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How To Embrace Being an Introvert

February 16th, 2017 at 2:00am

Shyness is often judged by society as a negative personality trait. I’ve been told “just be more outgoing.” But, as an introvert, it’s a part of who I am. Being shy doesn’t mean I’m unconfident or insecure. It means that I like to observe, take the time to know people, am introspective, and care about my own feelings.

When I was young, I immediately knew I was an introvert. I was super quiet, so it was hard to make friends in kindergarten. My dad is a photo hobbyist and he loved to document my childhood. Back then, I never liked getting my photo taken. It felt like I was in the spotlight and I rather be behind the camera instead.

High school was a stepping stone toward building my self esteem. I was one of those people who walked down the halls looking down at the floor. But for four years, I was in  instrumental band and played the saxophone. I experimented with my self-expression through fashion and beauty. In Grade 11, I dyed the tips of my hair green (well, it was supposed to be blue, but that’s another story).

Music and film have inspired me to stay true to myself. My favorite foreign film is Amélie because I identified with the main character, Amélie Poulain so much. There’s a scene when she’s at the movie theater on a Friday night and turns around to watch the audience members’ happy expressions as well, notice the little details on screen that no one else sees.

Dating is even more weird, awkward, and nerve-wracking as an introvert. I’m the worst at flirting and first dates. I’ve tried swiping on Tinder and the thought of making the first move makes me anxious. Shura is a British musician and her lyrics make me feel like we’re on the same wavelength. It’s as if she took my inner monologue and produced a song out of it. For example in “2Shy” she says, “It’s taken me so long, maybe I’m just too shy to say it. We could be more than friends, maybe I’m just too shy.” To be honest, I’ve never been in a serious relationship before. I’m a very independent person because I was brought up as an only child. Personally, I rather let it happen unexpectedly, than go out searching for love.

Looking back when I started my freshman year at Ryerson University, it was refreshingly easy to make new friends. In fact I met fellow CollegeFashionista Style Guru, Sam Yohannes, on the first day of frosh week. We both were nervous but immediately connected because we were both in journalism and shared the love for indie music. My time at Ryerson has pushed my boundaries to get out of my comfort zone—I’ve interviewed strangers on the street, reported on broadcast video, and encountered so many talented students on campus.

Interning for CollegeFashionista has helped me become more confident and photogenic. This community has embraced my interest in fashion journalism and given me the opportunity to be myself. I feel surrounded by positive and encouraging people. Without lovely Style Gurus such as Sam Yohannes, Robyn Bell, Ally Scandolo, and Amanda Skrabucha, I wouldn’t have my rad Toronto-based #GuruGang.

My advice for anyone is to do what works for you. It’s okay to want to be alone, chilling at home because you built this life for yourself, and it should be celebrated. Our early 20s is the time where we’re on our own and being happy alone is learning how to love yourself.