Aspire Magazine: Inspiration for a Woman's Soul.(TM) Oct/Nov 2018 Aspire Mag Full Issue - Page 63

I, once again, sat quietly on the edges, never knowing how to wedge myself into these fast-moving conversations or what to say. As the night wore on, I often found myself slipping into an exhausted brain fog, which made it even harder to participate. Most nights, what I really wanted was to read a book alone, play a video game, or just be with my husband. When comparing myself to my extroverted in-laws and classmates, I never seemed to measure up. Why couldn’t I just loosen up and go with the flow? Why did I never have much to say when I was in a big group but had plenty to talk about during a one-on-one? Why was my idea of a good time so different from what other people wanted to do? I was broken. I had to be. One Magic Word: Introvert One afternoon, in the psychology/self-help section of a used bookstore, I came across a book called The Introvert Advantage by Dr. Marti Olsen Laney. I bought it and read it cover to cover. When I finished, I cried. I had never felt so understood in my life. INTROVERT. IT WAS A MAGIC WORD, BECAUSE IT EXPLAINED MANY OF THE THINGS I HAD STRUGGLED WITH MY EN- TIRE LIFE—THINGS THAT HAD MADE ME FEEL BAD ABOUT MYSELF. At age 22, I got married. My husband (now ex-husband) was a confident, life-of-the-party guy who could talk to anyone. His large family was the same way. They loved spending time together in a loud gaggle of kids, siblings, and friends of the family. Often, they’d drop by our small apartment, letting me know they were coming only when they were already on their way. They’d pass hours crammed into the living room, telling stories, cracking jokes, and volleying sarcastic remarks back and forth with the professional finesse of Venus and Serena Williams. – Jenn Granneman That beautiful book told me there was a word for what I was: introvert. It was a magic word, because it explained many of the things I had struggled with my entire life—things that had made me feel bad about myself. Best of all, the word meant I wasn’t alone. There were other people out there like me. Other introverts. Say what you will about labeling. That little label changed my life. I went on to read everything about introversion I could get my hands on. I joined Facebook groups for introverts and poured over blogs. My friends got sick of me constantly talking about introversion: “Did you know it’s an introvert thing to need time to think before responding?” I’d say, or, “I can’t go out tonight, it’s introvert time.” I couldn’t shut up about being an introvert. It was like I had been reading the wrong script my entire life, trying to play the role of the 63