When the interviewer gets interviewed

101 things article
{Read the article: Part 1; Part 2}

When you’re a timid introvert, a perk of being a reporter is that you’re never the subject of the story.

Fresh out of college, I worked as a reporter for a small town weekly paper. That experience helped me for years. Although I’m bad at small talk, I had learned to go into “interview mode.” I would spring a few juicy questions about what made someone tick, imagining which quote could be offset in bigger type. Most people love to talk about themselves, and when I was an interviewer, I never had to be the center of attention.

Over the last few months, though, people encouraged me to reach out to the media about completing my list of 101 things in 1001 days. One woman told me how I inspired her to go back to college; another said she went to the movies by herself for the first time; still another decided to enter a horse show, something she had wanted to do for years. I still held back from sharing my story more publicly. It was one thing to write on my blog, my tiny little corner of the Internet where I am all-powerful, and quite another thing to hand over control to someone else.

irony too timid quotation

A few weeks ago, my friend Linda texted me that she saw a woman on Good Morning America talk about her bucket list, but that my list was more impressive. I looked up the segment, and while the woman impressed me plenty, Linda had started something. I half-heartedly sent a press release to my local paper. Within a few hours, a reporter set up an interview. In a moment of grandeur, I reached out to Oprah too.

During my interview, I sat on what felt like the wrong side of the table and chose my words carefully, knowing that any phrase I happened to babble could make me look bad.

The interviewer, Michael Torelli of The Cheshire Herald, had done his homework, clicking through my blog to find the most interesting tasks. He and I laughed over my scary trapeze class, my Dance Central ineptitude, and my suburban confusion about how exactly to milk a cow. He confessed a fear of heights himself, and we commiserated over mind-numbing moments trying to climb a simple ladder. I caught myself enjoying the attention.

I then had over a week to stew about the article. “What’s the big deal?” I asked myself, but I woke up in the middle of the night worrying. What if people misunderstood an offhand comment I made about not liking fasting for Ramadan? What if people thought I was obnoxious for bragging?

The irony wasn’t lost on me that I felt too timid to promote that I am no longer too timid or that I had to go out of my comfort zone to promote that I went out of my comfort zone.

On its publication day, I stopped into a convenience store and saw myself in full color on the bottom of the front page. My chest tightened in fear. I tore through the article, searching for anything that would embarrass me, but everything was positive.

Over the next few days, friends and family reached out to congratulate me. At one gathering, people surrounded me and poured praise over me like warm honey. I found it unnerving to be the center of attention, but this timid introvert found it exciting too.

Maybe putting myself out there isn’t so bad? If I hear from Oprah, I’ll let you know.

   Thanks to the Bronze Lounge at yeah write for critiquing the first draft of this essay. {Links to the article: Part 1; Part 2}

Cheshire Herald article part 1   Cheshire Herald article part 2

About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.

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39 Responses to When the interviewer gets interviewed

  1. Congratulations! Great article – and it should really help your blog following and book sales!
    bogqueendiane recently posted..NOT a Happy CamperMy Profile

  2. Hi Marcy,

    I can so relate to asking people questions to take the focus off you. I guess the timidity never goes away we just learn to get on with the stuff we want to do anyway. I’m super proud that you went ahead with this and would love to read the article. And please say gidday to Oprah if you speak with her 😉 x A
    Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot recently posted..7 Jobs I’ve Done to Pay for My TravelsMy Profile

    • Marcy says:

      Thanks, Annabel–I agree that people’s temperaments don’t change, but that we don’t have to let that hold us back. There are links to the article right under the photo at the top if you are interested. I would love to greet Oprah with a proper Australian greeting when I get the chance. 🙂

  3. I love how this post turned out. It has a great flow that pulled me along even though I already knew how the story ended.
    Grats on the article!
    that cynking feeling recently posted..Close encounters of the Philip kindMy Profile

  4. TN Kerr says:

    Nicely done. I really liked that you felt too timid to promote that you were no longer too timid. A really good turn of phrase.

