Saturday, May 21, 2011

I'm just being me (confession of an INFJ)

Since I was a little girl I have always been an alien. I couldn't explain it back then, but I unconsciously understood that it is difficult for me to fit in with most people. I was one of that loner little girl, having to bear people misunderstanding me from time to time.

I'm all grown up now and I can say that nothing much has changed (aside from the normal physical, biological changes and the development of thinking). I can feel that there are parts of me that haven't changed at all. There are things that have already been there since a long time ago, even before I was born.

I remember that there were certain phases in my life where I was completely frustrated because I couldn't understand myself better. I started to learn how complicated I am and how it frustrated me to know that and could not do anything to change that. I couldn't change the way I was because, no matter how good my understanding was, somehow I knew I couldn't touch that part. I felt that there's a distance between me and that certain parts of myself.

It was a long years of struggling. I was always one of those people who are completely uncomfortable with themselves, and constantly think that there must be something wrong with them. At my worst moments, I usually felt like Eeyore, Pooh's donkey friend who carries dark clouds above its head wherever it goes.

It wasn't until a year ago that I finally made peace with it.

I've learned to accept that there are some people who are sunshine, and there are some people who are clouds. Some people are meant to shine and cheer, and some people are meant to sit quiet at the back row, doing whatever they have to do, watching the whole world from afar without making any intrusion to the cheering crowd. Not because they don't want to, but because they just can't. Having these people inside the cheering crowd would be just wrong. Because they cheer differently, they laugh and shout and celebrate silently, and most of the time, they do look peculiar in the middle of the cheering crowd.

One day I found the test about Jung personality types. 

I took the test and the result came out that I am an INFJ (Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging).

INFJ - "Author". Strong drive and enjoyment to help others. Complex personality. 1.5% of total population.
Personality Test by

Out of curiosity,  I did further research on the personality types, particularly the INFJ, and found a lot of useful readings related to the topics. And it quite gave me the creep initially because what I found there was exactly what I've been feeling/having all along.

Here's a brief explanation (or rather, collection of words) describing the INFJ:

Source: SimilarMinds
And there's also more detailed explanation from the Personality Page and Typelogic

I discovered that every aspects of myself that I wished to change, are exactly those that make a person INFJ. I wished to be more outgoing and easy with people, I wished to lessen my craving for solitude and be more comfortable in the crowd, I wished to be more rational and get my head off of the clouds, I wished I wasn't that sensitive and difficult to be understood. I've tried many ways and every time I did something to change them, I lost myself. Until one day I feel that it's really exhausting to keep changing yourself to be something that probably not you at all, and decided that if it makes me a peculiar person being who I am, then be it.

Of course there should be more comprehensive test and more complicated reading on the test result, more than just what I found online. But I'm glad because it reminds me that there's nothing wrong with me, that I was just being me, and that such people like me, do exist. And that there's nothing I have to change about me because all the things I wished to change, are not actually bad to have as a part of my personality.

It really depends on how you look at it.

Yesterday, I accidentally opened this ebook which has been in my folder for months. It was a book about self acceptance, and the author was someone who has gone through tough times in his journey towards maturity and self acceptance. 

I admire his courage, because to share such personal experience like his, I believe, requires a great deal of courage. He didn't mention details, but even to admit that you were once one of those negative persons with a very dark view about the world, in my opinion, requires a great deal of courage. I also appreciate his intention to inspire a lot of people by sharing the idea of self acceptance. 

However there's one thing that bothered me when reading his book. I couldn't help but feeling that he was suggesting that if you want to be happy, you have to change to be what other people see as normal or right. 

I agree with him that to be happy, you need to feel good about yourself. And that's where I think the problem is. To some people, going out and meet with a lot of people might help in exercising their confidence and eventually will teach them on how to feel good about themselves. But to some others, this could be a worst nightmare.

Some people avoiding interaction with a lot of people because they are not confident enough to be part of the crowd. Once they master the skill of self acceptance, I'm sure they will have no problem having interaction with a lot of people or being in the crowd and present themselves to the world openly. While some other people, avoiding interaction simply because they just can't. They're not comfortable with the idea of having to open themselves to a lot of people or people that they don't close with or they don't know well. And it's not because of lacking of self confidence or self acceptance. 

Why would you involved in activities that will only make you feel miserable or out of place? Why would you meet a large group of people in an attempt to have fun when you know you will not be able to have fun and you know that you'll have more fun spending time with your family or meeting your best friends (which is not more than five persons), or simply lying on your bed reading your favourite books?

I had gone through quite a similar experience as the author's. I even went to see an expert and she said that I should go out more and meet a lot of people. Having fun. I'm not old enough to spend my spare time reading books alone in my home. Such activities, she said, are only for elders. 

I tried, and I failed. 

I couldn't find the excitement being in the middle of the crowd.

