Congratulations to Tammy Powell for Winning the December 2017 Barefoot Writing Challenge! (Your $100 prize is on its way!)

The Challenge was to write an essay that answered this question:

If a holiday were to take place in your honor, what would it be called and why?

Tammy’s idea for a holiday is one that many writers would enjoy — as well as non-writers, and the part of the world that doesn’t understand “the other half.” We loved her fresh take on celebrating differences. Enjoy her winning submission:

Introvert Appreciation Day

On this holiday, there are no parades. No fireworks, and no noisy parties.

It’s a different kind of holiday, honoring the quiet people in our lives. Those who have a lot to say, but don’t jump into a conversation right away. Those who prefer deep one-on-one conversations over small talk, and who are never the life of the party.

I am an introvert myself, and my talent for keeping quiet was not always recognized.

When I was in school, it seemed like participation points were highly valued. I often felt like the odd one out – I didn’t want to raise my hand to speak just for the sake of speaking… I only wanted to talk if I had something meaningful to add to the conversation.

Then in my working life, my employers rated my productivity in terms of the quantity of clients I was able to see. I was rushed to talk to client after client after client, and felt like I had to be “on” all the time. I was often exhausted at the end of the day.

I used to think this quality of mine was a disadvantage, or even a defect. However, in recent years – especially after the advent of Susan Cain’s groundbreaking book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – introverts are finally being recognized for their own unique talents.

Also, I finally found a career path where my introverted nature is an asset and advantage. Now my ability to sit by myself for several hours – absorbed in the writing task at hand, or completely focused on the detail-oriented job of copyediting – has become like a superpower.

Other people don’t know how I can stand it, all this time by myself, but to me, it’s bliss. I enjoy the work, and I have plenty of time to recharge. It’s the perfect vocational fit for my personality. And now, I’d like to celebrate this journey.

Of course, introverts and extroverts should both be valued. They each bring their own unique gifts to any situation. My friends and family run the gamut from extremely extroverted to extremely introverted, and I cherish all of them.

However, let’s face it… introverts are often overlooked in work or social situations, due to the very same quiet nature that makes them who they are.

So, now there’s one day when everyone can spend a few hours in the life of an introvert. Rather than big celebrations, the day will be spent in meaningful quiet moments and introspection.

Cafés will be filled with people quietly sipping coffee and reading a book. Others will seek solitude in green spaces, walking and observing nature, or sitting on the ground to meditate. And homes will be filled with people quietly enjoying each other’s company – knowing, without the need for words to express it, that they are there for one another.