An explanation of the musings of an introvert

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been in my head. 

I’m not necessarily sure why, or even when, I embodied this introvert archetype. There was never a clear decision made or distinct point in time that defined my personality. 

It wasn’t as if on my birth certificate, “i-n-t-r-o-v-e-r-t” was typed in the space between “Amanda” and the checked square that reads “female,” and I know my parents didn’t write a detailed script of my life as if they were authors creating a complex character to fit in with a fictional plot.

It simply just happened, similar to how the seeds of a plant are scattered in the wind, hoping to land somewhere in an untouched patch of dirt. And I find comfort in the place I’ve landed, despite not always feeling this way. 

I’ve found comfort in the vast depth of my mind, and like an ocean, at first glance, the surge of the waves feels destructive, intrusive, and slightly sinister. The lack of confinement and sheer openness feel inescapably daunting.

But when the clouds part and the water settles, the lack of barricaded walls becomes a gift, a peaceful and welcoming gift. It is in the measureless space of the sea—of my mind—that I find comfort, and it’s a part of the reason why I spend so many hours in silence, why I’m an introvert.

However, I’ve come across countless people who misinterpret the time I spend in my head, and for some time, I did too. 

Before, when school consisted of multiplication practice and learning to color between the lines, I retreated towards bookshelves, seeking paper pages and stories that stretched beyond the school walls, and I’d be repeatedly asked why I’m too shy and unwilling to play with the other kids.

Before, when my parents would sit down and talk to my teachers during conferences, I skipped joyfully down to the book fair, skating my fingers along the spines of books I could only admire. And each year, my teacher’s feedback was a copy of the next: “she’s a good student, but she’s too afraid to speak up.” 

The habitual questions and criticism circled me like flies picking at a leftover apple, and during those same moments, I never fully understood the purpose of my silence. 

It is in the measureless space of the sea—of my mind—that I find comfort, and it’s a part of the reason why I spend so many hours in silence.”

But I know now, it isn’t due to fear or judgment or a lack of confidence. It isn’t because I’m too weak to speak my mind or unwilling to communicate with others. 

It’s because sometimes I just don’t have anything to say, and that’s okay. I find peace in solitude and experience growth through my thoughts.

It’s because, at times, the life in my mind is more radiant than the space around me, so I’ll retreat to my thoughts where it is warmer and brighter and full of color.

It’s because I believe that life is bigger than me, and when I take a step back and simply observe the space around me, the awareness is strangely invigorating. In class, I’ll notice how the quote on my teacher’s wall wraps around the room like a sage-tinted vine crawling around the edges of an unkempt home.

I’ll notice how my friends’ laughs are a little louder when the week comes to a close and how my brother’s kitchen walls are the same color as the sun on a happy day. 

It was in this silence that I was able to understand myself, why I’m who I am.