A Letter to Teenage Me

Well, guys, I am officially out of my twenties.  And let me tell you, it is not nearly as scary as everyone made it out to be. I cannot tell you how many friends or family members told me, “Just wait until you’re THIRTY. Everything just goes down hill from there.”  According to these older and wiser friends and family members, my life was about to start its decline. According to them, reaching age thirty was a magic (or cursed) number in which I would instantly start disintegrating into an old woman. I would immediately become out-dated, grey-haired, arthritic, peri-menopausal, and begin my decline toward death. How morbid, right?

So, needless to say, the weeks leading up to that fateful day were filled with dread on my end. I spent my days wondering how in the WORLD I had already reached this formidable age. I still felt young. I even still looked fairly young – save for the tiny wrinkles beginning to form underneath my eyes (years of squinting into the sun during soccer games and, of course, smiling). How could it be that I had already passed the prime of my life? There was so much in life I still wanted to do, but now felt I was running out of time. I had only been out of the country once, never gotten a tattoo, and I hadn’t even had kids yet! Should my husband and I take the plunge into parenthood simply because the clock was ticking? It was almost like a mini mid-life crisis!

However, that day came and went and what I realized is that…. nothing changed drastically. I didn’t feel or look any different, and even though my husband DID find a grey hair, I found I was more proud than appalled. Thirty wasn’t so bad after all. I was definitely different than I was when I was 18, but all these changes weren’t horrible or scary, and they obviously didn’t happen all at once as soon as I turned thirty. In fact, a lot of the ways I had changed, I wished I had made these changes years ago. I started wondering: how was I different? What had changed? Then I decided to write a letter to sweet, naive, scared eighteen-year-old me. Obviously, eighteen-year-old me will never be able to read this letter, but maybe it will speak to other young women out there… possibly even my future daughter (or son).

So here goes nothing…

Dear Teenage Me,

First of all, every part of you is beautifully and uniquely you! Stop wanting to change everything about yourself. The tiny gap between your two front teeth is cute and your thighs are NOT big, they are muscular and athletic and evidence of your years of hard work in soccer. You have a healthy, beautiful body and to wish for it to look any different than it does now is a waste of a wish, sweetheart, because you’re perfect the way you are.

Take joy in all the little things in life that give you joy. Focus on the positive and let the negative roll off your back. Take time for yourself to do those tiny things that give you joy: read books under fluffy blankets, put on acoustic music in the bathtub, put on fuzzy socks and pajama pants during a thunderstorm and revel in the comfy-cozy feeling.

Start putting more time and effort into your friendships rather than your romantic relationships. One day all those guys won’t look so cute when they have beer bellies, drop out of college, and have bad attitudes like the world owes them something. But your friends will always be there. They will drive hours and spend the money to fly in for your wedding even when they haven’t seen you in a long time and those dork boys won’t be anywhere to be found (because you’ve married literally the coolest guy on planet earth – fist bump).

Don’t be in such a rush to grow up, but also don’t be afraid of getting older. Each stage of life is wonderful in its own way. Be present in each stage and enjoy every minute.  There will come a day when you look back on your early twenties and teenage years and miss them, even the “bad” moments. Wrinkles, just like your muscular thighs, are a testimony of the millions of smiles you’ve smiled and crinkled your eyes, the many trials that creased your brow with worry or concentration… they are a testimony of your life and they’re beautiful. Embrace them when they start showing up.

Next, take school seriously. I know you’ve coasted your entire life, but college is really freakin’ hard and you’re about to get a wake up call. For Heaven’s sake, woman, DON’T take out student loans just to pay for your apartment!! Suck it up and live in the dorms (FOR FREE), even though you really want to stay in the nice, sparkly new apartments. School isn’t cheap and it is NOT fun putting most of your hard earned money toward student loan debt every month. There’s this thing called “interest” that comes back to bite you in the butt after college (and grad school). Which brings me to my next point, pay attention to things that will affect your future! Don’t put something off for “future you” (AKA me) to worry about. Take control of your own life and your future: do your research and make an educated decision.

This next one is important, so read carefully: anything worth having takes WORK. Don’t be lazy! Put the work in and just get it done. Don’t convince yourself that you don’t want something or aren’t meant to do something just because you failed ONCE and you don’t want to put the work in to fix it. Failures are not indicative of your ability or potential. Failures are learning opportunities! What matters is how you RESPOND to your failures – do you learn from what you did wrong, improve, then try again? Or do you make excuses and quit? One failure is not a reflection of who you are as a person, so don’t let it define you! I’m not saying it doesn’t suck to fail, so cry for a minute if you need to, punch something if it makes you feel better (but maybe not a person), then wipe your eyes, roll up your sleeves, and get to work. The same rings true with mistakes. You are so smart, hardworking, kind, thoughtful, and fun. Mistakes don’t change or define who you are, but how you respond to those mistakes does. “You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle.

