I walk into a room, and everyone is staring. They're not staring at me because I did something... they're staring at me because I am also a new shape with different eyes, a nose, and a mouth, like them.
The mind of an introvert can make everything seem like a problem.
When I walk into a room full of people, my mind goes haywire.
"Are they judging me?"
"Are they judging me for what I am wearing?"
"Why are they looking at me?"
"Did I mess up on my makeup?"
"Is there something on my face?"
"Do I look sad?"
"Do I look tired?"
"Did someone overhear me say something and I'm being judged for what I said?"
"I don't want any human interaction today."
By this point in school, professors that I've had for a majority of my college career all know I despise getting called on. Ninety-five percent of the time, I don't know the answer. The times I have gotten called on, my face turns tomato red, I feel nervous and shaky, and I trip on my words. The spotlight is on me and I wish it would move in a different direction.
When I walk out of the classroom, I'm either the first person or the last person.
When I am walking around campus to my next class, students and cars are rushing past me. I am looking down at my phone for three different reasons: I don't want to zone out and accidentally make awkward eye contact with anyone, I don't feel like talking and want to evaluate in my mind how my day has been going so far, or if I see someone who I don't talk to/get along with.
When I walk into the dining hall, I have to constantly remind myself to remain calm. Students are walking in so many different directions for food and drink that sometimes I forget how to walk properly in there. Sometimes I will almost bump into someone and feel uncomfortable afterward. After that, I really don't want any human interaction.
Surprisingly, if you drop me in a large crowd, I would be fine. Usually, that's an introvert's worst nightmare, but for me, I don't mind because I no longer feel alone. But it can be different when you have social anxiety and you forgot to get ketchup after sitting down. I pray that I'm not being stared at as I awkwardly get up from my chair after debating with myself for 10 minutes if I really needed that ketchup or not.
If I have to get up and get something, I avoid all eye contact as much as possible by either not looking up, or by looking straight ahead. I've gotten better over the years and gained more confidence with getting up by myself in front of a crowd, however, the anxiety is still planted inside of me.
When I am waiting for someone in a building on campus, I look down at my phone. I look at emails because it's the only thing trying to engage with me at all times of the day.
When I am working out, I do my best to focus on myself and not the others around me. This is the time I really don't want any human interaction unless I am with my friends. My music is loud, and my mouth is shut. Working out is my time. The time I'm the quietest.
Only not as quiet when I am sitting down in a room with a group full of people. This group of people could even be my friends. As I'm sitting next to everyone, my mind is trying to process all of the conversations so I can think of what to say next, except by the time I've thought of something, the subject has already changed. Sometimes, I don't have a second to speak because I'm too late.
When I am at a party, I know I will never be the most outgoing person there. I'll be with my group of friends, but I'll never be the person to go up to anyone else I don't know and start a conversation. When I'm at a party, my eyes will be looking in all different directions to see who's here, and what they're doing — not in a judging way.
Being an introvert isn't necessarily a bad thing, or at least what people make it out to be. It can be hard for sure, but it's something that I've had to accept, because I'll always be like this. I can improve to be more talkative and outgoing.
But I know I'll always be the shy girl.