This will be roughly two parts life rant, one part writing rant. So you have been warned.
I've watched a number of reality shows where the contestants are vying for the opportunity to start their own businesses, and one thing that has always annoyed me about popular media seems to come to the fore in these shows: if you have passion, you have to wear it on your sleeve. If you are devoted, you have to be visibly emotional. If you are controlled and collected, then the judges seem to think you are apathetic.
In some way, this makes sense: not being in someone else's head, we can only judge by what they demonstrate, and that goes doubly for the home viewer, who is only seeing selectively edited clips. But to me, the assumption that people who are less emotive, or uncomfortable with loud displays, somehow have less fire than the rest of us ... it grates on my nerves. There is a type of person for whom these outbursts are unnatural. Trying to force it would be farce.
As you might have guessed, I am this type of person. Under stress and pressure, things may bubble up, but otherwise, I keep quiet and internalize my emotions. And that's all right with me. I don't enjoy when the moment gets the best of me. I prefer to stay composed. The people around me don't need to be burdened with my emotional minutiae. Does that mean I don't feel as much as someone who is more vocal? Definitely not. The inside of my head can be a powder keg.
I promised there would be writing talk in this post, so here it is: I sometimes (though not exclusively) write characters whose reactions come from that same, reserved place, and I find that reviewers will pick upon certain character reactions as being too mild or detached. Sometimes, this is because I haven't properly illuminated the thoughts bottled up behind the outward calm, which I then set about correcting, but other times, it's simply the reaction itself that provokes this critique.
So I strengthen the mental underpinnings, but I'm not budging on the outward quality of reserve. Because even if this sort of person is unusual, they do exist. Hi! I'm pleased to meet you.