Lastly, miss Taylor, it is not your job to make everyone happy and like you! It’s okay if not everyone is your best friend. It is OKAY to disagree and to have an opinion! Live your life as fully as you possibly can. Memories are not made from sitting on the couch eating potato chips. Go explore and don’t be afraid to try new things. Sushi is actually delicious and you’re missing out! Don’t talk yourself out of going somewhere or doing something just because you’re getting your introvert on and binge-reading Harry Potter or you feel “tired”. Get out in the world, put your phone down, and I promise you won’t regret it.

I’m so proud of us.

Sincerely,

30-year-old You

A Creative Writing Blurb from an INFJ

I took in the smell of my pillow with my face smashed into the downy softness.  Maybe if I pushed my head hard enough into the pillow, I could stop the hot sting of my tears and push them back into my eyes somehow.  My pillow smelled like home and shampoo from all the nights I’d slept with wet hair.  I focused on that smell.  I tried to decipher every different scent that made my pillow smell so comforting.

Tide laundry detergent.

Warm vanilla.  My mom’s favorite scent to spray around the house.

The floral scent of my shampoo.

I then wondered what kind of flower my shampoo was supposed to smell like.  As soon as I thought it, a vision of him putting that STUPID daisy behind my ear played like an old movie in my brain.  I could just see myself smiling, blindly in love, and him looking back at me with those navy blue eyes like he loved me.  Pain seared through my heart like I was being stabbed with a white hot metal rod.  A muffled sob escaped from my throat at the sudden stab.  I cursed at myself for even giving him a single second of thought, and, worse, letting that second hurt like hell.

But now, I couldn’t stop the memories; they came flooding in and suddenly I was drowning in them.  Choked sobs were lost in my pillow as I swallowed memories of his kiss, his smell, the day we met, our first date, and the day that he left.  It was all there, playing in my head as some form of cruel and unusual punishment.

I sat wallowing in pure agony and the self-pity came rolling in like a heavy fog.  The tears slowed, but the pain stayed.

An inner battle raged in my head.  I knew I was being pathetic, but I couldn’t stop feeling that way.  I couldn’t change what I was thinking.  I couldn’t be that tough, emotionless girl I wanted to be.  I’d let him reach a part of me that no one had ever gotten to, and never would again.

Slowly, the numbness tide ebbed up, covering me with its sweet nothingness.  I could almost feel my heart hardening, scabbing over into a calloused shell.  I stared off toward a blank spot on my wall, thinking nothing, feeling nothing.

Sweet, blissful nothing.

I merely blinked and breathed.

In.  Out.

Down.  Up.

I’m not sure how much time passed before I heard Ellie drunkenly stumble into our dorm room, giggling with her man of the night, slapping me out of my stupor.  I blinked a few times adjusting my eyes to the darkness that had settled into my room.  Rolling off the bed, I stood and strode to the door with one thought in mind:

I would never let anyone make me feel this way ever again.

Now here I was, two years later, standing in my apartment in front my full-length mirror, donning on shirt after shirt, unable to find one suitable for today.  I inspected my auburn hair which badly needed a trim, my pale skin, and my timid dark brown eyes stared back at me.  I silently wished I could steal my best friend Ellie’s natural platinum blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and olive skin for a day.  I looked painfully ordinary, and I was suddenly self-conscious.

Why was I getting so worked up over this?  Grey was just taking me to ride four-wheelers, for crying out loud!  He would take any friend, guy or girl, to do that!  This isn’t a date.  I groaned at my stupidity and tossed the latest loser-shirt onto the mountain of other loser-shirts.  Just keep it simple, Dev.  You don’t care what this guy thinks of you anyway.

Right?

Right…

I think.

Exasperated with myself, I threw on a plain white tee with my cut off jean shorts and Nike running shoes, and then topped it off with a turquoise baseball hat to match my tennis shoes.  I strode quickly through the bedroom door before I could change my mind and made my way to the living room to wait.  But before I even made it out of the hall, I heard a knock on the door.  My heart skipped and suddenly my apartment was way too warm.  In a sheer panic, I thought about rushing to my room to change yet again.

Pull yourself together, woman!

