Fear draws you in and pulls you away

Of all the fears in the world, my personal, most concrete, ‘rational’ one is a fear of the sea (or simply deep water).

Yet, ironically, as much as I fear the sea I have an unquenchable fascination with it as well.

All in all, you could call it an awe-inspiring respect for the sea. Actually, my name means ‘of the sea’.

I grew up on a tongue of land with the sea surrounding me on both sides but not closed off by it (thus I always had an ‘escape route’).

I have always loved and feared the sea equally through all its moods; calm and warming, wild and roaring, frozen and dangerous. As a child I ventured to the shallow waters to paddle, run or play but never further like the rest of my family who always wanted me to swim. But I could not go into the darker, deeper waters or let my feet slip from the ground without an anchor to hold onto, an achor that wouldn’t bring me further away from the coast. I felt the powerful pull of the waves and the current even in the shallow streams, the knowledge of the dangerous, hidden rip currents staying in the back of my mind all the time. I felt I knew the sea, yet at the same time not at all. No matter how much I tried to read it and learn about it, so much was left unknown. I knew one could never tame it, never truly predict it; that it was as merciless as it was invigorating and beautiful.

I do not fear water as such, but rather I fear being caught, of not being able to escape, being helpless and without control; of being pulled down into the darkness (thus my ‘irrational’ fear of sharks…yeah, I know), swallowed up, choking and drowning. Ironically, I do not fear having no ground under my feet when in the air (I love the thrill of flying!), but when in deep water I panic.

It’s rather symbolic, I guess.

My other biggest fear in life is being utterly dependent on someone or something, of not being able to move or get around on my own; to go where I want or do what I want when I want.

Helpless sums it up pretty much.

Illness, accidents and old age mostly lead to this, but it is getting caught in the permanent state of immobility I fear the most; of never getting out. Not just physically, but mentally as well, such as getting a brain haemorrhage, dementia, etc.; of not being able to use my mind or remember. Of having my friends and family suffering under it for years while I have no clue – no, dear god, that would be horrifying! Something I cannot truly predict or control – like so many other things in life – but only try and prevent while not being paranoid all the while. Of course, the most surreal fear would probably be to be accused of being crazy when you are not but no one believes you and locks you up in a madhouse.

Right. Now it’s getting slightly paranoid/hypocondriac, isn’t it?

The idea of being stuck and helpless is most notable in one of those common nightmares where you’re lost in a labyrinth or a time capsule of repeated sameness. Boy oh boy, have I had that dream many times! I have this thing about being stuck in the neighbourhood of my first childhood home that was one of those small, mass-produced, surburban prototypes built around the ’60s; a small detached house copied multiple times everywhere one looked. In the nightmare I try to find my home, but every time I think I have, it’s not it. The eerie thing is, it looks the same – even the garden and streets – but I’m always met by strangers. I begin to despair and run quicker, more desperately in search of my home in this clustered, claustrophobic labyrinth of both sameness and alienation. It’s a horrible feeling, truly, because I’ve had this exact dream several times throughout my childhood, youth and adulthood and I never find my way home.

It isn’t something I usually think about but I merely started wondering whether other INTPs have the same ambiguous relationship to the sea/water or can relate to any of the other fears of being caught?

*revised 10/9/2016*

Advertisements
Standard

Imagination is a force to be reckoned with

I don’t know about other INTPs, but I pride myself to think I have a quite good imagination. So good it has become a double-edged sword. Once again both blessed and cursed.

My imagination is sometimes so terribly vivid it scares me as much as it exhilarates me.

It is a show of force that has a life of its own – despite I wield it more or less intentionally and consciously. On top of that, my highly associative, stream-of-consciousness related thinking does nothing to comprehensively relay the inner workings of my imagination which will probably be illuminated through this very post.

