I’m working on growing some backbone. Or a set of balls. Or as comedian Sheng Wang suggested, a vagina (because balls are weak and sensitive, but vaginas are built to take a pounding). I’m not yet able to totally overcome my shyness about saying exactly what’s on my mind, probably because 40 years of experience has taught me that it’s a 50/50 crap shoot: either people nod and agree/applaud/laugh (if I’m lucky), or they’re confused, scared or outright offended. I never seem to know which reaction to expect. I suck at reading minds.
So sometimes when I come across some blogs or articles or whatever on the internet, I develop opinions. Then the little trolls that live under the synapse bridges in my brain creep out and remind me just how often my opinions have backfired, leaving me writhing in unspeakable embarrassment until I can find some way to stuff it way deep, deep down in that place that only the trolls seem to know about. You know that place: that reservoir of a lifetime of horrific social faux pas like thinking that wearing Aunt Mary’s crocodile print tan lace-up oxford chunky heels to school in grade 8 was you being a “trend setter” * or that time you remembered something truly mortifying that you left up on your (not-auto-screen-protected) computer to have a close relative find it, the first time you slip and accidentally say the F-word in front of your Mom and that sinking feeling you get knowing that – even though you’re both grown ass women – she always hoped against hope that those words never escaped your virgin lips, or for that matter, the time that Mom cleaned the shit out from under your bed…and went through every X-rated piece of it…and left nary a dustbunny underneath…and a well-worn bible lying on the pillow. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. That slimy pit of experiences that make our skin crawl and we wish we could erase from our memories.
I would really like to flip the trolls the bird and say what I like, because apparently, whether I try or not, I still end up embarrassing myself all to hell. The following was my response to a blog post about how stupid people must be to buy into the validity of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality types. Hopefully my husband doesn’t think I’m dissing him here. I didn’t think it was a secret that we have polar opposite personality types, or that, regardless of my inability to make decisions and take charge like he does so magnificently, I, too, rock in my introverted, thoughtful, butterfly-and-rainbow-spattered way.
Oh for the love of God, just let me wear my pink spandex leotard and cape with the big INFP on the front of it and stop judging me for it already! Maybe I like wearing my superhero outfit now and then. I’ve got another one in hunter green in the closet with INTP on it when I want to flaunt my inner troll. Personality typing isn’t meant to pigeonhole anyone; it’s just convenient for some people who aren’t so good with messy grey areas (which is what people really are). In fact it just helps validate that there’s NO SUCH THING AS NORMAL. There’s nothing wrong with them. Some of them just prefer that you get to the effing point instead of going on and on with flowery prose like I’m doing right now. If you’re still reading this, you’re probably not an ESTJ, like my husband. An ESTJ will have finished my first sentence for me, summarized my argument and concluded the conversation without my having wasted but a single breath. To make matters worse, he’s right about 80% of the time. Maybe 85%. I love the man to death, but obviously we have our areas of friction. Slapping a convenient little label on him like that serves as my reminder that his personality is just as irreversibly screwed up as mine, and we need to find ways to meet in the middle and learn from one another’s strengths. Do I set my clock by it? Not remotely. It’s just a fun way to make sense of some people you would otherwise smugly laugh at on the inside when they pushed the door marked ‘Pull’. PS: My hubby thinks MBTI labels are dumb, too.
* I wish I had held onto those chunky heels of Aunt Mary’s; my daughter would have been delighted by their vintage grotesqueness.