What’s going on in my head when you see me

So, I’m an introvert. I’m not shy. They’re related, but not all introverts are shy, although it’s a pretty common misconception that we are. In addition to these things, I have a lot of anxiety about being “out of my space”, which means I get anxious just going grocery shopping, taking my kids anywhere, or being at social functions.

To compensate, I often talk a lot. I’m either over-talking because I’m nervous, or I’m over-talking because I’m comfortable enough with a friend to talk their ear off. Basically, I’m a socially awkward mess. That’s why blogging works for me; and Twitter, too. Because I can just constantly be awkwardly talking and you guys don’t have to feel obligated to read or listen, and I never have to actually see you looking at me that way.

When I tell people I’m introverted, they typically don’t believe me, and that’s probably because I’ve spent almost 40 years perfecting the art of fitting in to a world of you weirdo extroverts. Look at you, all confident to introduce yourself to complete strangers! Look at you not being afraid to walk into a classroom late! Look at you making small talk comfortably! Weirdos. I might look composed when you see me, but I can guarantee you that when you see me in public, I might be smiling, but this is totally what I’m doing inside:

I’m constantly hoping I don’t say something totally awkward/weird/stupid to other people, and I’m usually failing miserably because I’m pretty much Paul Rudd from I Love You, Man.

You’re all coming up with cute nicknames for your girlfriends, and I’m barely keeping myself upright in public. I can’t even tell you the number of times I’m hearing words come out of my mouth that I wish I could just stuff back in, or I feel myself walking like a weirdo, or making some strange face… It’s constant work seeming normal, it really is.

Being anxious on top of all this introvertedness means that speaking in public is as daring for me as, say, jumping out of an airplane might be for you. Cold sweats, soaked armpits, dry mouth, heaving stomach… ugh. But I used to love speaking at conferences, because I’m also a masochist. Without the sexual gratification part. Because on stage, that would be really… really bizarre. But then again, maybe a hot seller… See? Awkward.

I applied many times to speak at Blissdom Canada, but was always declined… somehow it was a relief. A painful shot to the ego, but also relief. AWKWARD.

I spend all my days convincing myself that it’s ok to go out, it’s ok to do things, it’s ok, and I’m ok, and nobody knows I’m a total mess in this head of mine as long as my face parts behave properly with the smiling and the nodding and all that.

I’m still working on the smile and nod thing, but you get the idea.

And now you know exactly what’s going on in my head when you see me, so please go easy. Be gentle on me, it’s probably taken everything I’ve got just to leave my house that day.

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21 thoughts on “What’s going on in my head when you see me

  1. I’m exactly the same except I never perfected the art of fitting into the extrovert world.

  2. Omg I hear ya! I blame a lot of it on getting overly comfortable being home with the kids, now they’ve all gone to school and left me here alone, I suffer from sever anxiety that was under control when the kids were young because I didn’t have time to pay attention to what was going on with myself. I have a hard time driving, going out and meeting new people but by teaching I force myself to do it, it is my therapy.

    1. You’ve got a good point… I used to go to work, and I seemed fine. Being home alone for so long must’ve messed with me, too!

  3. I’m with you. I have to force myself out the front door. Networking? Right. It’s the only way to get work? Well, I’m screwed then. Telling people I just met too much? That’s me!

    I think you would be a good speaker though, at Blissdom. Because introvert or not, you have a strong voice. It will be there when you need it.

    1. Thanks, Chantal. I applied to speak on a panel about how to have an opinion without alienating people. 🙂

      1. That’s a great topic! It’s a tough line to haul. I find that when you know the opinion giver, it’s a different thing from when you don’t and it’s just ‘gratuitous’ advice! But SoMe blows that concept out of the water 😉

      2. I agree with you, it’s totally different when you know someone personally. But with blogging, and SoMe in general, I think there’s a way to be tactful, yet also firm in our opinions. There’s also finesse in communicating what we feel strongly about without being a preachy asshole. And there’s also the need to be understanding, accepting, and diplomatic about other peoples’ opinions, right?

      3. TOTALLY! I am so bad at it sometimes: I can ‘hear’ the tone in my writing… 😉

  4. OMG Get out of my head! This is exactly how I feel all. the. time! I thought about applying to be a community leader at Blissdom then quickly came to my senses. Maybe one day…. but not any time soon. I hope you get picked! I’d love to hear you speak! I’ll be the introvert at the back of the room, sitting on the floor, hoping no one notices me 🙂 Good luck!

  5. We are a lot alike, you and I. Except I love public speaking. Leading workshops, giving conference presentations – love it! So long as it’s a topic I feel I’m on top of.

    I actually think of myself as a “high functioning introvert” because I’ve trained myself pretty well to push down the anxiety and partake in social situations. But I have to feel like I’m on home turf for it to work. I applied to be a Blissdom Community Leader, because Blissdom is like home, and I feel I can help especially the other introverts to join in and feel comfy. Cuz I get it 🙂

  6. I feel like this post was written about me! I know how your feel ;-). Good for you for stepping out of your comfort zone! You will be amazing at Blissdom.

  7. Soul sister! I also am a masochist. Clearly, look what I do! I applaud you for your strength and for being public. Your posts will help others get out the door too. ((Hugs)) and a moment of socially akward silence.

    1. LOL

      Today I went and filmed a holiday craft segment on Rogers Daytime, and next week I go back to do TWO segments on handmade, local companies. I nearly die of fear before every single segment, but I do it anyhow. We gotsta do what we gotsta do! xo

  8. This is me too …. But as I get older, the care factor to fit in is becoming less. I stand awkwardly at O’s classroom to collect him after school, so that I don’t have to make small talk. My face can never hide my true feelings & it’s usually got “please don’t talk to me as I am socially awkward and having a bad day” written across it, for the most part. Plus my face is ageing, it gives even more away now. I am the Napoleon Dynamite to your Paul Rudd, Joben… I mean, Alex.


    1. God, why do you live at the exact opposite end of the earth? We’d be so good together. And by good, I mean awful and awkward and amazing.

      1. We could be a horrible mess of friendship, but – at least we understand each other. I think there’d be lots of nights of drinking wine and laughing at each others awkwardness…and maybe a bit of slappin’ da bass too. 😀

  9. 90% could have been written about me. I just haven’t perfected the art of fitting in as well so no one’s surprised I’m introverted.

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