I sometimes think that I’m able to live off the feelings and experiences projected from and onto the characters on screen and on paper; my idols and favorite stories, and that they somewhat substitute or make up for the lack of my own. I’m truly an escapist in every sense when it comes to that – which excites me as much as it worries and frightens me that I need to have this. This world I can escape into via my computer/the Internet (which I’m practically married to) and ‘live’ the lives of someone else or ‘together’ with them like a fly on the wall. It’s wonderful that fiction, art, movies, music and literature can enable a world of imaginative escapism, but I think it’s also dangerous to be completely absorbed by this world; of already lived or fictive lives which are theirs to live, not yours. It frightens me that I need this because it implies that I don’t have a life on my own that is enough; that I don’t experience the feelings and adventures that I apparently so desperately seek or need in real life. I find myself saying that it’s okay that I don’t experience all these things in real life because I’ve got my imagination. And it’s not like I’ve been without adventures in my life; I may just not actively seek them out either, because it is easier to retreat into your mind and conjure them yourself or through fiction. I need to be brave. And yet, as Sidney Poitier once said: “So much of life, it seems to me, is determined by pure randomness”, and I agree with him. I do not throw myself into life but take what comes, take it step by step; ‘come what may’; ‘whatever will happen will happen’. It may be the poor man’s bravery but, for now, that’s what I got.

Do others feel the same? Do you also immerse yourself in the imaginary world of fiction and your mind and forget to live your life?

Personally, I can immerse myself for days, weeks, even months. I find kindred spirits in long passed authors and their characters and relive and internally debate their thoughts, feelings and observations of the world that parallel or challenge my own. I’ve grown and learned through fiction, films and tales from history as much as I have grown and learned through the present and the people around me – if not more. I have found kinship and mutual appreciation for these realms of escapism through the virtual society of the Internet as so many other (lonely) souls do. I find friends, company and understanding there that I haven’t found in my life – and that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. It’s better than having or doing nothing at all in my view.

I spent my life folded between the pages of books. In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.

— Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me

In my mind I’m living another life almost simultaneously. Like in “(500) Days of Summer” where an alternative fantasy-scenario is presented alongside the real one, I have the tendency to imagine myself living the ‘dream life’ whenever I feel down or unsatisfied with reality. I mean who hasn’t? And it isn’t as if it is that hard to make it happen in real life. I’m not dreaming about unbelievable things, but simple, small things, like going for a walk, talk and laugh with another kindred spirit whomever it may be.

Is it wrong for me to say that I think I know how it feels? That I know how it feels to be in love? I’ve not tried it in real-life, but I’ve tried it through my vivid imagination and I can try it again whenever I want to. I just need to close my eyes, perhaps be in the right setting, with the right kind of music in my ears and the right mindset. With all that I’ve seen and read and with my, at times, highly empathic feelings I’m that conceited to think I know how it feels to be in love, to be completely obsessed with another person, mentally and physically, even though it is all experienced in my mind or through some actor on screen or fictional character on the pages. But who says it isn’t more true just because it happens in my mind? (to quote JK/Dumbledore). Yet, how come feeling the love the two main characters of a movie or book share is enough? Or, at least I trick myself somehow to believe it is enough… That I can somehow live on on their love and not experience my own because I’m afraid of it? Is that why I desperately seek new TV series and movies that can continue confirming that feeling when the other starts to die out and the raw reality hits? I think so. No, I know so. It is – or seems – easier to get under the skin of fictional and/or imaginary characters than real people; to know their innermost thoughts and feelings, because they are irrevocably written down or dynamically projected from your own thoughts and feelings.

