I wasn't always a quiet black girl. In fact, I used to be the class clown, the loudest girl in the room, the center of attention and I loved it. Talking wasn't difficult and I could form a conversation from just about any topic. The 11-year-old loud, talkative me and the 20-year-old, severely introverted me are two different people. I almost don't even recognize myself as I grew older. With anxiety and depression taking over my life and affecting my drive to socialize, it raised a real question in my head. Why are black women judged so much for being quiet?

Being an introvert

Though I used to enjoy socializing, I've always been a bit of an introvert.

Socializing has always been something great, in the moment, but exhausting in the end. I never wanted to be around people more than I had to, and I certainly never wanted to be in a large group of people. Being the center of attention felt equivalent to a death sentence. Forget about going to any kind of function. I was always the quiet girl in every class, event or situation. Even through all of this, I never looked at being introverted as a problem, because everyone has different personality types, right? Wrong.

I never thought of being introverted as a problem, until I realized it was an issue to everyone around me. I've heard many say that I seemed mean, standoffish, and angry. People were clearly intimidated by me, and more times than not, people thought this about me until we had a conversation.

I never understood why I was being judged this way by people. I never understood why I suddenly was being looked at as this nasty, aggressive person. I didn't have a mean bone in my body, and I certainly was never a person who was nasty on purpose, so why was I being treated this way?

Understanding microaggressions and stereotypes

The thoughts of my teenage self never made sense until I became aware of the stereotypes placed on black women. Admittedly, as a teenager, I was naive and unaware of just how much scrutiny black women came under on a daily basis. The 'angry black woman' stereotype is tacked onto any black woman who's not constantly bubbly and smiling.

The stereotype and assumption that we're constantly angry or ready to attack is ingrained into the minds of many, including our own race.

Being quiet brings the assumption of being bougie, or thinking you're too good to talk to others. Even worse, there's the thought that you're trying to be white or that you dislike being black. For years, I struggled with these stereotypes. Questions and doubt ran through my head... What if I wasn't being black enough?

Stereotypes don't have to define me

Today, I've come to realize that being black is not a monolith. No one can take my race away from me. Being a black woman has always been an empowering experience for me, and I should have never doubted that.

I am aware that stereotypes hit black women where other races aren't hit.

Being quiet is a romanticized and attractive quality in white girls, while it is misconstrued as angriness in Black Girls. For years, it killed me inside because I knew I wasn't an angry person.

Today, I know I'm a great person. Yes, I'm introverted. No, it's not a bad thing. Yes, I'm black. No, that doesn't mean I'm angry.