Dear Social High Schoolers of America,
Hello, we would like to take a moment to step outside of our comfort zones and introduce ourselves officially as introverts. We rarely go outside of our own houses, we sit alone at lunch, and we have few people we actually consider to be true friends. We often hide away in corners whenever faced with social situations, and we cringe at the thought of going out to the mall or movies with other human beings. The social aspect of life just isn't part of who we are- it’s a terrifying concept for us to even consider- and, with us, what you see is pretty much what you get.
You- and your friends- wouldn't understand what it’s like for us to hold our breath around supposed "friends" solely because we're afraid of judgment and rejection. You don’t have to scurry into the dark when “the populars” turn on the lights in a room. You don’t have to pick yourself up after being shoved into a locker. You don’t even have to do your own homework- we do that for you. You can live free and true, having little care for the problems we face while we hide from the cruel beatings dealt out by the very people you consider to be your acquaintances. We don’t hate you for this; we have accepted your treatment as a way of life and we embrace it.
You scare us. In fact, we are so scared of you that we will throw ourselves at your feet whenever you need the slightest bit of assistance. You venture outside your house for hours on end effortlessly; we can barely even muster up the courage to go to school. Stepping outside our door step into an unknown, unsafe, uncaring territory full of strange people fills us with numerous anxieties that haunt us even in our dreams at night. Sure, you have nightmares as well- the only difference is that you can wake up from them in the morning.
Although we keep away from social contact, we are just as normal as you are. We listen to the same music you like. We eat the same food you love. We watch the same shows, love the same celebrities, and cry about the same things you do. We are like you, every atom in our body wants to be loved and touched by another soul- the single variance between our lives is that you have the social gene in your body that we were born without.
We understand that being a “social butterfly” is not all that it’s cracked up to be- that’s why we don’t attempt it. While your definition of social is fun and interactive, our definition of social is guarded and exhausting, and we make sure to stay away from those situations to keep ourselves free from rejection and pain. Free from your reckless actions that rip our hearts to shreds. Free from your harsh words about our clothes, or mocking stares when you look at our hair. Normal interaction is hard, but we do try.
Living, breathing, smiling, laughing, singing, dancing, socializing- these are all things that we do when our teachers see us in class, but at home we are able to relax and breathe without worrying about someone trying to start up a conversation. Putting on this mask doesn’t make us fake or crazy or bipolar, it simply keeps us from getting hurt. This mask allows us to live, and interact, alongside you. This mask allows us to bridge the gap between the extrovert world and the introvert world.
We are delicate. If we come out of our shell for you, please don’t throw our feelings to the wind. After finishing this letter you may try to go out and “make friends” with us in order to salvage what little humanity you have left- but it will be too late. We will be back in our comfortable world, eating soup at home alone and watching movies that you’ll probably get around to watching after your next big thing in the social world.