But I also think that it is somehow a dangerous path I’m treading: That I’m so engrossed in living a passionately experienced life (let us call it that) through my mind and imagination that I cannot think of anything happening to me in real life without going through it in my mind, that is, only for a second, living the scenario out through my mind (as I imagine how it will unfold), and as I’m prone to afterwards, convincing myself that that was enough; that that gave me the necessary satisfaction I – for a moment – longed for in life. That is, after all, not the way to really live your life, is it? You need real experiences to have real experiences and real feelings, right? The mere thought of someone touching me remotely intimately isn’t repulsive to me; I’m not repulsed by humans or the human touch, yet I just don’t see it happening to me somehow. I’ve relived it through my mind, often in another person’s body or mind, a person with blurred identity and appearance (I guess, a mix of all characters and persons in literature and film that I’ve been attracted to, not necessarily sexually), and I feel my range of empathy is so exercised by now and that the feelings certain fictional characters feel are bestowed upon me with the ghostly electricity of a real life scenario in the same situation. Am I parasitizing these ‘false’ emotions too much and too long to live my own life? Perhaps I am. I just don’t know what to do about it. Or, well, yes, I do, but I don’t know how to break the circle of content, however pathetic that sounds. I want to be brave but I feel helpless. The truth is, I know I want permanency and reliability when real-life is anything but, and I know I can find it in fiction and imagination. I guess the comfort-zone and the good old fear of getting hurt are the usual suspects, yet I can’t help feeling that though I can have a great time with friends or even family, the feeling only exists for so long, and that some good memories – though I try to hold on to them and the people in it – slip further and further into a cloudy distance and exist almost only as past dreams where the factual events of the memory seem to cloud too. I catch myself asking: “Maybe this didn’t even happen? Maybe it was your imagination – your oh-so-talented-and-convincing imagination that tricked you again?” My only hope to restore those certain memories is to ask the people in it how they remembered it, but the problem is, the subject of the memory is often so delicate and subjective, I’m not sure I have the guts to confess how I felt or ask how they felt, if they even remembered any of it… if it was even real. Or that I’m crazy. Anyway, this doesn’t really make sense and it doesn’t really matter. Some of those people are long gone from my life despite of it all, and I don’t think I will ever see them again. Maybe they were meant to disappear so that I wouldn’t have the chance to ask them face to face. Or maybe they will return one day, but I don’t think so.

It all comes down to that imagination of mine again. But how can you cure yourself of this other than by real experience – which you cannot force!? You simply cannot force things like that to happen in my experience (ironically), but then again if you have no experience at all, you’ll have nothing at all. But does it need to be big and grand to fill your life? Apparently that’s what people seek nowadays; excitement and rushes whether it’s forced or initiated, drugs or senses, physically or mentally. I don’t know anymore. I seek something else, maybe the very thing everyone else seek though in their ways – and me.. me in my ways. Which isn’t exciting at all. I seek passively in real life, but actively in an imaginary one. I take one day at the time and soon a whole year has gone and I try to look back to remember significant felt moments, but I don’t remember any feelings except the truly unhappy ones.

Maybe that’s pretty normal; not having the whole adventure package per year/per life. There’re many forms of adventure. Life’s an adventure. Well, that depends on yourself, after all. And I don’t know what I should depend on myself (if that makes any sense). Maybe you shouldn’t know. Maybe you shouldn’t always know or expect what life brings you or what you want from it or what you can give it.

Standard

I hear the ticking of the clock but do not feel it

Is it common among (female) INTPs to have no natural desire to have children?

This is a feeling I’ve always had, strangely enough. Despite every argument and question from outside and within, such as: “It will come”, “Maybe not right now”, “Don’t you like kids?”, “Don’t you want to make a child of your own and teach and watch it grow into a beautiful human being?”, “Having kids is such a life-altering moment unlike anything else”, “Having children is a precious gift one shouldn’t readily discard”, I always zoom right back to my natural, calm yet instinctive reaction to the question of me – not as a woman, not as anybody else – wanting to have children: “No, I simply do not think that is for me. Someone else. Not me.”

I know I’m not alone in this. And why these protesting comments, questions and arguments are quite common to hear regarding such a statement tells us how deeply integrated and inherent the topic of having children is within our society. Well, naturally; procreation is the most essential source of life. Most of all, the topic becomes (more than) hot when women are stating they do not want to have children. I don’t think I even have to explain why. Of course it is women. The power of the evolutional, cultural, and traditional codes and values divided among the sexes since the very beginning of man are not lost on me. And they are not easily releashed. Even when we accept the women’s choices, we still naturally ask why. The women do it themselves at one point or another (society sure will keep reminding them), despite the choice came naturally to them. Yet, it is utterly barmy that any of us need to (keep) question such a choice when men receive none of the same scrutiny. Despite how long we’ve come, women’s bodies still belong to society in sooo many ways. Or society, at least, feels a right to meddle – with anything remotely feminine or queer really, for some reason. *sighs* But I digress.

