Being Two People

Thursday, January 23, 2014

People. To say that we're complicated is the understatement of the century. Also, to say this week has been rough would be another grand understatement. This week has me playing a lot of roles simultaneously and man, I am getting tired. 

This post was prompted by a goofy "blog analyzer" that I used that was supposed to determine the author's personality type based on their blog. So, I plugged my little blog url in and poof... out popped... something totally not what I was expecting.

Every time I've taken a Myers-Briggs Personality Type test, I've come up INTJ. That is, Introverted - iNtuitive - Thinking - Judging. It pretty much fits me perfectly. I've even blogged about it before during Blogtember. I like being an INTJ, it makes sense, the nickname for the personality is "The Scientist," it's a good thing. So imagine my surprise when the Typealyzer spit out...

ESFP. The Entertainer.

Not only was it not INTJ... it was the exact opposite! So, I'm not sure what algorithm the Typealyzer uses, and even if I did, I'm not sure that I would understand it. I did find it extremely interesting that as a writer, I come across as a completely different person than I feel I am in real life. I decided, in my methodical way, to look at a chart comparing the traits given to both INTJ's and ESFP's:

INTJ Strengths
ESFP Strengths
High self confidence
Great sense of aesthetics and beauty
Hard working and determined
Quick and versatile mind
Imaginative and strategic
Jack of all trades
Very observant
Excellent people skills
Honest and direct
Independent and decisive
Open minded

INTJ Weaknesses
ESFP Weaknesses
Always seek excitement
Find it difficult to focus
May be insensitive
Have difficulties in academic settings
Very sensitive
Often clueless in romantic relationships
Likely to over-analyze
Loathe conflict
Poor planners
Loathes highly structured environments

At first glance, I identify a lot with the INTJ strengths and weaknesses, but I also found that many of the ESFP strengths are some that I would consider my own. I don't consider myself especially bold, but I am eminently practical, I have great people skills, and I tend to be quite observant. As far as INTJ strengths, I am definitely hard working, determined, and independent, but I don't have the highest self-confidence and I hate making decisions.

As far as INTJ weaknesses... I am definitely a perfectionist who over-analyzes things, and I can be judgmental at times (sorry, guys), but I love highly structured environments and see myself as incredibly sensitive. On the ESFP side, I do not find it difficult to focus and I am definitely not  a poor planner, nor do I have trouble in academic settings. At first, I rejected that I "always seek excitement" but in a way it's true because I am always seeking something to do or achieve, and I hate being bored. So... there's that.

And then just for funsies, I looked at some "famous" INTJ's and ESFP's:

Famous INTJ’s: Gregory House, Hannibal and Clarice Starling, Walter White, Paul Krugman, Colin Powell, and Thomas Jefferson 

Famous ESFP’s: Hugh Hefner, Paulo Coelho, Justin Beiber, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, and Chewbacca

Can we pause for a moment and discuss a few things:

1. I don't know how I feel about being in the same personality category as Hannibal Lecter or Walter White. Yikes.

2. I definitely don't like that my writing could be classified in the same vein as someone like Justin Beiber or Miley Cyrus. Please tell me that that's a lie.

3. Chewbacca....?

So yeah, that was definitely an interesting experience. It did make me think about the many proverbial hats that we all wear, as bloggers and in our real lives. Of course, I'm always "myself" (whatever that means) but I definitely have different versions. There's wife-Alison, friend-Alison, work-Alison, and having-a-freaking-meltdown-Alison. There's daughter-Alison, sister-Alison, and student-Alison. Lots of these overlap, and they're all kind of similar, but there are definite differences. I just never thought my writing would ever be conveyed as having come from someone with a completely polar opposite personality than my own.

Of course, I do seem to have a fair bit of those ESFP traits, and obviously, people are complicated (see above) so we all can't be put into nice, little, boxes and sent on our way. I don't think I'll ever identify as an extrovert, but you can sure as hell bet that tomorrow at my med school interview, I'll be ramping up the people skills and turning down the judgmental parts of my brain. 

