What Does Hair Have to Do With Introversion?
by Guest Writer Vena Moore
I am an introvert: a personality trait that is often misunderstood and/or disliked in our society. Western culture generally gears toward extroversion and our institutions extol and praise extroverted traits. People often stereotype us as shy and anti-social but for many of us, we are not shy at all. Shyness and introversion are not the same, though a lot of people think they are because shy people and/or introverts are often less social than the extrovert idea of “normal.” Let’s explore the following: What is a shy person? What is an extrovert? What is an introvert?
Contrast: Shyness, Introversion and Extroversion
Shy people are anxious or frightened or self-excoriating in social settings; introverts generally are not. Extroverts draw their energy from being around other people and hate being alone. Introverts draw their energy from within themselves and usually are fine with being alone, as being around other people for long stretches drains them. Many extroverts, tend to like being the center of attention and do not mind huge crowds. Bot of which have a tendency to make introverts cringe. Introverts prefer to deal with others one on one or in a small group. There isn’t anything wrong with being one or the other, it’s just that our brains are wired a little differently. Yet because introverts are not as readable or easy to know, extroverts may unknowingly suggest introverts that something is wrong with them. They believe that if the introvert were more like their extroverted counterparts, they would be happier.
Now About the Hair
I see profiles of newly natural and veteran natural women all the time. The common denominator seems to be that the reasons they went natural is because their voluminous hair seemed to suit their personality and their outgoing lifestyle. Where does that assessment leave introverted naturals? Since I don’t have a gregarious personality to go along with my hair, I have to wonder if people think that natural hair does not suit me. Do people sometimes equate big or curly hair with a big personality? Honestly, there were times when I nearly went back to relaxers because I was not sure if I was confident enough to wear my hair the way it grew out of my scalp.
Uneducated comments from people who don’t understand natural hair can easily wear a person down if they are not prepared. It did not take long for me to learn that to confidently wear my natural hair, I had to transition my mind as well as my hair. Confidence isn’t reserved for extroverts. It can be manifested, learned and built upon no matter where you are on the personality spectrum.
I also have to say that being introverted with the kind of hair that isn’t widely accepted can draw attention to yourself that you may not necessarily want. Speaking only for myself, it is sometimes exhausting to answer questions about how I got my hair to look the way it does. I either get blank stares or exclamations that the person asking could never go natural because they don’t have “good hair.” Imagine how off-putting it is to have people just reach out to touch your hair, often without asking permission. It’s not in my nature to seek the spotlight. But because some view our hair as a novelty, it can draw a lot of attention in certain circles. I still haven’t found effective ways to deal with this issue. Are certain textures more suitable for certain personalities? I wonder.
Ms. Vena Moore is a Native New Yorker in her mid 40’s trying to stay sane in an insane world. She has worked in the managed care industry for 14 years and writes in her spare time, often to keep her sanity and to better organize and process her thoughts in a society that moves quicker than she’d like.