Standard

Moments of epiphany

How and when do you know you’ll probably never reach a deeper understanding between yourself and your family/parents?

I guess there are many degrees of toxic environments to grow up in and I definitely got the ‘lucky’ end of the stick. Still, certain patterns do form within relationships, no matter what kind; hidden, denied or not, and today I realized mine. I may always have known it was there but I also thought I was merely reading too much into things; that I was being dramatic and pathetic; that I was more at fault than others. And though this may sound dramatic either way, I can’t help but telling what I know to be the truth for me. Especially, if the truth comes through the seemingly smallest of incidents, followed by a silent epiphany that tells a message somehow all too familiar to oneself; one you have always known deep down. Especially, if it comes the very first day back in the family’s bosom – and unfolds in its usual and all too disappointing pattern.

Moments of epiphany come in many shapes and sizes and mine came like a stinging reopening of a cut close to my heart, if not on the heart itself. And, as I said, when it happens the very first day back home for the holidays, you know in your heart (you all but literally feel it) that this is wrong – that this shouldn’t be so. When I realize that the very essence of my being can be so easily disregarded and mocked as something silly – still, after all this time – and that I cannot entirely be myself even among my kin. (NB: This may be too subjectively implied, vague and thus uncomprehensive to follow exactly, but I hope to make way for some significant points of self-discovery in the end.)

The thing is: I love my parents yet they do not understand me; they cannot read me. They are my closest of kin – they made me – but they do not understand me – which makes it hurt all the more. This may sound awfully reminiscent of a moody teenager’s voice speaking, but I have outgrown that teen; I know myself more than I did then. I know that this feeling is not ‘just’ the cause of a coming-of-age, hormone-charged fad. It has been brewing for a long time, never building like a snowball of anger and bitterness but simply just there; a constant sense of displacement, of a wire snapped.

They don’t understand why I seek away; why I seek elsewhere than where they are, because that crucial connection is missing. And if they do not understand or cannot read me by now, I don’t think they ever will. It saddens me because I thought I had shown myself; that I was as close to my developed self as I could be by now – or, at least, that their love for me would have shown them my heart and mind by now. I know; you can never truly know what a person thinks or feels, but isn’t the idea that you’ll get to know and learn about them along the way? Apparently, that isn’t the case with my parents and myself. It seems we are always meeting at cross-purposes no matter how well-meaning our intentions may be. I try to reach them, yet they pick up the wrong clues and mock those they have found, throwing away precious chances to come to a greater understanding. I don’t know if it is their embittered hearts that have no more room for such tender dealings or if we simply have very, very bad timing since we continue to go wrong of one another. My mother misinterpret and my father misunderstand. Not in any necessarily big, dramatic way, but in the undercurrent of every benevolent interaction or passionate discussion lies the risk of misunderstanding simmering and waiting to attack and screw us up. I think my parents feel it as well because they make sure to trample down every aggression and passion, even positive passion and conflict, or judge it as misplaced or misleading, fearing it will set off a potential avalanche they wouldn’t know how to handle, thus making it close to impossible to discuss important matters. I’m always exhausted rather than relaxed or exhilarated by their company. I cannot talk with them. We tolerate each other, and sometimes we barely do. I do not ask them to be like me (you can hardly demand everyone around you to be like yourself), but simply to understand me on an entirely basic level. Or just, for once, listen without making too-quick judgments or (mis)interpretations, nor make derisive or self-absorbed comments when I open my heart and mouth a little ‘too much’. Because of all the people I should be able to unburden myself to, uncensored, it should be my parents … Right?

As such I don’t mind being mocked by family since it has always been so, more or less; again, not in an evil-intended kind of way, but for the mere chance of poking fun of one’s antics, I guess. And I happen to have many antics! But I have accepted them because they are me. I have enough self-irony and self-consciousness of my shortcomings as it is; the shortcomings my parents already know, yet cannot help to continue to poke fun at instead of treating them with understanding and acceptance. After all, it’s healthy and constructive to be taken down from one’s own – sometimes – unconscious piedestal (in order to know you even had one in the first place), but there’s a fine line between laughing with you and at you; constantly doing the latter while excusing it as the former. I sometimes fear that I appear more arrogant and self-important than I feel I am (which makes me doubt whether I really am arrogant?!) and if it looks like I put on airs in a discussion when my intention couldn’t be farther from the case. It leads back to the ‘problem’ of being an INTP; that “…people think you argue because you have to be right, but arguing is just a part of your quest to learn”. But my parents aren’t simply ‘people’, right? They are my parents.

