If my inner state of being had been on display, it would look as though I was fist fighting the air, mumbling and grumbling about how unhappy I was. Disconnected and discontented, I despised doing work everyday that held little interest to me, living in a place I felt I had long outgrown. My spirit was agitated and wanted an out. I was frustrated that I didn’t know my life’s purpose: that one thing that would give my life meaning and stir my soul day in and day out. And because I didn’t know what that thing was, how could I work passionately towards it? How could I work towards being great and leave a legacy that ‘I was here?’ I mean, that’s what life is all about, right?
Women cut their hair everyday. And yet, I bet most of those women felt they had participated in some new, revolutionary act that had never been done before. One hand pressed against heart’s center, and the other with a fist full of newly chopped locs held in the air. That’s what the process felt like for me. Cutting my hair was my personal mini-revolution, and as overplayed as that sounds, I’ll accept that it was my story.
It’s human nature for us to assume so much about other people’s temperaments (and literally everything else) based on their ethnic and racial background. It’s a quick way of getting to know people, without of course, actually getting to know them. But on the receiving end of stereotyping, one’s sense of individuality can be diminished. My case in point:
In the beginning…
The first conversation he remembers us having, he’d walked up to an empty seat on an otherwise crowded bus of rowdy college students and asked if he could join the girl sitting alone by the window. “OK,” she says. He doesn’t remember her making eye contact and that he talks for most of the conversation. Strange, he thinks. But intriguing. Much later, with ice thoroughly broken by warmed affections for each other, he learns that the girl finds eye contact uncomfortable, that she thinks it strange to start conversations with strangers, and that she quite enjoys sitting alone. Oh, and she thinks. A lot. She’s a die-hard introvert, he discovers. Yet he manages to swoop into her reserved heart and the rest is history.
No surprise here, I’m an introvert. It’s one of the many things I know to be true of myself, and thank heavens, I’m finally learning to accept and celebrate this very big part of me. I can tell you, though, being in Corporate America has made this whole introvert self-love thing pretty challenging.
I’m the kind of introvert who loves learning about new cultures. (African Studies minor, wassup)! Being intentional about traveling abroad to experience unique cultures beyond the books has added a dimension to my life that is so filling. (And it helps that I’ve got a cute travel partner, too). But even across oceans, my #quietquirks aren’t far behind. In fact, they’re right there with me next to the sunscreen and behind the passport. Yes, being an introverted traveler has its challenges, but done on our own terms, traveling is not only plain fun, but it evolves us in ways we didn’t know imaginable.
Every now and again this crazy thought would pop into my head: Just be yourself. Quiet and smart and sweet and awkward and always learning. Just be her. Let the blog be about that.