INTP Pet Peeve #3

Not being respected for my choices, my tempo, the processing of my thoughts, even if they prove to have a meaning behind them and a quite sensible outcome in the end.

Well, everyone wants respect. In that sense, it’s not so much a ‘pet peeve’ but a basic mutual demand in life among your fellow human beings. But there’s a certain aspect of this that can also seem petulant, I guess: The fact that I don’t like to be hurried into making up my mind on larger matters that affect my life (does anybody?).

But how do you even begin explaining the natural thought process of the INTP mind? I cannot make head or tail of it myself. I’ve tried explaining it in a previous post; how it‚Äôs all mixed up in a very fragmented, complex system where everything runs simultaneously but not necessarily in a conventional structure. To explain plainly, it is not a systematic system in the same decided way as in the INJT mind (in my understanding). INTPs hardly know the system of our thinking beforehand, only that it is there and that somehow everything is connected in complex, changeable ways that we love to discover. We understand it as we go along.

Sure, it’s possible to tighten the reins and distill these thought processes into something specific and concrete at times, when necessary, but overall, it’s neither durable nor natural to conform and constantly keep a tight rein on the INTP mind (unless you’re suffering from a mental illness as well, I guess. Mental health always comes first).

I do not abhor the concept of making compromises and I do make them more often than I think. It’s impossible not to make any at all. But still I cannot help think that life is too short to abide by anybody’s else’s rules (unintentionally, that sounds either like a ‘sneering teenager’ or an ‘anarchist’), even if you might see their logic. Still, it’s their logic. What they think you should choose to do. Some might suggest so because they love you and care about you and that’s fine; as long as they know when to take a step back and let you breath and decide for yourself. Even if that takes weeks, months, years. An entire goddamn life. It is still your decisions to make.

Often I think there’s nothing more important than being able to listen and respect when people say “I acknowledge that this is an interesting choice, and I appreciate your opinion, but I just don’t think it’s the right choice for me right now”. You don’t even have to explain why, by principle. If that’s what your gut feeling is telling you, you can’t even explain it to yourself sometimes. You don’t owe people anything in that regard unless your decision directly affect others, in my belief (after all, it’s never too late to change your mind). It may sound arrogant (and, I acknowledge, a bit passive-aggressive) but I guess it’s because it’s one of my core values which I cling to. Perhaps I’ve become more pigheaded as I’ve gotten older but the pigheadedness is not exactly a new thing.

To illustrate with a small anecdote: When I was younger it took me ages to choose an ice lolly from the ice cream kiosk whenever my parents gave me the option (which was quite often so it should not have been such a hard decision every. single. time.) ūü§∑‚Äć‚ôÄÔłŹūü§¶‚Äć‚ôÄÔłŹ It became rather symbolic for the rest of my life; the hesitation and careful consideration to make a decision when given a choice. Whenever I was told to hurry up, it only took me longer to decide, as if the push, in my mind, became a challenge to consider harder or even do the exact opposite.

This trickled into my formative years: All through school, I was constantly but politely reminded of my lack of oral contribution in class; a great frustration to my teachers who otherwise applauded my scholarly accomplishments. I was the ultimate bookish nerd, after all. At the time, I didn’t know or was able to formulate precisely why I couldn’t readily express my thoughts out loud (only on paper). The problem wasn’t my lack of intelligence or answers, but the fact that I was thinking. I was processing the question(s) posed by the teacher, subconsciously having an immediate answer but also an inner debate with myself; jumping ahead, thinking it over (self-)critically, outweighing its many possibilities and varied contexts which might influence the final answer. Theoretically, I had the answer¬†but couldn’t quite phrase it to clearly explain what I was actually thinking.¬†Before I knew it, somebody else had put their hand in the air and been chosen by the teacher and the conversation had moved on. I’m not trying to put the blame on any of my teachers here. They could hardly put everything on hold and wait for me to formulate my answer; that would have been some long school days.

No matter how hard the teachers tried alternative teachings, they rarely upset the inevitable system: Formative education will likely always remain an assembly line where one learns to think and adapt to the norm, to society; a sort of box where you process all those wild, abstract thoughts and ideas into something tangible and categorized. One would believe this would have helped me formulate the answers I had roaming in my head but, ironically, I believe it was the¬†system’s¬†failure to¬†adapt¬†to the complexity of the¬†human¬†mind.

