I wanted to go see Wonder Woman last week. I wanted to see it in the theatre. I could taste the salty popcorn…feel the bass of the surround sound reverberating in my chest, but I didn’t go. Why? Because I’m ridiculous. Going to the movies alone, hell, doing anything alone in public makes me anxious. There is this irrational fear that introverts have when in public settings alone: that we’re being watched and judged for being by ourselves. The reality is, of course, is that no one cares. No one will give it a second thought when I ask for one ticket and sit in the darkest corner of the theatre where the view isn’t great but the shadows are comforting. No judgment will be passed when I leave alone and walk to my car and drive off. People are focused on their own lives, and yet, the anxiety keeps me at the keyboard instead of at the movies.
Adulting is hard for introverts. Even a simple task like making a phone call to make an appointment or walking into a room of people you don’t know requires a lot of mental motivation. The only time I have a sense of calm when going someplace new is when an extrovert is around me. I tend to yolk their energy and feel more comfortable in my own skin. Some might mistake me for BEING extroverted when I’m around another one. Don’t be fooled though. If they leave, I leave. I can’t be left to fend for myself. I’ll retreat to the closest dark corner as fast as my stubby legs will take me.
“But you act! You write books. How can you be an introvert?” Acting is perfect for an introvert. We are told where to stand and exactly what to say. There’s no guess work. I feel completely at ease on a stage because I know what to do. It’s the talking to the audience after that freezes me. The small talk. How do I form words again?
The same could be said of writing. Because our work is on a keyboard, we have time to craft our thoughts before we speak. Introverts need that time to process. Signings are harder. Those force me out of my comfort zone, for sure. I have to practice talking. Practice what I’ll say to a complete stranger who might come up to my table and ask me about my books. It’s just like acting. I have to know my part, know my lines to calm the anxiety.
The same could be said of writing. Because our work is on a keyboard, we have time to craft our thoughts. Introverts need that time to process. Signings are harder. Those force me out of my comfort zone, for sure. I have to practice talking. Practice what I’ll say to a complete stranger who might come up to my table and ask me about my books. It’s just like acting. I have to know my part, know my lines to calm the anxiety.
When the signing is over? I need quiet. Calm. Alone time. That’s how I recharge. So why do I need an extrovert if I like being alone? Because I also like to get out too! I need that extroverted someone to force me out of my comfort zone once and awhile to get out and DO things. A person who won’t take the million excuses I’ll to provide in an attempt to get out of said thing. Like going to the freaking movies to see something I wanna watch. Grr.
I’m going to the movies tonight. Alone. I’ll pull up those big girl panties (I totally had the Wonder Woman underoos as a kid.) And I won’t back out. I can’t. I have accountability now. This blog will force me out of my comfort zone. I can act like a normal human for two and a half hours. Afterall, I am an actress. Who knows, maybe after the movie, I’ll feel like such a badass I might walk into a bar. Alone. Hahahahahahahahaha. Okay, that’s never going to happen.
Danielle Bannister, author, and introverted movie goer