Sometimes, you're not born outgoing.
For the first 19 years of my life, I considered myself an introvert. I was quiet, didn't really like crowds, I was talkative, but only around people who I considered to be my friends. I spent most of my 19 years inside my own head. I was awkwardly quiet in situations where it was okay to share my opinions and ideas, but I never did. I couldn’t seem to break away from my own thoughts and I was prone to over thinking. I didn’t like small talk, because I just didn’t see the point. I was a textbook introvert and whenever I would take the Myers Briggs test, whether it was for my intro to psychology course, or to see what Disney princess I would be, I was always my first letter, but something in me changed. I woke up one morning, and decided that I wasn’t happy being quiet and shy, because being quiet and shy wasn’t part of the person I wanted to be; I had grown comfortable in this personality that didn’t fit my lifestyle anymore.
Anyone who knows me now, knows me to be a little "extra." There's nothing wrong with being an introvert, most of my best friends are introverts, but being introverted wasn't working for me. I was introverted because I wasn't confident and because I was insecure and thought that if I did talk, or did share my ideas that people would laugh or find them to be stupid or bizarre, but being afraid of what people are going to say or think, is exhausting. I went to a high school where everyone was the same. They were all the same race, had pretty much the same culture, and I felt that if I shared my ideas and that if those ideas were different from those around me, which they were destined to be, that I would judged. Leaving that environment and going away to college for the second time (I transferred schools for my fourth semester), I knew that I could leave my small time mentality behind me. The more I learned about myself, the more I learned that keeping to myself, isn't what I really wanted. I wasn't happy. I was hiding my true personality because I was comfortable being "shy.”
Once I realized this, I could come out of my shell and be the extrovert that was always in my blood. I had to teach myself how to be outgoing and how to participate in small talk and how to be the life of the party. Lucky for me, I found a place and friends who taught me that what I had to say wasn’t pointless and that I what I had to say mattered and I can’t explain the importance of this. This journey from introvert by choice to extrovert by choice took about two years, but in those two years I truly found myself and learned so much about myself and about the people around me.
I learned quickly that being an extrovert, isn't as great as it's cracked up to be, actually, it is way better than I ever anticipated. My personality exhausts me and tends to exhaust others around me, but I'm no longer quiet, and I no longer give a shit about what others thought. It amazes me to think back to two years and to think about how far I've come. I've always been weird and quirky, but I haven't always been confident when it comes to my personality, now I'm pretty much weird and quirky all the time. I'm a lot to handle because I'm "on" all the time, but this has taught me how to love myself and even though I might be “too much” for some, it doesn’t truly matter.
I used to claim to be a "misanthrope," and being around people gave me anxiety and having to talk in front of people made me want to vomit, but the more comfortable I got with myself, the more I accepted others and grew fond of being around people. Everyone, extroverted or introverted, has days where they just need to be alone and vibe with themselves, but those days grew fewer and fewer the more I realized how my demeanor and overall wellbeing changed for the better the more I was around people. I'm energized when I'm around people and I become "bored" when I spend too much time alone, which is textbook extrovert.
I try to be the life of every situation I can be a part of, but I still have the listening skills I developed from being introverted. I still know how to feel for others from when I didn't know how to feel for myself. I understand introverts, because for the majority of my life I was one, and even though that part of me is barley there and is now engulfed in a person who is loud, and obnoxious, and friendly, and well, extra. I love being extroverted, but I wouldn't trade the lessons I learned from being introverted for anything.