tell you people are treacherous can never be put to sleep. When you exert all your energy into trying to smash them they flatten themselves against your brainstem like earwigs under a shoe, and when you remove it they resume their sinister movements once again.

Those people talking do not understand what they are dislodging as they converse. Words come from them without effort and are exchanged as if they are pleasantries passing on the sidewalk no matter how unpleasant their words are. Smiling, plastic figures quick to condemn and quicker still to wrinkle their noses at anything and anyone they do not understand. They don’t understand much. Least of all you.

They wonder what it is that reticent people like you do when the bands disperse. Do you remain the enigmatic fellow who is forgotten in the seats behind the others? Does your inscrutable expression at once relax and words flow like the melting of ice from the peaks of mountains? Like a glacier stream relenting to summer’s brief heat? It’s easier to assume that you have no thoughts to release into the emptiness, because that means you have garnered no response to the often callous things they’ve said. Of course, you might not know that they are thinking these things. You perceive their bewilderment at your silent presence, but how can you understand the discomfort this can cause them? You are the silenced. It does not strike you as pertinent that others may feel ill at ease with a person so heavy with all they’ve said. When you view them as the cause and they cannot comprehend your voiceless antiphon, the tension in the air breeds uneasily.

Published by ladymaenad

I'm an ex-Mormon writer, mother of three, and lover of science, literature, and art, chronicling the paths my life has taken and the interests I have developed.

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