Introversion — An internal battle with your personality. Source: Introvert, Dear
- This is the story of how I live my life as an introvert with a loud mind.
Being born as an introvert was not a choice I made. It was given to me like how the Sun is given the light to shine and how the Earth is given water for its living. It is just meant to be.
I have always been timid in the presence of people. Strangers, specifically. It has always been a struggle for me to strike up a conversation with people I have only just met. But funny enough, I am contradictorily talkative. There is a part of me that is dying to talk to strangers as much as I would with the people I know, but simply couldn’t.
As an introvert, familiarity is so important to me. It is so crucial that ordering food from a waiter is so tough, and going up to strangers to ask for directions is almost an impossible task. There is just something so overwhelming about being around strangers that their mere presence is enough to get me shaking in my knees.
That is why I prefer to be online — talking behind a mask of the person I wish to be. Speaking as a person, I truly hope I am.
Due to my personality, I swallowed all the words I wanted to say and bottled them within myself. Hence, getting to voice out those words feels so relieving to me. My utterances are usually followed by panic, anxiousness and fear. Those feelings are non-existent, and it brings so much joy to me when I am online.
Growing up as a part of Gen Z means spending much of my life on the internet. Twitter has been my playground ever since I was 13. And as a young girl, there is nothing more entertaining than fawning over some celebrities with a bunch of other fans. This was when I was introduced to the world I call home.
Fandom is a community of fans (usually online), and I am a part of many. Through these fandoms, I met a lot of different individuals. People with the same interests are friends and haters are foes.
Life as a Directioner
One Direction was my saviour. Without them, I would not have found my community. I would not know how it feels to be free of my own fear. I would not have tasted the joys of life.
One Direction in 2011. Source: Insider
I started my fangirl era in 2010 when One Direction debuted as the most successful boy band at the time. Girls my age were crazy for them and so was I. Although I am no longer a ‘Directioner’, the experience I had being in the fandom was priceless.
Behind the good looks, they inspired me to really work hard in everything I do. Although they were only active as a group for 5 short years, they never failed to release an album each year and promote the albums on tour. From their documentary film, I learned that they had to prepare and record the other albums to come while on tour, travelling and performing everyday for almost the most part of the year.
I said to myself then, “If you really want to escape this hell of being an introvert, you too need to work hard”.
Through my interest in them, I also got to know a lot of people from all over the world. Not only that, I luckily met one of my best friends through the fandom.
Since everyone I know mostly talks about the same thing, our unconditional love for our favourite celebrities, it was not awkward or difficult even for introverts like me. We would stay up at night to wait for new music video releases, stream their songs on streaming platforms like Spotify ,iTunes and many more. All of these while losing it with the rest of our fandom on Twitter and Instagram.
I felt so grateful for being seen and heard in a community for the first time ever.
The nature of social media makes having interactions and building connections easy. Just a click on the follow button, and you are bound to be friends.
What I like the most about being in fandoms is that, at a certain point, one of your followers or friends, a fellow fan just like yourself, could be your very best friend. Casual conversations about your interests can turn into a personal, heart-to-heart exchange.
Khasha is that person for me. We befriended each other on Twitter back in 2014, and I really did not see this friendship coming. Although we followed each other for quite some time, we had never had any conversations. Not until one day that she decided to reply to one of my Tweets. We instantly became inseparable. To me,
Now, it has been almost 10 years since we have known each other, and I can say that she is my only true friend. We know every little detail in each other’s lives like it’s our own.
Friends for Life
I have had many friends throughout my life. But none of the friendships is as deep and sincere as the one with Khasha.
My friendship with Khasha is beyond the limit of the screens. Being two kids that live too far away from each other, meet-ups were never an option. Despite that, we always make sure to keep in touch. Not a day passed that we didn’t talk to each other.
Our first meeting back in 2019.
When my beloved grandfather passed away due to heart failure, she was the first person I looked for, even though we had never met. It was an extremely devastating moment for me because he was very close to me. At that time, Khasha was the only person aside from my family members that I allowed to comfort me. None of my friends knew about it but Khasha. Even just through phone calls, I was so comforted by her words.
“It’s okay to cry,” she said during one of them, “just know that he’s off to a better place now.”
A Happy & Safe Place
To this day, I can’t live a day without at least saying hello to my online friends. They are a part of my life now. Just like a home, I always come back to them.
It comforts me so much to know that there is a place where I can actually do what I want to do and be the person I want to be despite the personality that I was born with.
My introvertedness has always been the number one issue that hinders my voluble self from flourishing. Though just within this virtual proximity, I can now at least talk as much as I wish. It was a lonely journey for me before, unable to escape my own little shell. But through this community of fans, I instantly knew I had a place where I truly belonged.
My safe space. My fandom.