When you grow up in a big family, you get a humbling sense early on of your worth in life. You matter, but no more or less than anyone else. Individual thoughts and feelings don’t always get validation, because there usually isn’t enough adult time and energy to devote to everyone.
I grew up the ninth of ten children. I have noticed that outstanding behavior usually gets attention, whether it’s praise or scorn. The quiet, normal, uneventful wallflower children usually get the least attention. This has carried over into every aspect of life I can think of, from my education to my work as a musician.
I have started reading ‘Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t Stop Talking‘, by Susan Cain, which recognizes the growing popularization of the glorified extrovert. Our culture can easily make quiet, shy and normal people feel painfully boring and even worse, like failures.
I always felt like that as a child, experiencing only a brief season in my life of pride in this fact, thanks to the mysterious, aloof, artist known as Prince.
I had a neighbor, who unbeknownst to her, made a not so friendly comment that stuck to my sensitive self and hasn’t left me yet. Upon finding out that I sing, often in huge rooms full of strangers, for a living she remarked that she “didn’t see me as the type of person who could do that, because I don’t walk into the room demanding all the attention.” Well! I thought, as I fought back the onset of my rolling eyes and tried to close my gaping mouth, you don’t know very much about artists. There are many of us, with many different personalities, some extroverted and introverted! We are, after all people too.
Yes, we get up on stage and rock out, or act out! Yes, we bravely pour our hearts out onto a colorful canvas or a written page! Yes, we often take to social media to promote our work! But we are still be introverts, who just happen to be passionate and driven about sharing what we’re proud of!
The art comes naturally, everything else is the work we all must do, (unless you are Prince who admittedly does not do any of it)!
Thanks Susan Cain, for a book that gives so much perspective and pride to the introvert.
I’ll be back to share my thoughts as I continue reading the book. In the meantime, if you have read it or have a thought on the subject-even if you’re an introvert, leave me a comment!