By Michelle Garren Flye
There’s less of you today.
I watch you fade like print on paper left in the sun too long.
Don’t worry, Mama, you say. I’m all right.
I know it’s a lie, but we’re all fading.
Some lose little bits.
From serif to sans serif print.
Courier to Helvetica.
But you fade—you’re not bold anymore.
You’re not underlined.
And the ink is seeping away from you
Like blood spreading in a pool.
Are you still there? I whisper.
Even when every touch brings you pain,
I still have to touch.
It’s the only way to know.
When newsprint breaks down, it becomes transparent.
I can see through you.
There’s no print anymore.
Just a period at the end.
I’m wearing my favorite t-shirt today. I bought it on sale somewhere. It’s a simple white t-shirt and it says “Live the Life You Love”.
I bought this t-shirt because it took me a LONG time to figure out the life I love is okay. I’m a homebody. I don’t like huge adventures. I’ll never go cliff diving. I don’t enjoy public speaking. In fact, some days I don’t like talking at all. I like people but sometimes I don’t want to be around them. Ideally I have a few hours completely to myself during the day. I almost never want to go to parties. It’s nerve-wracking to me being in large groups. I never know what to say. My family are the only people I want to see on a day-to-day basis. I’m an introvert.
I’m a 47-year-old introvert and it took me almost this long to figure out this is okay.
Yesterday I cried when I heard Chris Cornell committed suicide. Not because I’m a huge fan, but because suicide is so tragic and prevalent today. My heart aches for those who are driven to that extreme by our world, because, although I’ve never considered it, if I were growing up in today’s world, I believe I might have.
Today’s world treasures the extroverts much, much more than ever before. The Youtubers and “Influencers” and sports stars and beautiful people. To a young introvert growing up among so many bright and shining beings and so many who can (and do) emulate them, the world can make an introvert feel very small and worthless—even when you have talent and beauty of your own that you’re just not as comfortable sharing.
This is addressed to my fellow introverts, young and old. YOU are okay. Do the things you love, live your quiet life, but LIVE it. Don’t ever give up. You may not feel like you fit in, but—and please trust me on this—the puzzle pieces of the world will eventually move over and let you shape your own spot. Find the things you love to do and do them. Contribute to the world in your way and don’t let it make you what you’re not. Because then you’ll never find peace.
God bless us all, introverts and extroverts alike. I have a feeling we all need it.