Ok, here I am. One of the introvert girl who prefer writes than talks, who prefer one on one conversations instead of public speaking, who needs a couple of hours everyday to just sit still uninterrupted, to recharge my energy.
This world, somehow is shaped for extrovert people. I say this because, according to my experiences at school started from preschool, elementary up to undergraduate school, we were trained to be this type of person: Cheerful, Active, Always Asking the Teachers/Lecturers, Confident, Having Many Friends, Popular, etc..etc..
You know what, I am actually not that kind of person. And you know what..? Trying to be that person is not just hard for me but also irritating sometimes. I was one of the bullying victims when in school. There was a time when I have to face everybody who looked so mean. I didn’t remember clearly of how I became a victim, but I could still feel the nightmares until now. I could still remember I cried over and over again, yelled to my mothers, told her that I don’t want to go to school. School was hell for me.
Maybe I have to tell you from the very beginning, of school experience to you. I was a transfer student from Medan (North Sumatra Capital City). Insanely, there was a kind of unwritten tradition, that every kids should hate the transfer students. (At least that was what I felt). I was being underestimated, no one talked to me, I ate alone for couple of first weeks. My very bad moments were the sport subjects, when we had to play “Kasti” (Rounders in English). So of course I didn’t play very good, not to mention that I rarely hit the ball, the hurt part was, I used to be hit by the other team. I don’t know why school still not forbid that kind of game. Kids just hit that ball to my body, so the other team could play. It was hurt! (Come on, can you imagine someone throwing a tennis ball into your body, with every power that they have?) However, my team always hate and said mean things to me everytime I got that hit. This moment only, could make me really hate sport subject for all my life you know.
My elementary school was not that bad. There were nice kids also. I made some friends. In fact we are still friends until now. The bullying moments are just blended with the happy moments. I still remember how happy I was, when the teacher compliment my writings and stick it to the class walls. I also still remember how happy I was when I (as one of the good grade makers) have to sit with the other friends (who make lower grade) to help them with their problems in studying. The most beautiful moment I remember is when I had to come to the school counselor, to get advice for making friends (I really really really bad at making friends, and that’s really sad for me). She told me to buy rubber bands and tied my own “Jump Rope”. Voila, when I brought that rope to the school, everybody was coming to me and play with me. (Thanks Mrs. N wherever you are now, I hope God always help you).
My turning point of life was Junior high school. Everyone seems nicer, I could study hard and always managed to be in top three students until graduated. Most importantly, I feel less and less as a victim of bullying. I started to join Student Media extracurricular, and that’s when I know, I love this kind of thing (draw, read, write, design thingy). However, I still felt down towards others. I was in the school where kids of fortunate parents gathered. They had the cool vacations every year, abroad. Me on the other sides, I never been outside of the country. I felt down somehow, but I didn’t talk it out loud. My parents were the best parents, but maybe I was just a spoiled brat. There was a moment when I told my mother about a story, when I was ashamed answering my friend’s school question of what car our family had, because of our car is not as good as my other friends, because our car was old and others were new. We have an old Toyota Car, when the New Capsule Toyota Car was released. You know what. My mother told my father about that, and the following week my Dad bring us to the Dealers to buy the new car. I can’t imagine how hard and how was the feeling of my Dad back then. He was just retired from his job, and I was being.. I can’t find the right words.. If there’s a time machine I want to go back to that moments and slap my own face for being ungrateful! Shame on you Ira!! I should have been more grateful for everything I had back then. Even though I cannot go to Australia, or America for vacation. Even though my car is older than everybody else. None of that actually mattered for me. I was just trying to fit in the world where I lived at. The world where I felt not belong to.
Moving from private school to the public high school was challenging for me. Everybody were varies from one to another. Too many people, too many kids, that I never talk with. My main problem was studying. I used to felt easy to study before, because teacher told us everything. But in high school, we have to study with our own selves. It was hard for me. I started to feel really really really really stupid compared to my friends. I met many brilliant kids.One of the feelings I still remember, that I was afraid to speak up. In my high school, there are couples of student organizations which has different activities, from Art, Media, Sports, Language, Science, etc. Of course I joined the Media one. I could not think of anything else. Every day, the seniors gathered us in a class, yelling, to us, angry to us, at everything. It was exhausting, really. There were many moments when I felt I want to stand up and talk, but I was too afraid to talk. It’s just not me. But I always try to help my friends every time we’re given many assignments. I guess, it was because of my sincere motivation to be there and to help others, even though I was really bad at talking defends my friends when in classroom, that my friend asked me to help becoming of one of Coordinators. It was my first time experience to held a responsible position in any organization. I’ve met many good friends, some of them are my best friends until now. Eventhough the process of getting accepted inside the organization was one type of bullying, I felt stronger, because I was not alone in being bullied. Moreover, the seniors were just acting, the problem was real, but their intention was not that mean. Someday, I want to talk about this culture, of “Ospek”, but not now. I was often amazed by how my friends could talk really good in front of us. It is called public speaking. I had this urge to fit in, but I didn’t think I could talk as free and as good as my friends.
That was my couple of experiences. I still feel really afraid to talk in front of everybody. I don’t know why. I guess I was just being introvert. But no one told me that it is OK to be me. Many books say that we have to take courage, we have to eat with others, we have to socializing, to be a good public speaker, to be success. But I don’t think so. Especially after hearing the TED Talk of Susan Cain – The Power of Introverts. (God! She’s cool!) I think that we should embrace ourselves, it is true we can learn, but it is more important to know what we are good at and what we are bad at. I was hoping that there is somebody telling me that it is OK to live under my circumstances, under my skin, under my condition, happily. To not afraid to talk. To not afraid to weird in front of everybody. Unfortunately no. I had to deal with my introvert problems alone back then. I had to go through up and downs to learn that being introvert is also good. For me, it is different between silent because we have to recharge, and silent because we are ignorant. I think everyone should speak up their mind, because introverts has many many many things in mind. Speaking it up to others is not that hard, if we can feel comfortable with our own awkwardness. Being introvert doesn’t mean that I am antisocial or whatsoever. On the contrary, I love socializing, I love listening to other people’s story, I love being with my family and friends. We’re just communicate in a different way. So, people.. If you are one of the introverts and still not confident, go see Susan Cain talk at TED Talks! If you are introverts and already have confidence, go help your friends. Share with the others how to be like you. And for the extroverts people, please please please bear with us. Don’t see us the introvert ones are some kind of weirdo or else. We could collaborate, actually, we are so much compatible to each others because we filled each other’s lack.Well people… Just be you and be proud of who you are.