Why Would an Introvert be a Performer?

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This puzzled me about myself for a long time. Why would somebody who tends to be fairly quiet, who actually loves spending time alone, who tends to listen more than he talks, why would that person become a performer?

Ok, first of all, what is an introvert? When I was young it was used to mean somebody who was shy, quiet, antisocial. These qualities were presented as negatives, qualities you should change.

But I don’t see it that way. I heard that Jung described introverts as people who go inward to understand and integrate experiences, say through reflection and contemplation. That’s where they get their energy. Extroverts, on the other hand, go outward to understand and integrate, say through conversation (and maybe action?).

For me this rings true. I take time alone to think things over, to integrate experiences, etc. I am not antisocial. I need to change these qualities about myself.

Very often it is from time alone that I get ideas for what I want to write about. And then I want to share them with people. So, I perform. Writing songs is the best way I know to share what I learn from being alone. Performing is a great way to share it.

To me, it’s as though I have an internal world (maybe we all do?). It’s where my inner thoughts and feelings exist. It’s like an internal landscape, or a conversation that I have with myself. I can try to share it with others by talking about it, but a much better way for me is through songs. When a song is working, it’s like thinking and feeling at the same time. When it works, it seems like I can share my inner world in a way that other people might connect to.

Sometimes, after hearing one of my songs, somebody will come up to me and tell me something about themselves that the song reminded them of. People have told me very personal things. It’s as though the setting – a performance of songs – gives us the permission to share very personal things, even though we might be meeting for the first time. This feels like a great honor to me, that someone will open up to me like that. At those times I think I have done my job well as a songwriter, that I have taken some personal experience of my own, and shared it in a way that somebody else can relate to it from their own life. I love that.

In many ways we are different. The things we love, things we don’t love, things we want or don’t want. But we are likely to have things in common, things we share. The hope of a new-day, a sunrise. The sadness of a break-up or a death, the loss of a loved one.  The joy of new life, of family (especially when everyone is getting along).

People know me as a fairly quiet person. I like to listen more than talk; listen twice, speak once. Songs are the best way I have to share, not only my thoughts and feelings, but thoughts and feelings that I hear others talk about. Everybody has something to say and songs are my favorite way of speaking.

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