Feeling Ugly

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Hi.

I used to hate my looks. I avoided looking into mirrors. I squashed any compliments on my appearance. I voraciously consumed what the media told me was beautiful – tall, thin, curvaceous, busty and perfect facial features. Every woman in a magazine or television was a moving work of art. And I hated myself for not being even close to looking like them.

It didn’t help that I was highly sensitive, idealistic and introverted. I was this little, shy girl and inside me was a  mess of insecurity, self-hatred, perfectionism and anxiety that brewed and knotted itself into greater insidious tangles. I didn’t have many friends (two, to be exact) to feed my ego. I never really talked to boys and had zilch reassurance from the opposite sex that I wasn’t disgusting. My mother was no help. She called me beautiful but it was perfunctory, as I was her daughter. My sister tore down my self-esteem every day through verbal abuse, commenting on every aspect of my looks until I wanted to cry. She laughs about it now and tells me she was joking but I have never really forgiven her. What she did was cruel. She didn’t realize that every insult dug like barbed wires into my skin and that, as a result, I was bleeding for many years.

After being bombarded with representations of beauty, it got to the point where I was too anxious to leave the house. My face and body seemed odious. In my head, I imagined coating my face in tar so other people wouldn’t have to look at it’s ugliness.  My eye were not brilliant enough. My eyelashes were not long enough. My nose seemed to be a fat potato resting in the center of my face. My lips were too broad. Now I know I look perfectly normal. But at the time, my mind warped my face into one that was freakish and grotesque. My idealism yearned for perfect skin, perfect eyes, perfect body, perfect lips, perfect hair. I wanted to be elegant and flawless and every day the mirrors contradicted this illusion.

I started binge eating intermittently. My depression started to tickle at the edges of my consciousness. I experienced immense anxiety if I was stared at. I avoided people because I thought they wouldn’t want to hang around someone as ugly as me. I had flighty urges which I never acted on to wear a paper bag over my head when going out. Hoodies began to be my favorite clothes. I watched movies to escape but it only made the problem worse as the actresses were all stunning.

How did I get out of this funk? No, I didn’t come to the epiphany that beauty did not matter. Of course beauty matters. Beautiful people consistently receive higher salaries, have more friends, are more successful, happier and confident and even perceived as being more intelligent and likeable. There were girls at school at the time who were fantastically beautiful, intelligent and witty. The jealousy writhed within me every day. It was incredibly unhealthy. I could see their bright future ahead of them. And my future? It was bleak.

In the end, what helped me to come to terms with my looks was pondering about existence. I became aware of my own mortality. I realized how stupid a thing it was, to care about one’s external beauty when one day everyone’s flesh will rot and their bones will crumble. When we’re fertilizer, we’ll all look the same. Also, beauty fades. When I am old and wrinkled, will I lament not leaving behind something that will immortalize me, such as a book, or that fact that I was never pretty or that my beauty is gone? I’m sure I couldn’t give a damn about beauty if I was on my deathbed. No one would. They would be thinking about the significance of their life, whether they had any regrets and be reliving joys.

Beauty can sometimes be every thing. In our society, looks are paramount. Humans are visual creatures. The prettier you are, the more chance you have of attracting a mate, of getting a job, of being selected as a model or actress, etc. But in the full scheme of things, when life or death stares at you hard in the face, beauty doesn’t matter one jot. Whether you are ugly, average or beautiful, you are still going to experience suffering and sorrow. You are still going to be born. You are still going to die one day. Because we’re all humans. We’re all blood and sinew underneath. It doesn’t matter.

Do I still feel ugly sometimes? Hell yeah. And, just saying, Facebook doesn’t help. But do I let it get to me so much anymore? No. Even if you’re not the most attractive person, you can still read. You can still write. You can still dream. You can still create. You can do all sorts of things. You can be happy without being the epitome of beauty. You can be happy with being average. If you think you’re ugly, you can use make-up sparingly to brighten things up and work on your confidence. There’s always going to be someone out there who thinks you’re beautiful.

You’re beautiful. So what? You’re ugly. So what? No one really cares.

So, all I’m going to say is, live your life, breathe the air, smile and to hell with what society or other people think. You are you. You exist. You have a mind. You can think. Your hands can do things, your eyes can see. And that’s all that matters.

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Why I Love Being Highly Sensitive

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Hi.

It seems that high sensitivity is more often viewed as a liability than an asset. In my last post, I lamented some of the difficulties I have experienced as a HSP.

However, I don’t think we should forget all the wonderful abilities and attributes highly sensitive people have. And yes, even if we don’t fit in with the rest of society sometimes, react far too strongly to everything and are viewed as just plain weird or different, the silver lining is glorious. I wouldn’t trade my high sensitivity for anything.

So, without further ado, here are a few reasons why I love being highly sensitive (I really have come far in acceptance and I am proud of myself. Used to think of myself as defective and now I am writing a blog post on why I love being sensitive. Go figure).

1. Good listeners. We are that kind friend who listens to others pour out their sorrows. Except we don’t do it just to put on a show and be a ‘caring friend’. When you tell us your worries and problems, we truly feel for you. Acutely. Because we are so finely tuned to emotions, we empathize incredibly well with people. And that’s why I am always the shoulder to cry on in my circle of friends.

2. Imagination and creativity. Okay, I know that people who are not highly sensitive can have great imaginations and creative capabilities as well. But I swear, my imagination is directly linked to my sensitivity. If I wasn’t so incredibly sensitive to all sorts of things as most people, I don’t think such vivid ideas and images that I translate into stories I write would ever spring to my mind. It’s like having a more fine tuned nervous system makes me more aware of what is weird, fantastical, beautiful and wondrous.

