I am often the quietest person in any room.
Without a doubt, I’m an introvert. I prefer to listen rather than speak, and I’ll only open my mouth when I believe I have something valuable to add to the conversation.
This hasn’t always benefitted me in life.
It has stopped me from raising my hand in the school classroom, even when I knew the answer. It has hindered me from engaging with men who have been trying to talk to me on random nights out in bars, even if I was intrigued by or attracted to them. And there have been many times where I’ve censored myself out of fear of being wrong, or looking like a fool.
But here’s what it has given me.
Emotional intelligence. Confidence in standing alone. Empathy. Understanding. Sensitivity.
The ability to read a room of people, and their energies. The gift of making anyone feel truly seen and heard; simply by being fully present with them, and listening. An abundance of knowledge and insight from taking everything in, and learning from the people around me. The realisation that most people talk out of fear of silence, and stillness. And the knowing that most people prematurely underestimate and write off the quietest person in the room.
She doesn’t have anything to say.
She’s meek, weak, and passive.
I want to be around the loud, laughing, exuberant ones.
So they write you off, they cast you out, and they don’t really pay you much attention from that moment on.
But that’s your loss, not mine.
I won’t change who I am and raise my voice; begging you to see me. I won’t leave the safety of my shell, if you do not make me feel warm and welcome. And I refuse to validate your belief that anybody worth knowing is an in-your-face extrovert.
I am often the quietest person in any room. And I like it that way. I enjoy feeling, watching, listening. I love deep and intimate, one on one conversations, over surface-level chat. And I love discovering anything and everything about who someone is, where they dream of going, and what their soul came here to do.
It takes me a little while to warm to you, to open myself to you, and to feel safe in your presence. But when I do, I don’t hold back. And you’ll feel that warmth, like an embrace from your oldest, dearest friend; and you’ll forget that we just met tonight, a handful of hours ago. You will feel seen and held and like your soul is home for the first time in a long time.
Only the ones who decide to linger a while, peel back the layers, and are genuine in their ways, will get to see me; all of me, along with all of my gifts.
Being the quietest person in the room is not something to run away from. It is not an undesirable thing, the way the loud ones would have you believe. It is a gift. And it is not celebrated or recognised or desired the way it should be.
We are a world that is afraid of our own silence, and stillness. So we don’t stop. We don’t stop moving, or talking, or doing. Because if we did, we’d have to confront the stillness, and the silence, and the voices that lurk in our shadows. So we keep moving and talking and doing. And we criticise and shun the ones who appear to have found peace in the silence and stillness. Perhaps it’s fear, jealousy, or an inability to relate.
But forget the reason, because the reason does not matter.
What matters is that you stay true to who you are, and know that you are you for a reason. And all of the things you may have been taught to be weaknesses and limitations within you, are actually some of your greatest gifts. Listening, feeling, empathising. Finding peace in a storm. Embracing the stillness and the silence.
I am often the quietest person in any room. But do not mistake this for weakness or meekness. Because I am strong, like an ancient tree rooted deep in the earth. I am beauty, like patiently waiting for a pink peony to bloom before your very eyes. And I am magic; like a door you’ve read about in fairy tales, opening into something wilder than you can begin to dream of.
Never underestimate the quietest woman in the room.