I am a bit of an introvert. When I say that to people who don’t know me very well they look at me like I am crazy. I appear to be outgoing, the life of the party. It’s the mask I wear in crowds. It is not my true nature.
I enjoy being alone. I am comfortable alone. Anxiety free.
One of my least favorite things is a networking event, with lots of people I don’t know and the desire to make a good first impression.
Or going to a gathering filled with the person I am with’s, friends. Yuck. The thought of it makes me want to run home and be by myself.
I read recently that a good frame of reference for an introvert is someone who would rather give a presentation to 500 people than mingle with those people afterwards. That’s me. I can seem fearless. I don’t mind speaking in front of crowds. I am an actress at heart.
But a lot of actresses are introverts. It’s quite common. Being someone else on stage is far easier than mingling with strangers.
In crowds, I am uncomfortable. But one on one or in small groups of people I am completely at ease. That’s my comfort zone.
I hate concerts, sporting events, large public gatherings of any kind. They make me anxious and I am always looking for the exit. I have a habit of hiding in bathrooms. I know…that’s weird.
Because I like humans. I really, really like getting to know new people. In real settings. Where no one is impressing anyone else. Or selling themselves or their business or their product. Just two or three or four people, face to face, talking. I love it.
Last night I had dinner with a 77-year-old man. English by birth. Married twice. His second wife passed away several years ago. He is a big supporter of the arts. I could have listened to him tell me stories about his life all day. My favorite thing that he said was he had spent his entire life hating gay people and now many of his closest friends are gay and he really regrets his previous belief that there was something wrong with being gay. I didn’t tell him that I am gay. I didn’t want to test his new-found openness. I wanted to take him at face value. And really, it’s no one’s business but my own. He didn’t tell me he was straight. So I didn’t feel obliged to tell him I was gay.
We could barely finish our dinner we were so busy talking and sharing our stories. It was a wonderful two hours. His attitude as an older man was consistent with my desire to live in the present moment. We talked about that for a really long time. Enjoying life, making the most of it, being grateful for today.
I just find something beautiful about humans. All of them. I can think of very few people I don’t like. I think there is something inherently beautiful in all of us. Maybe that makes me a sucker. I am always surprised when people act like an asshole or do mean or vindictive things. But I am not perfect, I have regrets. I can be mean. I can be self-centered, emotional, silly. So I expect other people to make mistakes and I forgive them pretty quickly. I don’t hold onto anger well. I live by the mantra “learn to accept the apology you never received.” Anger is toxic. Loving people is easy.
While I may want to hide in a crowd, I cannot wait to sit face to face with a stranger and discover them.
I think that’s why I like reading other people’s blog posts. A tiny window into their minds, their hearts.
I find something worthy in nearly everyone I meet.
I like humans.