This post begins where the previous one left off. An internet search of my personality type, INTJ. I surprised myself by mentioning it last time. I hadn’t thought about my MBTI results in every bit of 15 years. Ever since the career counselor who administered the test told me I should become an audiologist. A terrible idea. But, I stumbled on a very informative and well-written article about this personality type. Apparently, we make up about 2% of the general population and only about 0.8% of the female population. The Architect, as they say. The Mastermind. Dark horse. Isaac Newton. Stephen Hawking. Dr. House. I dig it. But, I suspect, most of us INTJs probably remain relatively unfazed by the compliments and the good company. (All the feels for, like, five seconds.) Because they don’t matter. What matters—the only thing that ever matters when it comes to intellectual or other purpose-driven work—is that I am in the process of building something. And I’ve got to get it right.
Because I am a perfectionist. And can I see it. I can see the possibilities that exist before me (and within me), even when no one else around me can. Some might consider the way I think peculiar. I know I do. I read four, five, or even six books at once because I sense a pattern between them. I’m only ever looking for the connections. Introverted intuition. I wait. Ingest large amounts of information and let my brain do the work. Coax and pull back. Coax and pull back. Until one day, I wake up (and it usually is upon waking or shortly thereafter), and I’ve got it. A simple sentence. A visual pattern, like a flash. An imprint. A deluge of connections. All the blanks filled. All the what-am-I-talking-about’s? What do I really mean by this phrase (self-fashioning)? God, what am I getting at? Answered. In one fell swoop.
I have entered this phase. It’s about time. I get impatient with myself. An outpouring of connections. Sitting at work, scribbling in my notebook. At home, typing. My hands barely able to keep up with my brain. I am two days in. My entire being is alert. Sharp. Clear. Increased physical activity comes with frenzied intellectual activity. I think. I write. I work with my hands. Busy myself. Run. Lift weights. All the while, my mind is working. This post and the next are writing themselves. (As a side note, it is nice to know there are others who think this way. I don’t think I’ve never known anyone else, personally, who does.) Assembling the pieces. Brick by brick. Building. Dainty bits of verse. Poesy. Deep phrases. Signifying nothing? I fear it’s all arbitrary. That everything I’m about to say is arbitrary. Banal. Useless. It’s not done. It’s not right. It’s not right. It’s not done. Regardless, the time has come to let it go. As it is. If only so I can let my mind rest. For now. Is it possible that I can use my quirky INTJ-ness (this strange way of thinking, hands-down, one of my greatest obstacles) to actually come up with something that’s useful and helpful to other people? The lust for meaning. Maybe.
I was, in fact, going to make these paragraphs the introduction to the post that will follow. That is, until I actually began writing and realized that, as an introduction, all of this information would be unduly burdensome. So, consider this a segue to what I anticipate will follow within the next few days. I felt it imperative to explain my process first. As painstaking as it often is, I have learned over the years to respect it. Every once in a while, it yields wonderful results. But, even when it doesn’t, and I fail spectacularly, the pressing need for inquiry, for gross amounts of information, to solve the puzzle, to build something always comes right back. While we INTJs may be in the company of some intellectual giants (but, surely most personality types have their share), we certainly aren’t all geniuses. Sometimes, it is the acute awareness of one’s own difference, as a young person, especially, that creates the greatest burden. Perseverance and independence of thought. I’d rather be thought radical or even downright ridiculous than conformist. Authority doesn’t impress me, and neither do credentials. One must always prove oneself.
I view my next post as an attempt to do just that. For myself and to myself. (I need to know if I am up to the task.) It is a synthesis of everything I’ve been talking about over the last 11 months. Femininity, eroticism, creativity, sexuality. Otto Rank, Rollo May, Carl Jung (an important newcomer to the list, indeed), Anaïs Nin, Coco Chanel, et al. I will do my very best to make it an enjoyable read. Concise. Not bland and academic-sounding. I will make it creative. I find that being creative with theory—or any set of complex ideas, really—is quite beneficial for understanding. And, it’s fun. The beauty of being able to set one’s own rules.
It occurs to me that I could either make a terrific scientist or a terrible one. Nothing in between. Too much intuition. The urge to be creative is too strong. Whenever I seek an answer to a question about human nature, my first line of inquiry is never someone else’s data. Someone else’s theory. Someone else’s observations. (That’s all secondary.) I look in the mirror instead. And I go with my instincts. It is possible I will fail brilliantly in the effort that follows. Then, again, I may not. Carl Jung and Coco Chanel. Here goes nothing…