I am an introvert. Certified. Hardcore.
This COVID-19, though I hate and dread it as much as everyone else, has somehow saved me. You see, I spend a considerable part of my life dodging invitations to birthday parties, weddings, company team-building activities, Tupperware demos and pot lucks. In many Filipino parties, there are “parlor games” that everyone loves, but I totally hate. Being at a party is punishment enough for me, but being forced to participate in “fun” games—that is torture. “ Fun” games where you are forced to dance, to sing, to contort your body, to do a dare, and other acts that seem enjoyable to everyone else, but not to me.
Socialization and small talks exhaust me. Of course, I manage to engage in some meaningful catching up— and I do so sincerely. But I’m not hardwired to enjoy being with people. After a few minutes, I would squirm and feel so uncomfortable. The need to be alone is just so strong.
Then, came COVID-19—sweeping humans into quarantine. Isolation has become a common thing for everyone, not just for introverts like me. No parties. No get-togethers. No high school reunions. I am relieved somehow. With the pandemic, no invitations are coming my way. I no longer have to rack my brains to come up with an excuse why I can’t be there. And I am not put in a situation where I feel guilty for depriving truly kind people of my company. There are nice people out there who want to spend time with me, or who want to know me better. But because of my greater desire for privacy, I avoid them. Now, with the pandemic—people are already avoiding each other. There is relief in the sense that I don’t have to do the “avoiding”. There is no need to sneak out of a crowd because there is no crowd. The pandemic has eliminated the need for me to explain my silence and my distance.
That’s how this pandemic has saved introverts like me. But of course, I want this pandemic gone. I wish I would wake up tomorrow morning with everything back to normal. I would gladly go back to dodging invitations and inventing excuses in exchange for a healthier world. I would like to see concert halls filled with sweaty head bangers. I would like to see people partying again. I would like to see throngs sunbathing at the beach. With me watching from a distance. ( Marily Sasota Gayeta)