Maybe your parents were never meant to form any deeper understanding with you? Maybe this is an all too common, universal and perhaps even banal problem and I’m far too blinded or naive to have noticed it before? The problem of what parents ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be is perhaps as old as time.

But still something grates me. The world doesn’t revolve around me – I know – but among all people isn’t it your parents who should be the first ones to respond to you and celebrate you? If your parents can’t even see the development within you then who can? And what does that say about your relationship with your parents?

I find myself saddened and disappointed by the fact that they are apparently so blind to things I have learned to see now, because I have finally come to various self-realizations about myself and though these realizations may not sound like much, they are significant to me – despite the possible ‘selfish’ nature surrounding them. Perhaps that’s the impediment to our wrong-footing? These moments of self-realization may be barely visible to the naked eye – even to your closest of kin?

I cannot help myself: I have finally learned the art of learning to love myself; of celebrating myself as having come this close to a developed self; celebrate that I have virtues as well as flaws and that flaws can be good because it makes me human and that I can only learn and develop myself from flaws and mistakes, not from perfection or denying my flaws. I celebrate that I have an open mind, am willing to learn and understand (isn’t it wonderful to be human; to have this ability?), knowing I may never be fully ‘developed’ in mind or spirit but that I’m willing to grow and am damn well close to it (for my age, if that says anything). And the (self-)realization itself shows it, I feel, and makes me proud on a deeper, inexplicable level.

Isn’t that what life is about? Not so much being selfish but finding and loving oneself? Connecting with oneself? Forget the hippie clichés and pseudo-spiritual ‘life-inspiring quotes’ hanging on every branch for a bit (though they can be helpful). I’m no survivor of terrible, life-changing events nor hold some celestial spirit connected to the circle of life within or anything like that. I cannot speak for what one have or should have to endure in life in order to find oneself. Such realizations are your own and can show in the most surprising or even familiar of ways; from the outside or within, roaring or silently. And I can only speak for myself, being as human as any of you, and tell you what I’ve discovered for myself. And whether it may or may not be for entirely self-absorbed and pathetic reasons, which I’ll perhaps discover later in life and laugh at, so be it. Pathos is a part of man, after all, as much as ethos and logos.

In danger of sounding too holy and pompous after all, and, I may just write all this as much for myself (if not mostly) as for you, I would like to say that what is important is right now – what you have learned for yourself along the way – in order for you to take the next step, no matter how big or small. As long as it is significant to you. Of course, it’s tough if others (esp your closest ones) don’t see it as well, nor even try to see. Our self-image is not entirely self-made after all. But even if you discover the self-realization is somewhat off or misconstrued, at least you had some sort of realization (all your own); one that is important for your own self-image and -discovery right now, making ways for new and even different ones (of the world and the people around you as well), enabling you to learn from yourself, choose for yourself and accept yourself. Knowing and reaffirming your own ability to learn.

If that is not the first and foremost most important thing in your life; the love of thyself, flaws and all, keeping an open mind and willingness to learn, I don’t know what is.

*revised 3/7/17*

Standard

Independent to a fault

I have discovered this for myself – and I may have said this before, but I say it again: I cannot live anybody else’s life but my own. If your life is not your own then what’s the point of living it? Of course, freedom is relative (we’re all part of a system, one way or the other) and not everyone can be as lucky as I am or other more privileged.

