Friday, May 8, 2015

So, some seriously, seriously awesome bookish conventions are coming up. You'd have to have been living under a rock not to know that. We've got RT next week here in Dallas, actually right up the street from where I work downtown. And then there's BEA at the end of this month in New York. I would love to attend either or both to meet some amazing authors and maybe score a few advance copies while I'm at it. Epecially the coveted ARC of Six of Crows. (Seriously, if someone picks that up for me, I will forever be in your debt.)


But I'm an introvert. And while in the months leading up to events like these, I'll hope that I can go and attempt to make plans, I know that the likelihood of that actually happening is very, VERY low. A lot of bookish types claim to be introverts, and I'm sure it's true in a lot of cases. But there are a lot of those same people who wouldn't shy away from these events to avoid awkward social situations, sweaty palms, a nervous stomach that won't quit...I could go on. I'm not just talking butterflies-in-my-stomach-shy. It's intense, y'all.

I might actually have some sort of social anxiety disorder, but I don't want to label it for fear of making it worse by buying into it, especially since in day-to-day life, I'm a normal, functioning person. But I do avoid a lot of situations that are going to inevitably make me uncomfortable, like children's birthday parties where I don't know any of the other parents, parties in general, work functions, etc. 


I'll use any excuse, no matter how lame or untrue, even when I really want to go. I could've gone to TXLA last month since my sister lives in Austin and it would have cost me very little, but I couldn't make myself commit to it. Especially since I didn't have anyone to go with me. The fact that my sister agreed to go to Texas Teen Book Festival last October is pretty much the only reason I went. Which also meant I didn't mingle.

I've been to a couple of conferences/festivals and a few book signings over the years, but I'm pretty much a bundle of nerves the entire time. There are some AMAZING authors attending RT next week, and I would love to meet every single one of them and have them sign all of my books -- which would take forever because there's a two book limit per author, per each time you go through the line, and I own tons that I would want signed -- but I haven't been able to convince myself that it's worth the anxiety. Even to meet Susan Ee or Stephanie Perkins or any one of the other 800 authors attending.

What is wrong with me?!? How do all of those other supposed introverts get over that apprehension? I feel like I'm doing this all wrong, but I really am just more comfortable behind the computer. I can be myself here. It's like I'm a shell of my former self whenever put into one of these social situations. It's really depressing, and the closer RT and BEA get, the worse I feel about not putting myself out there. But somehow I know I'd feel worse if I did go.

So all of you going to RT or BEA: have a great time. I mean it. I hope you have a blast.


And read. =) I'll pretty much just be here, trying to make a dent in my TBR while not adding to it. :P So, I guess there are some advantages to being painfully, socially awkward.



16 comments:

  1. I know exactly what you're talking about in this post. I've never been to a convention or anything, although I would absolutely LOVE to one day. There have been times where I've skipped book signings just because the thought of going alone and interacting with people makes me so anxious. The only one that I've ever been to was two years ago, when I was asked to interview Kiera Cass, Aprilynne Pike, Elizabeth Norris, and Amy Tintera, and that's because I agreed to do it before I had much time to psych myself out. It was a good experience, though, and I'm glad that I have it. Because of that, I think I'm more willing to do it again, if given the opportunity.

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    1. Yeah, the few times I have left my comfort zone and attended something, it ended up being a great experience. I just psych myself out in the months prior and that leads to way more anxiety than I can handle. I'm definitely better at the smaller signings. Like, I didn't totally freak out when I met Maggie Stiefvater, even though she's my favorite author...I managed to seem normal....I think. Lol. It's just those larger events with all those PEOPLE that leave me anxious. And I know they're good, book-loving people. But it's still hard for me. :(

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  2. I know how you feel. I'm a big introvert and also a master at leaving parties early, being awkward if I don't know anyone, and talking myself out of going places unless I have an extroverted buffer to socialize with.

    I was really nervous about BEA last year and while my anxiety definitely got the best of me at times the people I did break out of my comfort zone a little bit. But interestingly, I'm better in a large group than in a small. While I hate crowds I usually tell myself that in a large group I'm just one of many. I can be introverted and anti-social if I want to because there is no pressure to talk to people, they'll just find someone else to socialize with. I can sort of get swallowed in the group. Not sure if that helps, but it's the stupid reason I give myself.
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

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    1. Ah, the extroverted buffer is key! That's why I always try to take one or both of my sisters places with me. They're both the complete opposite of me and can talk to complete strangers without all the anxiety that I have.

      I hate crowds, too, but I do get what you're saying about being able to be your anti-social self when you're with a larger group. They can carry on around you but you're still a part of the group without having to contribute much. I should make myself go next year and find a large group to attend with.

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  3. Awww, this just makes me like you even more! If you ever want to be brave together, I'm totally down for a introvert trip.