I took a deep breath, strode to the door, and gently swung it open, an impassive mask set on my face.  Grey stood there, hands in the pockets of his dark wash jeans and white tee.  My eyes trailed up to his royal blue ball cap.  We basically matched.  How embarrassing.  But despite my sentiments, a smile automatically curled the corners of my mouth.  When his gaze met mine, he grinned.

“Alright, one of us has to change.” I joked.

“And ruin our perfect wardrobe collaboration?  Not a chance.  Let’s go, twinkie,” he gestured for me to follow.  I followed him down the stairs of my two-story apartment building.  The air smelled like summer: chlorine, barbecue, and sunscreen.  It was an early summer morning in Oklahoma and it hadn’t had a chance to become unbearably hot yet.  The ever-present Oklahoma “breeze” even had a slight chill to it, making me wish I had brought a light jacket.  But as soon as I stepped out into the sun, the chill was gone and a pleasant warmth permeated my skin.  I closed my eyes briefly and sighed.  When I opened my eyes, Grey was opening the door to a very nice, very huge black truck; from the looks of it, a Ford Raptor.  My brother, Dax, would be drooling right about now.

“New ride?” I asked, grimacing at asking such an obvious question.  Grey smirked and rubbed the doorframe affectionately.  Typical guy.

“Just one of my toys that I use to impress beautiful women.  Is it working?”

My heart stopped.

I think he just called me ‘beautiful’.

Was I wrong?  Was this actually a date?

My mind raced and all I could do was stare.  It wasn’t until he bit his lip uncomfortably that I realized I hadn’t answered his question.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” he said, gliding over the awkward silence like a pro.  He held out his hand, palm up to help me in the truck.  I ignored it and pulled myself up and in with one swift move.  Looking through the window as he shut the door behind me, I saw him shake his head and smile.  And while he walked around the car to his side, I smiled, too.

 

Awestruck, I gazed up at the beautiful creature standing before me.  A huge dark chocolate eye gazed back at me curiously.  One white and gray-flecked ear was turned in my direction as I spoke.

“You didn’t tell me you had horses,” I almost whispered.  I stretched out a hand and stroked the silky black mane of the majestic gray dapple.  The horse turned its long face toward me and impatiently nudged me with its velvety nose.

“I didn’t know you liked them,” Grey explained.  He stepped up to the horse as well and patted her broad, speckled neck affectionately.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him look at me speculatively.  I ignored him as I continued to admire the horse.  “You wouldn’t like to ride her, would you?”  I whipped my head around to face him, and nodded fervently.  I heard Grey chuckle slightly as he turned to saddle up the horse.

After what seemed like an eternity, Grey had two horses saddled: the dapple gray whose name I learned was Hazy and a horse whose coat reminded me of a Dalmatian: black and white spotted all over.  His name was Rowan, and he was just as gorgeous as Hazy.

Grey gently guided Hazy out of her stall.

“Now to mount her, you put this leg…”  Grey began to explain, but I knew what to do.  It was like I was born to be a cowgirl.  I stepped my left foot into the stirrup, held onto the horn, and hoisted myself up in a single movement.  Once in the saddle, I secured my right foot into the other stirrup, grabbed the reins and patted Hazy’s neck.  Grey stared up at me, mouth ajar.  He shook his head to shake off his surprise.

“Right then,” he said making his way to Rowan.  He hoisted himself up just as gracefully as I had and we were off, slowly trotting out of the stables.  I felt Hazy’s muscles flexing and releasing underneath me, heard her snort in excitement to be free, and it lit my heart on fire.  My eyes scanned Grey’s impressive property.  A fairly steep, green hill sloped down toward us; massive, round hay bales dotted the open land.  A white picket fence surrounded us on three sides, disappearing behind a deep thicket of shumard oaks.  I found a small break in the trees that looked like a trail.  It was a solid two to three hundred yards away.

Plenty of space.

Giving Hazy a firm heel to her side, we were suddenly off.  She lurched forward with impressive speed.  I raised my bottom off the saddle like they did in movies and found my body moving rhythmically with hers.  Laughter erupted from my throat as the wind rushed through my hair.  An indescribable feeling of freedom and joviality soared through my soul.  I gave her another small nudge in the side and she whinnied in pleasure as she sped up.

We were flying through the field, a blur of white, gray, and auburn.  I barely heard Grey’s voice calling after me as I guided Hazy toward the trees.  I knew I shouldn’t run away like this.  Hazy wasn’t mine and he might think it rude of me to have left him.  Reluctantly, I decided I had to wait on him.

As we neared the foliage, I tugged on the reins and Hazy slowed her pace.  I turned her around to face Grey and was surprised to see him galloping up to where I sat.  I giggled as he neared, still on an adrenaline high.  He stared at me, as he steered Rowan up beside Hazy.  His brow was furrowed and, in that moment, he looked like Chris Hemsworth with dark hair.  My stomach did a flip.  At first I thought he was angry and I opened my mouth to apologize, but as soon as I had, his lips were on mine, hungry and insistent.  I sat in shock, my body and brain not knowing how to respond.  But when he didn’t pull back, my body remembered what to do before my brain could catch up and my eyes closed, sinking into Grey’s kiss.  I felt his hand cup my face and his thumb stroked my cheek as he pulled back.  Yet once again, my body seemed to forget how to respond.  My eyes remained shut for several moments.  I slowly opened them and felt myself smiling like an idiot.  Grey was gazing back at me, a look of amazement filled his eyes and he shook his head slowly.

“You are something else, Devyn Cooper.”

I smiled shyly up at him through my eyelashes, just like in all those sappy movies.

Wait.  What the hell was I doing?  This wasn’t a date.  And I was buying into this… this facade.  Again.  The face of my ex flashed through my mind and I shut down instantly.  I turned away from Grey and wordlessly urged Hazy forward into the trees.  She obliged without hesitation, just as ready to get the hell out of there as I was.

“Hey!” I heard him call after me.  I didn’t slow Hazy’s pace.

“Hey hey hey…” he said gently as he came up beside me at a trot, “What happened just then?”

“What?” I asked, faking ignorance.

“Back there.  I saw the way you looked at me.  Then you did a one-eighty.  I want to know what happened.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said dismissively with a wave of my hand.

“You’ve been hurt.”  It wasn’t a question.

If it wasn’t a question, I didn’t need to answer it.

I nudged Hazy’s side and began galloping away as the wound in my heart began bleeding again.

Don’t let him see.

Don’t let him know.

He can’t know that I’m weak.  Vulnerable.  Broken.

Fear gripped at my throat.  I couldn’t talk about this.  Nobody knew.  I gripped the reins, all the while grasping at the metaphorical reins on my emotions.  Focusing all of my thought on slowing my shallow gasps for air, the thrumming of my heart also began to slow.  The image of my “happy place” automatically flooded my mind and I was transported.

Crisp autumn air nipped at my cheeks, and shocks of red and yellow leaves danced in the wind around me.  I sat high in the branches of my favorite maple that stood tall and proud on my granddad’s acreage in Guthrie.  This was my safe space, which was ironic considering my favorite perch was 30 feet up.  I looked out over the sea of multi-colored treetops.  Billions of shades of brown red, yellow, green, and orange sprawled before me, surreal and striking against the pale blue October sky.  The breath-taking view seemed to transcend all reality.  Up here, nothing else was real.  Nothing else mattered.  Only this.  Only this moment, this beauty, this feeling.

And that was all it took.  I gently pulled on the reins, slowing Hazy to a walk, and allowing Gray to catch up.  My cheeks warmed in embarrassment as I heard him approach, but I mustered the best smile I possibly could as we came to a stop.  Before Gray could even speak, I clambered down from the saddle, albeit much less gracefully than I had mounted Hazy, noting a stiffness in my legs.  I could feel his eyes on me as I heard him climb down as well.

“Race you to the river?” I asked with a grin.  Gray’s heart-wrenchingly beautiful face was twisted with confusion, but I don’t think it was from my question.  He glanced up ahead at the bank of the river before us as if he hadn’t even known he had a river on his property.  Slowly, one corner of his mouth curled into a mischievous smirk.  He was going to play along.  Relief flooded my body and my grin turned into a full smile, as I took off without any warning at a sprint toward the river’s edge.  I heard him cry out and then his footsteps behind me.  My heart raced as he closed the gap between us.  But I had enough of a head start that my legs splashed through the shallow water first.  I threw my hat to the riverbank and dove headfirst through the water, letting the rushing water wash away all that had just transpired, all the awkwardness.  I emerged refreshed, renewed, and turned to face Gray.

“I won,” I said with a smirk.

[Thanks for reading!  Let me know what you think, but be gentle!  I love constructive criticism, but I’m not good with just plain old criticism.]

 

INFJs as Children

girl-961648_1280[Note: It is difficult for me to remember a lot of my childhood, so I do rely on quite a bit of outside information from my family members and friends.  I’m not sure why, but I only remember short clips here and there from my early years, even from when I was in my early teens.]

