Ok, so I’ve been having a dispute with a friend lately, where I insist that I am a shy introvert who is not a performer. She insists that I am not shy, definitely not an introvert and most certainly a performer.
She’s totally wrong.
I know that it might seem to some I am not shy, or even predisposed to inwardness. Also, anyone who owns more than 30 wigs and a dozen tutus cannot possibly suggest that they are not a performer in some way.
Well, in some way I am. But it’s not in the way that one would expect. I don’t perform for the satisfaction of putting on a show, of having an audience acknowledge that I am indeed there to entertain, amuse, invigorate them in some way. I have plenty of friends who would fall into this category and enamoured of them am I and not just for having the courage to step into the spotlight, though that is a part of it certainly.
Yes, I own tutus and wigs and dressup clothing and firetoys and hulahoops and funny shoes and hmm..not as many hats as I’d like. More hats please. Good hats though, not baseball hats with every different kind of alcohol or farm implement sold in the northwest region. I’m talking bowlers and porkpies and fedoras and trilbys and panamas and fezs and pilot hats and greek fisherman hats and yellow hats..but enough of that..for now…
As I figured it the difference between me and a performer is this. A performer will put on a show. I will put on a tutu. A performer will use a wig to become a new character. I will use a wig to keep my head warm, while enabling myself to see what I look like with an afro. A performer will hula where a crowd can easily see her, be amazed by her prowess, applaud her efforts, marvel at her well put together costume and gladly accept kudos and congrats when she has finished. I will hula in a corner, where few are even aware that I am hulahooping, where they can’t tell that I have to pull my pants up every 5th rotation or so because I forgot to put on a belt, and I will become incessantly distracted if someone calls attention to my “performance” during or after I am finished. Maybe it’s selfish, but I don’t like it when people insist on stopping me from hulahooping to tell me how good I am at it. I know how good I am. If they do manage to get my attention and distract me from the activity, the odds that I’ll be able to resume where I left off are slim and none..and slim has usually just left town. As I see it, the difference between me and a performer is, if the crowd wasn’t there, I’d still be hulahooping. In a wig. I wear wigs because it’s monday.
Ok, so if wearing a tutu while grocery shopping or doing the dishes could be considered a performance then certainly, I am a performer. I’m not doing it for you though. I’m doing it because I loooove the way it feels to have a super swishy multilayered bright red or blue skirt on. I love walking past a window and catching a glimpse of myself looking almost a foot taller because of the stripey goth cheerleader hair I have on. Does this define a performer? I’m totally not sure. It could be that I’m getting way too hung up on one definition of a word which likely has many. So I’ll leave that one for now.
As to introvert vs. extrovert. Well that one seems a little easier. An introvert, as I reconnoiter it, is someone more concerned with what’s going on in their own heads than the outside world. I like how wikipedia puts it ‘Introverts are less likely to seek stimulation from others because their own thoughts and imagination are stimulating enough. A common misconception is that all introverts suffer from social anxiety or shyness. Introversion does not describe social discomfort but rather social preference.’ I can think of many times in my life where I have been referred to as cold, snobbish, stuck up, a loner, etc. When I tried to explain to people that I’m just an introvert (standing there in a tutu, wig and ernie from sesame street shag rug halter top <-this latter has to be seen to be understood, trust me) they shake their heads and say, yeah, right.
It’s not even that I feel like I’m better than other people. (well, some people obviously) It’s also not that I don’t feel like people have nothing to say to me that I might learn or benefit from. Most of the time I just like being alone. Not all the time. I have plenty of friends and family and I love to see them now and again. I understand that humans are social animals, look at how quickly and willingly humans in general jump in line, whether it be for trendy clothes or a favorite tv show or a public stoning. If I was a wildebeest, I’m sure I would have been eaten by lions years ago. But being a human, it’s okay if the company I prefer most is my own. Isn’t it? I know there are people who don’t understand it, that’s okay. And there are people who will see my outward silliness and insist that I am an extroverted attention seeker rather than an introverted girl who just likes to play dressup to distract from the fact that inside she’s crying. All the time.
I’m kidding. I cry on the outside, when it’s required. That’s the thing. What I’m doing on the outside is generally how I feel on the inside. There is rarely a discrepancy. Contrary to those Sylvia Plath types who are smiling Betty Crocker goodness on the outside and screaming for release on the inside until it culminates in a nice dish of almond chicken, heavy on the arsenic…Or the worker who suddenly ‘goes postal’ because the outside and the inside don’t jive anymore. The fact that this level of madness happens often enough that there’s a phrase for it should signify what messed up headspaces we live in a lot of the time. Perhaps that’s the trouble. The headspace is too far removed from the head. People spend all this time living outwardly so that when, every so often, they do spend time by themselves, they aren’t necessarily spending time with themselves. And when they are sad, they don’t allow themselves to explore it.
Balance in all things darlings. When I’m blue, I wallow. I cry. I watch movies that I know will make me sad. I revel in my deep down in the blues so far that it’s going to take a whole lot of pie and tea and blues singing ladies identifying with where I’m at before I can even imagine that I’m in a tunnel much less that there’s a light at the end of it. And people telling me, ‘don’t be sad, turn that frown upside-‘ your fuckin head if you continue in this vein..
Granted, I’m fortunate in that when I “suffer” from melancholy or sadness, I know that it will pass. That’s not the way for everyone. For some people I guess it’s an addiction of the nth calibre, the way opiates or alcoholism or sugar are for others. I can be sad and I can enjoy it because I know that even if it lasts for a few days, a week, at some point, I’ll get sick of the takeout boxes piling up, the dustbunnies amassing to the extent that they can start doing the laundry that’s getting a little out of control. The cookie crumbs in my bed because…well, not everything needs explaining.
At some point, I’ll get up, I’ll find something downtempo but upbeat to listen to. I’ll make myself a cup of dark hot chocolate with chili peppers and drag out the vacuum, organize the dishes, take out the garbage, bust out the hulahoop. And I’ll probably do all this, while wearing a tutu.
Ok, compromise. I’m a damn ambivert. There. Oh! Yesterday I really intended to go off about Tesla, because that guy needs all the airtime he can get. Especially since there are people who still think that Edison was a pretty righteous guy. (He was not.) Instead of doing so, I fell asleep around 6 pm and woke up early this morning. Leave it to one’s body to let you know that yes, you, right now, 15 hours sleep, let’s go! Since I try my best to always do the things I say I will do, here is someone else’s point of view about Nikola Tesla, plus a list of everything he’s inspired though they left out that Alan Moore named Tom Strong’s daughter after him in the comic. Also, I would like it known that I intended to name my first daughter (who may or may not ever exist) Tesla well before I read the Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker or the Tom Strong comics. I am sure there is at least one person in existence who remembers me stating back in 1992 that Tesla is my favorite scientist and I would love to name my first daughter after him as tribute. I don’t care that the Great and Secret Show was published in 1990, I didn’t read it until 1993.
Now darlings, I vant to be left alone.