The Introverted Interpreter

A couple comments on being introverted or extroverted influencing interpretive technique in a FB discussion really has me thinking about those aspects and interpretation.

I am an introvert. The fancy personality tests tell me so. I happen to agree.

Being an introvert effects how I do many to most things on a daily basis. I’ve been aware of that for a couple decades now. I hadn’t thought much about how being an introvert effects how I interpret and educate until just now.

On first reflective thought, I can see introvert-ism in my preferences for the space I interpret, the rhythm of discussion, organization of space, how I greet people…. Breaking some of this down further, this is what I see:

I work better in a designated space; a space that is my space. This is most apparent in my enjoyment of the Dressmaker’s Shop as the millinery. Those two rooms are a defined space that become my space. In many ways it becomes my stage (see below on taking on roles.) This space, as I lay it out, provides a space for me and spaces for visitors. When there are just a couple visitors, be it a couple or a parent and children, conversations can be nearly one on one or follow the interests of the young children as the move about the room. When there is a larger assortment of visitors, they seem to find themselves comfortable spots to bunch in. Despite fitting a surprising number of people in the building, at no time does it feel like “presenting” to a large group. The space is just right for conversation and discussion. I particularly enjoy when conversation develops in to this rhythm of discussion where ideas work back and forth around the room.  Interestingly, the millinery’s space is nearly the same size as my favorite teaching space that I use for small discussion groups.

Thinking about space further, I have to say this showed in how I like/liked to have tents set up. While I do like rows for safety and order, I like squaring off pairs or trios of tents in a |__| arrangement. I know when I did it, some people thought it was odd. I saw it as creating a space in the middle for demonstration. Now, I’m realizing it was also about creating that defined space. I am also recognizing my spacial preference appear in scripted and semi-scripted instances. I do better in roles where I am in the space as visitors arrive and stay in that space. I do not do as well with roles where I need to move in and out of a space. I noticed this when I did a small piece on women traveling. I had a great deal of trouble sinking myself into my role. I now wonder if the move into the space and move out of the space was the factor there.

Looking at what actually happens in my interpretive space. When people come in, I can see them individually. I can see what they look at first, where (or to what) they naturally are drawn. This gives me cues as to what each may want to talk about. I can also get hints about how to talk to them in their body language and facial expressions. I can’t really explain the details of “this means this, that means that.” It is more of an instinct thing. Or, at least I thought it was an instinct. It may just be an introvert thing. But, what it comes down to, in truly connecting with a visitor, it has nothing to do with what I want and everything to do with what the visitor.

I have had more than a few people be surprised when I say I am an introvert. Usually, their argument is that I don’t appear to be an introvert at events or during presentations or such. I assure them I am. In those instances, I am taking on roles be it as milliner me, traveling me, teacher me, presenter me, and so on. I love taking on those roles and being that part of me. But, those are temporary chunks of time.  I think it must be that I love particular roles, such as those when I am interpreting, much more than others because I can do them for longer periods of time. In my late teens and 20s, I thought of it as event prep, adrenaline at an event and post event crash. Which brings me to…

Some have learned about my battle time nap. This is my quintessential rest and recharge time. Whether or not I actually fall asleep during a battle, that alone, quieter time is essential for me. Without that solace, the strings just unravel. Without it, I may, I will hit a wall and be done. (okay, so on occasion there is also the factor of “feed the girl” as Bevin caught in Zoar.) The other aspect of battle skipping is simply that for this introvert, the action and loudness of a battle performance is not my thing. In some ways, for me a battle is the musical of the entertaining world. For the life of me, I can not follow what is going on in a musical. Really.

Those who have known me for a while may be wondering “what about when you did that and that and that” be it the socials, scenarios, fashion shows, vignettes, talks, etc. I used to run around all day doing? Well, each of those were roles. Also, each of those were task oriented activities that I spent a sometimes insane amount of time prepping for and researching. Yup, I am realizing my obsessive planning and researching may indeed be the equivalent of my looking up maps, menus, weather and who is who of modern social events.


Want to know more? I took a peak at some articles on introverts as teachers thinking that was the closest I would likely find a large number of articles on. Take a look at video Confessions of a Passionate Introvert by Harvard professor Brian Little. (warning there is a bit in there that may not be good for young or sensitive ears.) (This article from Duke University is a good lead in.)


ADDING: While brushing my teeth, I had a flashback to when I was working at FFES as a home visitor. When I had longer office days, I could be found not working at my desk but under my desk. It was not only quieter there, it was like a little cave that turned off all distraction. That led me to thinking about how I needed a cabin of my own when I worked resident camp. That was definitely my quiet recovery space.

Published in: on October 19, 2015 at 6:00 am  Comments (1)  

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I am an introvert forced by my job to be more extroverted. My husband is also an introvert. Reenacting gives us a place to interact with the public under our own comfort levels…but out of historical clothing we tend to be quiet with few friends and very loyal to those! I rarely even am willing to be part of an after work party…too shy to interact in groups larger than 3-4 people unless it is a discussion about something I am passionate about…and those subjects are NOT sports related, politics, or latest sitcoms…lol!

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