A little less introverted

Last time I was in the US, I presented a talk to a roomful of people who intended to hear me speak. And I delivered that presentation across four cities. It was a work thing and I, along with my colleagues, helped customers figure out better ways to use our product.

It wasn’t my first time, so I wasn’t as stressed as I thought I’d be. On my first time, however, I spent weeks sleepless, burning myself out, almost to the point of hallucinating. But even then I managed to stand my ground facing an audience of about 75-100.

And during yet another trip, I attended an event called ISTE. It was a global conference for educators, and my goal was to talk to as many people as possible, understand their pain points, and identify ways to pitch our product to them. I initiated conversations with hundreds of strangers without creeping them out.


I want to say I was tall and skinny at thirteen, but I wasn’t. I was short and quite plump, and I enjoyed school life. The internet wasn’t in my life then so I had plenty of time to spend watching cartoons, reading, musing about my life, and creating random verses I called poetry.

At seventeen, things had improved a little. I was online at last and made my first contact with the alien world of Facebook. Not long after, I set up this blog (thanks bro for naming it and paying for the domain). I soon transitioned from journal writing and self-pity poetry to more general writing. As if in an epiphany, I realised I could write about anything and with practice, become good at it. Every day became a hunt for a writing prompt, and I craved more to publish blog posts than to meet friends outside of school. Social life? Near non-existent.

How, regardless of all that, I landed a writing internship at nineteen is rather surprising. But I took it, and eight months later, joined the company as a marketing copywriter.


By the time I was twenty-two, I had presented in front of an American audience. For the first time, circumstances thrust me into a room full of people I’d never met before. And it was fine.

I’ve come a long way since my high school days of scrawling in my journal. From being a timid teenager who preferred to stay away from people, who believed the stereotypes of introversion and revelled in being one, I’ve seen a drastic change in myself.

I’m still an introvert. I sometimes even take the long way to avoid running into people or stay in on weekends instead of partying with friends. But I no longer try and fit myself into other people’s opinion of an introvert.

There’re countless articles online that try and decode an introvert’s behaviour, all the while enforcing new guidelines for being one.

My work life changed my perspective on introversion. Being forced to meet people, I learnt that I enjoy working with various personalities. I saw that I was even good at making lasting connections. “Understand the introvert” type of articles will tell you most writers are introverts, that we live in a bubble, and aren’t conversation starters. That’s not always true. I write for a living, and I don’t shy away from extending the first word, but that doesn’t make me any less of an introvert.

We all face apprehension in life. I did too when it came to communicating with people. Tying that to introversion is unwise to say the least.

Introvert or not, some people need time and exposure to become a better communicator. Simple as that.

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Game age

English teachers at the Mount High School stared at each other. “Methinks,” a student had opened her essay. She wasn’t the only one.

Although they mixed up thou and thee, all of a sudden students were making conscious, albeit tardy, efforts to converse in the ancient tongue. As if a great wave of archaism had swept over the school.

Perplexed, sixty-year-old Professor Henry questioned Timothy.

“Oh, we’re practising for this game—Speak like Socrates. Whoever speaks the longest wins an iPhone.”

Socrates was Greek, Henry wondered. But Tim had left. It wasn’t about the language. ‘Twas all about the game.

Need for Change

bench

“But everything would change the moment you say ‘I do,’” Becky pleaded with her sister. “Are you sure you’re ready for that?”

Belinda turned away from the mirror she had been admiring, to face her sister. She was tired, tired of waiting for the dust to settle down, tired of waiting for the one person who’d show her happiness again. Because despite fantasising much, Belinda knew she’d never be happy while she clung to her past, wallowing alone in the hallow house that her teenage daughter had hung herself in.

Belinda needed out, and Richard had a shiny green card.

To Be a Teenager

teenage

I once told my mother that I didn’t want her to be my friend. She was my mother, and I wanted her to be just that. But she had got it into her head from some hip self-help book that parents of teenagers should be their friends.

And I didn’t want that. After reading similar emotions on Quora, I realised I wasn’t the only one. And for good reason too.

Teenage is wonderful. It’s when we get to see the world in a new light, experience the pangs of attraction, affection, and even lust. It’s the time to roam around carefree and enjoy life for what it is.

Except, teenage is also when a child goes through a lot of things she doesn’t understand. Like the physical changes in her body, the unpronounceable hormones that show up from nowhere, attraction (or aversion) to people, and (goodness!) mood swings that are just too confusing to comprehend.

What’s more, we’re in the mobile era. The world expects teenagers to know everything; to discuss the latest tech buzz during dinner, finish a 30-inch essay in minutes, do some sort of sport, and break (even Olympic) records that they’ve never heard of before. The 21st century is not the teenager’s haven.

For a child starting out to navigate our conniving society, handle breakups and peer pressure, understand that mom and dad don’t talk to each other, and still perform well in school is too much of an ask.

Their heads are filled with emotions they can’t identify, thoughts they don’t know to express, and doubts they can’t clarify. They’d go to school happy and come back with a broken heart and no clue as to why they feel that way. Is it the teacher yelling at them for a silly grammar mistake, friends getting lunch without them, or that the cute boy in class hadn’t shown up that day? Anything could break their hearts. Because teenage is a myriad of hormones.

That’s why they need direction. They don’t need yet another friend to talk to because their friends have the same problems. What’s more, sometimes they don’t even trust friends.

Teenagers don’t need another friend in their parents. They need advice, instead. They want parents to teach them to handle a situation, not just acknowledge it — as friends do.

Children realise that their parents have already tackled the reins of teenage. And no matter how much they argue, complain, or swear at their parents for imposing a curfew after 10 pm, they know it’s for their good. Deep down, teenagers love their parents for those tiny rules because they know mom’s got their back. After all, a parent is always a stronger authority than a friend.

That’s why teenagers want parents to be parents. Because a mom who’s got her life sorted is motivation for a child to get her’s too.

I Looked at Her

I looked at her
as she lay in my bed
her eyes closed in peace
slumber I never knew
the curls of her hair
sway with blowing breeze
the blond of her curls
boiled jealousy in my veins
and while she lay there
unsuspecting, unknowing
and I there, all too knowing
I reached out, couldn’t help but,
a hand to caress her tresses
she remained still as a leaf
on a windless summer’s night
as I twisted a longing finger
through her summoning swirls
but she stayed immobile as always
darling dearest, my gift, my doll.