Blogging is weird, because you're putting your whole life (or at least, large, select parts of your life) on display for the world, and in fact, you're hoping the world shows up to read about you. I was talking to someone the other day who tried to apologize for calling blogging self-centered, and I had to stop her because on some level, we're all at least a little self-centered to believe that what we have to say is entertaining or useful enough for a stranger to want to read. (And thank you for reading!) How much to put out there, how much to keep private, and what parts of your personality to showcase or hide are all up to you, and I like to think that I'm being as genuine as I know how when I blog. What's the point in doing it, otherwise?

What do you think? Do I blog like an extrovert? Could you tell my personality from my writing? What do you think your blog says about you? Did your Typealyzer get it right? I'd love to know, so leave it in the comments!

- A

Wonderful Stuff Wednesday: The Show Must Go On

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hello! It's Wednesday and do not fear, there are wonderful things I will be sharing in the post. I haven't posted in about a week because my dad was here over the weekend so I was largely unattached to my computer. It was quite lovely.

So what has happened since then? I started my class for the semester... not too thrilled by the composition of the class, as it's mostly comprised of "typical pre-meds" who make me want to alternately bang my head into a wall or bang THEIR heads into a wall. Yes, I'm aware that I fall into the category of "pre-med" but I have no patience for grade-grubbing gunners whose sole mission in life is to make others feel like they're not even worthy to breathe the same air. The class also is in the tiniest classroom I've ever experienced in my life. My desk is literally touching the student's desk next to mine. I need personal space, and these people are all up in my bubble. Not okay. The professor seems all right, despite his intensely thick, German (?) accent and tendency to stare at you for an uncomfortable length of time while he's lecturing. All that to say, I think the course will be interesting, but if I can drop it before the drop date... I'm doing it.

The weekend my dad was here was mostly relaxing. We ate, drank, and were merry. I got new windshield wipers for my car (sorely needed) and an Amazon gift card for my birthday, which means that I am one step closer to the 50 mm f1.4 lens that I'm saving for! We rented some movies, watched a lot of football, and basically just hung out. It's really nice to be able to just spend time with my dad and do "normal life things". I missed out on so much not having him around while I was growing up, so sharing simple things like breakfast or watching a football game or going to the grocery store are things that I truly treasure. When I dropped him off at the airport on Monday, I burst into tears as soon as I pulled my car away from the curb. Pro tip: Don't drive while hysterically bawling. It makes merging and changing lanes and not crashing your car really difficult. Fortunately, I didn't cause any accidents and managed to get home in one piece.

Yesterday, we got somewhere in the neighborhood of 9-12 inches of snow. It started in the late morning and stopped some time early this morning, and I left work early to try and avoid getting stuck in the worst of it. That, my friends, was a miserable failure, as it took me over 3 hours to travel the 25 mile commute between my office and my condo. None of the roads were plowed, no one could figure out what "lane" we were in, so we made up our own, and people were getting into accidents left and right. It was a tense 3 hours and change and I basically got home, got into my pajamas, and went to bed. I accidentally took a 2 hour nap, and then spent the rest of the night in bed as well because I haven't been feeling well.

Today... today is a mix of things. Sadly, my grandmother did pass away this morning, so I have spent most of my day trying to get flights booked. I booked Levi's flight already, but he's connecting through Detroit on the way there and Atlanta on the way back, and I'd rather avoid that mess entirely. Granted, his ticket was under $250, which is lovely, because everything I've found that is a non-stop is going to cost me close to $400, and bereavement fares aren't helping me here. I'm trying to fly out on Friday evening after my interview (eeeeee!) but I am not sure when it it ends and Cooper is closed today because of the snow, so I can't even ask them. I'm thinking that a flight after 6 pm will be fine, but I'd rather know for sure. I have vague memories of hearing or reading that the interview day would be complete by 1:45, but I very well could have made that up entirely, so I'm not about to book a plane ticket on what might have been a sleep-deprived hallucination.

I am not exactly looking forward to going to Florida this weekend, and not only because the reason I'm going there is to attend a funeral. As I mentioned previously, my grandmother and I were not close, so I'm not sure how I'll even feel at her funeral. I'm more concerned about how I'll react to my dad's grief. He's not a highly emotional man, and the number of times I've seen him cry remains in the single digits. Today when he called to tell me that my grandma had died, he burst into tears about halfway through the phone call and had to hang up because he was crying and driving (see pro tip, above). I don't know what to do when my dad cries. I guess the obvious answer is, "whatever you normally do when someone who isn't your dad starts crying" but it's definitely different when it's your dad. I am glad that I will be able to be there for him, but I'm not entirely sure how helpful I'll be.

