There’s an unintentional theme this week of animals who carry their homes on their backs. (See My Turtle Teacher on the Grandlife shelf!) Ton Mak’s A Turtle’s Guide to Introversion is a deep and delightful meditation inviting us to see the world through the eyes and soul of an introvert.
The world has a host of labels (dare I say judgements?) to describe our fellow humans for whom solitude is as necessary as air. For kicks, I looked up synonyms for “introverted” and “extroverted.” Thesaurus.com offered only nine synonyms for extroverted, none of which had a negative connotation. There were 20 synonyms for introverted, at least a quarter of which had a distinctly negative gloss.
Ton Mak’s sweet and charming illustrations (she calls her creatures “flabjacks”) are made all the more poignant by her incisive, insightful, and self-affirming text. Three favorites: “Conversations in the checkout line give me mild anxiety.” “I find enjoyment in creative, philosophical and spiritual endeavors.” “Confidence doesn’t always roar. Sometimes, it can be expressed in quieter and subtler forms.”
A Turtle’s Guide to Introversion is one of those treasures small in size and enormous in content, wisdom, and clarity. Gift it to your own beloved introvert. And perhaps to the teacher baffled by her sweet and quiet nautre. Team leaders, office managers and hiring staff — you’d do well to keep this one nearby. There is much to be learned from a turtle.