As early as two or three years old, I was quiet, introspective… “But not shy,” my parents have always said, “You would go to anyone, let anyone hold you.”  I was content to play alone in my room with my toys or watch a movie alone over and over and over again.  I loved anything to do with mystical creatures, talking animals, or imaginary/made-up characters, places, or things (still do to this day).  I loved books, movies, roller-blading, and pretending.

I had a next door neighbor named Sarah who was a couple years older than me and always invited me over to play.  It was Sarah’s mom who first noticed that I was a little odd and pointed it out to my mother.

“Taylor’s version of ‘playing together’ is ‘you play in that corner and I’ll play in this corner’.”  Thinking back on it, I do remember preferring to play by myself because other people would absolutely ruin my story-line to whatever I was playing with.  I wanted things to play out the way that I wanted them to, but I never would’ve told the other person that for fear of hurting their feelings.

As I got older, I tended to only have one or two friends at a time.  Sleepovers seemed to tire me out and I remember fading into the background at birthday parties.  The other girls would scream and talk loudly and laugh, but it was overwhelming for me to even be around.  I much preferred focusing on one friend.  When we would travel for soccer tournaments and my teammates would be riding up and down the elevators, splashing around in the swimming pool, and exploring the hallways of the hotel, I would watch movies and go out to eat with my dad.  I liked hanging out with my dad.  He understood me, he wasn’t loud, and I could be silent around him without him asking what was wrong or thinking I was weird.  The other girls just didn’t get it.  As kids, they thought I was weird.  As early teens, they thought I was stuck up.

Phrases I heard quite often throughout my adolescence were things like:

“Don’t you think you’re being a little overly sensitive?”

“All the other girls are doing that.  Why don’t you join them?”

“You need to grow thicker skin.”

“Please read something that doesn’t have a dragon in it.”

My entire life, I felt like I was too sensitive, not tough enough, too tomboyish, not girly enough..  always either too much or not enough.  When all the other little girls wanted to be Belle from Beauty and the Beast, I wanted to be the Beast… much to the chagrin of my parents.  When most kids played together in groups, I could only tolerate one to two other people.  I always felt like there was something wrong with me.

I was always very in-tune with the the emotions of others around me, especially toward me.  I could almost feel the emotions of my father even when I was on the field playing soccer.  I knew by the time the game had ended that he was angry with me and I would get an ear-full in the car, or that he was so proud of me and we’d be going out for ice cream on the way home.  I hated disappointing or displeasing anyone: my family, my teachers, my friends, and sometimes even strangers.  Because of this, I was probably the most obedient child on planet Earth.  I did what I was told the first time, without hesitation or question.  It’s been hard for me to break out of this habit even as an adult.

Elementary school and middle school were unbearably easy for me.  I would finish my work well before anyone else in the class and, therefore, never had homework and never had to study.  This may seem like a really good thing, but when I began high school, it wasn’t as easy to get by without studying, but I did it anyway and my grades suffered a little.  My first year in college was a nightmare and I escaped with a 2.0 GPA, the worst I’d ever had.  I had no clue how to study, how to take notes, or how to have the discipline to do my homework in a timely manner.  To be fair to myself, I was playing soccer for both my high school and a competitive club team throughout high school, and I played college soccer.  Juggling all of that while going to school full time is no easy feat, but it would have been much more manageable had I gained the necessary skills earlier on.

If I could tell everyone just a few things about INFJ children, it would be this:

  1. They are highly sensitive to your moods and emotions, and they experience them with you.  It’s exhausting and provokes intense anxiety.  The best thing you can do for an INFJ child is to remain as emotionally neutral as possible, especially toward them.
  2. Which brings me to my next point: they internalize everything.  Even if they don’t realize they’re doing it, they are.  Your attitudes, beliefs, and moods toward them are all being soaked up like a sponge and held inside.
  3. It is very difficult for them to confide in you unless they fully trust you not to: a) tell anyone else, b) judge them for what they tell you, and/or c) understand where they are coming from.  They have to have a safe place to feel safe, understood, and private.  If they don’t have all of those things, they will either lie or remain silent.
  4. Don’t force them to be social.  It’s exhausting and sometimes disheartening.  They expect others to care as much as they do, to be as kind as they are, and to be as understanding as they try to be.  This is almost never the case and it’s difficult not to lose faith in humanity.  They can feel even more alone around people who don’t understand them.  They are choosey about who they spend their time with, and that’s okay.
  5. Encourage their imagination!  So what if they spend most of their time reading about dragons and fairies, playing “pretend”, and watching nonsense movies?  These are their escape methods from this boring world and they fuel their minds to think outside the box and to think/dream big.  They understand that none of these things are actually real, trust me, but being allowed this time to be creative is essential to their development.

