e/i n F p/j

yesterday was a bad day with good bits round the edges.

we did a course in myers-briggs hence my letters at the top. i am a bit ambivalent about putting myself in boxes, am generally exhausted with squeezing myself into others boxes, but i get that some people have never thought this stuff through, anyway....

in terms of intraversion or extraversion, i really am bang in the middle. i love my friends (they have become absolutely the most important thing to me at college), there are some people who give me energy, i like being with them, i would choose to be with them. but big groups of people, well, i'm not sure, i think that drains me, but if i'm teaching or doing something that enthuses me, that brings me to life, then, show me the platform. i think a lot of my intraversion comes from having been kicked in the teeth along the way of life - i'm a lot more guarded when it comes to sharing myself, because i was never a superficial extravert, i don't do non-significant conversation, i go deep, quickly, and sometimes that doesn't work out so well for me. so i've learned to shut up and then i learned that actually that is good too, sitting in a coffee shop and watching the world go by, reading a book (pretending to read a book and watching people), whatever. so i/e depending on who the people are.

no surprises on the 'n' part - i am an intuit: concepts, ideas, connections, reflection. however, it took me a while to figure out why i wasn't the 's' part who's into detail - because when it comes to people i am *very* into detail. which is why my feeling 'F' part is a capital letter. it dominates everything else - if you hurt the people around me i *will* kick your butt. it was off the scale.

and lastly 'p/j' - i couldn't work this out to begin with either. i came to the conclusion that i'm really a 'p' (spontaneous, flexible, open, thrives on last minute rush), but that i've had to do the 'j' bit for a long time in every aspect of my life (methodical, organised, ordered, stressed at last minute stuff). my 'p' comes out at home in the 'dishwasher argument'. if you have a dishwasher and a spouse, you will have had this argument. i chuck everything higgledy piggledy in the dishwasher and it drives Q nuts. no matter how many times he goes over methodically how i *should* stack the plates (he's an engineer), i don't do it like that. the only reason it ever enters my head to do it like that is because i am a capital letter 'F' and so i don't really want to drive my best friend mad. but most of the time it is the only place i get to say 'fuck it'.

which brings me to why it was a bad day with good stuff round the edges. i physically feel the weight of not being the right 'shape' for college, which, when it comes to 'calling' and ordination makes me wonder whether i am the right 'shape' for that either. i have spent the last 8 months *not* being every speaker that they've rolled out to speak for us, *not* being the disenfranchised rebel who does nothing in college, *not* being the cardboard cutout conformist who fits it all exactly, instead i've attempted to be me in this place and it has absolutely exhausted me. and every time i go to a lecture or course which i have to translate into something understandable to my brain/life it chips away at the sense of self that was quite happy in my own skin.

yesterday, at the end of the day, i had to see the college moderator to talk about my academic course and how that was going. no worries i thought, i explain the frustrations of not being able to do any of the modules that you want. it's just the way it is, frustrating but there you go. but he then asked the question 'is college a good place to be' - argh, don't ask the question! and i really have no defences left, i have no energy to find a way of articulating it that is 'pleasant' for others to hear. so, i said that i suspected college was a good place to be for those who it fits, which isn't me. oh well.

i then attempted to go to our worship meeting at the end of the day, lasted about 30 seconds before i could feel my body go into shock and left. i have not felt that bad in 7 years, the last time this black dog was snipping at my heels. just rubbish. not making any sense, shaking, sweating. thankfully one of the other ordinands took me to the pub and was very kind. i like kind - it's a very underrated quality actually. he took all my jobs from me for today, which is why i can be here, writing this and later why i'm going to the cinema with Q. i will eat popcorn and dream my own dreams and do nothing that matters that much. heaven.


Jenny Baker said...

Jodie, I'm so glad your kind colleague was there to take care of you. I don't know if these thoughts from Jonny will be of any help to you http://jonnybaker.blogs.com/jonnybaker/2008/11/the-gift-of-not.html, but the church, and particularly the leadership of the church, needs people who don't fit. But I can understand that that is an exhausting and difficult place to be. I hope you do get a good break this summer to recharge, and to have the courage and strength you need to continue.

radical evangelical said...

thanks jenny

that is a good post - my question is, how do you sit in the place you don't fit? is it possible for any sustained length of time? i see a lot of people who conform to type, and a lot who rebel - but just to sit and 'be', how do you do that? some communities are, i guess, more unbending than others and the subliminal messages more constant, in terms of how welcome you are.

i am always looking for a place that has it's distinctiveness, but which actively 'moves'to include you, or in the right meaning of this word, which 'suffers' you - so that it has change something of itself to include you. It's trinitarian community really - perhaps my standards are to high!! :D

radical evangelical said...

oh dear, many spelling/grammar errors!

Anonymous said...

jody thanks for this - I'm sat here feeling v wobbly and relating to so much of what you have said ( and your MB analysis, totally!! offically enfp, but with caveats just like yours!!) I find college an odd dynamic - and the PT thing for me is hard. I end up carving out a fitted place for me - that sits unfittingly in the bigger picture perhaps -
and friends, and kind people, I can't thank God enough for the one or two who so **totally* get it. Sanity savers.

I've rambled - but I just needed to respond to your post.

radical evangelical said...


don't apologise for rambling! it is a real comfort - more than you know - to think that others might identify with this.

Dave W said...

Jodie, I agree with Jenny -if we all "fitted" what a dull world it would be. And in the end, "College" is a weird place isn't it. I remember David Peterson saying that its an odd place -sort of like University but not Univerist. Sort of like church but not a church (and with lots fot he same body type around). We shouldn't "fit" really! I think to some extent you have to decide proactively "This is how I will relate" to it "This is what I can give" "This is waht I need to receive here" and that way it can be a happy place.

Dave W said...

Oh and MB -its a snap shot tool to help you think things through for yourself -don't let it define you (not that I think you would"

radical evangelical said...


thanks :) - you made me laugh actually, i rather doubt that college will ever be my 'happy place', you know those places that they make you go in meditation exercises :D

re: MB, as you can see from the title of this post, even within the model, i didn't allow myself to only have four letters to define me :D - i'm thinking that the transformational gospel has the definitive Word on who i am.