We’ve established that a lot of us in the bookish and blogging community are introverts. But have you ever been in a situation, or wanted to do something that is not ver introvert-ish?
It’s not a nice situation to be in, specially if you are confident in your introvert shoes. It’s not that extroverts are icky or something. It’s just that a lifetime of underappreciation and trying to ‘measure up’ has made you embrace what makes you so special.
So what happens when you’re not perfectly introvert? What happens if after finally fitting in somewhere, you realize this mold, while super flexible, is still not quite right? Not because there’s anything wrong with it, but because this time, there might be something wrong with you, for real.
These things were what went through my head recently, when I started thinking about some things, like one usually does when they have a ton of things to do and would rather contemplate on the meaning of their life than just do them.
Let’s take stock of some things I noticed about myself.
I love doing presentations -mostly
You know those pesky Power Point presentations that are such warm and fuzzy memories in the minds of all introverts when they reminisce about high school and college. I love doing them.
Not that I actually look forward to them -Pleaaase, I do have other things to do, like you know, blog and sleep, and write a book, and sleep. But if the assignment is given, then I quite like to do it.
It wasn’t always like this. In high school I would turn all red, start sweating and even get a bit dizzy if I didn’t have things under control. It was very spontaneous and very annoying. I never choked, but the fact that my discomfort was obvious was enough to marr those times.
It got better. And I’ve always thought it was because I started approaching every presentation with a more personal angle. The dispassionate way it’s usually done had never had a lot of appeal to me. So I ditched memorizing, and began explaining. I ditched mountains of text for simple phrases and notes that actually helped me.
As for the content, I always make sure I’m making a point. Whether it’s siding with some author’s theory, or defending my own analysys. I’m always saying something.
I’m dying to speak in public again and give a workshop
This is similar to the first instance but more specific. See, last year, I was accepted as a NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison. My job is basically to make sure peeps in my home region are having fun, encouraging them, and just being a link between Headquarters and them. That’s the regular job description.
In my case, it means starting from the ground up, because while NaNo might be a generally widely known writing event. In Ecuador it’s practically an alien concept. To give you an idea, Ecuador is not my region. My region is Central, South America & Elsewhere. And Elsewhere.
Much work to do.
I can’t just invite people to a space for them to write. First I’ve got to tell them what the heck NaNoWriMo is.
This is what I did last year. I partnered up with a local cultural space -the owner was pretty cool- and she agreed to let me use her space to do a NaNoWriMo get-together. The purpose? Tell people what it was about. She gives writing workshops so she was pretty enthusiastic with the idea.
Seven people turned up. And I didn’t faint. I was actually pretty proud of how it turned out.
Because organizing live events, speaking at those events? That’s so not introverted.
As of writing this post, I’ve just returned from talking to the owners of an independent bookstore. They’ve agreed to host me in September, and this time, I won’t be only talking about what NaNo is. I’ll also be the one giving some writing tips. It’s nerve-wracking but I’m still so excited!
Again, this is driven by my desire to let young writers in my city know that they can do this, and that they’re not alone, and that their words matter. Plenty of things to say about that.
I feel accomplished when I give in and give people book recs at the bookstore
Picture youself at the bookstore. Not very hard, is it? Alright. Then imagine this scenario:
You: Lalala books make me happy. What should I read?
*Creepy person holding mountain of books is walking around*
You: I’ll go check this other shelf
*After a few minutes creepy person follows, and stares at you every once in a while. It’s kind of freaking you out honestly. Your were checking out a Leigh Bardugo book -let’s say you have this face that makes it obvious you’ve never heard of this author before- and OMG YOU PUT IT BACK ON THE SHELF*
Creepy person: (SHIT WHERE DID SHE COME FROM? SHE WAS AT THE OTHER END OF THE SHELF A SECOND AGO) That book is awesome. *Slinks back into the shadows*
Being the creepy person makes me feel so good. Honestly, they should hire me. I have no sales skills but book pushing is a legit CV-worthy skill in this case, isn’t it?
The more I thought about it, the happier I became. It finally started making sense. I wasn’t turning into an extrovert by any means. I just… care so much about some things, that I somehow find the courage and the energy to get it done.
And that’s okay. Because being an introvert means so much more than being shy and quiet. It’s not about being like that, and it’s never been. Introverts care deeply about things most people don’t give the time of the day to. Because we have so many things bottled up.
In simpler terms, introverts are perceived as mice who scurry around, trying to get out of the way of the mightier creatures. And in reality, we’re fucking dragons. You’ve just got to figure out the fire-breathing thing.
Are you an introvert? Have you ever felt like even among introverts, you don’t quite fit in? And if you’re an extrovert, have you ever felt exhausted by people and just wanted to be by yourself for a while?