The Introvert Inside: My Journey of Discovery

Robin Lofton

Hi and thanks for reading my story. (Or thanks for listening to my story if you are listening to the podcast.) As an introvert, I don’t always find it easy to share information about myself but I’ve learned how to open up, to speak up for the greater good, which in this case is how I went from being a wanna-be extravert to a proud and self-accepting introvert.

I was born in California into a family of lawyers—yes, my parents were (still are) both lawyers. I was the younger of two siblings. Our family dinners had lots of discussion about politics, history, current events and, of course, the law. I was subject to the Socratic method at our family meals for as long as I can remember. But while I found that the subject matter was very interesting to me—I loved history and politics—I often found myself reflecting and thinking about the subject matter rather than participating in the discussion. I actually wanted to become a writer so I spent a lot of time absorbed deep into books, analyzing the language and use of imagery. And I spent even more time writing. I wrote my first book when I was 8 years old—a book about different kinds of sharks. My mother still has that book!

I have always enjoyed my solitary pursuits. Beyond reading and writing, I would take long walks in nature. Often I went by myself, which worried my parents. I took up photography and spent hours in the dark room developing pictures (yes, it was that long ago!) So that’s how I spent my childhood: playing piano, taking long walks, reading and writing. Did I have friends? Sure. I had several good friends. I was even friends with THE most popular girl in school but guess what? I didn’t really enjoy spending time with her so much because she was always surrounded by large groups of other girls. My closest friend was someone just like me. We were a close duo—and it was mostly just the two of us.
I had always dreamed of being a writer. I wanted a quiet cottage in the countryside to write all day then walk down to the village post office and mail my work. That was my vision. For a short time, I left this vision and decided that I wanted to be a forest ranger. I wanted to live in a cabin in the forest, walk among nature, talk with a few people and spend time with my German Shepherd Dog.

But I was under intense pressure to become a lawyer. And yes I did go to law school. I enjoyed the mental gymnastics, legal reasoning and analysis and basically living at the library. But I didn’t like the study groups, being grilled by professors or the moot court antics that the other students craved. I liked my solitary pursuits. By then I was travelling a lot—again–by myself. Studying late into night—by myself. And still copiously reading for enjoyment.

Jump ahead to meeting my husband (who is a lawyer) and becoming a mother. While I liked the other parents, I found myself cringing at being invited to another play date where I would spend hours listening to the other mothers discuss their perfect husbands and children. My “aha!” moment came when I was invited to a parents’ wine evening. I liked the people but I discovered that I was not enjoying the evening. I was desperate to leave but I had received a ride from another mom who was clearly enjoying herself. I suffered through that evening even though the people were friendly, intelligent and welcoming.

What was wrong with me?!

I wanted to know so I started doing research—research was one of my favorite solitary pursuits—and I found a book (*this is the book link) that took my breath away.

So I finally got my answer: there is absolutely nothing with me!

I am an Introvert!

That explained why I was bored and exhausted from spending the evening with a large group of other parents.

That explained why I craved my free time to pursue my solitary activities like reading, writing and playing the piano.

That explained why I loathed the study groups in law school but preferred to spend long hours alone in the library.

That explained why I had one close friend rather than befriend the most popular girl in school who was surrounded by masses of adoring girls.

That explained everything!

Today, I can spot another introvert from a distance and I can spot a situation developing that will infringe upon my hard-won introversion. Today I can accept and appreciate that I am an introvert with great qualities, characteristics and charm. And today I can see that introverts are under enormous pressure to be extraverts—and the damage that it has caused me and is continuing to cause other female introverts. Today, I can proudly proclaim, “I AM AN INTROVERT!”

It might be cliché to think that one thing (like an event or a book) can change a person’s life. But it happened to me. And my life changed from that moment onwards. *Link to book here

So, I want my story, my journey, to be a message of growth and evolution. And I want this website to be a place of discovery, inspiration and empowerment for all introverts!