And I finally learned to accept that this is just the way I am. I am just fine. I maybe having a problem with myself, but that's no more than other people having problem with themselves too. Instead of wasting my time questioning myself and wondering why I can't be like other people and trying so hard to be 'normal', I learned to accept that I'm just different. And there's nothing abnormal about being different. 

A friend once asked me whether I'd come to the office party that was about to be held. I said I don't think so. Then he said he doesn't understand why I shouldn't come, because it would only justify the stereotype about research people.

I'm working in a research division, and I'm not sure about the existing stereotype about people working in research field. For one, my boss, who is a Research Manager, went to the party, and she enjoyed it.  Secondly, I did came to the party held in the previous year. I didn't come this year, simply because I didn't feel like to at the time. 

I understand that, this friend of mine, he might have this stereotype in his mind that people working in the research field cannot have fun with themselves. And there's nothing I can do about it. He didn't gave me the chance to answer, and I choose to let it go anyway.

I believe that if you want to be happy with who you are, you have to accept what you are. And by that, I'm not talking about becoming who you are and adjusting it with what other people see as right or normal. 

Bottom line is, know what makes you comfortable. Accept it, and make the best of it. People might think of you as peculiar or weird, and that's just the way it is. They should not force you to be what you are not, and you should not force them to understand what you are. Keep in mind, that you're not the only 'weird' person in the world. And even though their number is limited, that should not prevent you from being happy.

I have a very dear friend who constantly reminding me that happiness doesn't always materialized in laughters and cheers and the sound of trumpets. Happiness may materialized through serenity. And more importantly, through whatever it is that makes you happy. 

So, I guess I've finally found the answer to my question: is there something wrong with me? Or am I just being me?

I am not Eeyore, and I am not a donkey, and I don't think I've been carrying dark clouds above my head.

I think, I am just being me. And that should not prevent me from being happy :)

Bintaro, on a cloudy Sunday afternoon

Thursday, May 19, 2011

writing is a nasty business

"Writing is a nasty business.
Writing is an emotional struggle."

Quoted from me, just now.

And what on earth am I talking about?

I guess I'm talking about the struggling I'm having on the urge to write, and not to write. 

The ideal process (as I read from many blogs and books about writings) is that you need to plan your time to write. Make time for it, and set time for it. My attempt was to wake up at 3 or 4 am every day, sit myself in front of the computer, and write. And I haven't been successful.

Most of the times, the ideas come when I was in the middle of something, usually during my office hours. When that happens, the urge to instantly writing it down is so huge that it pains me if I don't indulge it. But I never indulge it. I usually just jot down some pointers on the idea, and wait until I got home to write them.

The thing is, that doesn't seem to work for me. 

When I finally got home and everyone is sleeping, the ideas were somehow, died down. 

They were still there, written neatly on my notebook. The urge to write them down is also there. But I keep feeling that there's something missing. 

It usually takes me almost an hour to be able to start writing down the ideas to be one, full, piece of writing. And I haven't even got in to the writing part itself. Just to start writing them down is a struggle for me. I have my pointers there, I know exactly what I want it to be, but I just can't materialize the ideas in the same way they first struck me. 

Just like what happened this morning.

I've written down some ideas that came to my mind yesterday afternoon. It came to me when I was walking out of a meeting, and about to sit on my desk again. I really had to fight the urge to instantly write what I was thinking at the time. I forced myself to grab my notebook and my pen, write the ideas down in a few pointers, and put the notebook and the pen back on my bag, and put my bag under my desk. I had to make it difficult for me to indulge the temptation to look at the ideas and type them.

It was really hard afterwards, to really get my mind from wandering and keep it on the documents that I should be working on at the time. I usually need about fifteen minutes to get my heart and mind back to where it's supposed to be at that hour, and caused me an ongoing restlessness that will not stop until I get home and sit myself in front of the computer again.

And that's where the confusion start.
Because, there's something missing. Something I really need to write the ideas. Something beyond pointers and even beyond the urge.

After half an hour of blank page, I decided to try to write something, other topics which draft had been developed a few days ago. I thought, that should be easier. But it wasn't.

I stared at the draft for almost another half an hour, thinking on how to really develop this, and at the same time wondering why did I seem to be so far distanced from the draft. I couldn't touch it. 

I had this thought that probably because my heart was not really there at the time. I wasn't really into the topic, not at the time. And that there's another thing in my mind shouting to be heard. Accidentally, while browsing through the folders in my computer, I found the unfinished drawing I've started few weeks ago. This time I didn't try to fight anything. I started drawing and drawing, until the picture's finally finished.

I felt much better afterwards. It's like some parts of the heavy weight has been lifted up from my chest.  

Partly out of curiosity, partly out of guilty feeling towards the blank pages, I tried to write again. This time carefully watching myself (honestly, I don't even know what I was watching myself from). I couldn't continue any of the draft or pointers I've made, and ended up writing this instead. And yes, having written this, I felt much better too.

