‘Is it wrong to be feeling this terrified?‘
I sent a Facebook private message to my friend Tom yesterday. After several months of planning, scheduling and then rescheduling, he and his writer co-host Gemma were interviewing me about blogging and books in the local library for their podcast on ThankBookFor.com.
Thinking about it, there shouldn’t have been any reason for my nerves – I’ve known Tom for years and I met Gemma recently when she appeared on the panel at a Waterstones publishing event, so I knew that I would be in good company. I’ve been writing for several years and I have enough knowledge where I feel confident enough to hold my own, and it would be the first time where I would get the opportunity to discuss the topic I am steadfastly passionate about without having to worry about the glazed expressions appearing in the eyes of the people I am talking to.
However, it was also the first time that I would have to verbally communicate with real-life human beings instead of hiding behind the safety of a computer screen, and it was this that I found to be immensely intimidating.
Those who follow the blog regularly will know that I was a classroom teacher for many years, where a large percentage of my role involved communication with children and teenagers, and yet this has never been an issue – I have never been concerned about their opinions of me on a personal level. However, put me in front of (or as part of) a group of adults and every insecurity I’ve ever had about myself comes to the surface and starts telling me I’m sh*t.
At the first Bloggers Bash in 2015, Sacha Black gave a speech in which she described herself as an ‘introvert trapped in an extrovert’s body.’ I couldn’t think of anything more perfect to describe myself. On the face of it, I’m a complete introvert – I love spending time alone and often find that my energy is quickly exhausted by large crowds, I don’t deal with last-minute changes or surprises very well, I process things internally and I have a small (ish) group of very close friends. However, nobody would know this when talking to me. Generally, while I’ve never been a leader, I almost fake a level of confidence that allows me to talk to anyone about any topic at any time, maintain eye-contact, smile, laugh and joke without revealing that I’m actually dealing with a massive amount of anxiety churning around in my stomach. I’ll ‘go with the flow’ in a group without revealing that I’m worrying about the consequences of not planning in advance. I’m constantly fighting the negative thoughts that plague my brain about the opinions that I assume others have made of me.
I almost cancelled the interview completely.
However, I talked myself into it, and as an introvert trapped in an extrovert’s body, I went along to the library yesterday, took a deep breath, smiled and started to talk.
I loved every minute of it! An hour-and-a-half flew by, and I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that it had finished so quickly – it was fun just sitting back and talking to people who wanted to learn about what I do and how I do it. I didn’t stop to think about the situation I was in, or how I felt about it, and I’m so glad that I did.
I suppose, upon reflection, that being an introvert isn’t a bad thing – it means I get to enjoy my alone time in particular – as long as the extrovert keeps pushing me to get myself out there and try new things.
Incidentally, the podcast will be available in about a month, so I’ll share it for anyone that wants to hear it!
What about you guys? Are you an introvert, extrovert or a mixture of both?
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks.