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Where Do INTPs Live?

Here is where most Americans expect me/us/them to live:

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I live very close to a neighborhood like this, where everything is manicured, polished, and pretty. It’s great eye candy, and I get to brag a little when family and friends come visit. But do I love it? No, I hate it. 

I hate it because in my nice surrounding neighborhood, nobody hangs out in their yards or on their front porch, if they have one. It is eerily empty during the day, when everyone has commuted to their jobs which are on average 1 hour away. The pressure to keep up with the Jones or Smiths is palpable, hanging in the air like humidity that its residents can’t escape. Children are rarely seen, and neighbors complain if they do anything remotely childlike, such as squealing with delight or laughing loudly. 

Heck, nobody even really uses their balconies, even though we all have perfectly fine ones that overlook the picturesque landscape. I’ve been here for three years and never felt comfortable really living in my residence except for my bedroom, simply because I’ve been afraid to offend the neighbors by breaking some unspoken rule. My landlord assures me that I am free to use the balcony, but somehow I don’t quite believe him…

Once, when I was driving around in another neighborhood, I came upon a street that looked like this:

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Aha, I thought - now this was more like it. Smaller, older homes with individual touches where people could actually live in the neighborhood rather than just look at it. I instantly told my DH that the next time we move, I wanted a to live in a neighborhood like this. It is more in keeping with my values. I don’t care if I become a millionaire. Unless I buy my own private island, I would not live in one of those fancy neighborhoods where you can’t touch or use anything because that would mess up its shiny image.

An INTP home would not be complete without a zillion books (and bookshelves) and unlimited Internet, but I’ll cover that another time.

Think, think, think vs. Do, do, do

I’ll admit that last week was extremely busy and although I very much wanted to blog, I was mostly exhausted and just couldn’t get around to it. 

Which brings me to the title of this post. As an INTP, I prefer to be busy with my mind, rather than busy with physical tasks of any kind. I very much admire people who can work nonstop on anything, whether it be their jobs (which they take home with them), or housework, or coordinating and executing events, or church/community volunteering, etc. These A-type people often have shiny, spic-and-span homes. These same people often pitied me and told me that I had to do more and not be so complacent or “comfortable”.

And yet these doers worked at a pace that seemed totally alien and out of sync with how I lived. Often it seemed as if they would be mindlessly doing things nonstop just so they could what?? Feel like they accomplished something? I noticed that often they did not like to stop and think. And they often felt guilty or lazy just for taking a rest. To someone like me who believes in balance, it is inconceivable that I should feel guilty for wanting to rest in between tasks!

Unfortunately, as the world is run by these doer types, I have had to learn to adapt to them. My fast, efficient style was designed to get as many tasks they assigned out of the way as possible. And yet they never seem satisfied, always finding additional ways so that they (and therefore I) could be even more helpful. Blech.

I say enough is enough! I get tense and stressed when I have to do nonstop work, so like a sprinter I may do it in short spurts but then I abandon it completely. And yet my DH thinks I’m a busybody! Being mellow and laid back, he has no intention of being pushed into constantly doing, unless he’s in a crisis. 

That statue, “The Thinker” really exemplifies the non-moving position that I prefer to be in most of the time. I think he would be agitated if we tried to get him off his perch so he could go “do something useful,” such as corral dinosaurs.

On exercising while on the toilet

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Being INTP, sometimes my mind wanders into interesting territory, but when I get an insight, I go “aha” and rejoice in my own cleverness, even if others had trod the same ground before.

For example, I had a very busy day at work today, accompanied by some long bathroom breaks due to necessity. At one point, tired ol’ me wondered what else I could do besides just sit there? So I started to swing my arms around, do some shoulder presses, and stretch out my legs. Then I wondered if I was the only person who had ever thought of “toilet fitness”?

Fortunately, I am not the only one, as evidenced by the following blog posts I found, and many more:

Okay, so it took me years to figure out that the toilet could also function as a piece of fitness equipment, but hey, I never said INTPs were fast thinkers on every subject. In fact, I’m not even sure we like to exercise that much! 

But toilet fitness is a safe, private, solitary exercise regimen that suits our personality, I think. But all personalities are welcome to try it. And yes, writing this made me LOL.

A blessing for my faux kindred spirits

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Had another bout of the blues today after I went to church. Sigh, sometimes I get depressed when I try to interact with people there. However, I thought about what I could do to get out of my doldrums, because they were draining my energy and distracting me from my goals.

And then… aha! The best way to overcome the negative/evil is with the positive/good. So I was inspired to compose a blessing for my frenemies, enemies, and would-rather-be-strangers:

May you be blessed in every way, my friend
Even if you do not seem to want me as your friend

May you never lack a kindred spirit nearby
Or a confidant to hear your troubles

May loneliness stay far away from you
And your companions keep close to you

May the divide that exists between you and others
Be nary an inch for you to cross

May you be surrounded by love and affection
And never lack for company or compassion

May your presence always be acknowledged
And your spirit shine wherever you go

May success be yours for every venture
And rejection be rare and unfaze you

May your time pass swiftly without a dull moment
For your community loves and needs you

May your cup be full and overflowing with joy
With no regret or sorrow

May you be full of kindness and remember
To lift up those less fortunate than you

May you aspire to the highest ideals
And be devoted to the practice of them 

May you be united with those like-minded
And overcome all obstacles together

May the sun shine on you and all heavenly blessings
be showered upon you and your tribe


 

INTP at the (Marvel) movies

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So I went to see the movie pictured above… yes, that movie. Uh huh, I’m a woman who likes sci-fi and comic book-based movies, too. In fact, my DH thought I was a bit obsessed for wanting to watch Iron Man 1 more than twice.

Overall, the movie was pretty entertaining, and I tried to just go along for the ride instead of analyzing possible plot holes, which is always fun for an INTP. But since this is a blog about my journey through my feelings, I will talk about the general and specific feeling(s) and emotional impression that the movie evoked in me without revealing too many spoilers, of course.

First, I would say that the violence in this movie seemed to top previous Iron Man movies, and in a more horrifying way. Iron Man 1 was fun in that it showed Tony Stark exploring his new technology and using it for good purposes. In both Iron Man 1 & 2, it’s mainly machine vs. machine, or man in machine suit vs. man in machine suit. But in Iron Man 3 Tony battles a different type of weapon. Some of the scenes were hard for me to watch because they were extreme versions of events that often happen in Israel and the Middle East nowadays.   

Tony Stark’s normal cockiness is diminished in this movie due to his wrestling with his personal demons, as well as his new devotion to his beloved Pepper Potts. His character has matured in this movie, and at times it seems as if he is bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders, even though he does not express this. The playboy is long gone and I think the screenwriters were trying to bring him down to earth by putting him in the Midwest, for example. I kept trying to reconcile that celebrity Malibu Tony with that guy in the hoodie in the hardware store…

Tony Stark also goes through a phase where he cannot rely on his suit, but must instead use only his wits and technical skills to battle his enemy, the Mandarin. But here I wasn’t quite sure I believed that Tony Stark could be just as formidable a fighter without his suit on as he was wearing it. In a couple of the movie scenes I kept thinking, did he undergo military or police training himself? Because he sure looked like he was in NYPD Blue or CSI: Iron Man instead of the movie. 

During some scenes in the movie, Tony Stark exhibited similar traits and behaviors as my husband. E.g., in some of his scenes with the kid, when he plays a kind of surrogate father. Robert Downey, Jr.’s sense of humor also comes through in these and later scenes. The film has its moments of levity, for sure.

One thing that bothered me was that the bad guys were mostly disabled in some way, and the movie seemed to make their disabilities into a reason for them to work for the wrong cause. Also, their organization has the same initials as the disability network at my work. I hope the movie doesn’t contribute to a false and negative impression of disabled people.

The best parts of the movie were all about the fights and stunts, which were very well choreographed. The visuals there were just stunning. But the plot was weak even if it was well-meaning. Good entertainment, so-so story.

Cold hearted faux kindred spirits, part 2

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So last week I received an email from the director of the “save the whales cruise” I mentioned in my last post, telling me about a fantastic new workshop I should attend, and asking me about my progress on learning to become a whale saver.

I replied back to Director T (as I’ll call him) about my learning progress, and about the fact that I would soon have a new addition to my family, so therefore I would not be attending the workshop. I also told him I had a new email address.

A week passed and Director T never replied. I grew anxious and wondered if he never received my email. So today I wrote him again using my old email address and asked him to confirm that he had received my last email. I received this curt, one-sentence reply:

"Yes, I received the new e-mail and will make the changes on our contact sheets."

That was it. There was no “hi, glad to hear from you,” or “we’ll miss you at the workshop,” or “congratulations on your new addition!” I realize he could have been very busy, but his answer and the long time it took for him to respond still seemed rather cold. My bosses at work were way more enthusiastic about my family news than he was. 

A similar thing also happened to me when I met two Christian artists who wanted to work with me on a project. At that time my son was just a few months old, so I mentioned that I had to work around his schedule. I never heard from those guys again. Hmmm…. I thought they would be pro-family? Apparently not.

I am getting so tired of dealing with people like this…

On cold hearted faux kindred spirits

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Imagine, for a moment, that you are an idealistic INTP who has always believed in saving the whales. One day, you see an advertisement from an organization offering a course on a ship that purports to cater to INTPs who want to learn how to save whales. You think, hooray!

You pay a pretty penny to take their course, all the while excited that finally - you will meet other INTPs who love whales just as much as you! You get on that boat expecting to make friends easily due to your common values and personality characteristics, right?

Wrong! All spiffed up in your best clothes, when you try to introduce yourself to your classmates, most of them are polite, but they give off the vibe that they could care less about you. Many of them talk among themselves and eat together, but they never invite you to join in. Some of them come across downright cold and rude and give you the brush off. You end up doing almost all of the initiating, because nobody else initiates to get to know you.

When you try to share your in-depth passion for cetaceans with them, they either look at you funny, or they back away from you as if you were a creep. When a student falls overboard, nobody notices except for you. In the end, you only connect with a precious few students who have meaningful conversations with you. You are left utterly confused and your reasoning abilities are taxed to the limit trying to figure out what went wrong. You end up depressed.      

Based on the above scenario, which is only a slightly exaggerated version of my experience last summer with a different class, would you conclude the following:

1. Your classmates are not true INTPs.

2. Your classmates are not true whale lovers.

3. Your classmates were there more for the cruise than for the cause.

4. Your classmates are sexist, or racist, or ageist, etc.

5. ??????!!!!

Or maybe you just smelled bad… I dunno. All I know is that I hope you never experience what I did, because it’s the most disconcerting, dismaying, and damned depressing thing to meet a group of people, expecting them to be kindred spirits, and to have most of them turn out to be anything but that. And by the way, it has happened to me more than once.

Happy May Day! I’m taking this one off, suckers!

I don’t know if you celebrate May Day where you live, but we celebrate it in my city with a spate of demonstrations and marches that tie up traffic in knots. After three years of working Downtown and experiencing the noise and congestion, I have learned my lesson and I’m taking off for the day. I don’t wanna have to deal with security guards that insist on checking my work badge before letting me pass by their building, or a potential clash between them and protesters (even though that has not happened yet).

People always seem to forget how much of a hassle it is on this day, until the they get all the notices from their building security, or their bus, or their city government. At least my good long-term memory and intuition warned me in advance this year.

Just because I decided doesn’t mean it is final

"I thought you decided not to worry about moving up at your job and just focus on your writing instead," said my DH.  

"I know, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t wish to move up at my job," I tried to explain. He just scratched his head. Some decisions are never final for me. Only the passage of time makes them final.

To others it may have sounded like I was backtracking, because when they decide on something and mean it, they normally don’t look back. But my problem is that I want to be competent in everything, which means succeeding wherever I am… which means I try to succeed at too many things.

I used to wholeheartedly believe that I could do anything (the American Dream), even though increasingly this is not bearing out in real life. But I still keep hoping. And I wonder if I’m the only person who has struggled with feeling depressed because of this?

The typical lower-paid INTP, I have had several jobs such as library assistant, journalist, secretary, graphic designer, researcher, editor, etc., to name a few. These are good jobs, but they simply do not pay as well as professions such as law, medicine, accounting, business management, etc. 

It took me a long time (i.e., recently) to realize the advantages of having a highly-paid professional job, such as the fact that I live in an expensive city where only certain incomes can afford a decent house. The professionals can also afford an upper middle class lifestyle that my parents and upbringing taught me to aspire to. 

So the question becomes, if I stay true to my eclectic INTP-ness, will it be enough to provide me with the lifestyle I want for myself and my family? Or will I have to change? And by how much? I’m not sure I could make a final decision on that, either.

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