Streamlining every individual thought process have its heels, especially for the artistic and/or non-academic minds who ‘refuse’ to adapt; who cannot naturally fall in line. I may have been academic but with streaks of an artistic soul as well and even my academic mind was spinning out of control, so to speak.¬†Its theoretical¬†modus operandi¬†always seemed too wild for the level of our curriculum, so I reined it in, became more adaptive and even¬†more¬†introspective.¬†It was simply¬†my way¬†of thinking; something I could never fully mold to suit society, something that I needed to take my own time to do, so to speak.¬†I didn’t rightly understand why I couldn’t think outside the box as I did; which is paradoxical because as I became older, it was all everybody wanted me to do. I learned to unlearn what I had learned. Huh.

So, yeah. That’s how the cookie crumbles.

Advertisements
Standard

In a relationship with solitude

I think it’s important to learn to live with your solitude. In a sense, you must form a relationship with it. It isn’t a consistent thing in your life; there are ups and downs and times where you rail against it, want to escape or scream. Colette described it so: “There are days when solitude is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall.”

The importance of knowing its conditions are somewhat inescapable – but also keeping in mind that solitude on its own isn’t the endgame and that there are ways to compromise and combat the level of your loneliness.

Solitude and loneliness aren’t necessarily the same nor are they mutually exclusive. As Carl Jung formulated it: “Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you.”

With solitude you do not have to communicate or express anything. You can just rest within yourself. Hermann Hesse wrote: “Solitude is independence. It had been my wish and with the years I had attained it. It was cold. Oh, cold enough! But it was also still, wonderfully still and vast like the cold stillness of space in which the stars revolve.”

Solitude can just be closing your¬†eyes and listen to… nothing in particular. And you can¬†learn to be comfortable with the darkness and silence. Like meditation. I think it’s important to be able to close yourself off from everything surrounding you every now and then, and¬†I mean this in the most positive way possible. Sometimes you even¬†need¬†to. Whether we choose it or like it or not, we live in a digitized world where the right to privacy has become extinct, especially for Generation Y and Z.¬†The world is so hyper-expressive and¬†visually satiated¬†because of the Internet and social media, among other things; crying out for you to look at it and engage with it through its many accessible channels, that choosing not to ‘engage’ or express yourself, your feelings or opinions constantly in some shape or form has become the radical antithesis.

The strange thing is: You haven’t disappeared from the face of the earth just because you choose to do so.

Or maybe… you have. Just for a short while. Maybe it’s okay to be allowed to disappear and reclaim your privacy in some shape or form. Not ultimately in the literal sense by turning your back to society, though I’m forever fascinated by the story of songwriter Connie Converse who left in search of a new life and was never heard from again, with the words saying, “Let me go. Let me be if I can. Let me not be if I can‚Äôt. […] Human society fascinates me & awes me & fills me with grief & joy; I just can’t find my place to plug into it.” The family hired a private investigator in hopes of finding her. The investigator told the family, however, that even if he did find her, it was her right to disappear, and he could not simply bring her back.*¬†I find that so painfully beautiful and true, even though she might have driven off and killed herself (and not to romanticize suicide), she was such a private person that the possibility of her living by herself somewhere is equally likely. That she finally, somehow, got the privacy and the new life she was looking for.

What I want to say with that is that you are allowed to withdraw and search your soul instead of some place of belonging on the earth. Like Hermann Hesse said, solitude is independence from the world. Just like meditation is learning to disengage with the world as we know it and find harmony from within yourself.

It sounds so abstract and pseudo-spiritual, I know; like something you read off of tea bags. But I mean this is in a very simple, fundamental way and it is something I’ve come to discover for myself throughout the years.¬†If I engage with as little as possible at the time, I can close off other senses and thoughts and hone in on what I enjoy the most; writing, drawing, etc..¬†Sometimes silence can even be found in music, simply because there’s something very meditative and intangible about music; you can lose yourself in it. At least, I have always experienced it so.

Standard

Dear extroverts…

I’ve watched interesting documentaries, read insightful articles and met various people which all confirmed that we struggle with many similar internal-external problems¬†(no shit Sherlock)¬†but in slightly different ways; whether we lean more towards introversion, extroversion or, depending, somewhere in between.

Naturally, as an introvert, I’ve never fully empathized with extroverts’ constant need to get energized from something outside themselves. Though, I have, in my older years, acknowledged that no man is an island and that we all need some form of social company once in a while. I still find it disturbing that extroverts often seem to find it difficult to seek solitude in order to simply rest within themselves which comes more naturally to introverts. It seems problematic to the point of angsty when extroverts do not have this immediate remedy in the shape of some external or social interaction and have no other alternative, not even themselves. (Bear with my over-generalization).

