To live with an INTP brain – 2.0

My mind is always so… persistently active.

I’m not sure if it’s very INTP. Technically, every human brain is active 24/7, even during sleep.

But I find my jumble of thoughts to be ever prevalent. Inescapable. And I have a very ambivalent relationship with said brain. Most of what’s going on inside are analytical observations and deductions in bucket loads, constantly accumulating, expanding, reducing, growing into, feeding and eating each other; from every little object to larger-than-life schemes. Like a game of Pac-Man, only one hundred times more layers and levels. Most of these thoughts are highly curious, objective; almost scientific in their reasoning and even sentiment, while others are more ‘acceptably rational’, to put it in crude terms *coughs*.

I’m not sure if I’d have less to think about if then I’d be more in sync with my emotions, because a large amount of time is also spend to instinctively trying to understand, analyze and come to terms with my feelings.

Well, I’m not exactly the most obvious person to answer that on behalf of myself, am I now?

Taking a break from feeding the incessant need of knowledge that my brain demands is certainly healthy, yet easier said than done. Maybe I’m too weak to resist. Sounds absurd, but it’s like a strange addiction or hunger; a core curiosity, a life force within me that will not quell and which I honestly don’t want to quell. Still, taking breaks, going outside for a walk, taking in nature and simply enjoying it for a while, also brings me peace and quietude.

Otherwise, my mind never rests.

I spend most of my time gaining all sorts of knowledge, some rather random and useless. Still, this hunger within continues; telling me it’s important to gather as much knowledge and information as possible, no matter how random or presumably ‘time-wasting’. And, ironically, while I could (and should) spend my time gaining all sorts of random skills which could be useful for my CV or future jobs, I find them aimless and, oddly enough, useless and a waste of time, simply because I have no specific aim to begin with. Sure, I could gain all sorts of skills pointing in all directions just to cover myself in and look more conventionally attractive on the CV. But, honestly, I have no interest in doing so. I find having a litter of random knowledge to be more important and valuable (to me) than having a set of random skills.

Even though, I’d probably get an actual job if I had said skills…

*sighs*

I really fit the idea of the distracted professor better than I think.

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To live with an INTP brain

I’ve come to realize that my thoughts aren’t always the glorified guiding voice of my existence that I’ve perhaps convinced myself for a long time now. They, too, can be flawed, emotionally unstable and tainted with too many outer voices and all the interacting spheres of my super-ego, ego and id (excuse my Freudian influence), coming full circle.

And, yet, I have a hard time not listening to them when I’m alone. How can I not? They are my thoughts, after all.

When I’m with others, especially in a company that stimulates me, these thoughts are less dominant, often silenced. And if it is a company which listens without judgment and whom I trust, I can even let these thoughts out and get an outside response to them. Afterwards, even though I can feel I’ve behaved pathetically and opened up too much, I also recognize how much better I feel than when I’m alone and bottle them up.

To jump to another (but not entirely dissimilar) subject:

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, dealing with my own day-to-day existence is easier said than done. Not so much in keeping things clean and neat (which most often comes up when talking INTP stereotypes. Oddly enough, I’m rather tidy for an INTP when I want to be. So many things go on in my head, I get somewhat distracted/OCD-like when there’s a clutter around me). It’s more in regards of having and keeping life goals that roughly conform to the expectations of society; of gaining skills and achievements whether personal or professional. Of having a, more or less, decided life plan, I guess.

This expectation was handed to me and my generation from a rather early age and we’ve ‘suffered’ under it ever since. Nobody should be forced to know their professional life goals at the age of 13-14 years old, after all. It’s perfectly medieval, if you ask me! But, as we came to learn, it was a part of a streamlined package deal; of knowing every step of our future education in order to choose right, especially the final, ‘pivotal’ education choice we wanted and thus the job that demanded such an education.

I mean, perspective is good, but honestly, there was no space for mistakes in this expectant, normative ‘road’ painted before us. No space for detours, despite the signposting of all the various careers, all the way to the horizon. An overwhelming sight indeed.

Or, at least, we all felt afraid of making mistakes and even when we inevitably did, we ended up feeling ashamed about it. Mistakes have become this deviant thing in our heads that we all try and avoid, instead of just accepting that making mistakes is a part of life and that making a mistake doesn’t mean you’ll never get back on the ‘road’ or reach your goal.

But I digress.

