[The photography shows a desk in which there are some books on the left and a lamp on the right surrounded by candles and a camera. In the foreground we can see a tablet opening Webex and a notebook with a pen and a highlighter].
“Just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world” — Journey
Being introverted in such a loud world is a difficult thing. While working, we are all required as individuals to actively participate by raising our hands and joining conversations, but what do you do when fear creeps its way inside? How many times have you prepared yourself and the words to say just to stop for fear of sounding dumb? More often than not, it is always when you gather the strength to speak up that the topic is changed, and your opinions and comments are no longer relevant.
In my own time in Edinburgh, I have noticed that my introversion has got worse, and this is partially due to the online environment. Online classes are tricky and participating sometimes can be a real struggle. As a foreigner living in another country, language is a constant problem; or accent should I say. The problem is not my knowledge of the language but the fear of being judged. As a foreign person, I am highly aware of my capabilities and my accent and I think many foreigners can relate to this. How many times would you have liked to say something but didn’t because you felt judged? Our message is not being heard but our accent is being analysed and therefore, our abilities with the language questioned.
In a world that values social skills, introverts truly struggle with the overwhelming anxiety that speaking in public produces. It is hard to be labelled by your accent, but even more hurtful to be limited by others because of it. It is difficult because you are left unable to defend yourself whilst an extroverted person could step forward and defend their place and call out such opinions. Your capabilities will be questioned undeservingly; no matter how much knowledge or experience you have, these will not be enough. Moreover, this can bring you to self-doubt your own skills even more. In my own experience, I have been learning English for most of my life and I majored in English Studies which involves linguistics, phonetics, literature and history. However, my accent apparently labels me with the inability or impossibility to carry out certain tasks.
It is up to me to work through this and accept both flaws and limitations, but I will be the only one standing between them and my aspirations. So, working through introversion is my fight, which little by little and with the encouragement of supportive groups can be accomplished. My accent is something that I will need to accept — having an accent does not make me less capable, it makes me competent in different languages. I believe that the stigma that surrounds introverts and linguistic diversity needs to be broken by both introverts and extroverts. Let’s deconstruct our speech and thoughts and assess the meaning of our discourse while listening to those who are not as loud.