How many of us knew as a child what we wanted to be when we grew up?
Though many of us go through phases as we discover the big world beyond the small world we grew up with, some of us, even many of us inherently know what it is right for us to do. Unfortunately in our world, respect for an individual and their uniqueness is low while respect for money is the highest.
The disastrous result is many people get lost along the way. They lose sight of what is most important to them, what makes them feel good about themselves, what fuels excitement about life, what gives them hope, teaches them perseverance, and rewards them with satisfaction.
Instead people fill their dissatisfying lives with everything that will never satisfy them because the one thing they want they deny themselves because of outside pressure that eventually becomes internalized.
Not only do individuals suffer, but so does everyone else. Social service, judicial and health care costs increase as does the dark element born of denying the essence of who we really are.
The journey back to me required years of unravelling the multiple layers a complicated life filled with much pain and trauma made even more difficult because of my unusual and severely misunderstood Personality Type. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) psychological profiling tool recently pulled together all the bits and pieces of my painful fragmented life empowering me to finally heal on all levels.
Over twenty years ago, a glimpse of what I felt like inside I wrote in a little poem called Dusted Dreams. As I write this, I don’t have the poem with me right now because I am living in a shelter and two-thirds of my belongings are in storage at the last place I lived and worked. The poem’s imagery reveals the beginning of my quest to put myself back together again, to find again my hidden, buried dreams and my true self.
With all my fragments brought back into the light, making me whole again, I have finally been able to access the memory that when I was eight years old is when I knew I wanted to be a writer. I don’t know if I described myself that way, but I know I loved telling stories. I also know that is when the message that being a writer was not a real job. Real jobs were physical jobs with paychecks, not creating stories.
I am now 64 and the price I have paid for denying the essence of who I really am broke me financially several times, but first it broke my spirit to the point that I have lived most of my life depressed, angry, and resentful.
The MBTI, originally defined by one of the leaders of the science of psychology and philosophy, Carl Jung, explained that my Personality Type, an INFJ, as Introverted, Intuitive, Feeler, and Judger.
To put this information in context, in contrast to an Extrovert’s brain that requires continual external stimulation to stay engaged, an Introvert’s brain is highly stimulated internally, and as a result, can become overstimulated when around too many Extroverts or too much external stimulation of any kind. Hence, Introverts need to spend a lot of time alone to prevent over stimulation and exhaustion.
The Intuitive component of my Personality Type reveals I operate on intuition versus sensing the world as Sensors do. This quality also contributes to my living in my head more than people who live lives dominated by their physical senses.
Being a Feeler means being highly sensitive and emotional, which like any quality, has its good and bad aspects. Being attuned to emotions of myself and others makes me very empathetic and compassionate, yet without knowing for years how to balance experiencing the emotions and using their strength in a good way, I either repressed many of my emotions or let them fly in bouts of resentment and anger. These days I allow myself to just feel, not judge, the emotions, let them out safely, even if it means I may look weak or like a fool in front of others because now I know how to manage them once they have been identified and processed. The bonus is they certainly add to creating compelling writing.
Being a Judger, among other qualities results in my having excellent organizational talent, whether in performing tasks, in leadership that get things done, and/or to see the big picture, its implications, and details.
If you want to know more about the MBTI, I strong recommend the user-friendly books of Paul D. Tieger, Barbara Barron, and Kelly Tieger, consultants who have worked for years with organizations and education to help with recruiting and selection processes. They have also written several books, including one for parents to help them understand and to nurture their child’s uniqueness.
Now put back together, I see the writer I knew I was supposed to be. Am I that writer yet? No, but now I am studying different books to become her.
The other barrier I have had to accept is that by skipping all of grade nine, quitting high school in the middle of grade ten was not compensated for by my English studies in Business College or my essay writing in my first year of university. Though I achieved high 80’s in both, what pulled my marks down was my lack of English Standard knowledge and skill. I was also informed that I only received an Honourable Mention for Literature in a university-adjudicated short story contest because though my story was compelling my writing was not good enough.
Facing and accepting the limitations my injured spirit made, now I am learning from Robert W. Harris in his book Why Good People Write Bad Sentences: 12 St5eps to Better Writing Habits about how to dis-empower the impairing emotional and psychological baggage that developed because of the rejection, denial, and suppression of me as a writer. Clearing out what has been holding me back from becoming not only a healthy writer, but a great writer is restoring my spirit, confidence, and commitment.
Other books waiting to be absorbed are Write to the Point: A Master Class on the Fundamentals of Writing for Any Purpose by Sam Leith, Barron’s Grammar in Plain English, and my two favourite books, a dictionary and a thesaurus. It is also interesting to note that I gave up reading for fun because of people making fun of my love of words and that in grade school, spelling, along with arithmetic, were the two subjects I achieved 100% consistently.
One day, I will also bridge the gaps of mathematics knowledge I missed in high school so I can study abstract mathematics that I have held a fascination for as long as I can remember. In the meantime, my business mathematics will have to keep me satisfied while I focus on becoming the writer I knew I was supposed to be.
What about you?
KAITLIN ANN TREPANIER
Advocate Innovator Writer Social Entrepreneur & Founder
Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle
Smashwords interview @ www.smashwords.com
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May 31, 2019