I’m not sure other INTPs feel this way, but I have a hard time not constantly shifting the issue of my own problems to the greater picture (case in point). I cannot let go of my knowledge of the world around me in order to focus on building my own world. I’d much rather go with the flow. Edging along the ‘main road’; once in while taking detours while keeping an eye on my changing surroundings. Back and forth, in and out among the many ‘trees’ and ‘signs’. Stay curious about life. The one thing I’ve always been.

It sounds lazy, and perhaps I am too much of freeloader if you look at it that way, but, actually, I couldn’t be more invested in what problems the world is facing. Any conversation I have I will segue into the latter at some point or another. It can be both exhausting and fascinating to be on the receiving end and keep up with this head spin, I know. I even manage to exhaust myself from talking too intensely, too passionately about the complex wonders, injustices and discrepancies of the world, while referencing the past, the present and the future in-between. That is, if I’m not turning the conversation into a deeply reflective, introspective talk about the inner human experience and existence…

Yeah, ‘small talk’ isn’t really in my vocabulary.

People think I argue just to argue or because I have to be right, but arguing is just a part of my quest to learn. Ideally, making all parties learn. Not changed, just aware, at least. Aware of all the ins and outs of the ‘road’. Of life. Becoming wiser myself. Even better; to further other people’s own critical awareness. That is perhaps my ultimate goal in life. The ultimate INTP goal…?

Still, it’s somewhat ironic that my awareness of the world surpasses my awareness of my own, practical life, but that’s how it is, I guess. To extent the metaphor: I’m not so interested in what my own ‘road’ looks like as long as I can keep an eye on my varying surroundings.

Despite regarding myself as an observant creature, sometimes I’m so painfully unaware of what’s happening in my immediate surroundings, particularly on a smaller scale. I have trouble even giving examples of this because I’m mostly made aware of these things through others. When this happens and I comment on them, most often I come across as arrogant to those who do not understand how the INTP brain works. Hell, even I find it irritating at times. And I feel ashamed for not paying attention to these details afterwards. Because it’s not like I don’t care. Ideally, I want to pay attention to everything that is important, especially the details of what’s happening in my friends’ lives. I want so badly to remember every little thing they mentioned happened the last time we talked! On the other hand, I cannot possibly bother about people fussing over, in my mind, petty things and practicalities simply for the sake of fussing.

Again, ironically, I feel my own little decisions in my own little life are somewhat petty compared to what the world is dealing with. I mean, they come secondly, for sure. Again, that’s just how my INTP brain works. Of course, I may be influenced by my current situation when I’m saying this; trying to excuse myself from my life, because I find it sort of stagnant and pathetic at the moment. But that doesn’t make the former any less true. In many ways, I think I’ve always felt that there were things more interesting than what goes on in my own life.

And yet, this blog sort of counterpoints this statement, doesn’t it? But as I’ve demonstrated to a painstaking point through this very blog, I’m introspective and reflective to a fault and thus I cannot help reflecting and commenting on my own reflections and comments on the world and my surroundings, thus inevitably bringing my own standpoint into view. It’s a navel-gazing quest, indeed. Or it ends in some big, dramatic, half-cynic, philosophical platitudes about life in general.

*sighs*

The INTP brain sure is one hell of a companion to live with.

*revised 17/5/18*

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Fitting in vs. being boxed in vs. wanting to be free

How does ‘follow your dreams’ and ‘find a job’ fit into all of this?

I ask myself that often.

Tomorrow I’m meeting up with two job consultants for an obligatory meeting relating to my period of unemployment and subsequent benefit.

And, yeah, in my country I can get financial benefit from the government for being unemployed. How very ‘depressing’, indeed. But you must understand the terms of condition that come with this ‘benefit’. It is very demanding and limited concerning whatever freedom and ideas you might have job-wise. The government doesn’t spend money on people freely, after all. By principle, it’s only fair, but you need to follow strict guidelines and can’t do any volunteering unless it’s humanitarian. Even the possibilities of working freelance and part-time have been tightened. It puts you in a very limited space of finding a paid, full-time job that isn’t just cleaning or working behind a counter in a cafe or supermarket.

And yet, I can’t complain when I’m still getting paid by the welfare system, can I? No. But am I any happier after almost two years of unemployment, trying my best to find my way through the system? No.

Digressing, this meeting tomorrow has ‘forced’ me out of my usual, melancholic bubble of denying my own reality and what I should probably do about it. *scoffs* Yeah, I live a hard, utterly spoiled life.

