P to the J

Lately I’ve been in this self-discovery kick, where I’m really trying hard to understand how I work and why I do the things I do, and see the world the way I do. Part of that process has been to revisit where I fall on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) scale. According to the mighty Wikipedia, the MBTI is an “introspective self-report” that is “designed to indicate psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.”

When I first took the test, in my mid-twenties, I was an ENFP. Later, after having a little one and teaching full-time, I drifted over into being an INFP — mainly because after talking all day, I really needed the time to introvert myself. But lately I’ve found myself shifting yet again, and this time it feels more seismic — now I’m an INFJ: a shift to more of a J (judging) than a P (perceiving).

Now when people hear that the “J” in the MBTI stands for “judging”, they usually equate that with being judgemental. Nope. According to the foundation behind the scale, the J or the P part of the descriptor:

[The J/P] pair describes how you like to live your outer life–what are the behaviours others tend to see? Do you prefer a more structured and decided lifestyle (Judging) or a more flexible and adaptable lifestyle (Perceiving)? This preference may also be thought of as your orientation to the outer world.

Which makes sense, when I think about it. These indicators are preferences we have, and so often they can shift and change because of the context we find ourselves in. I started thinking about when I started to notice this shift in myself — and I think it was around the time I started acknowledging the end of my relationship with Jerry. It was then that I probably became more ‘judging’ in my personality, rather than my usual ‘perceiving’ mode.

And, it makes sense this would be the case.

Toward the end of my relationship (and much earlier, if I’m honest with myself), I really had to get more organized and structured with my reality. I needed to take control of making sure Emma was taken care of (from her school to her activities to her welfare, etc), and I also had to make accommodations for Jerry to see her (working around his crazy shift-work schedule), all while trying to navigate my full-time job, my grad work, and my personal life issues.

And if I’m being extra honest, I think I lean more to judging because so much of my personal life feels like it’s in turmoil — so having some order and structure makes me feel a little more safe. I’ll interested in seeing if my J ever shifts back to a P when (if?) my life calms down again.

These days I often find myself feeling so misunderstood — so there’s also a part of myself who takes comfort in finding some commonalities with this MBTI personality, because apparently it’s one of the rarer ones out there (according to this website, it’s less than 1% of the population).

So far, the best description I’ve found of the INFJ that best resembles me is this one: Care & Feeding of the INFJ (if you’re in my life, and wanna know more about how I tick, I would probably bookmark it).

what she said:

“Marilla, isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

“I’ll warrant you’ll make plenty in it,” said Marilla. “I never saw your beat for making mistakes, Anne.”

“Yes, and well I know it,” admitted Anne mournfully. “But have you ever noticed one encouraging thing about me, Marilla? I never make the same mistake twice.”

“I don’t know as that’s much benefit when you’re always making new ones.”

“Oh, don’t you see, Marilla? There must be a limit to the mistakes one person can make, and when I get to the end of them, then I’ll be through with them. That’s a very comforting thought.”

from Anne of Green Gables

by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Emma and I are reading this book together, and I’m so excited about showing her the old-school Megan Follows miniseries after we finish.  On the other hand, I’m also already filled with dread about having to read the chapter about Matthew.

of cracks and light and missed souls

Yesterday I found out that Leonard Cohen died, and it just made 2016 suck that much more. I saw him in concert twice — and each time, I was in awe of how he just spoke poetry.

My favourite song of his is Anthem, mainly because it fits me (and it’s definitely on my life soundtrack):

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Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

It reminds me of this sculpture, and the story behind it.

It’s me. I’m glad that cracks can be light and beautiful, because I’ve got my own share of ’em.

last election thoughts (?)

So, I’m still kinda mourning.

Anyway, I heard this article on one of the news channels the other day, and I can’t stop thinking about it: Taking Donald Trump Seriously, Not Literally:

“First of all, the country is divided, and we have no leadership,” [Trump] said. “You would think we would have the perfect leader for that but we don’t.”

He hammered at the importance of better opportunities in black communities as a remedy to quell today’s unrest: “We have to have education and jobs in the inner cities or they are going to explode like we have never seen before. You already see signs of that already all over the country.”

The best way, he says, is to provide good education and good jobs in these areas. “Fifty-eight percent of black youth cannot get a job, cannot work,” he says. “Fifty-eight percent. If you are not going to bring jobs back, it is just going to continue to get worse and worse.”

It’s a claim that drives fact-checkers to distraction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the unemployment rate for blacks between the ages of 16 and 24 at 20.6 percent. Trump prefers to use its employment-population ratio, a figure that shows only 41.5 percent of blacks in that age bracket are working. But that means he includes full time high-school and college students among the jobless.

It’s a familiar split. When he makes claims like this, the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.

And there’s the election, in a nutshell — how many times did I take what he had to say literally, but not really seriously? Whereas his supporters were just the opposite — they’re happy to take him seriously, but not word-for-word. I’ve been obsessing over this chiasmus all day.  I think it’s the 2016 election results in a rhetorical nutshell.


Then again, while I didn’t take him as seriously as I probably should have — part of me thinks that I just couldn’t allow myself to see him as an actual president — I think more of my disappointment this week is in that so many of my fellow Americans voted to have him as a leader.

Which brings me to this article I posted earlier this week: We Who Choose to Fight

You know, some folks will say that liberals and progressives were too smug and that we underestimated him. But I don’t think that’s quite the whole story. The real story is that we recognized him for exactly who he was, and shall forever be. We overestimated the goodness and decency of a lot of Americans.

I will choose to fight. I just have to get over being so devastated, first.