All throughout my K-12 existence, I was the quiet one who sat in the back and kept to herself. Yes, if I was sitting next to friends, we would engage in conversation, but even then I was quieter than most.
I recall one time I spoke in front of a peer and they said, "I've never heard you talk before - I thought you were mute". It was embarrassing at the time, but funny to me now.
At a sleepover I once attended, someone decided that we would each take turns having everyone else tell us all of the things they've heard about them. When it came to me, every person said "quiet, but nice".
Just how everyone wants to be remembered.
I additionally suffer from RBF, which mixed with my quiet demeanor, tends to come off as condescension and snobbery. That couldn't be further from the truth. I could very well smile and put on a cheery and talkative attitude, but it is completely draining. I may come across as intimidating, but trust me, I love it when people come over and say hi. I just hate starting the conversation.
Being quiet made it a bit harder to make friends in school. But not impossible! The quiet ones tend to migrate toward each other and form a bond of shared shyness. Or, an extrovert may make an attempt to befriend an introvert and adopt them as one of their own. We're really good friends if you make the effort to break our timid shells. I made friends through a combination of the two.
Anyone who's friends with a quiet person knows that when they're around people they're comfortable with, they are no longer quiet. It's like some sort of spell has lifted and all of a sudden we are set loose to expel all of the energy we have saved by being reserved.
Just because someone is quiet on the outside, doesn't mean they are quiet on the inside. Personally, if I don't have words coming from my mouth, there are many swirling around my head. Ideas, thoughts, plans, worries, excitement. Some of it stuff that others may voice, but for me it takes careful consideration for what I'd like to share.
Sometimes not speaking up can suck. Often in groups my opinions would be drowned out by those with loud voices and mouths that wouldn't quit. It's easy to fade away into the background. Sometimes it hurts.
But you wouldn't hear me say that.
Older now, I'm still quite. I used to wish that I was more extroverted like many of the kids I grew up with who were more popular and outspoken than me. But now I realize that there are plenty of people just like myself, and being on the quitter side certainly isn't a bad thing.
I believe everyone has their own favorite outlet of expression. Not everyone's is through their speech. Maybe its art, sports, or some other passion. For me it's writing.
Written word can communicate worlds, emotions, ideas, and beauty without making a single sound.
To me, that is beautiful.