I’m not sure whether to confess my battle with my insecurities and depression to the job consultants in order to explain my inability to find a job. Should I tell them my struggle with finding a goal in life and wanting to be happy while also desperately wanting to please those around me, fit in [the system] and not be a disappointment?

It would be my most honest reply to any question they might pose and probably help them give me some honest advice in return (hopefully).

*sighs*

But, aside from this, I also have to acknowledge to myself that it is my life, my only life, and that I should be allowed to be happy – since I actually know what would make me happy – however silly and unambitious they may sound – and that I have the means and the privileges to make at least some of it happen. In truth, I don’t believe I’m that hard to please regarding how I live; that I could live much simpler than I do now (not that I live in a mansion or anything now) and that I don’t need much in life other than my few creature comforts. My own little cottage and a dog would be nice, too.

So, I started pondering if my underlying need to please my surroundings (and thus the system; fitting in and all that) and my fear of disappointing and not have high enough ambitions in a world of privileges has caught me in this system and my system of thinking (huh, how meta) – together with my depression as well. And that all these elements hold me down from enjoying an alternative freedom that might make me happier.

Somewhere in that question, I sense that I’ve found my answer.

What would happen if I thought entirely alternatively? If I reinvented my life? (To use a total platitude). If I gave up what I have now, my apartment and unemployment benefit, and invested in what I want (cue such sentimental wishes as the cottage and the dog), damn the conventional consequences! Made my own terms, my own money, however small. I’m not big on finance and I may be way too naive to think this can go around, but, after all, I don’t need much.

Other people have done it before me.

Part of that dream/happiness also include a social aspect as I’ve talked about before; of finding true company in life; romantic partners, friends, colleagues, etc.. I’ve lately come to realize that I need this kind of social interaction; more consistently, more intimately, so to speak. But that part must come when it comes. I can’t exactly force it, after all. The other parts are more easily attainable.

Just having this dream, this alternative gives me a inner sense of peace and comfort that I haven’t found anywhere else yet, though I have no practical experience in how to go about it and make it happen. Still, it’s not impossible, I believe.

This thought of an alternative lifestyle takes me back to my innermost questions; my own, singled-out voice asking: ‘What do you want to do?’ which in turn always returns to my consistent desire to write. It is the one thing I’ve always enjoyed, though I’ve always thought it a futile thing to voice or wish for because it seems so general and something anyone could do; voice an opinion. ‘Not something anyone would or should get paid for,’ says the pessimistic voice in my head. A voice I too often listen to and fall victim for, because I don’t have the courage or the will to fight it.

But then I tried to ignore the voice (for once) and stayed with the thought of writing. Of actually trying to make a living out of it.

So, that lead me to the hypothetical idea of becoming a professional blogger. An idea I’ve previously had in the back of my mind and brushed aside time and time again. An idea which comes with many ambivalent feelings and thoughts, all the different voices returning, telling me different things. On the one side, it’s a most natural and comforting idea, because I’ve blogged – on an amateur level – for years now. On the other side, I guess I still feel the idea is somewhat tabooed, not a real-real job, despite the job landscape has changed drastically in the last two decades. Blogging has become a legitimate job where people can make tons of money, sometimes by simply yelling in a computer game or reviewing the newest mascara on the market.

However, I don’t want to make your usual glossy, Instagram-worthy blog of cute cupcakes and the latest fashion trends. Not that there’s anything wrong with those. But I want to make something that’s my own. Something real, critical, humorous and frank. I want to analyse and discuss art, politics, people, culture, media, TV, etc.. I want to create constructive discussions and, hopefully, change attitudes. Even my own. I don’t want to be afraid to voice an opinion in a public forum as myself. (After all, it’s different with blogs like these, where I can stay fairly anonymous).

Am I wrong to put so many ideals into a project like this?

I admit, being a teacher would sound like the most ideal, concrete job for me in this regard, and it’s not something I haven’t thought of, but I’m still struggling in my (INTP) insecurity regarding the responsibility of teaching. I’m not entirely comfortable with the authority of lecturing and ‘placing my wisdom upon others’. I may be overthinking this way too much, but I just don’t think I’m there yet. I’m still a child of learning and of the world. I’m not sure I could be confident enough to be a convincing teacher yet, if you catch my drift.

Anyways.

