As eilamona on Tumblr pointed out – and on a personal note – INTPs should never try to fit in: “The world is built for extraverted judgers (and sensors also have an easier time since there are lots of them) – but it’s a huge mistake to try to fit in. All these years, we have developed our unique qualities as an INTP. It’s your choice whether to hide them like weaknesses, or play them up as strengths.”
If you force yourself into conformity the consequence will be as Virginia Woolf so accurately put it: “Once conform, once do what other people do because they do it, and a lethargy steals over all the finer nerves and faculties of the soul. She becomes all outer show and inward emptiness; dull, callous, and indifferent.” Or as Rita Mae Brown said: “I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.”
Of course, one can simply ‘play into’ conformity but not fully ‘commit’ like author Richard Wright implies: “The thing to do was to act just like others acted, live like they lived, and while they were not looking, do what you wanted.” And, in the end: “I am inclined to satisfy the claims of my own ideals rather than the expectations of others.”
I’m trying to figure out what my life is to become. Not what everyone else expects it to be become or how it should unfold. Not what everyone else sees fitting: The most conventional and efficient way; what an industrious life should be.
No, I see life as so much more than ticked off boxes and filled in formulars proving you are a person. I believe life should be one’s own and that that should be enough. (Ack, my unfailing idealism!). Not so much for selfish reasons, but for the sake of life itself. Granted to you. Asking you to take care of it. Taking the path less traveled. Or, at least, walk the straight main road with everyone else – but a little more ahead or behind; setting the eyes on other parts than the never-ending horizon, letting the gaze wander, become distracted and see what the others do not see. Once in a while letting your legs walk the course of your curiosity. Dare to.
I do not want to keep on freeloading on the welfare system for my own selfish benefits, but I do not want to ‘sell myself’ to the outer world either. It’s almost an instinct to refuse to do so. An instinct not matured or outgrown with age, but consistent and childlike still.
Life is hardly this black-and-white and compromises are to be made, but my damned integrity balks and rears like a stubborn mule, like I’ll become tainted if I compromise it. Or maybe it is something else? Fear? Cowardice? All of them?
I wrote a poem about fluctuating between worlds, of lives half-lived, and it’s true. I need to get out of my comfort zone and the ‘security’ of fictive worlds and dreams. To face reality. At least, once in a while. To dare.
And yet …
I ask myself what makes me most happy? Living in a world of dreams and imagination, of fiction and music, or living in the real world? I know the immediate answer as it is, but it is not a happy answer. I wish it was different. That life, for once, managed to let its claws sink into me and hold on. My own, humble attends to do so towards life have proven fruitless, pathetic.
I keep searching for my bravery – and hold onto it.