Katharine Hepburn110

It makes no sense of comparing yourself or your life too much to anyone else. It is something I’ve learnt for myself as I’ve gotten older but still have to realize from time to time: That I don’t want to be like everybody else! It’s weird and quite terrible really to have to keep reminding oneself of this. Like some unknown voice from above and beyond keeps booming or whispering that I should be more like everybody else. I think it’s a common flip side (or naturality) of society that we all, more or less, unconsciously or not, try to satisfy: Conformity. The norm. And in a modern society that (for a couple of decades now) salutes indvidualism and ‘uniqueness’ where everyone now has become ‘individual’ and ‘unique’, it isn’t always easy, ironically, to stand out from all the ‘uniqueness’. I don’t know exactly where I stand myself, only that I too fight the same fight on a daily and existential basis. I mostly just want to ‘conform’ so that I can be left alone to be myself. It may be the coward’s way out, but honestly, it is the only solution I can see for myself … for now.

That also comes down to the fact that I don’t like to answer to anyone but myself. That doesn’t mean I don’t take responsibility for my actions or is an anarchist or anything like that. It doesn’t have to be understood in an extreme sense. In a spoilt sense, perhaps, since I’ve been so privileged of never having to compromise myself as such. That day may eventually arrive, but even when or if it happens I don’t think compromise will come naturally to me and that I may fail at it on a larger scale. There are many types of compromise, of course, and you cannot avoid it; I’ve just never had to compromise myself on any significant, personal level (yet). That may make me naive and far from an adult, but I’m also still young and trying to find myself so I don’t expect to have lived life by the age of 25. I may be stubborn and childish still, in this aspect, but I just don’t like explaining my life to anyone – or, to put in another way: it isn’t anybody’s business how I live my life. I’m a hypocrite by this fact, since I’m not without meddling tendencies myself, especially when I’m around my influential mother (the judge of my life) or my sweet, younger sister, though I try to curb my tongue, knowing it’s my mother’s voice speaking most of the time.

That leads me to another matter. Little, white lies may sneak their way into my daily life when I don’t have the energy to answer to anyone which includes being social and outgoing (most often). It’s easier to keep one’s cards close to one’s chest if you only know few people in your life that you have to ‘manage’. Right. I come off as an manipulative bastard, don’t I? It’s not my intention. Once again, I guess making excuses for interacting in the outer world is a common theme for introverts, though there are various ways of doing so, just as there are various ways of living your life as an introvert. I have a feeling INTPs can, essentially, be very hypocritical (and once again, paradoxical). Though we value honesty and mutual respect more than anything, we’re also masters at seeing through systems as well as weaving our way through them the easiest way possible. And the easy way isn’t always the right way. So, we may not come out on the other side entirely clean, but that doesn’t mean we’re intentionally mean either (could have rhymed better but I let that one slide). It’s just an unfortunate added ‘bonus’. As long as our ‘ways’ of dealing with life don’t hurt anybody else and don’t go directly against any of our principles, we’ll gladly continue to do it. After all, we’re talking the ‘little, harmless’ things in life – at least, in the INTP’s eyes. Others might not appreciate it very much. On the other hand, we like dealing with matters that others sometimes prefer to ‘manage’ their way out of the easiest way possible. But this is no ‘who’s-better-than-who’-contest. We all have our weak spots. I still throw out the little white lies. But only because I can. The minute I cannot make excuses or disappear unnoticed I have to grin and bear it. And of course, I do; I’ve practised this ‘necessary evil’ all my life on the sideline and I don’t always despise social interactions. Sometimes they just drain me – beforehand. I think this is quite natural for the introvert.

Am I ashamed of being rather evasive and pathetic when I make my little white lie of having a prior engagement (though I don’t have one) to excuse myself from another for the umpteenth time? Yeah, and sometimes I even regret it, but the introverted nature inside me overrides the shame. I need to have this choice in my life: To be able to withdraw when I feel like it. Since I balance it with actually being social and engaging in the outer world from time to time, I don’t see how it could harm anyone that I don’t always participate – whether or not it is more frequently than others. I don’t really care. Of course, that is also a matter of context and the certain responsibility I’m talking about. If ‘the thing’ I’m supposed to appear to demands more responsibility – if people are dependent on me or expect a certain task of me – then, of course, I will appear!

