Nine little letters that spell out depressed, people-hating, and socially inept. Nine little letters that comprise half of the population, but only in hiding. Nine little letters. That’s me.
My name is Grace Humphreys, I am seventeen years old, and I live in Denver, Colorado. And I am an introvert, but my life is not defined by this fact.
An introvert is a person who recharges their energy by being alone. Conversely, an extrovert restores their energy by being around others. I have been an introvert since I was born. I am the girl who let others borrow her pencils but couldn’t get enough guts up to ask for them back, the girl who spent 24 hours reading when she was little, the girl who only stays for fifteen minutes at a party and goes to bed at nine. When I was younger, I was terrified to speak to anyone I didn’t know: people working at fast food restaurants, adults, boys… (Well the boys part is still true).
During the summer of 2012, my mom pushed me to get out of the house, directing me towards a children’s theatre company named CYT. “Audition”, I thought, “I have to sing AND dance AND act before total strangers??” Needless to say, I was terrified. But nevertheless I received a part. And at the rehearsals I would sit and read in a corner until the director was working with my group. I felt isolated and uncomfortable and would often come home crying because I felt so alienated.
Flash-forward a couple of years. Now I had a handful of friends, but still questioned why I continued to put myself through this pain. I struggled to put myself out there. I asked, God, why did you make me like this? Why can’t I be like these other people, naturally talkative and friendly?
It wasn’t until, through the help of some very close CYT friends, I came to a startling conclusion. That’s not me. I had tried, and unsuccessfully, to make myself an extrovert when physically and mentally I am not. I accepted my introvertedness. Being an introvert does not make me any less of a person, any worse at singing or dancing or acting. And certainly not any less loved by God.
In a world of extroverts, the world of theatre, it’s hard to be an introvert. But it’s also very valuable. I provide a unique listening ear and quiet voice for the Lord that isn’t very common. I have been able to mentor and touch the lives of the quiet because I understand that it’s frustrating when your voice feels unheard. My strengths are quiet.
Now I am using these strengths to lead, leading with a gentle hand and an even gentler voice. I am the current president of CYT Denver’s HYPE, and hope to create an environment within CYT that celebrates both introverts and extroverts.
Contrary to popular belief, introverts are not snobbish, depressed, and people-haters, but rather pensive, cautious, and just regular people. They are nine little letters that will silently change the world, if you let them.