I’m still not sure how much of this will be mentioned at the meeting tomorrow. Sometimes such frank thoughts and feelings just come out by themselves because I don’t have the strength to fight them (sensing a theme here?). At other times, I am too embarrassed to ‘fess up and show my insecurity and I just clam up and remain curt in my responses, pretending everything is fine. The former is probably more productive but I can’t help cringing every time it happens because I literally just blurt out things with a helpless, resigned attitude, unable to stop myself.

How very INTP.

I may return with an update tomorrow.

***09/04/18 UPDATE***

Ah, folks, here comes the update you never asked for: The meeting went as expected. Nothing new to report. No grand confession on my part. It was all very calm, business-like. I got a few extra tips regarding my CV and an underlying message of ‘it’s about time to get your shit together’. (No surprise). I get it. I really need to decide on something.

And, in a way, through this reflective post, I have. However slow the realization may have arrived.

I don’t know if it has something to do with this day and age, my generation, or if it’s just me, but I feel my problem of ‘being stuck’ all goes deeper; that it’s something very personal I’m struggling with regarding finding a goal, a job, a career. I’m so painfully introspective and, as I said, I’m rather slow to figure out my life and what I want with it – at a fairly late age, maybe – and belatedly acknowledged that I do not have these big concrete ambitions or visions … Although, you could argue that those ideas I mentioned above are somewhat concrete. After all, I’m far from indifferent or despondent; I would like to contribute and do something good for society, but I think it should be on my own terms and at my own pace. I have probably been a bit caught up in this mindset of trying to find a goal that could also meet the expectations around me and maybe even feeling a little trapped in the unemployment benefit system and not daring to think or throw myself into something alternative. I think I must stop trying to fit in (how often haven’t I told myself so?). It has only seemed like an obstacle so far. I just think I have to think in brand new lanes and instead ask myself what will make me happy, first and foremost, rather than trying make others happy about my decisions in life, simultaneously.

At least, for now.

Over and out.

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Shadow sides

We have all got them. The dark, hidden spots within ourselves that rear up their ugly heads every now and then; at the best of times, at the worst of times. They are what makes you doubt and despise yourself, makes you shameful, even bitter and depressive, and do and say things you are not proud of. Momentarily or for longer periods. They are, I guess, a part of life.

However, sometimes, they are so prominent, so poignant, so persistent that you start wondering if your eyes ever twinkle with joy or delight whenever you do laugh. It is strange to never see yourself this intimately. You may know the feeling of joy and recognize it in others, but to see it in yourself from an outside point of view…? Perhaps only those who have been captured in the moment by an artist or a photographer have. But even then: Is what they see who they feel? How they truly feel?

In my case or in the general one as well, these shadow sides, as I like to call them, hide an underlying insecurity of appearing pathetic, desperate, selfish, arrogant, conceited, etc.; essentially, of not being liked. And yet, people’s thoughts of you are rarely as bad as those you have of yourself.

For one, I live with a crippling feeling of loneliness and the shame following it; when my logic brain interrupts by saying it’s pathetic since I’m so privileged and that others suffer more. It only feeds and amplifies my shame. On the other hand, we are all lonely, my logic brain counteracts (oh so annoyingly); what I feel is nothing special compared to the greater whole. ‘Thus why not just get over it and move on?’

I’ve realized what is understood of the phrase ‘idle hands are the devil’s workshop’. Not from a religious point of view, but now that I’m without a job again I feel the lack of occupation in its most literal sense even more. Depression sneaks its ugly head into my rear-view mirror again. Every hint of motivation is lost just as quickly as it appears. Interests turn to obsessions which expand to the point of unhealthy before they deflate like the air from a balloon and replaced by new ones. In order to fill the void with… something, because I’m somehow unable or too much of a coward to fill it with the right ‘things’. I violently yearn for these ‘things’; events and people to install themselves in my life and vice versa. So much it hurts, and at the same time I am disgusted with this urge and I rebel against it and tell myself I am not needed, because I don’t know how else to handle it. I’m too pathetic, too inept to do anything about it. And I begin to question if I ever really worked for the good things that have occurred in my life or if I’m just lucky or too spoilt, too presumptuous to think that if I’ll only wait, good things will come – without making the true and honest effort to make them happen or head towards them.

The worst – or, at least, my worst – shadow side may just be self-pity. It encompasses all the other shadow sides, everything I’ve said so far, in a grey mass that feels inescapable. It will always be within me, somewhere. Its parasitic existence will always cast a shadow across every thought or action some time or another. I guess it’s closely related to my self-deprecation (which again stems from a lack of self-worth or belief in oneself), but it also entails a sense of resignation, of cowardice; of lacking the courage or motivation to do anything real about it.