As with anything I write on this topic, I can only give you my perspective and my experiences.  Every INFJ is different and is different even as a child.

Thanks for reading!  Happy Hump Day!

5 Struggles of an INFJ

The struggle is real, y’all.  Us INFJs have to deal with some things internally on a daily basis that not a whole lot of other people think about or notice.  Here are five of those things that happen inside our heads on (almost) a daily basis.

  1. Every. Single. Day. Is an emotional roller coaster.  emotional
    • Because we tend to absorb the emotions of others, we experience quite a few moods throughout the day.  Think of how many people you encounter in just the 10-12 hours that you’re out in public… even if it’s in passing (I found myself tearing up when I drove past a woman who was crying into her phone on my way to work).  Yeah.  It’s that bad.  So it’s not that difficult to imagine why we want to be alone at the end of the day.
  2. We don’t know why, we just KNOW.  prediction 
    • And we hate to say “we told you so”.  So most of the time, we just keep our intuitions to ourselves.  We can’t explain it anyway.  The times I get myself into the most trouble are the times that I ignore my initial “gut-feeling” thinking that I’m wrong or being silly. 90% of the time, I’m not.  The worst part is, at least for me, is that when I do try to warn someone of my gut-feelings, they don’t believe me because I can’t give a logical explanation or evidence to back it up.  Then I just have to sit back and watch what I knew would happen… happen.
  3. We DESPERATELY want to be invited out after work for drinks…… so we can say “no”.  wonder
    • It’s not that we actually want to tell them “no”, but it’s an internal BATTLE to want to be included and to be social and make connections……. but that new series just came on Netflix and our bed is so comfortable and we can’t WAIT to get comfy and settle in for some much-needed alone time.  But then, the next morning when everyone is talking about how fun last night was and sharing inside jokes, we will regret not going.  And that new girl in the office seems really nice and has a tendency to quote lines from your favorite TV series…… there’s a solid possibility for friendship there.  But then what if we get to the bar and every conversation is shallow and vapid?  What if we don’t connect with anyone and we have to engage in polite, forced conversation all evening? What if all we can think about is going home, but then we have to stay an appropriate amount of time so as not to offend our coworkers or draw too much attention to ourselves?  THIS IS THE WAY OUR MIND WORKS, PEOPLE.  We have a desire to have close friendships and to be social, but we want our solitude equally as much.
  4. Our thoughts make COMPLETE sense…. until we try to put them into words.  talking
    • Do you even know how frustrating it is to be able to understand every thought going through your mind, but every time you attempt to express it to someone else you end up sounding like an air head?  Or like you may have a language disorder?  It’s like we all have Apraxia of speech or something.  As much as everyone is going to judge me for this, there are times when me and my husband argue that I have to take a time out, exit the situation, and LITERALLY text out what I’m thinking and feeling to him because it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE for me to adequately express myself verbally, especially when I’m flustered and upset.  Add those emotions in and I sound like I have Apraxia AND a stutter.  If you have an INFJ in your life that feels this same way, giving them a safe, calm space in which to formulate their thoughts or even letting them write you a letter (or a text message) will not only help them to be more coherent, but also to feel more understood.  As bizarre as you may think it is, just go with it.  You’ll get brownie points in the end.
  5. We make up hypothetical situations and problems in our heads and then proceed to worry about them obsessively.  overanalyzing
    • Revert back to #3 for reference.  This can even happen to us when we’re viewing a situation in retrospect.  I have spent days worrying about something dumb I said that could have come off the wrong way.  This is because we are avid perfectionists (I used to cry in grade school because I couldn’t make my zeros a perfect circle) and we hate the thought of unnecessarily offending anyone or being misunderstood (which happens a lot).  If you have an INFJ in your life that can get caught up in these episodes of moping over something that may not have even happened or hasn’t happened yet, I know that for me it helps to talk it out.  By talking it out, we kind of realize that everything we are obsessing over might not be as bad as we’re making it out to be, even if it does turn out to be true.

As with everything that I write in this blog, every INFJ is slightly different and will experience things in their own way.  However, these five things seem to be resounding themes throughout an astounding number of INFJs.  These are just things to keep in mind when interacting with this type to help you recognize things that are going on in their inner world (because we’re terrible about sharing that).  Just remember: beneath our quiet and closed-off exterior, we’ve got a lot of stuff to deal with on the inside and the best thing you can do for us to try be patient and understanding and embrace the awkward.

