Introvert's Advocate: Growing Up

Growing up is tough. Adolescence can be a weird and confusing time, especially if you tend to be more introverted.

Although having an introverted personality does not always share a direct correlation with shyness, it’s generally more associated with introversion than extroversion. Lucky for me, I’ve spent nearly my entire life trying to embrace my introversion while fighting with the shy, awkward aspects of my personality.

I started to realize I was more reserved than my classmates sometime around the fifth grade. My teachers would write nice little notes on my report card that would say things like, “Savanah is such a sweet, quiet addition to the classroom!” I honestly never really thought of myself as a “quiet” person until then. I talked a lot with my friends and family, but I just preferred to watch and listen rather than jump into every class discussion.

In middle school, I started to pick up on my social awkwardness. Back then, however, it did not make much of an impact on my life because everyone was going through an awkward time. This was back when girls would wear hot pink eyeshadow to school and guys let their hair grow out to weird Bieber-esque length. So in hindsight, nothing I did/said was as bad as anything anyone else did.

Unfortunately, in high school my social awkwardness started to turn into social anxiety. My freshman year was particularly difficult for me because I was honestly afraid to talk to or get close to a lot of people.

Eventually, it started to have a negative impact on my mental health. Fortunately, I was able to (mostly) pull myself out of whatever I was struggling with, but I know many others with social anxiety are not as lucky.

During my senior year of high school I was given a free reign on a column for our school’s newspaper. I always found writing out my feelings helped a tremendous amount and it was incredible to be able to write about situations and have such a positive response from my peers. In a way, I turned my introversion and awkwardness into a career path.

Today, I still struggle from time to time with being the “quiet” friend, but I think as I’m coming out of my teenage years and into adulthood I’ve been able to break more out of my shell. I’ve still got a lot of growing up to do, but my personality doesn’t have to hinder the process if I don’t want it to.