And thus the self-pity feeds itself in an endless circle. It inhibits me from the most selfless actions because I find myself unworthy of other people’s good graces and then I berate my own selfishness; for thinking that ‘even the smallest action won’t bring any good so it’s not worth doing’, and, at the same time, I pity myself for thinking so little of myself. And I feel ashamed once again.

I feel alone again. Only I can do something about it. It’s such a lonely feeling to sit with, in every sense. Despite knowing that I’m not alone in feeling it; that many do so, I believe it can only be dealt with on your own. Then again, it’s the only way I have known.

I’m not sure I’m searching for confirmation and recognition of doing selfless acts, of being a good person; I mostly think my loneliness and insecurity further a sense of helplessness, of not being able to attract or keep people close beyond a superficial or impersonal level, anyway.

‘So, what’s the use of recognition?’ I think to myself.

Furthermore, I think this exact sentiment is what disables me from finding ambition in life; a job goal or a career. If I dismiss any future recognition beforehand, because I don’t believe in my own worth of getting it on the levels I need anyhow; if I can’t hold faith in the first-mentioned kind of recognition, how can I hold faith in a job-related kind?

And thus, I’m stuck. And I’m pitiful and selfish (or that’s what I tell myself). Because it’s not like I’ve been without any kind of recognition in my life. Far from it! But as I said, there’s a selfish need within of needing something less fleeting, less impersonal. Something deeper, steadier. And the fact that I feel so bad at giving it back (my track record tells me so, but I may be wrong), only feeds my shame of wanting it returned myself.

The other question is: From whom? There are few people in my life, and those few I am in contact with have their own lives to deal with. I don’t feel like clinging, without sense or purpose, to anyone. I never want to be a burden. And then I balk at the way I always end up making it about myself when I know I could be so much more for other people; that I can give and help instead of just making it about my own introvert needs. Somewhere, a voice says to me that I am better than this; that I can be better than this. But where do I find the courage, the motivation to do it on my own?

I end up back where I started: My own insecurity and inability in reaching out. Instead I hide away, hide inside myself. I… give up, in some way. (Too quickly, I feel, despite having spent most of my 20s like this, trying to make sense of things). Because none of these features could possibly make me anymore ‘attractive’ than I already am, I mockingly say to myself.

*sighs*

Sorry to be such a downer. I guess I’m a bit blue today.

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A paradox of definitions

Despite proudly asserting myself as an INTP, all through my life I have had qualms about asserting myself as… something or someone. I wanted to just be, not be someone, because I already was someone since life came and found me. Does that make sense?

I have struggled with definitions of my persona; of informal or formal titles, roles, nicknames and categories given or gained by the norms of society and, thus, inadvertently, by myself and others: Child, girl, tomboy, woman, nerd, loner, weirdo, snob, know-it-all, etc.. Of not being enough. Of being too much. It’s something we all go through one way or another.

Because life, in all its realness, must have some sort of definition. It’s what the struggle of identity is all about.

Still, I have persisted to give definitive answers to questions like “what do you like?”, “who do you like?” and “what do you want with your life?” simply because I had no definitive answers. I waited around for years for some definitive answers to form in my head that I could use as a response, but they never came. And in the end, the answers would never be good enough for the questions posed. Another struggle came about with that realization, because even though I told myself that as long as the answers were good enough for me then that was good enough it itself.

But I have been pampered in and with life, I realize now. My struggles have only ever been limited to the above and I am so lucky, in that regard, and so wildly ignorant. Because, in the end, my honest response to those questions corresponds with my naive definition of life – or rather my life – and that is to just live it; no ambitions, no assumptions, no expectations. And such a notion is… unrealistic. Spoiled. Infantile. I always wanted to avoid said questions like a child would, because those questions dipped into what the adult world looks like: of taking responsibility of one’s life, of having drives and ambitions and where interpersonal relations would become complex and forever confusing. I couldn’t just be; I needed to be someone. Such a steep turn from childhood, and I recoiled from such a turn. Instinctively, I wanted to remain in the ‘adult-and-question-free’ zone of childhood. At most, I wanted to ease myself as slowly as possible into adulthood. And, in many ways, I have, because I am, in many ways, spoiled and lucky in life. I came to realize so many things belatedly and I’ve yet to experience many things that belong to adult life. I’ve been both reluctant, inept and – in this instance – unlucky in seeking them out and I can’t seem to rid myself of this slow-working ‘handicap’.