But I still value and guard my fierce independence the most and thus may come off as egocentric. Even arrogant. And maybe I am. But if that is the price for simply listening to myself – my instinct and my nature, so to speak – then I have to pay it. I’m prepared to take my failings to heart and learn when my independent nature meets resistance, and, to some extent, I’m willing to compromise given the situation, but I doubt I will ever releash it. I may not even be as independent as I so proudly claim to be – I may be utterly pathetic – but that may only be so to some people. To others, I may be able to inspire something in their hearts – I might even be an example of going against even the smallest of streams – but that is, of course, just an ideal dream. In the end, your own view of yourself comes first, and if I find strength and value in my independence, no matter its (objective) degree or range, then I will hold on and be willing to let go, momentarily, whenever I choose to. After all, you can never tell people how they should live their lives, you can only live your own as you choose. It may sound all grand and guru-like, but think about it on a very basic, daily basis; in the way you, unconsciously or not, ‘harmonize’ you inner life and outer life with the view of yourself. It may sound vague, but it helps me and, if you get where I’m going, it could hopefully bring some clarity to your own lives. Even if you disagree 😉

Over and out.

Standard

Introspective to a fault

Self-scrutiny is my (second?) favorite pastime next to devouring all kinds of literature and culture, roaming the curious corners of the Internet and having night-long discussions about all the big matters of the universe.

Surprise!

But can one be too self-analysing?

Probably. And the fact that I’m asking myself this very question may be a sign that I am. Or perhaps it is the very opposite because I am aware that I am too self-analysing..?

Yikes, my head spins.

Some say it’s good, others say it’s bad to be too introspective. I guess it’s all a matter of context and balance. Just adding the ‘too’ there seems to suggest that we’re talking about an overbalanced case. Verging on narcissism, if not already there.

I don’t know about other introverted types (I am clueless about extroverts) but trying not to be introspective, no matter how much, is like working against my very nature as an introvert and especially as an INTP. I can’t not be introspective. My life seems to be built around finding a balance in a extroverted world and not losing my mind or isolating myself in the meantime. I am halfway to Hermit-land already. As such, I see no inherently wrong by being introspective, not even to the degree that I am, but the outer pressure from the world and my superego tell me that it is to some extent. I can’t keep playing ostrich all my life and I know this. Oh, don’t I know it!

It is both freeing at times to take my mind off myself, so to speak; to be distracted from the inner world by the outer world, but it is not something I will stop doing. I wonder sometimes if the introspection itself is a distraction from the outer world? … Wow, mind-blown.

When it comes to self-introspection and self-obsession, the lines are blurry for the INTP (perhaps it is so with all introverts?). Because introspection is such a second – if not first – nature to me, I can barely distinguish between the two of them. From what I would say, introspection hints to a critical, self-analysing objective to oneself, whereas self-obsession hints to egoism, greediness and an unhealthy kind of self-involved narcissism. Both are relentless, yet can be managed somewhat I believe. I may be one or the other, both or neither. I really don’t know until someone tell it to my face.

And that is partly the reason for all my self-analysis: In general, I have no clue how other people really view me (I am genuinely surprised if people remember something I said the day before and especially years ago!). And it is not something you usually go ask people about. So, of course, I dive into myself to look for the answers.

Most people that I know I have met at different stages of my life. I think most of them haven’t thought much of me since I’ve mostly kept to myself until I surprised them with a side of my personality that, by chance, came through.

For instance, I once had this small amateur acting class in sixth or seventh grade and one time, we had to do small sketches and I played a cranky, old lady, and all the girls in class laughed (positively) at my portrayal, their faces painted in sheer surprise – like they had never really seen me before, coming up to me afterwards, impressed, saying “Wow, I didn’t know you could do this – you were so funny!”. And while I was surprised that they were surprised of this fact (I put on shows constantly at home), an internal monologue sounded in my head: “You wouldn’t be so surprised if you actually got to know me better”. After having gone to school for several years with these girls, I felt a bit slighted that they could be this surprised by this; that I actually could be funny. Well, I am not the best at letting people in either. Especially not as a kid, perhaps. But it was an eye-opening experience to get people to really see me and be surprised by sides of me I already knew of. It has been like this for most of my life – in small, yet significant bouts during social interaction. Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised, since I hardly give anything away with my somewhat demure, secretive appearance, but that most people’s first impressions continue to stay at the one-dimensional level is a bit hurtful. Like they are not even interested in discovering more.