But in a world built mainly for extroverts, they should have the least amount of problems, right? Many can easier navigate from various social scenes and other areas of life than introverts, I believe, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your internal life follows suit just as easily. Even the funniest comedians of our time have been quoted to say something about the struggle of not being funny; of the pressure and expectations every time they stepped into a room to constantly be funny, even when they didn’t feel like it or wanted to just be sad or serious like we all do.

Even your weapon can be something you hide behind, I guess. (Introverts have… shields? Cloaks? Help me out with this metaphor) ūü§Ē

Other extroverts have named the pressure of staying constantly entertaining, fun and energized among their friends (at parties) because they felt they couldn’t allow themselves to be anything else, like emotional and vulnerable or silent for even a moment. Some of their friends felt very sympathetic and ready to help and yet, their response became oddly contradictory. They explained how ‘hard’ it was for them to spot that the other friend was feeling down and didn’t feel like drinking because they were drinking themselves and wanted to have fun, so they didn’t feel like they could do both (apparently). Yet they clearly acknowledged that the friend needed understanding and a stop button to draw back and recharge. Instead they more or less pitied that the friend couldn’t stay upbeat and enjoy an evening together at the normal, expectant level (because ‘hey, you cannot possibly have fun in any other way nor even be a little less drunk to keep an eye out for your friend’ huh?).

I find this example so worrying and it goes against every grain in my body to not¬†assume to have a stop button like that. Perhaps that’s very telling of an introvert trying to come to terms with extrovert friendships, because they seek each other out for this kind of constant mutual energy, I don’t know? (And I’m not saying this goes for every extrovert out there, of course. In this instant, the person might need to find better friends..?) I just know introvert friendships mostly work on a different level.

However, whether or not, you’re an introvert or an extrovert, you should at least be able to have calm, intimate moments with your friends once in a while and go to them for a different kind of support than the constantly energized one, right?

tumblr_mtl1a7OOgv1sjrgfwo2_500

Or am I totally wrong here? Am I too quick to generalize the difference and too introvert to understand the complexity of this?

(Not that I expect any extroverts to read this blog but heck, I’m laying it out there in case there should be some random one who happens to have a definitive answer on behalf of ALL extroverts. I expect nothing less, of course ūüėŹ)

Standard

Adrift

It’s a cliche, but, nonetheless, it’s my reality. The ocean metaphor works universally well in any case. I am adrift. At sea. Clinging to a buoy that does not move away, watching ships passing by without getting on board any, because I have no faith that I will reach a destination once I do; that I’ll just end up back in the ocean again.

On a wholly different level, I’m also living in something close to a vampire metaphor. (I mean, the sheer amount I’m listening to The Cure and hide away in the dark right now should be pretty illustrative of this fact).

My existence is, more or less, parasitical. As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve realized how much¬†my independence has¬†lived off¬†my dependence on others in almost every aspect of life. Sure, I have an original mind – even an ‘original’ personality – but I’ve mostly¬†fed off¬†the experiences, feelings and stories of others ‚Äď whether those people have been real-life or fictional.

I’ve always been better at using someone else’s theories than coming up with my own to make a point. Even¬†I¬†do not want to stand by my own theories; I am reluctant to publish them even though there is potential in them. Still, I scoff at the idea of making a career out of it; becoming a professor, journalist, writer, etc., despite having a secret wish of making it work. And that’s the crux of the matter on a very general level: I have got the¬†potential, just not succeeded unraveling that potential and made the finishing line. Personally, academically, professionally. I mean, there has been snippets here and there, but oh so brief.

I am a consumer in every sense of the word; I jump from one thing to another when I’ve ‘sucked’ everything I can from said thing; a constant immersion in fictional narratives, pictures, film and music ‚Äď to substitute something I lack in my own life and ward off responsibilities in real-life.

It’s my sustenance in life; I’m a junkie in that sense. It scares me when I can’t find a ‘fix’ to get through the day (which just scares me even more; this realization). It’s a sad existence, really (well, being a junkie, in any sense, is). When my loneliness and dark thoughts crowd in on me, and I’ve been deprived of social stimulation long enough to feel a physical hole in my body, the realization becomes stark, because I know when I suddenly get this ‘fix’ – sometimes merely interacting, talking and laughing around good people – I get a rush, a social ‘high’, and I know how brief it will be; that once those people disappear again and go back to their lives, I will sink back into the shadows. And I have only my guilt and shame, feeling I have no right to claim any more of their time and attention, only grateful for the small amounts I can grasp now and then. I can’t even confess this to my closest ones, though I fear they’ve partly discovered it by now or will eventually.