This poses somewhat of a problem since my Enneagram type (5w4) has an instinctual social variant and thus I have also come to realize and accept how much I long for the right people and company in my life. Because of and in spite of my loneliness. (Note: my type result may very well be colored by said loneliness, but in a way my loneliness has always been there). Not to misunderstand this instinctual variant as a need for a ton of friends and acknowledgement. Nor is it cry for romance and affection. Simply of more intimate company and understanding. Something beyond the mere physical… Someone who sticks around, preferably for good, without expectations or presumptions or labels, and thus not necessarily as a wedded life partner or soulmate, sharing house and kids and all that… How can I explain it? Again, words escape me when I try to define what or who exactly I’m looking for or where I see myself. The need itself still eludes me because emotions elude me, yet I cannot escape the need nor the emotions.

I have long thought myself as a type 5w6; that I needed and strove towards my own company and that that was enough. But it wasn’t enough. It isn’t enough, and it’s hard for me to admit that. Company – the right company – gives me more than it drains me. I’ve been stubborn about realizing otherwise for a very long time. This sort of denial or blind spot was my safeguard against the world, against myself, so to speak. It was my insecurity manifesting itself; all my doubts about my own worth and appeal, my quality as a human being, my fear of simply remaining the wallflower I am. All the while, my introspection only grew and inflicted a paranoid notion that it had turned into something grotesque… and perhaps that’s where I’ve ended…

However, my life is far from over and all through life we struggle with identity and definitions. Perhaps we’ll never fall completely into place for any longer periods. Perhaps we will. The uncertainty of life will never go away and I guess that is a part of our fear of it, as well as our fascination with it. And it’s one of the reasons why I, for one, keep on living; continue to just be.

Sometimes I am weighed down by life, so heavily it feels like I’m going to be crushed by it; at other times I feel so unbearably light that I fear I’ll flow away and never return. And I realize that that is living and I feel both blessed and cursed, alive and dead. It’s everything and there’s still so much to it that I might never live or understand, it overwhelms me.

All the while I struggle with my own place in life; of finding and settling into all the definitions it requires, when all I want to do is just to live in it – since life came and found me.

*revised 08/03/18*

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Is company a distraction from loneliness?

Am I more happy in the company of other people – that is, friends and family – than I am alone?

Yes and no.

My teen self would have been more favorable to a ‘no’.

But – since having moved from home – ironically (or self-evidently), I’ve shed some of my arrogance and come to acknowledge the importance of those who know you and regard you as friend or family – and that self-isolation will do you no good.

Living by yourself provides you with the taste of adult loneliness that you took for granted as young.

In the company of others (though, always depending on what kind of company since I am an introvert at my core) I’m more cheery, more sassy-mouthed, likely presenting a version of myself that few see and all my parents ever see. I don’t think my parents know my quiet, melancholy self that well because I mostly keep up a cheery facade in front of them; to even out the bitter atmosphere they mostly inhabit. To make them forget their antipathy towards each other and make them smile for a while. So very childish. So very human. And yet, I know; I know my whole existence is based on keeping something in place. Something that was probably never there in the first place. Maybe I’m too superstitious. Too dramatic. Too conceited. To think I can be tainted by that. That I came to this world on a wrong premise; something tainted in my core. That I wasn’t meant for this world, but life came and found me. And thus I can never rid myself of that little black spot. It will sneak its way through my armor. Manifesting itself in the little things, against my will. An ugliness that’s part of me. Keeping everyone at a small distance, unwittingly or not, no matter how close I otherwise get to someone. And yet, there’s nothing unique, nothing special about that. And I don’t want it to be. It’s just…there. I realize that now. I don’t have to say it out loud.

The question is: Do I like myself when I’m with other people?

Not an easy question to answer.

I think, at times, I forget myself when I’m with others. A good thing, perhaps. Healthy even. But it’s also two-faced.