  5. Rae Hilhorst says:

    Congratulations, I think Oprah should be knocking at your door xxx
    Rae Hilhorst recently posted..‘Dust’ by Suzie Miller – Heath Ledger Theatre PerthMy Profile

  6. Dawn says:

    Great job Marcy! Way to promote yourself and gain deserved attention. You told the story well, as if we were sitting down talking about what happened and how it went. I always enjoy reading a piece that makes me feel that way. 🙂

  7. Michelle says:

    Congratulations on your article–I also loved reading your post about it.
    The part about being on the “wrong side of the table” spoke to me. It reminded me of when I had my pictures taken last year. A photographer friend and I traded favors–each of us couldn’t wait to get back to the more comfortable side of the lens 🙂
    Bravo for reaching out, showing up and being seen! I’ll be keeping my eyes open for Oprah feature!!

  8. Congratulations! I understand about not liking to be the center of attention, but that sounds exciting anyway. (thanks for the tip to go into “interviewer mode” for making small talk!) I’m glad for you that the article turned out so positive. It’s unnerving to have to trust someone in that way. I’m looking forward to reading more about your experiences!
    my white picket life recently posted..tunnel vision from the outsider’s screenMy Profile

    • Marcy says:

      The whole experience ended up being so positive. Thanks for your comment and good luck with “interview mode.”

  9. Madhura says:

    What an inspiring, positive article! Congratulations, Marcy! 🙂
    Madhura recently posted..Fading footprintsMy Profile

  10. Bravo! Brilliant revision with great details, and I love having your links to read more.
    Jennifer Knoblock recently posted..Too Often, FearMy Profile

  11. I couldn’t help relating to this. I dislike the spotlight; I’d rather shine it on someone else. (And I did, literally, when I worked at a local auditorium, haha.) But, sometimes, modesty is overrated and you need to bask in the glow of all that you are and have achieved. This is a good lesson for any reader to read. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Meg says:

    You are so friggin’ awesome! I love this story (and the irony of being timid about promoting yourself), and your 101 things — and your pull-quote! Engaging and well-written, Marcy.
    Meg recently posted..Shining ArmorMy Profile

    • Marcy says:

      I’ve been living with the irony for a while, as I proclaim that I’ve changed, but also know I still have the same inclinations. Thanks for your comments, Meg 🙂

  13. Esther says:

    Awesome! I look forward to reading more about your journey (I think I’ve read some, but not enough!).
    Esther recently posted..Letters — Yeah Write #171 gargleblasterMy Profile

  14. Nathan James says:

    Somehow I missed this in the bronze lounge, but I really like your work, Marcy. The idea of having to break through anxiety to talk about anxiety is both funny and completely relatable.
    Nathan James recently posted..The Frequency of WaterMy Profile

  15. Catherine says:

    Congratulations on finishing your bucket list, that is amazing! I have started so many similar things before and always gave up so quickly! Well done!
    Catherine recently posted..6 Awesome New Travel BlogsMy Profile

  16. Carol Apple says:

    Oh my gosh – how exciting, and how brave. I too have a hard time putting myself out there, and I am inspired by what you have done, especially this press release and newspaper article. If you are ever on a talk show I hope I find out in time to see it. I have been asked at work to let them do an article on me and my artwork for the company website. I said I would think about it and thought how embarrassed I’d be. But maybe I’ll do it. Also I sing soprano in the church choir but really want to do swing style karaoke. Maybe I’ll do that too.
    Carol Apple recently posted..Review of Resurrection by Leo TolstoyMy Profile

  17. Katie says:

    Congrats!
    Katie recently posted..Quick UpdateMy Profile

  18. Abby says:

    Well how cool is THAT! Now you’re inspiring even more people! And yeah, pretty ironic – that timid thing :D. Congratulations!

  19. Pingback: Leaving “all or nothing” by my 4th blogoversary | (Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish

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