This ‘vampiric’ existence feels – much like its literary origin – to have come out of nowhere, and yet I can’t figure out whether it has been my existence always, my fate, an unfortunate coincidence, or, in some parts, my choice. I don’t want to be a victim of circumstance, especially not since I still have a choice to not ‘suck’ (pun intended). …Don’t I?

*sigh* I’m really a pathetic ‘vampire’.

I have no real solution to this (which is another problem of mine). How do you cure a soul who is always feeling adrift? Not restless; adrift. Especially if feeling adrift is a basic condition of having a soul that is also always searching; searching for something and nothing in particular?

Huh. This whole ‘soul talk’ sort of undercuts the whole ‘vampire’ metaphor, doesn’t it? Oh, well.

Standard

The intriguing algorithm of the human being

The human mind is fascinating. And, in extension, so is the human body and how it all connects in an intricate system that has certain recognizable patterns.

Each human consists of such an interesting ‘algorithm’ that constitutes who they are. Not just their DNA, but how they choose to live, how they think, what they value in life and whom they love. The roots spread into a complex network of branches from the trunk and the crown of the tree. What’s not to find fascinating?

Especially in the case of gender and sexuality and how they come to be a part of our identity and what makes people tick. Nowadays, we have so many new and combined terms to cover almost the entire spectrum of what it means to be a human being in this regard; we’re constantly learning new things, and, like a scientist,¬†I jump at the chance to discover more from an objective as well as subjective point of view (using myself as case subject as always).

As such, the ‘algorithm’ I’m constructing works within the various regions of MBTI, personality type and alignment, gender identity, sexual orientation, romantic orientation, relationship orientation and structure.

And in the case of myself? Well, I’ve collected some of the significant parts of my very own ‘algorithm’ throughout the last couple of years; one self-discovery at the time, and discovered that I can identify with the following things (though the results may vary):

  • A full-fledged¬†INTP.
  • Born female, but my gender is androgyne.
  • Enneagram Type + instinctual variant is a¬†5w4 social variant.
  • Alignment: Neutral Good.
  • For many years caught in the heteronormative/essentialist spectrum and simply categorized myself as a heterosexual, but now that I’ve become more educated in this field, I would say I am more of a demisexual¬†/ sapiosexual /¬†gray-asexual.
    • Note: I have pondered whether my MBTI could have something to do with that, because, on the face of it, it just seems soooo INTP – to shy away from defining labels – to choose or identify with the part of the spectrum that appears most ‘in doubt’ and uneasy to settle on any defining label, so to speak. (I know, I know; by principle, there aren’t any labels in life, but this is simply according to the presently formed categories out there). For one, I find it so very INTP to want to dissect and understand the concept of attraction on various analytical levels, such as an sexual, sensual and aesthetic attraction.
  • In terms of romantic orientation, from the viewpoint of a gray-asexual, I’m still on the path of discovery – both in theory and in real-life. So far, and in true INTP style, I’m researching the different terms; what each specifically covers and excludes, and what exactly fits me, such as¬†sapioromantic, polyromantic and panromantic. The idea of a¬†polyamorous¬†relationship (structured as a¬†triad) is not averse to me either, but, by now, that’s seems like such a far-off dream that it is hardly realistic, especially for a gray-asexual (I have absolutely nothing to compare it to. Such relationships are never portrayed as anything but highly sexual, so sorry if my hopes are so low).
    • Note: I have no personal experience in real-life to base this upon, but in truth how can you be sure of any label you put upon yourself. Your life is far from over and you haven’t yet met all the persons in your life. Call me open-minded as hell, and maybe it’s just my INTP shining through, but how am I to know which kind of person I’m attracted to (or would consider doing anything with) if I haven’t met them yet? It doesn’t really matter then who they are, I guess. I take it step by step. I think there’s a reason I always screech to halt and become tongue-tied when somebody has asked me the question ‘what’s your type?’. I’ve never been really sure. Sure, I’ve always had an inclination towards the male form (according to my distant fangirl crushes on celebrities), but whether that ‘male form’ (excuse the somewhat crude wording) is transgender, androgyne, bisexual, identifies as something-something else… I’ve never really considered or, frankly, given a damn. I’m simply a curious individual who just hopes for an open-minded companion who isn’t afraid of its (whatever)sexuality, is acknowledging of a more fluid gender spectrum and ready to talk all night about obscure subjects until we fall asleep. The ideal match would likely be an intelligent, open-minded individual with a male physique¬†who identifies as androgyne (ugh, that sounds so scientific and clinical…like the male version of myself..) within the compatible MBTI personalities (though I suspect they are few and far between).

 

Standard

Introvert on a social high… Huh?

