grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I am here today to wish my wonderful sister a Happy Birthday. I'm going to take her out to lunch and shopping later today, on her special day. She is my best friend and I love her dearly. So I'm here today to write a love letter about my sister.

Like me, my sister has a disability. I won't go into the details, because that's her business and she's very private about her personal life, but let's just say it made school very difficult for her. I say this to express my admiration of her determination not to let her disability define her or overcome her. She is the hardest-working person I know, with incredible perseverance and a lot of native intelligence. I wish I was as hard-working as my sister is. And it paid off -- she was a straight A student, has grown to love reading, and is now in college. She is a huge success story.

She is very responsible. She is always the first to take the initiative and do any chores that need to be done, she's conscientiously clean, and she carefully keeps all important paperwork and receipts in an organized place.

She's uncomplaining. My sister is very good at adapting to her surroundings and has a very "tough it out and make it through" attitude that I can really respect. Even though I'm the older one, because of my anxiety she's often the one helping and leading me. She's much calmer than I am.

She's caring and nurturing. Hungry animals and hurt people always find a home with her. Her friends command her undying loyalty, and she is very protective -- the kind of person who will punch you in the face if you try to harm one of her friends or family members.

She's a funny tomboy. She has a great sense of humor, loves goofing off, and can always make me laugh. She's great at clowning around. And she's definitely comfortable in herself -- she wears jeans and sweatshirts and baseball caps, loves Transformers and Pokemon, is mostly friends with guys, and is perfectly fine with that. Even when people have judged her for it, my sister has never been afraid to be herself.

She's great at video games. I say that because I'm horrible at them. She's good at strategizing and figuring out puzzles and can spend hours playing around with different video games, trying to get them just right.

She is a bit of a perfectionist, and that shows in her art. My sister is an incredible artist, both virtually and on paper. She may not be the fastest to get the art technique down, but her unflagging determination always ensures that she is usually one of the best artists around. I know for a fact that I'm not the only one who admires her artwork. She has a great imagination and lots of artistic talent.

She loves horror, ghosts, and all manner of other eerie things. She wears lots of black and loves rock music. People have judged her over these things as well, but again she has never let that faze her. She is proud of her likes and interests, and is also proud of being a Christian and believing in God.

She's an interesting combination of introvert and extrovert. She can be very chatty, but she's not a big partier. She's more comfortable at home surrounded by people she knows well, and is not really into drinking or drugs.

She's a very reasonable roommate and house mate. She rarely gets angry, always says just what's on her mind, tries to accommodate, and is helpful and non-judgmental. My sister rarely judges anyone and is a friendly and accepting sort.

I have tons of fond memories of the two of us as kids. We would play dinosaurs, cheat while playing Yu-Gi-Oh, and pull the heads off our Barbies and switch them with each other's. (We were interesting little children.) We fought horribly sometimes, but always made up and supported each other even when no one else did.

She is an amazing person and I love and admire her. She is my closest friend, my greatest supporter, and my best defender. I can always come to her for advice. We spent our childhood together and have become adults together. We may fight, but at the end of the day we're very close.

Happy Birthday, sister of mine.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
Our "new friend" texted us and wanted to hang out tonight. That didn't go well.

First, she wanted to go to her favorite restaurant, not to ours. She only went to the restaurant we wanted to go to after her restaurant had an hour-long wait list.

At the restaurant, things seemed okay. We revealed to her about my bipolar disorder and my sister's stutter and learning disabilities; she, in turn, revealed that she'd had a learning disorder and a speech impediment when she was younger. She also liked astrology, sci-fi, video games, and anime, and so did we.

But then she took us shopping. I kind of felt like she wanted to give us a whole new makeover. Like she thought we were these fashionably challenged, socially retarded poor people who needed help. She kept inviting guys over to meet us, telling us about huge parties, pushing us to try more expensive and girlier clothes, and asking us to tell our parents "we were making friends!"

Another person might have enjoyed that, I don't know. But I was kind of annoyed, I felt condescended down to, and my sister was uncomfortable. We were fine the way we were. We had a few good friends instead of lots of distant ones, dressed casually, didn't spend much money, and preferred relaxing in front of the TV on Friday nights, and we were happy like that. It's not the first time people have told me my retiring preferences are wrong, but it never gets any less infuriating.

Eventually, I put my foot down. We couldn't spend more than forty dollars per person, I didn't do well at parties, and I wanted to go home after this because I was tired. It was the end of my first week back at school, a Friday night, and I was tired. She seemed really unenthusiastic after that. She took us to a cheap clothing store, stopped trying to dress us up, and just let us pick out a couple of five dollar shirts. She agreed to drive me home.

When my sister said she wanted to go home too, however, the really uncomfortable thing happened. "Well, I need a girl with me at this hang-out I'm going to," she said. "My ex boyfriend will be there and I don't want to be alone."

"Your guy friend will be there," I said. (We'd met him earlier. He was nice.)

"I need a girl there," she insisted.

So, what? She was just going to shove that on two girls she'd only met three days ago and make us feel guilty? After we'd already told her we were exhausted?

"I think my sister's really not feeling well," I said firmly, "and she needs to go home." My sister wanted to say that, she'd told me so earlier, but my sister's never been good with verbal confrontation.

In the end, she drove us home. It was basically a complete fiasco.

INFJ-INTJ

Jul. 22nd, 2015 07:25 pm
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
In personality psychology terms, I'm an INFJ bordering on INTJ. I can't find any really good articles about either type, so I'm writing one. Let's break the terms down into letters:

I

This means I am an introvert. What is an introvert? An introvert is a person who expends energy on socializing, rather than gaining energy from socializing. From this simple difference springs a whole host of others. Introverts are more likely to enjoy spending time alone, can be seen as homebodies, prefer small gatherings, and would often rather listen than talk.

N

This means I am an Intuitive. Intuitives are often caught up in their own heads. This is in contrast to Sensory types, who are better at outward actions and observations. Sensory types live in the world outside of them. Intuitives, however, prefer to live in the world within them. They are excellent at philosophizing, moralizing, daydreaming, and idea-generation. They are attracted to visionaries and aspire to be such themselves.

T-F

This is where I'm caught between two types. F types are Feeling types -- they are moved by emotional pleas, follow their heart rather than their head, and interact with others in a sensitive way. T types are Thinking types -- they are moved by rational arguments, follow their head rather than their heart, and tend to be rather tough-skinned, stick-to-the-facts sorts of people. I am on a cusp between these two areas, head and heart.

J

J types are the organized types. This also means that they do not do well with spontaneity and sudden changes in plans. They prefer things planned to the letter, their calendars filled out neatly, and they tend to be very organized.

-

Since INFJs and INTJs are considered separate areas of personality, it's worth noting some salient traits for each of them.

INFJs, having the F to soften their introverted, head-based, highly organized personality, can be very likable. They are romantic, daydreamy, sensitive both to criticism and in their interactions with others; they try hard to get along with absolutely everybody. They tend to be very good writers with an excellent penchant for imagery, and often express themselves better through writing (poetry, for example) than in conversation. It tends to take them awhile to make both friends and lovers, since they're reserved and prize depth in relationships and conversation. They are called The Counselors, having an instinctive sense of what is going on both inside other people and within themselves. They can attempt to repress their feelings, however, until an impending explosion is inevitable. INFJs are more likely than any other type to experience prescient dreams, strange emotional connections, visions, and other unexplainable phenomena.

INTJs, by contrast, have no F to soften their introverted, head-based, highly organized personality. Instead, they have a hard T -- a head-based, to-the-facts sort of person. As a result, INTJs can be disliked and easily misunderstood. They are not good at expressing their emotions, and do not try to be polite, be agreeable, and mince their words the way others do. INTJs can be witheringly blunt, and they drive others almost as hard as they drive themselves. However, INTJs have feelings, a need for friends, and even a romantic side just as much as others do -- even if they don't particularly like admitting it. INTJs aspire to be magicians of sorts, to be able to create things out of thin air -- only, through science or a craft or business rather than through magic or religion. They make good leaders, being natural strategists, but do not aspire to leadership positions except when they feel it's necessary. INTJs, being introverts, prefer to work behind the scenes -- and because of this, they are known as Masterminds.

-

Because I have both types inside me, a lot of things about me make more sense. For example, I am studying both Creative Writing and Marketing. Each calling fulfills one of the aspects of my personality. INFJs are natural Creative Writers, while INTJs are excellent business strategists who enjoy the process of idea creation.

Or take my romantic life, for example. I have a strong desire for romance, but I also have trouble making close friends and expressing myself. It's a double-edged sword.

All I know is that I do struggle with the T-F part of myself. Every time I follow my heart, my head protests, and vice versa. Having two such strong personality types can be problematic.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
My aunt, who has the same disorder I have, was feeling pretty low and depressed. So my sister and I went over to her house to keep her company, cheer her up, and make her feel better.

We walked in the house and immediately the dogs descended upon us. They have a really fat miniature dachshund, and a corgi named Angus who likes to play fetch. I threw the ball for him for a few minutes. Angus was so funny. He always toddled over, all proud of himself, each time he brought the ball back.

They also have a Beta fish in a fish tank. Beta fish originate from Japan; they can survive unusually long without water, because their ancestors used to jump between the rice paddies to find water.

They have a pool, so we decided to go swimming. We all slathered on sunscreen, put on bathing suits, and headed on out. I was wearing my favorite swimsuit, a cute little backless one-piece, pink with a blue bird pattern.

We got in the pool and put on some music. (By the Killers, I think.) Anxiety chose that moment to strike. It always comes at the most inconvenient times; last time, it was at the mall. Anxiety is one of those wonderful little gifts I get for being a woman, ranking right up there along with Menstruation and Under-eating on my list of Favorite Things About Being A Girl.

I started getting scared I'd drown. The fear was completely irrational; I've swum in the ocean and across river rapids. I could make it across a pool. But anxiety follows no logic but its own.

My aunt talked me through it. Once I was feeling a little better, I tried doing simple things: making it up and down across the shallow end, doing a few laps around the pool by clinging to the edge and going hand over hand, relaxing in a floaty toy.

After the pool, we all took showers, with mango scented shampoo. Our auntie baked cookies and made coffee; we had snacks and watched an X Men movie and read comics.

Eventually, I got a little tired of being in an unfamiliar environment. That can be pretty nerve wracking for someone with my disorder. So instead of hiding in the dark back room and playing The Weirdo, I said I was a little tired and asked to go home.

On the plus side, our aunt seemed much happier after our visit. Sometimes I think it's just nice to know that somebody cares.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I read this article and it was very thought provoking for me:

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/jun/25/musicians-touring-psychological-dangers-willis-earl-beal-kate-nash?CMP=share_btn_fb

It made me think of John Lennon.

I have studied John's life extensively, and I am of the very strong belief that he was bipolar. Something about certain things concerning him just fundamentally connects with me. There's his history of violence, his drug and alcohol abuse, his rampant sex addiction, his extremely well documented moodiness, his frequent suicidal periods, and what he said in an interview once, that there are "just some days when he wants to throw himself off a building." (He claimed the mood swings got better as he got older -- in the last years of his life, he'd stopped taking drugs. Also, surprise surprise! He's a jumper, like me.)

And now, after reading that article above, I want you to consider a couple of things:

1. If it's that hard being an ordinary musician, what would it have been like being a Beatle? With the screaming fans, the utter impossibility of ever going outside, and the constant demands for yet another album or tour?

2. And if it's that hard being a Beatle, what would it have been like being a Beatle with mental illness?

Because being bipolar is hard. You can't stand crowds. You can't take loud noise. You need a certain amount of exercise per day. You can't take drugs or alcohol unless you want to cycle into an episode. You need plenty of sleep. And even then, you're moody and prone to periods of extreme panic.

Can you imagine being a Beatle and being bipolar?

There's one moment I remember keenly. I was watching video footage of John Lennon's apology after the Bigger Than Jesus scandal. A little background:

John, a great reader, gives an interview in which he mentions Nietzsche's theory of the decentralization of Christianity in the twentieth century. John predicts that at the rate we're going, Christianity will soon disappear. Some asshole disc jockey from Alabama takes one part of one sentence from a whole paragraph, reads it so that it will sound like John thinks he's better than Jesus, and then bans Beatles music from his station. No one bothers to verify with the original source, of course -- it makes for a better media story if John's just an asshole.

So John's sitting there, crowded on a couch that's too small for all the Beatles to sit on together, with a clamor of hundreds of voices shouting accusations at him and wall to wall cameras flashing really bright lights. And I remember watching that footage, and feeling so intensely what John felt. The isolation, the pain, the fear (people were setting things on fire and threatening to shoot him), and the anger.

Later, a photographer tells the story of barging into the bathroom to find John hiding inside. John is crying. "Why couldn't I have just kept me big mouth shut?" he says.

And I think that was the first time John thought he really couldn't do this anymore.

Because being a Beatle basically ruined his life. It totaled his relationship with his first wife and oldest son. He was never home, and even when he was he was either busy or exhausted He got addicted to drugs and alcohol to try to deal with the pain. He went through periods of extreme depression and extraordinary self hatred. (His pictures from the mid sixties are hard for me to even look at, the self hatred and despair is so clear to me.)

They asked for two albums a year. Two albums a year. On top of all the touring. And the noise. And the screaming. And the never seeing his family.

And then John fell in love with Yoko Ono. He tried to include her in his world at first, and when that didn't work he did the right thing for the first time in a decade. He dropped the band and kept the family. It was an incredibly courageous thing to do, frankly.

I think by the end of the Beatles, John just couldn't do it anymore.

And when I think of it like that, all his anger makes sense to me. I can totally understand John thinking, by the end, "Fuck them! I gave ten years of my life to that fucking band! Isn't that enough?"

Isn't that enough?
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
This article is about how introverts process relationships. I thought it was very good:

http://introvertdear.com/2015/07/07/introvert-love-relationship-extrovert/

Being an introvert myself, here are a few things that often trip people up about introverts:

- We're homebodies. (Though that doesn't necessarily mean we don't like traveling.)

We have our little space, and it's safe and quiet there. Introverts are easily overstimulated by unfamiliar or excitable sensory environments. Those give extroverts a great rush of enthusiasm, but for introverts the feeling is not as pleasant. We need lots of time at home to recuperate from dealing with the world.

I've felt like telling this to so many people in my life. Mostly roommates, who assumed that because I was spending time alone in my room I was miserable and pathetic. Just because we're spending time alone at home, doesn't necessarily mean we "need help socializing" or "are not having fun." On that note...

- Socializing is also overstimulating and exhausting for us.

So just because we're sitting alone, in the cafeteria for example, doesn't mean we want a whole host of pitying but well-meaning popular people to gather around us and overstimulate us with lots of chatter and loud noise.

- We genuinely enjoy solitary activities.

I love curling up with a book. Or writing in my journal. Or listening to music quietly with my headphones in. Even during walks with other people, my favorite thing to do is trail behind the rest of the group and silently take in the scenery.

- We take in sensory information at a higher rate than extroverts. This is what exhausts us, at parties for example, but it also means we notice more than anyone else.

I'm an expert at doing things like listening to two different conversations at once, or watching what everyone in the room is doing. I've picked up on things no one else has noticed, because of this.

- Sometimes, the reason why we're so quiet is not necessarily because we're shy. It's because we have a greater filter than extroverts.

We think of things to say, but then we mercilessly vet each thing through the filter of, "Does anyone really want to listen to me say this?" If the answer is no, we shut the hell up. This, combined with our sensitivity to overstimulation, is often why we're so reticent at parties.

- We're great one on one.

I have one particular friend. She's a great person and I've known her since I was six. But she always invites tons of other people whenever she asks me to go somewhere. And it is INFURIATING. I sometimes want to tell her, "Why can't it just be us?! I do so much better when it's just us!"

The less people, the less overstimulated we are, and the more we feel we have to contribute. One on one conversations are also great for plumbing deeper topics, which introverts are big fans of. And the more we get to know you, the more comfortable we become with saying the things that are on our minds -- the less merciless the filter becomes.

- We can be overstimulated pleasantly as well.

Introverts tend to be highly sensitive people. This means that we're more prone than others to be deeply touched by a delicious dish of cuisine, a ballet performance, an emotional entreaty, a beautiful poem, a good glass of wine.

- We don't like bragging.

This can make looking for jobs deeply uncomfortable. Employers expect you to be able to confidently sell yourself, but when introverts do this, we often just feel silly.

- We express ourselves better through writing and art than through conversation.

In writing, we control our world. There are no people or environments to overstimulate us, no watching face to intimidate us, so we feel more free to say what is on our minds. If you really want to get to know an introvert, look at their writing.

- It's not that we hate people.

Introverts are not more prone to hating people than extroverts. We like people -- just in small and limited quantities. Introverts need friends and family just as much as anyone else, but because America is such an extroverted society, sometimes we have trouble finding that.

For more information on introverts, a very good book is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. She talks about psychological research, interpersonal relations between introverts and extroverts, and famous people and inventors who have been introverts, among other things.

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Hopeless Dreamer

March 2016

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