I distract myself from my own faults; covering them with arrogance; that others should be more agreeable towards my countenance, my ideas and points of views. But likability is not a self-given, no matter how ‘entertaining’ a characteristic of your personality you present. In the case of the relationship with my parents, there are other matters that come between us (as I’ve relayed one time too many times, I think *sighs*), but I have this irrational fear that no matter how close I become to anyone that they will have this ambivalent opinion of me; of being both witty and entertaining, but also attention-seeking, a little too eager to comment, a little know-it-all, a little childish and irritating all in all. I’m not saying that a person can and should only be one thing, but I’m always caught in this awful paradox of wanting to be myself in every shape and form and never wanting to make those closest to me, my dearest ones, slowly grow more and more tired of me and, eventually, needing to get away from me.

Remember the thing about INTPs just wanting, deep down, to be liked? Well, all humans do, I guess, and the fear of being abandoned is even more universal. But having this ingrown and, frankly, silly and stubborn need to stay independent and ‘unblemished’, if you like, by attachments (that I sense is particularly essential to every INTP) clashes with the core need of being liked. By being liked, you have to step out of that stubborn, prideful and fearful shell of being alone in everything. ‘No man is an island’. It is true. Not in the sense that we aren’t all islands in some sense; we are born alone and die alone, but that island doesn’t have to stay forever secluded simply because loneliness is a fact in life.

As lonely as I am – as we all are – I am also the creator of my own loneliness.

Even loneliness can be a distraction from loneliness itself. By isolating myself from myself, so to speak. In that sense, company is a distraction from loneliness. Not entirely, but it quells the loneliness for a bit. Either that or I distract myself by escaping into books, music, etc…. well, you’ve heard it all before. Because in the loneliness also exists a crumpling self-pity and thus a self-hatred. It’s the only thing I hate myself for: the self-pity. And I pity myself for hating and pitying myself. As I’ve said before; it’s a vicious cycle one cannot easily break away from. I stop pitying myself by distracting myself. By diving into someone else’s mind and emotions, into fiction and music. It’s only when I am alone with my own thoughts that it all returns.

And in return I feel guilty that I cannot find a way to distract myself less selfishly. Less demonstratively isolated, in body or in mind. Or both. Though my need to give is great, I have no idea how to go about it because I’m entirely awkward when it comes to such interpersonal actions, to give emotional and physical comfort on wholly practical and emotional matters, and because I’m afraid and it’s easier to hide away than to reach out a hand and risk hurting or getting hurt. I try where I can, but most of the time I do hide away. And so I’m in a weird conundrum, battling an inner battle where I feel self-pity and then scold myself for it, because there are people who have it worse, much worse, and I have literally all the privileges. All the luck.

Haven’t I…?

I get so angry with myself, the world, the human existence sometimes: Why isn’t it enough? Why do I have certain needs for human interaction when I would rather be free of these needs? They shouldn’t matter that much. They shouldn’t be able to crumble my innermost self at times; everything I’ve tried so hard to build up over the years. The self-security. And yet…

Yet, I hate that I have to numb myself, numb my feelings in order to keep this desolation at bay. To become unfeeling. To be this hard on myself.

It shouldn’t be like this. It shouldn’t be the only option. I don’t want to not to feel. But I don’t know how to feel any longer.

To only have a rational grip on these matters. It isn’t enough. Why isn’t it enough? …

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To trust and put yourself into the hands of others

I’ve realized that opening up about your troubles and worries to another person is also putting your trust in your fellow man. It is frightening as well – the most frightening of all perhaps – to put so much trust into another being; keeping many – including myself – from ever actually doing it. We guard ourselves – or parts of our inner selves. Even from those we love – sometimes because we think we protect them in some way or another by doing so.

As an example, I’ve long wondered why I’ve never really known my parents or why they could suddenly react with so utter distrust or secrecy towards me or my sister in the smallest of matters. Now I see that they guard themselves; have probably done so all their lives – and now grown so inveterate in doing so that they’ve stopped hoping or believing in ever trusting another being with their innermost worries, vulnerabilities and flaws.

I guess we are all looking for a savior; in ourselves, in someone else, in something beyond us. When we’ve forgotten how to believe in ourselves, we hope for a way to believe in ourselves again. Perhaps to let someone in who can show us how. Perhaps by loving us.

We all just want to be happy in the end, don’t we?

Maybe we never really give up hope, so even when those we thought we loved and trusted disappoint us, we push them away and stubbornly try and look elsewhere. Naturally but often wrongly so, because maybe we did not give those we pushed away a second chance.

It all sounds very sappy and perhaps I’m just feeling a little emotional right now. But I can’t help thinking there’s some truth in it somewhere. If not in anyone else’s case, then in my own.

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