Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Arrogance In Quietness

When I was a child, our family would travel to Chicago to visit relatives every summer. All of the kids would sleep in the basement at my grandmother's house. There were three beds in the basement, a desk, a Ping-Pong table, a dining table, a washer and dryer, shelves full of knickknacks, a large freezer, an old sink, and lots of treasures stashed away. There was plenty to explore down there. I liked this. When everyone left to spend their days above, I was grateful to sometimes have the basement to myself.

While exploring down there one summer, I came across a journal that my aunt had written (though I didn't realize it was my aunt's at the time). Among other things she'd penned, one of the things that I remembered most was a comment about my grandmother's opinion towards quietness.

"Ma told me not to be so quiet," she wrote. "She says that people who don't talk act like they're better than everyone else."

This stuck with me for a long time. I didn't understand my grandmother's opinion, especially since my experience had proven the opposite. I always felt that people saw me as inferior because I didn't say much. It was interesting to me that there could be opposing perspectives. At some point, I wrote about this experience in my own journal.

And, of course, karma would demand that my journals would also be invaded at some point. My mom, possibly the nosiest person ever, somehow found a way to read my journals no matter where I hid them. One day, she saw my notes about my grandmother's opinion, and she tried to convince me that it wasn't so. I didn't really need convincing, though. I loved my grandmother, and I held no grudges against her, regardless of her opinion. Though nice of my mom, I suppose, she needn't have tried to protect me. People have different perspectives, and it was important for me to know that. Whereas many times I felt like the world was against me, or against quiet people, apparently others felt the opposite -- that quiet people were against the rest of the world.

Gaining perspective doesn't really solve anything, but it sometimes helps to temper your views of the world. Instead of wondering why everyone treats you like you're doing something wrong, you begin to wonder why everyone (including yourself) has it all wrong.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Introversion Spectrum

Today I read an article that reinforces an idea I've had about myself and about introversion for a long time.  The idea is that there is a scale to introversion, and that it may fall within the same line as autism and Asperger's Syndrome.  This matches up well with my own experiences, perceptions and studies of psychology.  I've felt for many years that my personality has much in common with Asperger's, and that I wouldn't need to travel very far along this spectrum before finding myself in that territory.

This is what I mean when I call myself an extreme introvert.  There are varying levels of introversion, and I guess I'd place myself at more of a "medium-well" to "well done" level.

This is from the article at Psychology Today:
... Grimes posits that introversion is not the opposite of extroversion, but that they are two different traits altogether. And she proposes something that has come up here from time to time: That introversion actually is on the autism scale.

Grimes' thesis explains that if you take each of the factors this new model proposes and follow it along a continuum to their most extreme expressions, they correlate with the widely used Baron-Cohen Autism Spectrum Quotient.

Depending on how much we have of each factor  (and how they interact with other personality traits), we can be simply introverted or, moving along the continuum, have Asperger's syndrome or, moving further yet, have autism.

A Compelling Theory About Introversion, Extroversion, and Autism
from the blog, The Introvert's Corner

It's an interesting theory. And, even better, it fits in nicely with my tagline!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Words That Find Their Way Out

... Sebastian, who might be brilliant, was also terminally soft-spoken. He wore a beard that obscured his mouth, which Chris took as emblematic: the words that found their way out were sparse and generally difficult to interpret.

Excerpt from Blind Lake
by Robert Charles Wilson

Side note: Growing up, I know that this quote represents how I was often perceived. Even now, I'm often seen this way: soft spoken. People sometimes equate this as a lack of confidence. I think it's more a lack of practice (with perhaps a lack of interest thrown in). If you don't often make conversation, sometimes you forget how to regulate your voice.