Somewhere Between An Introvert and Open Introvert
Books have the tendency to drag every vulnerable soul into their sublime world that blooms between its pages. While everyone who chooses to read is attracted, a few happen to remain attached to and trapped in that place. The world in which they live begins to overshadow the outside world they exist. It begins take every space of their sphere, and it spreads to every corner. The outside world begins to feel awkward because you become an alien to it. You become a species of another place. Only in words and the chatters of mind do they find themselves at home. A new story begins from here on.
The world we’re taking about is well known as Introversion, its residents: Introverts. Now it is difficult to say if some are already destined to be such sober souls, and were always meant to be such compact — because in my case I can’t remember how I was before I got into reading. Books are tunnels in which you enter as a raw soul and come out carved into a soul of definite identity.
Parallel to introversion, the other category to which most of the crowd belongs is extroversion. Loud, outspoken and often the leading community — Extroverts.
I began my journey through these phases from a library. My school library. While strolling through the wooden chocolatey book shelves, I happened to stumble upon a book of fine cover and an intriguing design. And The Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini. Here I might say that I did judge the book by its cover. The paperback was smooth, and it somehow resembled home. It gave me a sense of belonging, that I belonged within these pages. A calling. The aura of its fragrance seemed to drowse me in its lure. I was magnetised to this piece of beauty. And all being realistic, I was going through all this subconsciously. I recognize that feel. I do.
And so, there begin my journey. I picked up a dictionary, chose a lone room and went from one page to another page with short little pauses staring at the ceiling contemplating what I had just read, amazed by what a book can make you feel, impressed by what a writer can do. I was a child of consciousness, I was being amazed at every magic of the author. I was awed, I was grieved, I was gratified, and I was feeling alive.
I am far more glad that I chose reading at such vulnerable age that I was able to absorb what it had to radiate, and I am little dismayed that I read very little from then to now. I am sure that if I had read ample books in this phase, I wouldn’t have been able to escape the introversion. I assume I’d be rather a more dedicated poet. A little more from this false poet.
The world of staying confined within, of introversion, is often decorated by elements of misery for those who feel too much of everything. Since I had entered it, I began to live the miserable life then on. I suffered, I must say. My vulnerability increased many fold, and my sensitivity and openness to emotional attacks left me like a scared bird. I began to wither within myself. I would wonder to myself in distant thoughts ‘if I am always supposed to live like this or not. Is there a life beyond such dense sphere?’
Well, there is indeed a life beyond introversion. It’s surely a lot more open and loud and cheerful, but I ever doubt if it is as colourful as the previous one was, or as beautiful. Too much to say; very little to feel. In the sublime space, things were the other way around: you spoke a freckle and you hid the snowfall within. You shined a sparkle and you hid the fireworks within. You existed very less, and you lived a lot more.
But everything seems balanced in life. If it had so much meaning and content in it, it had its own thorns that delivered its own share of uneasiness. The fact that you existed a very little would sometimes bother. The fact that you had to swallow your words sometimes bothered. The feeling of being unheard bothered, and the state of being unable to speak out your love bothered a lot — because writing isn’t possible everywhere. Is it?
And so I began to resist such helplessness. I began to shake the dust I had been enwreathed in and I chose to walk and run. I opened my eyes, I shook loudly to shed the soberness. The era of escape began. Slowly, step by step, passing through lakes of emotions I continued to walk.
I began to introspect. The first step. I asked myself questions. Perhaps the phase of know thy had already been over, for every question I asked there echoed back answers. Answers that would speak to me, answers that’d show me the way out. The more I questioned, I more I knew about myself. I crawled out of the sphere of no identity. I began to identity myself. And after so much of introspection, I spoke. I began to speak what what would otherwise be gulped down right from the mouth. My tongue danced to my thoughts, and the channel of waves carried out what had been roaming aimlessly in my conscience for ages. I smiled to the tingling ecstasy of such escape. Though today I do not see any reason, but I felt like a bird out of cage then. I felt like a swan taking off from an abandoned city. I must have whispered at times “freedom! freedom”. Indeed it felt like freedom approaching. I began to flow out of the compactness like thick honey. I made my way out, to meet with already a doomed place.
All the glory lied only from the cage to the exit, outside you’d only meet with an unseen grotesqueness, disguised in meanness, hatred and lifelessness. The fact that no one here felt things with so much sensitivity like in my previous place was a huge setback . Even worse, I began deteriorate like the same. The vividness of everything around began to fade. I couldn’t distinguish what I came across with the same lucidity any more. But where lied the relief was the nature of change and time. The unnoticeable turns of it. Things changed liked how you’d see everything if you were anesthesiated. Within heavy blinks, things began to transform beyond recognition. And I lied somewhere like an exact patient. Helpless, and twitching in a sting of regret. A homesickness for previous state. A desire to walk back on a way that had faded away. As lost as a leaf falling from a tree to the ground, swirling and waving and falling — only to depths with no surface.
