Story-telling often highlights a positive character development in the protagonist. In many works, particularly in the modern young adult genre, character development is seen through a main character that begins the story shy, introverted, but is taught by a handsome lad to break out of her shell. I am like this, in that I am very introverted. Quiet, I keep to myself, and prefer solitude. In the past year, I had a “like in the movies experience” in that I grew close to one of the most extroverted and social boys in the school. But what I confirmed from the loud boy with a quick step was that being introverted is not “cured” by being with an extrovert and most importantly that being an introvert is not something that needs to be cured. What I confirmed was that my being an introvert is not a crutch, but a gift.
Writing has been my obsession and passion since I was a kid. My first book was written in pencil in a spiral notebook when I was in fifth grade. It was a 70 page handwritten tale titled “Fluttery” about a fairytale land. Although I do not remember why I began writing, I remember why I continued writing. The nature of my writing changed dramatically throughout the years, from the fantasy novels of elementary and middle school to the short prose and poems that I write today. My writing has become something so much a part of me that one can never truly know me without knowing my work.
The boy who I befriended this past year, the extrovert, knew this before I was fully aware myself. Before he got to know me, he got to know my writing. I read to him what I had written about a boy with a red balloon who “forgets how to breathe when the moon is too bright.” He went on to read about “salt water dreams and sugar water oceans” about “tones of sepia dripping down your spine and beating across your ribcage” about “troubled thoughts of how and why space was formed”. I have realized, he came to know me more through snippets of prose than late night conversation.
If it were a chick-flick, he would have taught me that I have meaningful words to speak, and I would have become like him: social, outgoing. I am glad that he did not do this and I am glad that I did not become an extrovert because of him. Being quiet fuels my muse. There are million words surging within me. For all the times that I have kept to myself, for the wallflower that I am, my words have made it worth it. I have this anxiety with letting people look at my writing. Whereas I used to believe that I was anxious because I was unconfident in the content in quality, I now know that this is false. I am anxious about sharing my writings because I am quiet in nature, and by handing someone my writings, I am handing them the most private parts of myself, and all of the words that I have chosen not to speak aloud.
Through the act of writing, I become a new version of myself. It’s an extroverted version, where I am open to both the paper and myself. My immediate reaction to when life takes a turn is to write about it. That extroverted boy, he went in a matter of months from assuming I was boring because I did not speak often, to claiming I was the most interesting person he knew, with worlds swimming in my head and ink always staining the paper.