My partner said to me recently that if people don’t know me, they have no idea that I’m quaking inside as I chat, discuss, teach, or sell. That it’s taking little chunks of energy with every interaction and by the end of the event I’m completely drained. I wear a mask cultivated from childhood. Show no fear. Don’t let the bullies see you cry. Be strong; people like confidence. Wear lots of deodorant to hide the stress sweat.
Sigh. The life of an introvert, right? I know so many other writers who feel similarly. Is it part of the creative personality, do you think?
This has been a whirlwind month, full of lots of interaction, and one big event where we were the sole center of attention. People have been kind. They’ve been supportive and complimentary. Many went out of their way to help. I’m unquestionably lucky to have so many truly wonderful people around me. We’re heading toward our last big event of the year, and I’ll be surrounded by other writers I enjoy being around, and who enjoy having to be social about as much as I do.
I’m looking forward to moments of utter stillness and true silence come December. No voices, no conversations, no need to parse social expectations and try to find the ‘right’ things to say. No need to deep breathe and second guess my role in the interaction. No imposter syndrome screaming for attention. I need to recharge so I can put my confidence mask back on and function among other humans once more. Because given my druthers, I’d quite happily be a hermit.
So if we meet, if we email, if we communicate in some way, please forgive my slowness to respond or the look of panic in my eyes when I don’t know whether or not to laugh. Or, maybe my mask will be in place and you’ll just find me insanely charming. It could happen…