Maybe other INTPs/introverts recognize this?

Standard

On writing

For some reason I’m awfully ashamed of my writing – or rather, that I write – around my closest ones. I cannot tell them; not about the blogging, the prose or the poetry, the fanfics or short stories or any of it, really. Only that I dabble with it; making sure I speak as frivolously about it as possible.

Partly because it feels so utterly personal, though paradoxically – as long as I stay anonymous – I am able to ‘publish’ and lay my heart out here, to you guys. However, the things I write here – these are matters I cannot really talk to my closest ones about, which is rather sad, I guess. But here I get no judgement and it’s freeing. Maybe I’m learning myself to one day speak about it to the people around me. I hope so.

However, explaining this or having this as an excuse for a possible career choice is another matter.

Writing seems as loose a profession as saying you want to become an actor. It’s hardly even a profession because, all in all, everyone can write like everyone can act; some just do it better. At best, it seems a pastime fancy one does in your sparetime apart from your real job.

Sure, writing is many things, but especially creative writing seems feeble and tabooed to aspire to. It isn’t really a title either to go after. I find ‘writer’ too unspecific (I think most people do, if they don’t think author), ‘author’ limited to novels or short stories, ‘poet’ to poetry, and ‘journalist’ to journalism, etc.. Of course, you can be a bit of both and everything, but you’re mostly one thing and though more and more gets published digitally and online, writing your stuff through free and open-source blogospheres still seems frivolous, at best. It’s hard to convince the older generation to take it seriously when it’s on the Internet only. Society mostly demands something concrete and peer-reviewed before it apparently is deemed valid. It is something independent, professional bloggers – which, luckily, is a more common, prominent profession nowadays – manage to slip past and I have so much respect for that, because I still have no idea how one can manage to simply blog for a living and get away with that. Almost as if it seems too easy compared to so many other professions. But one really shouldn’t compare. I guess most of them works sort of freelance, too, for many online magazines or gets paid through advertising, but it’s still something I have to look into.

However, despite not wanting to become some big-shot ‘digital poet’ of sorts, I find my stuff so utterly personal, meaningful and significant. And it’s somewhat painful to have to excuse and validiate writing as I and many others do; that to me/us it is and should be seen as more than a pastime. Especially when I see other professional bloggers – or vloggers – being able to build a millionaire life in their early teens(!) on such trivial things (in my eyes) as fashion, make-up, gags and gaming. Of course, these things have a broader appeal and more entertainment value with a great number of readers and/or viewers, but still … I’m not even asking for millions of dollars and readers, just more common recognition or awareness of other parts of online self-publishing. There’s so much potential out there if only one bothered to look.

But what can one do? And I think what is perhaps most important at this point of my life and what I need to remind myself is: I’m also so damn proud of what I have ‘achieved’ for myself. Though I may not outwardly say or show it, it is important and utterly essential to me. To get the words out and be free to ‘publish’ as I like. Anonymous or not. Unpublished or not. Unrecognized or not. Nothing of that is as important as the writing itself. In that regard, blogging has saved me and so many of us. And if my writing happens to resonate with someone or even several out there then I cannot ask for more. And to those who are like me, who dabbles with the same writing material as I; I can see the heart and soul so painfully and keenly through your stuff, no matter the objective quality of it, and I champion you all. I’m right there with you.

It reminds me of a post I read on tumblr:

Yet, you cannot build a career or a CV on such a romantic notion like that, I realize. Perhaps one day.

If I could only have loads of money so I’d never have to worry about money again, and be able to go away, buy a small cottage by the sea, get a dog and an old motorcycle, perhaps, and live in peace and quiet and write, I would. Yet, never having to worry about money like that would be utterly selfish, spoilt and irresponsible and I wouldn’t really like having so much money; I would feel guilty and uncomfortable, wanting to free myself from them by giving them to all my family, friends and to charity. However, it must be possible to have a bit of both, right?

Maybe this is a common condition among writers or wannabe-writers?

I rest my case.

Standard