Just as much as I can get ‘high’ from intense thinking all by myself, I can find myself at the receiving end of a ‘social high’, so to speak, from time to time. In good (and often limited) company, that is. Bad company never does anyone any favors.

I’ve come to realize social exchange doesn’t necessarily have to include the same level of abstract thinking or the sharing of complex ideas (which both stimulates and relaxes us) as my INTP mind expects. My brain instinctively tries to set a standard because that’s the only way it knows how, arrogantly and naively so. But sometimes being with like-minded fellows is enough. That includes same values, opinions and yes, sentiments. Trust me, if you find yourself in such a situation, you’ll be surprised by how well in tune you can find yourself with sometimes complete strangers or old acquaintances and their friends, even friends of their friends.

Of course, and with the rush of ‘the high’, I cannot free myself of the flood of insecurities before and after (hence this post). Beforehand, you wonder if you should cancel altogether, avoiding making a fool of yourself and unconsciously unburden whatever you internally battle with regarding socialization. Afterwards, you wonder if they actually felt more irritated than entertained by your snippets of eccentricity, your little tics or odd quips here and there which are so general for the INTP, and if they’ll ever invite you back or call upon you again. That you can be so much in your own head that the moment of good intention is not enough to make up for all the signs you missed until you finally decided to show up. For all the social niceties you should have paid attention to and paid your respects to.

In the moment itself, you couldn’t be more in your element (that is, if you feel comfortable in the company you keep). The presence of good company itself is more precious than anything, I think you’ll agree with me if you’ve come across it (and I hope you have). Even knowing that there’s a fallacy of mental exhaustion from socializing threatening to barge in (as it is with every introvert), it is counterbalanced by the reward of intellectual, stimulating, easy-going banter which is priceless. Sure, I’d sometimes wager diving into a stimulating subject on paper comes close or even rivals such a sensation. (Laughing to myself as I think what most people probably have in mind when they think of ‘a stimulating sensation’. Something quite different, I reckon).

Standard

INTP Soft Spot #1

Having one’s values and beliefs questioned and/or challenged.

Richard Ayoade4I’m not sure how many people actually like this (perhaps mostly NTs?). Then again, some might argue there’s a fine line between ‘being questioned’ and ‘feeling attacked’; that it’s all a matter of interpretation.

However, in my eyes, there’s a significant difference, rhetorically.

This is perhaps all the more prevalent in an age where ‘safe spaces’ are being heavily discussed, particularly among my own generation, but this tendency also points to several other factors of modern (western) society; a surge of identity politics being one of them.

And, there’s a world of difference between having one’s beliefs questioned and not being believed (or appear convincing).

But, personally, I persist that the point of learning must be to be challenged. Expand your horizon. In the end, there’s only a shell of stimuli in having your own opinions reflected and confirmed with no new information gained.

Learning is sort of a dialectic process, almost phenomenological. Not just by observing the world around you, but also by interacting with other people and challenging them in return, hopefully producing something constructive, if not for the parties involved then for the potential listeners or on-lookers. Sometimes, you simply agree on disagreeing which can be surprisingly rewarding in itself.

It may sound all very rationalized and distanced but I believe only so can we regard the subject clear-eyed. Like the basic principle of free speech, to quote Voltaire: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I‚Äôll defend to the death your right to say it.”

Intolerance is a hard nut to crack, though, and it can feel like running one’s head against a brick wall. Some people are hard-set on being rigid in their convictions, and it’s a brave but also slightly naive or romantic notion that one can somehow sway the bigoted to the better. (I include myself in this syndrom).

But different opinions do not equal stigmatization or oppression. Opposition is good. Difference is good. And exactly what a democracy or a healthy society need to stay healthy. It’s what makes a society diverse.

Though I partly understand where my university peers who demand safe spaces and/or trigger warnings are coming from, I am sometimes in awe that they can proclaim greater tolerance for different opinions by stopping or censoring every opinion that does not suit their own. It is counterproductive – even hypocritical – to safeguard minority groups (especially on their behalf) for their difference by practically coddling each other into the belief that they don’t need to listen to anybody else’s opinions while their own stay safe.

By principle, no opinion should be spared of being challenged on, ideally, a rational, constructive and dialectical level.

The world is constantly changing and values are being questioned – in the good way as well. But how can you regard any opinion or idea, even refute it for its foolishness that it may be, if they are all censored or ignored, because you have closed yourself off in a little bubble with cotton in your ears?*

I don’t presume to preach or have the answer to what the ideal world should be or look like, but the important factor is to keep questioning ourselves and never stop.

Standard