Friday, June 19, 2015

The Extroverted Introvert

I've been entertaining people since I was five, both as a stage ham and as a child genius. Like my husband and Kermit the Frog, I have the dream of making millions of people happy through entertainment. I prefer to pay my bills with entertainer money than administrative money.

I'm used to being "on," to focusing on making other people happy or proud or distracted from their own lives. When I'm performing in a show, I know to be as bright, approachable, and open as possible before, during, and after the show; people want to say hello. I've also had demands of "entertain me since you're an entertainer" in regular life. I've been asked by a delivery man at my day job to show him some burlesque moves. When I was into acting, I was commanded to act at a family gathering. Because I'm supposed to be larger than life on stage, I'm sometimes expected to be larger than life in person, ready to entertain at the drop of a hat. Dance, monkey, dance. Sometimes you just want to push some papers around or eat your potato salad and not be called upon to work. (Yes, entertaining people is work.)

Sometimes you have to be "on" because you're used to pretending to be the most social person present. You're called on to generate conversation, make introductions, play hostess at someone else's gathering because someone has to do it. In this world of secret introverts, you may very well be the most extroverted person there, trying to make sure everyone is having a good time.

I love my audience and supporters. I also love not being "on" all the time. I'm an extroverted introvert.

Being social takes work for some people. Some of you fine folks relax by dressing up, going out, and being entertained. When you're used to entertaining people, you plan your week to end with no pants and video games and comfort food. You curl up with a book, chain watch a television series, finally conquer that pint of ice cream you've yearned for while you were on your show diet. You put on a mud mask and kill an evening window shopping online. I like to put on my yoga pants and a random shirt that I've worn too many times between laundering, kick back with my dogs, and devour an entire tub of cheese spread with Andrew. Sometimes I craft or work on projects. Sometimes I play a video game. Many times I work out. These are all things that don't require I ensure someone else has a good time. It's "me" time, sometimes with friends.

I'm not the only entertainer who is an extroverted introvert. You would be surprised at how many of us just want to be "off" in our non-entertainer time. Don't be surprised when you don't see us at every outing. Don't be surprised if we're socially awkward in our off time. Don't assume we're stuck up if we're not as chatty when we're not performing. Being "on" is draining, and sometimes we just need to recharge. Sometimes that smiling nod in public is all the energy we have.

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