I still haven't figured out what is actually missing during the time between writing the ideas down and the development of the ideas to be one full piece of writing. If there's one thing I learned is that I'm not really good at planning, or in sticking with it. And though it is a lesson learned, I don't think it's a good thing.

It would be great to know if anyone out there having the same problem with the one I'm having here, and whether there is a cure to that.

Bintaro, early in the morning
-Annisa, somewhere in between confusion and desperation-

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

what the kids watch at home

Calvin and Hobbes
from Calvin and Hobbes (

This, should remind us to closely monitor what the kids watch at home. 
Need to check on every minute when they're watching TV alone. Or rather, don't let them watching TV alone.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

on diary writing

I had my first diary when I was about seven. 

It was one day, when I was spending school holiday at my grandpa's. I woke up one morning and saw that there was a book lying on the table next to my bed. I remember I told my uncle a few days ago that I wanted a diary. Looking at the brown book, I told my self not to get excited too soon because it might be my uncle's book which happened to be laying around the house. Because  it didn't look like a little girl diary at all. The book was covered with brown leather with tiny yellow stripes on it. It had this dull, businesslike look (well but not this one on the picture, that was taken from Google, and I REALLY wish I have a diary like that)

But I was right. My uncle brought the book for me (I figured he might have brought it from his office). And since I've asked him for a diary, I then assumed that the brown book, though it didn't look like a diary, was to be filled with my notes on details of my everyday activities.

So it went.
I wrote on it everyday. And it continues up until now, more than twenty years later. 

Of course there were other books after the brown books. Lots of them. And I still kept them until a month ago, when we moved to a smaller house, where there isn't enough space for memories and things from the past. I had to disposed all of my diaries, except for the one that I'm still writing on (though very rarely).

I'm not good in letting go memories, be it the good ones or the bad ones. I like to keep things. And I know that that's not actually a good way to live your life. Disposing my old diaries was my first step in letting go of the past and I'm so proud of it.  But, aside from the fact that it has that negative effect on me, I realized that keeping a daily journal is actually good for your mental health.

My personal journal has always been my best friend in the worst of times. There are times when I feel like reading my old diaries (when they're still there), and I can say that aside from the nostalgic part, I also learn something from it. I find it a very valuable lesson, to actually pull yourself far out from yourself (which what happens when you read your writings after some time has passed), and see all the things you've done. I can see how I changed over time, how I react to things and how some things changed me. I get to know the real me, which, in most of the times, can only be seen when I pull myself out of myself. It's like having a dialogue with yourself. And it's always a good learning.

Only you and you alone can understand your most impossible reasoning and point of view. You might not really understand what it was when you were writing it down, but over time, when you read your notes a few months or years back, you'll have a better understanding of yourself. 

And that's what I'm trying to teach to my daughter. 
I want her to know that there will be times when she needs to be alone with herself, when the only person that she needs to talk to is herself, and that keeping record of the past is, to certain extent, a good way of learning.

Of course I can't tell her about the self reflection and learning parts. I only told her that it is actually a fun thing to do, telling all the things you do or feel without letting anyone know about it. That it is actually fun to have your own secret.

She picked a pink book to be her diary. She called it secret.

Everything she writes in there, is a secret. I'm not allowed to look. But of course, I couldn't help myself, and justified by my position as a parent (yeah rite), which means I need to watch my daughter closely, I looked inside. 

There's nothing special in there actually. She writes her daily activities, including the ones when she's waiting for me coming home from work. Sometimes she write her own one paragraph story, mostly about fairy and stars, and sometimes, ghosts. I can't always understand why she wrote some things, and I never discussed it with her, because I'm not supposed to look. But I'm glad that she's keeping her own journal.

Kriwil's pink diary and my red diary
The interesting is that, aside from routinely writing on her diary, she also sometimes insists to do it together with me. So we are to sit together side by side, me writing on my red book, and her writing on her pink book. We write diary, checking on how far each other's progress in writing, how many lines, how many pages and so forth. Sometimes we're exchanging comments on each other's handwriting. 

Well that, is actually not the kind of diary writing you imagine. No privacy, no contemplation in silence, and all the usual things one usually have (or seek) in writing a journal. Sometimes she even insists to write a letter for me in my diary. She has surely brought a diary writing to a whole new level. 

Now I have to find extra time to really sit and think and write on my journal, and turn it into something useful, because I can't do that when my daughter keeps checking on what I write and how many lines I've written :D

But I'm glad because she seems to enjoy the process. She sees it as a fun activity, and the fact that she has a secret, makes it even more exciting for her.

Having my daughter keeping a secret from me is actually not the kind of situation I want to have. But I think it's good for her to learn the concept, and even more than that, it's good for her to learn writing down her thoughts and keeping track of it. I really hope she'll keep on writing, and eventually get something useful out of it.

Bintaro, Monday afternoon

Thursday, May 12, 2011

a test

trying out the bloggerdroid
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