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The life of an introvert: An interview with Maria; Student & Slow Life Advocate – #CommunityMonth

Yay – welcome to the third interview of this very special introvert community month!

This month, I’m going to introduce you to four wonderful introverts from all around the world who will share with you their stories and life experiences as introverts. This interview is the third interview of this whole series. If you missed the first two, please check out the Interview with Tasmin Lowe and the Interview with Franziska Marx aftward!

Let’s meet today’s guest: Maria!

Instagram: @theportuguesemary

Question: “Want to introduce yourself?”

Answer: My name is Maria, I’m 18 years old, and I’ll soon be studying psychology at University. I’ve also been studying music alongside the regular school for eight years now. I live in Portugal. I love sewing – mostly historical fashion and embroidery-, I also love photography, cooking, and reading/ studying. I am also an advocate for a slower and simpler way of living and a fellow introvert!

Q: “Have you always known you were an introvert?”

A: No, I actually haven’t. For the most part of my life I have not identified myself as an introvert, although I do think it is due to my lack of knowledge regarding the terminology. In retrospect, I’ve always felt like I was a bit different to other girls. I was more reserved, not good at talking with people (in social contexts), and not such a great friendship maker – but because I’ve always needed and loved to be alone and to read, that was, if I recall well, out of my mind for the majority of the time. Only later, as an adult, I started to understand that this was not the norm. I actually only came across the term “introvert” much later – maybe four years ago – and I understood I could really relate to this term. Despite that, it still took me quite some time to do my research and understand that being an introvert can look very different. It comes in several “shapes and forms,” and it’s not a one size fits all kind of thing/designation. This was important for me because although I’m a nervous and sometimes awkward talker – mostly when regarding socializing with people – I do love to discuss specific topics in public and sometimes perform concerts and recitals. That being said, and although it brings me joy, I always find myself much more tired than most of my more extroverted colleagues and prefer to be at home and by myself.

Q: “Has being an introvert influenced your childhood?”

A: Yes, completely. I’ve always loved to be by myself, to read and study a lot throughout my childhood and as a young adult, and I recall never enjoying being with other people for long periods of time or with lots of people in general. Bullying was, unfortunately, a thing, and it has been until now, although I deal with it much better now, and I understand much better why people act this way. I also had problems with sharing personal things, thoughts, and feelings most of the time – mostly because I was a really private child. In truth, it was just a lot later that I learned how to create and nurture some more meaningful deep connections with friends when I grew older.

Q: “How does your daily life look like as an introvert?”

A: With time, I started to understand that I am happier and calmer when I’m less stressed, and that a simple life, the simple things, and simple habits are the ones that help me the most fulfill my heart. My daily life is often a mixture of routines that I know help me feel good — a schedule that helps me organize my day. Although I like to plan things and know that this helps me a lot with anxiety, I do make space for any changes when I need it. Resting for me is really important – as I can only be productive when well-rested – so I try to make sure I sleep well and sufficiently. I also understood with the time that when I start my day slowly and gently, everything else becomes easier, and my day runs a lot smoother; being around people can also be more manageable and less tiresome for me.

Q: “With what kind of situation do you struggle with the most?”

A: Mostly, being in new environments and when around lots of people. But being tired after school or after being outside of the house is also something that I struggle a lot with. When I started to learn playing the flute, I was also starting to struggle with stressful situations. Mostly situations that were connected to competitions that were putting me under pressure. As a highly sensitive person (HSP), it can also be hard to make new friendships as spending time with people can be stressful and tiresome sometimes. 

Q: “Have there been past experiences that helped you grow as an introvert?”

A: Having public performances on stage being part of my life for the past eight years actually made me learn a lot about several ways to calm yourself down, control your nervousness, and be confident. It taught me what actually works for me and what doesn’t! Also having theatre lessons. I was kind of terrible at it – mostly because of my nervousness, awkwardness, and shyness – but finding a loving community that supported my growth was great, and I taught me so much! Searching for new ways of expressing myself and my introverted heart has also been very beneficial.

Q: “With what kind of situations do you no longer struggle with?

A: I think I do still struggle with many things relating to confidence, nervousness, shyness, awkwardness, etc. Recently, I learned some new ways and strategies to help me deal with all that! I try to identify where my insecure feelings come from, which helps me whenever I come home and need to calm myself down. For me, the most effective change in my life and routine has been to switch to a simpler lifestyle – maybe this is not the answer for everyone! Putting myself out of my comfort zone has always – although being hard sometimes – been a blessing for me as well and helped me grow and understand myself better.

Q: “What advice would you give your younger self for situations that were uncomfortable?”

A: I would advise her not to ignore her feelings and feel all that she is experiencing. I would also tell her that everything is going to be fine and that the re-occurring tiredness she feels is normal and has a reason. Another thing I would tell her is that there’s nothing wrong with being and acting differently to others – even if people say so. It will turn out to be a blessing in the future!
Breathe in and breathe out. Don’t do things because you feel obligated to and focus on doing what you feel in your heart is the better and right choice for you.
It is better to have one true friend that ten you don’t feel comfortable with. Society is not always right, and you have the right to slow down and to live at your own pace and rhythm.

Q: “What do you wish for the future of our society regarding introverts?”

I would love to see more understanding surrounding us introverts, and it to be seen as an actual human personality trait and not a condition that needs treatment. I would love people to be more educated on this topic so that introverts and extroverts, as well as parents, are aware of it. I want people to know that it is a beautiful thing to be sensitive and awkward and different and that our inside world is just as important as their outside world.

Thank you so much Maria for letting us into your experiences and life as an introvert!

Do you want to reach out to Maria? Check out her Instagram @theportuguesemary and make sure to follow her account to get insights into her life and experiences as an introvert and Slow Life Advocate!

The next and last interview will be coming next weekend. Make sure you subcribed to my blog so you’ll be notified as soon as it’s up!

For more inspiration regarding personal growth as an introvert check out my social media (Instagram, Facebook or TikTok). I would really be thrilled to welcome you on all of my platforms and let you into my daily life as an introvert.

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