I remember it so clearly.
Fifth grade. Mr. Marshall's class. His affinity for lavender v-neck sweaters and pink polo shirts. His love for great literature. How after lunch he would read from one of the classics to calm our pre-teen fidgets.
Fifth grade is when I first fell in love with Shakespeare.
Fifth grade is when I wished I was something that I was not.
He had each of us take the Myers-Briggs personality test. Fairly heady material for eleven year olds, but such was his ways. One by one he had each student read aloud their results.
One by one they nearly all started with
Mine and only a few others started with
INFP to be exact.
I brought the test home that day and took it again and again, hoping for different results. Again and again, the I kept reappearing.
In my young mind, I knew that so much of life would be easier for the E crew. The class presidents, the prom kings, the ringleaders.
Us with the I distinction would be lining the walls, the sidelines.
Our noses buried in books, wringing our hands when required to give a speech.
The shy kids.
Our social world is made for extroverts.
But now, as an adult, I wear my introvert badge proudly.
I honestly don't remember the last time I was bored, or even felt lonely. I love quiet, and yes, dream about going on vacation alone. Or at least driving an entire day with nothing but music to keep my company.
I do see some pitfalls however.
I am married to the extrovert of all extroverts, who has a very social and public profession.
Although I often crave silence and solitude, I would be quite selfish to constantly choose it over people.
Because I love people. Noisy, messy, complicated people.
While you will never see me commanding a room, I certainly have pushed myself and my comfort levels to be able to talk to anyone about anything.
Small talk is an art. A beautiful art.
It can be learned.
It should be learned.
People have stories. Wonderful, tragic, amazing stories.
What if I hugged walls, hiding from such stories?
How much would I be missing out on?
Now as a mother, I try my best to never, ever use the word shy to label one of my daughters. Is she an introvert? Absolutely. Have I picked her up from church in a room full of kids and found her reading quietly alone in the corner? Yes. But in that corner she was comfortable. Happy even.
But then do I want her quiet personality to hold her back from life? Never. Not ever. In our family we love people. We value friendliness. People are much more important than how outgoing we may or may not feel at the moment. We are constantly working on eye contact, and proper greetings. It is often really, really hard.
But I know that it will be worth it. That it is, and will, serve her well.
Which is why, against everything in me, I agreed to speak at Blog Sugar this fall.
Do I want to?
Do I want to throw up just thinking about it?
But it is on a topic that I am passionate about, and how silly and selfish would it be for me to hide behind my fears when there is an opportunity for God to use me.
Shyness is not an excuse. Do not let it keep you from being a part of this wonderful, noisy, chaotic world. Morrissey is a wise, wise man.