As always, thanks for reading!  Have a wonderful end to your week 🙂

Wrong MBTI Test Results?

How possible is it to have invalid results on your MBTI tests because you don’t see yourself clearly enough to answer in the way that you should?  I mean I have tested and re-tested as an INFJ (sometimes I got INFP, but when I read the personality descriptions, it just didn’t seem to fit), but part of me wonders if I might be an ENFJ.

I wouldn’t say I’m overly extroverted, but I’m definitely not shy or as quiet as the INFJ seems.  All of my friends, when I mention that I’m introverted, think that I’m lying.  I do need alone time, I do hate public speaking and being the center of attention in large groups, however, in small groups, I can sometimes be the life of the party, the one who keeps everyone laughing.  With people that I like and trust, I can be very talkative and sometimes talk too much, but I also know when to listen.

I can hole up in my room for the entire weekend watching Netflix and not feel deprived or lonely or like I wasted the weekend, but I could also spend the whole weekend out with friends and not feel like I need copious amounts of alone time to recharge.  I think I’m an ambivert, but I don’t know what that would make me as far as MBTI goes?

Does anyone else feel this way?

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INFJ Emotions

I don’t think I’ve ever despised a phrase more than “get over it”.

You will never get a quicker infamous INFJ door slam than the one you’ll get after those words (or any others like it) leave your mouth.  We will never trust you with our emotions EVER again.

I don’t know about all INFJs, but my emotions are like water pouring from floodgates.  If the emotion is overly strong, there is no shutting the gates, no “getting over it”… I can only let the feeling wash over me until it fades.  It has been this way my ENTIRE life and nothing I have ever tried can make the emotion feel any… less.  It’s like I was created with emotions that are magnified by 100, both positive and negative alike.  The only thing I have found that is even remotely effective is to remain emotionally neutral as often as I possibly can, which can make me seem cold, distant, or even boring.

And when I open up my soul and share with you what I’m feeling and all you can manage to say is “get over it” is insulting, ignorant, and infuriating.  I may still be cordial and polite to you, but you will never be allowed a peek into my inner world ever again.

I’m sure to most people we initially share our feelings with can view us as dramatic, but if they could feel what we have to feel on a regular basis it would change their perspective entirely.

When I feel any emotion, I feel it so completely that it is almost all I can focus on, even when I feel nothing.  Imagine, you get into a small squabble with one of your close friends.  You feel anger, annoyance bubble up inside you and that is all you can feel or focus on until it is resolved.  It eats away at you and each time you force your thoughts toward things that need immediate attention, the emotion is still there casting an ugly shadow on every thought, every moment.  Then you find out that you got a promotion in your job and excitement and happiness bubbles up, but that anger and annoyance is not gone either, it’s not even subsided or pushed to the back.  You are SIMULTANEOUSLY feeling happy, excited, angry, and annoyed.  That is exactly why we door slam people because we cannot handle the feelings that come along with toxic or tumultuous relationships and still manage emotions that occur throughout our every day.  It is easier to shut those doors completely than to shut off our magnified emotions.  We don’t have enough room for all that chaos.

Maybe I’m only speaking for myself as I write this, and maybe I’m a weirdo within a group of weirdos.  But my hope is that at least ONE person finds common ground with me and that I’m not alone.INFJ

Deployment for an INFJ

IMG_5347It’s true, we INFJs crave and need alone time.  A lot of it.  More than any “normal” person.  That being said, deployment is… insanely hard, even for social hermits.  Despite that need to be alone, we also crave deep connection and, let’s face it, this doesn’t happen very often or with many people.  Usually with military spouses, we are in an unfamiliar city/state, miles and miles away from our closest friends and family, and, to top it off, we are alone for half of our marriage.  Needless to say, I’ve had more than my share of alone time.  So I’ve written an impromptu short story to sort of paraphrase things that happen during deployments for the INFJ.  Military marriages often get romanticized and I’m told by so many women that I’m brave and that the reunions must be so beautiful.  They don’t see the sacrifices that both of us have to make, they don’t see the pain, the disconnect, the overall stress that it puts on our relationship.  So here it is, a peek into deployment for an INFJ military spouse:

You haven’t talked to your husband in days.  You knew you probably wouldn’t, but you always cling to the hope that you might get a surprise text or a quick phone call.  You pretend he’s just away on a harmless, boring business trip, because you can’t even think about the danger he is in on a daily basis.  It would eat you up on the inside and you have to be strong.  But who are you kidding?  It’s at the back of your mind all the time anyway.