Even though my grandmother and I weren't close, death is always hard and weird. It makes you think about things that we spend a lot of time actively trying to ignore, like our own mortality and the mortality of those we love. It makes you think about what you would want for yourself if you were brain dead or in a permanent vegetative state. It makes you think about how you would feel, carrying out the wishes of a loved one even if it didn't feel right to you. It makes you think about what you believe about what happens after we die. Our society is one that pushes death to the side, into the quiet, private, corners of life. It is not something that we discuss openly or share with our communities. It is something to be dealt with as quietly as possible. I remember watching an episode of Taboo that talked about death in various cultures, and I found it so fascinating how differently death is viewed around the world. I think the most uncomfortable part of this death, for me, has been experiencing my dad's loss, as well as realizing (once again) that people are born and then they die, and there's nothing that we can do about it. It is, in fact, what we are made to do. Having my last grandparent die is especially sobering because the next people whose deaths I will have to deal with will probably be my own parents, and that is unbearable to even contemplate for me. Anyway, I'll be flying down to Florida on Friday (hopefully?) and back on Monday. At least I'll get away from all of this snow for a couple of days?

Despite the sadness that has permeated my day, it is still Wonderful Stuff Wednesday, and so I have a few things today that have made me smile:

These ferrets, having the best time ever:

This llama, also having a great time:

My friend's dog, Watson, demanding belly rubs:

This article about a porcupine falling on a woman's head in Brazil. (Ok, admittedly that's not actually funny, but it's so random that I have to post it here. Also, it led me to this article about a llama falling on a woman in Ohio... sad spoiler alert: the woman died.) But hey, next time you're having a bad day, you can remind yourself that at least a porcupine hasn't fallen on your head and you haven't been crushed by a llama.

Also, the weird search terms that bring people to The Bloggess totally made me crack up. My personal favorites were:

“what will happen if you give a panda hamster rotten food” (I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a panda hamster. This blog has just become educational.)


“book with an immigrant and an armadillo”
(I’d read it.)

This hysterical way to identify the passive voice:

 (This tactic, by the way, makes reading scientific papers a lot more fun, since they're always written in the passive voice.)

These hysterical autocorrect mistakes and subsequent conversations that happened today:
Michelle: Yeah... bad tarts. No. Bastards!
Me: Hahaha, bad tarts!
Michelle: Bad tarts are such a let down. Here you are, just wanting a tasty tart.
Me: And then it's just bad and slimy and weird and gross with a weirdo filling in it. Like prune.
Michelle: Not prune!! Maybe it's a wonton woman!
Me: A wonton woman? Or a wanton woman?
Michelle: LMAO, fucking autocorrect must be hungry.
Me: Well, I do love wontons...

Julie: I'm sorry about Hanson.
Me: LoL... mmmbop?
Julie: OMFG, PHONE. I'm sorry about grandmom. Fail. Mmmfail.

And this conversation, although not due to autocorrect:

Julie: When do you go? To Florida... not the afterworld. I'm really failing here.

Other things that are wonderful, in no particular order:

- Having a husband who helps me clear off your car and who shoveled me out, even though he has a snow day from school
- Snuggly kitties (even if they're just snuggling for warmth)
- Fleece lined leggings (where have you been all of my life!?)
- Hats crocheted by friends 
- Finally getting into a groove on my knitting project
- Being able to help someone through a rough time and watching as they work to get better
- Realizing that I lost 5 pounds somehow
- Roads that have been adequately plowed and salted (thanks, NJDOT)

- Flexeril (muscle relaxants are a gift from God)
- A supportive, flexible work environment that allows me to take time off to tend to family emergencies

- Friends who send me silly and supportive and loving text messages
- Electric blankets and fuzzy socks
- The existence of chocolate

And on that note... I am going to head home. Symphony rehearsal was canceled tonight due to the snow, although I'm not entirely sure why because most of the roads are clear. I'm not going to argue, though, because it means that I get to go home and have dinner with Ken... and figure out what suit I'm wearing to my interview! 

What are some wonderful things that have happened to you lately? I could use some good news... leave it in the comments!

- A

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