Then I let go of myself. I quit any further resistance. My conscience went for a long sleep. I roamed around like an alien for some time, until the morning came. The morning of good news, of having accustomed to a new place. Of returning to yourself, but to a new person. I realised that I had blended. Forgetting everything of the past I began afresh. A new member to the family; the family of a wretched house.
Unsolicited emotions, brought in existence by the very ugly nature of men, grew here like lichens grew on rock, with strong stubborn grip and persistent for ages: Greed, Ego, Hatred, and a subtle one: Apathy.
From the greed to look good to the greed of feeling good. Greed of power to the greed of dominance.
Greed greed everywhere, not a single breed to hear! Ugh.
Somewhere in the shadow of these lurked another member, the master of its own will: ego. We know that the world is built amid these factors; enslaved by them. I fell prey to these too.
The thing with such dark emotional smogs is that you do not realise when is your skin gathering layers of them. Not until it has penetrated your behaviours and overtaken your habits. Now even if you change your psychology, even if your curb ego out of your mind they lurk in habits for so long. They stick into them so strongly that the next difficult thing to attain an ideal state becomes shedding these two: mainly ego and greed. Because now your mind doesn’t control them, they control you. They control how you behave and speak. They enslave you.
But still the good news is that at least you’re aware of their presence. The first step is to know your enemy, and I know mine very well.
While today I am at the verge of entering some other state of neutrality, these two still clings to me.
Greed when I talk of is nothing about materialistic lust or a greed for riches. It is again in the same greed in being an undefeatable human that had me distorted at some point. The greed of becoming an intellectual knight.
Ego, when I speak of is sadly the very ego that we’re aware of. A sense of self importance, but I assure what remains is only habitual. My mind is cleansed. By the way, you can tell a lot about a man from the language of his mind i.e. his writing.
I happily began to walk under a new banner of humans. Yes I managed to find happiness after all. I was at peace with myself. I had almost forgot about what I was, and if I even miss those. Then I stumbled upon some people. A few people who reminded me of my being. Who were exactly in those phases that I had escaped. Who were still touched by a compact beauty. Who were amused by the slightest of wonder. I looked at them, and I began to feel a sense of envy. How they surrounded themselves with words of poetry, and muses of writing. I began to feel they lived a far better and, indeed a colourful life than we did. What stung even severe was that a voice that said ‘You were the same too. You used to be like them but you changed yourself. Now there’s no going back. Suffer like a lost soul.’
These thoughts often put me in a nondestructive distress. A strong homesickness. A craving to feel like old.
The level of pain rose when I foolishly began to walk back. I tried to walk on a path that couldn’t be seen, and that could easily break. In that phase I suffered, because I belonged nowhere. Neither my new home, neither my old place.
It took days for me to escape such abyss. Multiple such tries, followed by the same pain followed by a magical recovery assured me that everything is transient. Nothing lasted forever, neither pain nor comfort.
I finally let go. It felt like letting my clenched fist, bruised by trying to hold change, set free. The wounds were healed by the touch of air. Acknowledging the truth finally gave me solace: that there is no going back, and it is neither worth going back. Life is walk ahead, and only ahead.
The marvels that folded as I rose high climbing the stairs of life were truly astonishing. The sense of acceptance. The ability to understand, and not judge. Change again greeted me.
Things do not hurt me so easily as of now, and I know that I’m a little less of human than before. But I also know that such rigidness is necessary for stable existence. For a life with less misery.
The manipulative power of my mind to manipulate its own thoughts is something that I consider my superpower. I have literally calmed my heart from physical chaos to peace in conscious approach of my thoughts and my feelings. I have let go off a lot of things that caused distress and corroded me from within: most of them my own stances and mindsets. I inched a lot more towards the ideal peace of mind, but somewhere mid way I lost my track. The path to walk further simply faded away, and now I have began to walk sideways like a vagabond wanderer. And I have stumbled upon so many places and states of being that figuratively I am sitting somewhere beneath a calm tree. I do not struggle anymore. I loosen my body out of every tension the muscle feels out of its rigidness, and know I aspire to conform like water. The lost way seems to have brought me to an even ripened version of the path that I’ve been walking on. I know it is the passage of time and the ageing, sometimes like wine that I am in this state of no complaints but I look no further for more reasons. I am just being. And soon I shall wither away like the petals of a flower, and my place shall never be found away. Gone with the wind. Gone with the time.