I have a confession to make: I am not the person you imagine me to be. I spend a great deal of my life in the public eye. In person, I am not as witty and outspoken as I seem when I am up on stage or teaching. Oh sure, I am still funny, hilarious even, but not in the beginning. In the beginning, I will stand awkwardly while making weird small talk that makes everyone uncomfortable. I will say things without thinking them through or just stand like a mute, smiling like an idiot. I like it when my wife is around because she can lead the conversations.
The older I become, the more self-aware I’m becoming also. I know how I act, I see the flaws in it, but I just keep doing it.
Mostly I hate going to social events. I hate small talk and never know who I should talk to. I don’t like going up to people and starting conversations, I’ve never been good at shooting the shit with strangers. Truthfully, I thought it was because I just hated people.
Not you people, obviously, but other people.
But the more I learn about myself, it’s not that I don’t like people, I love people! Most people, anyway.
I’m an introvert and I never knew it.
For years I would have said I was an extrovert. Because I’m loud, I’m completely at ease in my circles, and I like going to parties. I speak in front of large audiences. But I don’t want to talk to people at parties. I suck at small talk. I never know what to say. I want to be laugh and be crazy with my small group of peeps and ignore the rest. I thought I was just a rude extrovert.
Nope, totally an introvert. And it took a few personality quizzes for me to finally accept it, like being an introvert was bad and shameful. I wanted to be the welcoming, friendly, gracious person that goes everywhere and can talk to everyone. But even typing that sentence makes me shudder. I don’t really want that, it’s just that I think it would be cool to be like that. (You know, when I’m daydreaming about how cool While I am sitting in the cafe reading by myself.)
Realizing I’m an introvert has been freeing in a way. I don’t have to think something’s wrong with me when I really don’t want to go somewhere three nights in a row. When I long for a quiet night at home with just my little family. When I want this most nights, actually.
Okay, when I want this every night.
I like being home and making dinner (or ordering Indian food, let’s be honest), playing guitar, maybe watching TV and falling asleep to a good book.
Somewhere along the way, I got the idea that it was wrong to want these things. Maybe it’s just age that makes me more comfortable with myself and who I am. An introvert that would rather have a few close friends than a million sort-of friends. Someone who gets energy from being by myself.
So I guess I am an introvert. Or maybe just lazy.
Whew, glad I got that off my chest.