Debbie Tung grew up feeling like something was wrong with her (which is how a lot of introverts feel). Rather than going to parties and hanging out with friends, she preferred spending time alone, quietly diving into projects she was passionate about. Not knowing she was an introvert, she spent her entire childhood trying to “fix” herself and live up to the extrovert ideal.
Then she took a Myers-Briggs personality assessment and discovered she’s an INFJ. Things finally clicked into place, and this new way of understanding herself inspired her to start drawing comics about introversion.
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“Creating comics became the best way for me to express myself,” she tells Introvert, Dear. “It helped me to be more open, understand my flaws, and take things from a more positive and humorous point of view.”
Tung, 26, lives in Birmingham, England, with her husband. Before embarking on a career as an illustrator, she worked in an open office as a software developer. Constantly surrounded by people and noise, her job left her feeling drained and unfulfilled.
Eventually, she left her job to focus on making art. As an introvert and a highly sensitive person, she says there’s no place she’d rather be than in her home studio. Surrounded by her books and art supplies, she feels free to be herself and create. “That’s the best feeling in the world,” she tells Introvert, Dear.
Her book, Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert’s Story, perfectly captures what it’s like to be an introvert. It follows Tung through graduate school, getting married, landing her first job, and finding her way as a young adult. “It documents moments in life when I was struggling with my quiet personality and eventually learning about my introversion and embracing it,” she says.
She hopes her comics will show fellow introverts that they are not alone, and they don’t need to be fixed. “We all experience introversion in different ways and some, like myself, who are highly sensitive, also experience anxieties and moments of self-doubt,” she explains. “Everything can feel intensely overwhelming at once, but in time, we will find the best ways to cope. When we learn to work with our quiet nature, that’s when we will find our voice.”
Her advice to introverts who feel out of place in an extroverted world: “The important thing is to always stay true to yourself. It’s so cliché but it really is the most important part of finding what works best for you and finding the right people who will support you and bring a positive energy into your life. There will be tough moments, but you will come out stronger. Remember that you’re not alone and that this is all part of the journey. Focus on your passions, the people you love, and what makes you happy. Life is too short for anything else.”
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