    Crowds make me super anxious too, but like Cassi said, you are one of SO many and no one really pays attention to you. It's easy to blend in. I always go with another introverted friend and we meet back up at the hotel room to quietly hide for awhile between signings/book trips. It's kind of like running with walking intervals. :)

    And BEA freaks me out big time, but I'm planning on going when it comes to Chicago! Eeeeek!

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    1. Awww! I'm just glad to know I'm not alone, though it does seem like I'm more extreme than the rest of my fellow introverts. I would love that introvert trip with you, though...maybe BEA when it's in Chicago so at least one of us will be comfortable with our surroundings? Lol.

      I know that no one really pays attention to lil ole me, which is the way I prefer it, but it's more than that. Crowds make me nervous, anyway. I guess I'm a little claustrophobic on top of everything else, too. I like your analyogy, though...that's probably how I'd have to do it. =)

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  4. Aw, I feel you, Jen! I also don't go to book signings here in my country because I just can't find the energy to deal with the crowd. And I always feel like I won't have anyone to talk to. I love those authors, but I just can't put myself out there, you know?

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    1. Ugh, it's such a drain on your energy, right? If I had more reading/blogging friends here locally, it might be easier, but the thought of walking into something like that ALONE freaks me out way more than it should.

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  5. I'm the same! Sometimes I hear about really great things but none of my friends want to go and I'm too shy to go on my own so I end up missing out! I'd love to go to a blog event but I think my shyness would stop me from enjoying it as much as I should!

    Serena / www.ramblingsofanotherunistudent.blogspot.com

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  7. Wow, Jen! I feel the same. Nobody in like real life knows just how it is. I avoid those situations too. It seems like social events are not for me at all.

    I too feel all like this overwhelming and unnerving sense of energy has taken hold of me. When people say getting to social events wont be so bad and to be optimistic. To me it seems much easier said than done when my whole stomach is hurting and actually hurting from the uncomfortable feelings.

    I don't believe in putting a label on it of introverts, extroverts, or whatnot because I feel it all amounts to it being a human phenomenon. I mean there are several cases of it with others, so it is not uncommon. We are people in the end with the exception of having a little less tolerance for social events and big crowd happenings.

    Oh, yeah: I think there are some book bloggers that can possibly be more outgoing than others therefore feel ok with social events. While others like you mentioned could be opposed to going out more. I think it depends. I am pretty sure there are all types of book bloggers with varying personalities.

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  8. Now imagine that you're the introverted author and you HAVE to go to the book signing! Luckily my own introversion manifests itself mostly in dread and some anxiety beforehand. When I'm there at the podium or on the panel I mysteriously become extroverted. I hope we get to meet in person someday, Jen. I'll make you a sandwich at my house. That's low-key!

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  9. Unfortunately I am one of those people that is not just shy or socially awkward – I am those things too – but I am one of those people who is official. Officially diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia.
    Meds & therapy make it....bearable.
    Some days are better than others. Some days I cannot leave the house at all. Some days I am ready to conquer the world. Some days I have to push and force and put up with a lot of discomfort ie:full blown panic attacks.
    So why traumatize myself ?
    I don't know. Lol
    I bought a non refundable hotel room so I won't back out of going to BEA. Honestly losing money is never stopped me before.
    The fight or flight is so strong sometimes and the panic attack is so severe I end up in the ER.
    I don't think I would wish this life on anybody. It's very small and limited.
    It's sad too.
    So why go to BEA? Why do or have I done a lot of things?
    Because I'm alive and I have to keep trying to live.
    Plus books have been my saving grace since I could read. They have literally saved my life and sanity many a time.
    Especially when I was a teen and after my diagnosis when I was 18.
    Paying my respects to books and everyone that creates books is just the best thing ever.
    Will it be hard? Yes. Hard AF. Will I run to the bathroom stall to decompress? Yes. Will I want to run out screaming? Yes. But I gotta start to desensitize myself & starting with things I love (such as going to BEA) it's never going to be "perfect" but it's my life and it's all I got.

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  10. Jen, I SO get you. I can't tell you how much I related to this post. I actually am going to BEA this year (whoo, finally!), but there is some serious anxiety happening here. Commitment, money, but most pressing: social issues. I do well with people, but it's the whole part leading up to it. I've been really slacking with the blog because of school and now sickness so I feel even more anxious to be around everyone. But ANYWAYS, that's all to say that you're not alone. And I'll try my best to score you some copies ;)

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  11. I completely understand how you feel-you are definitely not alone in this struggle. I am forcing myself to go to the Convention in Dallas since it's my hometown as well. Recently I've been thinking about the hundreds of things that could go wrong the day that I will be attending. This is my first big book thingy that I'm doing and I feel like I might get very overwhelmed. I have no idea what goes on or what I'll do. If you ever need company or want to be awkward together I'm here for you :)

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