Birthday parties. Bar mitzvahs. Graduations. Reunions. Weddings. The blank squares of my calendar disappear beneath scribbles of purple Sharpie ink. Let’s face it: social occasions happen. There’s no avoiding them (well, at least not all of them). The extroverts of my life, bless their social hearts, keep planning these events. I’m fond of a few of these gregarious souls, so I make an appearance every so often to keep them happy.
This past year, my camera has become my BFF, my steady, my plus-one. With my camera around my neck, I suddenly become a person with a purpose—which, paradoxically, renders me a person of non-interest. Ah. She’s here to take pictures.
Poof. Suddenly, I vanish—an acutely pleasurable sensation for me. I like to watch. I like to listen. I eavesdrop with my eyes and ears, and if I’m lucky, I catch a bit of beauty here and there with my lens. My camera allows me to be part observer, part participant. It does the talking for me, without saying a word. I’m present. I’m connected. In my way.
I have always especially loved faces. As a child, I spent hours locked in my room drawing portraits of people that only I could see—scores of imaginary people who filled my mind. As an adult, I find I reach less for my pencil and far more for my camera.
The camera is a magic pass, giving my introvert self access to faces—and their respective souls—without the need for too much exhausting chitchat.
I have never seen an ugly face.
And when faces become too much (as they inevitably do for me), there’s always something unexpected that beckons for a closer look, an unconventional vantage point, or a new perspective. Objects transform into subjects all around me if I simply stay still.
Being still: my introvert superpower. Stillness and patience pay off, behind my lens. The camera grounds me in place and time, and for that, I am grateful. Behind the camera, I remember to breathe. I remember it takes quiet to hear, and it also takes quiet to see.
This article originally appeared on QuietRev.com.
You can find more insights from Quiet Revolution on work, life, and parenting as an introvert at QuietRev.com.