A Quiet Girl Living In A Loud World

Guest Post by
Nadine Tomlinson

Nadine Tomlinsonhttp://nadineatomlinson.wordpress.com/

According to the Jung Typology Test, I’m an INFJ. It means that I’m a part of that group of introverts making up one-third to half of the U.S. population, as stated in a Forbes article dated January 30, 2012, “So Begins a Quiet Revolution of The 50 Percent.” I’m Jamaican, but I’m willing to accept that the research also applies to me. Yet, it was only some years ago that I finally accepted, and made peace with this important aspect of myself.

I’m “quiet.”

Let’s regard the word “quiet” for a moment. It has several meanings, depending on the context in which it’s used: “free from anger, impatience, or other extreme emotion”; “the state of being silent, peaceful, or untroubled.” While I was growing up, being quiet meant something completely different. My perception was that some folks equated it with being queer, but not in the derogatory sense. Then I had a mini-awakening during a panel interview at college, shortly before my graduation. After listening to the comments from the other panellists, my Head of Department concluded her own speech with five simple, but unforgettable words: “Nadine has a quiet strength.

Now I already had that inner knowing, but the external message that I was queer had obscured my vision of the beauty of my particular make-up. When I reconnected with that truth, self-acceptance followed. Today, I’m not even focused on the label “introvert.” I appreciate all its nuances and facets, especially as they impact on my writing life. My ideas and creative expression arise from a rich inner life. Nevertheless, the label “introvert” doesn’t limit or define me. Knowing and living this truth has helped me to accept another fact that still challenges me.

Quiet girl by Moi CodyI live in a “loud” world.

What does it mean to live in a world in which 50 to 75 per cent of the masses is extroverts, and slogans encourage us to “live out loud”? During my earlier years, it was wrought with painful experiences. Today, it’s a comedy-drama, at best.

One interesting thing I’ve discovered about living in a “loud” world is that the extroverted people in my life possess an energy that grounds me. As a writer, I tend to live frequently in my head, which can be both a good and not-so-great thing. For that reason, I avoid becoming too insular by engaging in diverse activities. This grounding also has a magnetic effect by attracting my tiny extroverted side, and reinforcing a key ingredient in my life – balance. After all, none of us is 100% introverted or extroverted. Moreover, my outgoing loved ones and colleagues are comfortable with confiding in me, because a) I listen (sometimes that’s all I do) without judgment, and b) they know that I’m as silent as the grave. I benefit, too, in that I’m learning to be a more patient and compassionate listener.

Personal experience and observations have taught me that our culture values the extroverted among us. This no longer disheartens me, because I know who I am. I know that I can use my gifts and creativity to add value to this world. Now I can live authentically, and not allow myself to be overwhelmed any longer by those who don’t understand my silence. Today, I understand that “quiet” and “loud” lie at opposite ends of the same spectrum.

And that knowing has made all the difference.

© 02/08/2013

All Rights Reserved, Nadine Tomlinson

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Photo by Moi Cody

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  1. susan troccolo

     /  February 12, 2013

    As another INFJ and a writer, I enjoyed your perceptive piece. We seem to be getting our share in the press these days. About time. I’ve noticed a couple of things: for every two days of being out in the world, I seem to require one day that is just quiet, (if possible) and that I honor the gift of being a confidant to others. Even strangers tell me their stories unbidden. If I can hold them quietly without identifying with them, I can hear those stories–sometimes difficult ones–and not be bound or harmed in any way. What was it the Dalai Lama said? Something about “participating joyfully in the sorrows of the world.”

    • Susan, thank you for reading Nadine’s post and for your warm and insightful comments! I am somewhat of a combination between an extrovert and an introvert. Like you, there is only so much of the world I can absorb at once; but I do enjoy getting out & about. I think of myself, sometimes, like a turtle. I enjoy taking refuge in my shell; but I also value popping out, from time to time, to enjoy the sunlight. Have a beautifully blessed day and hope to see you back soon! Sloan

    • Nadine

       /  February 12, 2013

      Hi, Susan! So nice to meet another INFJ. I agree with you. Solitude IS very important to me, too. Being a confidant is also an honour, because of the trust that others place in us. I’m glad you enjoyed my post. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. Nadine, thank you again for this wonderful post! I DO believe it will help and inspire many people. Blessings, Love & Light to you, my Fabulous Friend!

  3. Nadine

     /  February 12, 2013

    Thank YOU! It’s my pleasure and honour. xxx

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