You get a text and your heart jumps in your throat.  It’s him.  He’s okay.  But all that joy quickly dissipates.

Hey babe.  Just landed.  Service is spotty, I’m exhausted, and have to get up early tomorrow.  I’ll wake up ten minutes early to give you a call, it’ll be about noon your time.  I love you and I miss you.  Goodnight sweetheart.

So no phone call tonight.  No big deal, you tell yourself.  But you tuck your blanket under your chin and try to hold back your tears.  You reach a hand to his side of bed and feel cold.

Then, when the stars finally align, the wifi connection is good, and you both have some free time AT THE SAME TIME: you get to FaceTime!  Time for some deep conversation, connection, laughing, flirting… right?  Wrong.  He’s exhausted.  He can’t tell you half of the things that transpired since you last spoke because it’s top secret information.  You feel silly for recounting the pointless activities of your day, they seem trivial compared to everything he’s doing.  He’s saving the world, you’re binge-watching The Walking Dead and eating your feelings, AKA: a tub of ice cream.  Crickets chirp on both ends of the phone line.  How is it that you both haven’t talked in days, yet neither of you can think of ONE thing to say or to talk about?

You ask the few probing questions that eventually pop into your brain, and he uses two to three word answers, leaving the trail of conversation cold and dead.

What.  Is.  HAPPENING?!  Your mind begins to panic.  Are we drifting apart?  Am I boring him?  Come on, come on!  Think of an interesting thing to say!  Think of a good topic!

What comes out of your mouth next is nothing short of anti-climatic and it shows.  He answers again with only a few words and you can tell he doesn’t want to take it any further.  In your head, you know it must just be because he’s tired and stressed, but it’s difficult not to feel disconnected and disheartened.  You’d been looking forward to this phone call for days, and it feels awkward and forced.  You worry that it will be this way the whole deployment and you’re not sure if you can even handle that.

Be strong, be strong, be strong, you chant in your head like a prayer, a plea.

The following conversations are a lot like the last.  You even argue some, letting some of your frustration slip and causing a fight.  You don’t tell any of your friends or family for a multitude of reasons: A) nobody likes a complainer or hearing about other people’s problems, B) you’re afraid of what will be unleashed if you let go of your strength even for a moment and the last thing you want is to be pitied, C) you don’t want anyone to think poorly about your husband or you, and D) nobody can fix this problem or even understand, this is just a part of deployment.  So what’s the point in complaining?

The months pass by and you begin to get anxious for his return home.  Arguments become less and less and you both find common ground in your excitement.  You discuss the first restaurant you two will visit when he gets back, the vacations you will take, and the relaxing days you will have together.  Things seem to be going back to normal.  You’re the happiest you’ve been in months and you just get happier as the days come closer to THE day.

Well, THE day finally comes and it is sheer bliss.  Joyous tears fill your eyes as you hug him and kiss him for the first time in a long time.  You hold his hand the whole way home, not daring to let go, like he may suddenly disappear if you break contact.  You keep stealing glances at him, trying to memorize his face and to soak up all the lost time.  His eyes never looked so beautiful and you cherish the way that he looks at you.

He still looks tired and distant.  You can tell, but you push it to the back of your mind.

You get home and soak up all the romance and affection you possibly can and in that moment, yes, it is exactly as everyone romanticizes homecomings to be.  You think everything is back to the way it should be, maybe even better.

But then you wake up in the middle of the night and smile, reaching to his side of the bed.. only to feel nothing but cold, unused sheets.  Your smile fades and your mind begins to race and worry.  Is he okay?  Is he sick?  Wrapping a blanket around your shoulders, you tip toe across the room and check the bathroom for a light.

Nothing.

So both you and your heart pick up the pace out of your bedroom only to find him stretched out on the couch, fast asleep.  Your heart sinks as you contemplate the possible reasons why, each solution more depressing than the next.  Whether it is because he prefers sleeping alone or the fact that he’s just used to it, you thought things were back to normal.  But the truth is that the military deprives couples like you from normalcy.  There is no “routine”, no “home”, no “usual”.  You can only take ANYTHING one day at a time.  You pause to glance back at the sleeping form of the man you love, hurt and loneliness in your heart, and you can’t help but push those feelings aside and allow yourself to be thankful for a moment that he is safe, home, and healthy, regardless of your emotional distance.  That is, after all, all that truly matters.  He is still here.  The rest, well, you will work them out with time.

With that you pad quietly back to bed with hope in your heart that tomorrow will be a little better and pushing aside your hurt feelings.  After all, you knew what you were signing up for, right?