3. Being a HSP makes me highly intuitive. I can ‘feel’ the emotions of other people. But I don’t only operate in the arena of feelings. Oh no. I can sense what others are thinking, what their dreams and goals are, what they worry about, etc. I’m not saying I am psychic or anything. I can just read people really well. And I am usually uncannily right. I can tell if a person is fake or genuine, moral or immoral, simply through observation of their mannerisms. Sometimes, I am the only one who sees it when a person acts superficial, glib words spouting from their mouths much to the delight of others.

4. Appreciation of nature, art and music. When I say ‘appreciation’ I don’t mean it in the normal sense of the word, that ‘I really like this stuff because it’s so beautiful’. No. When HSPs say they appreciate things like art, we often mean that we cannot live without it and that if we come in contact with it, we are in heaven and tears seep out of our eyes like there is no tomorrow. It doesn’t happen with all kinds of art or music. But when we hit upon something that really touches us, we become some of the most happiest people in the world at that moment. When I read an achingly beautiful line in a book or my eyes land upon a fantastically strange surreal artwork, I want to cry with joy because it is all so beautiful that my mind and body is utterly overwhelmed.

5. HSPs are compassionate. At my core, I am an idealist who is filled with empathy and compassion that I want to expend. Translation: I want to help suffering animals, children, insects, adults, teenagers, the misunderstood, the overlooked, the underdogs, that decrepit library that should be renovated so it can bring joy to readers, that poor pair of shoes that must feel so lonely because it hasn’t been worn for so long and that poor careworn blanket that wants nothing more than to be hugged…you get the idea. I was that kind of kid who does things like trying to revive a dead ant by letting it crawl out of the water onto a stick to dry in the sun or is filled with anguish when seeing dead birds lying near the pavement.

6. Curiosity. I don’t think I am at all smart or intellectual. Just because I think deeply about things now and then doesn’t make me better than other people in the mental department. It just means my brain is wired a little differently, being a HSP, introvert and right-brained thinker and all. But I truly believe that my sensitivity at the very least lends me great curiosity. Because I am so hyper-aware and notice every little detail, whether it be of my physical surroundings or of the emotions and reactions of other people, I am a very curious person. I see everything, so I want to know everything. I hunger for knowledge, to figure things out about people and the world.

7. Allows me to see the important things in life. Perhaps this ability is a combination of my introversion and being an INFP. But nevertheless, I think that being a HSP has allowed me to see the bigger picture and cut down to what truly matters in life. This is due to my extensive observation throughout my life of the world and people and subsequent introspection. I don’t go for the petty things. I just know that there are greater and more magical things in life to worry or care about. And that’s pretty cool.  

So there you are. I’m sure I missed out on lots of things. And I’m sure other HSPs might have different things they love about their high sensitivity. I’d just like to say that some of the worlds most famous writers, inventors and pioneers had traits of high sensitivity. And that makes me happy. I am not gloating. But I feel happy to know that I shared a personality trait with all those wonderful human beings with their wonderful minds that have brought something magical to the world during their existence. It makes me believe that I can do something like that one day too.

Have a wondrous day.

Will you love me?

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Hi.

I’ve written a previous post on the negative impact my idealism has when searching for love. If you’re the slightest bit interested, it’s here: https://dreamerrambling.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not/

Okay. Now back to what I wanted to talk about. I have this terrifying fear that I will be, in the words of the hackneyed internet catchphrase, ‘forever alone’. Now, I have tried to rationalize why I shouldn’t fear this with my INFP logic. I came up with a nice little list.

1. Why should my happiness depend on finding the right man. I should be happy with myself and my own life. I should become my own person, figure out my identity and personality and get started on my career and bringing in an income before I even start lamenting about my relationship issues. Hell, I should be concentrating on reading more, writing more and getting a cat. Make that plural, cats. Love them.

2. The idea of true love makes me gag. I scorn it. I disdain it. It’s a fantasy fabricated by Hollywood movies. But deep down, am I belittling the concept out of fear that I will never experience it in my life? Could I be denying its existence in order to soften the disappointment if I don’t ever fall in love? After all, I cried a river at the end of movies like Amelie and Shop Around The Corner (more on my favorite movies and why in the future).

3. My idealism is a huge barrier. I’m too picky. Too fussy. My expectations are too high. How could I ever choose a man? And then there is that little voice in my head who tells me that I’m not good enough for the men I, on the rare chance, are attracted to.

4. There is nothing wrong with being a bachelorette.
Why is it okay for fifty year old men to not marry but when middle aged women are still not married they are considered the ‘leftovers’? I get it. They are no longer youthful and fresh sylphs. But still. Why the double standards? I rebel against such gender conformity.

5. Not good enough.
Not good enough, no one wants you, not good enough, not pretty enough, not sexually appealing enough, not charismatic enough, too introverted, too shy, loves surreal art too much, is too attracted to the weird, strange and eccentric, too much of a nonconformist, overthinks everything too much…

Number 5 is the crux of the problem. And I don’t believe it is just me. I know in my heart that there are young women all over the world who are highly critical when judging themselves like me and don’t think they deserve to be loved. Being an introvert, Highly Sensitive and an INFP doesn’t help at all.

Anyway. All I wanted to say is, I am always at cross purposes with myself when it comes to love. First of all, I just have this immense sadness within me, that no one will ever love me for who I am because I am simply not good enough. I look around and I see wonderful qualities in other women that men would find attractive and I feel depressed because I seem to pale in comparison.

Then I have this intense desire because of my idealism to find my soul mate. I have never admitted this to anyone in real life (in real life, I am known as the relationship cynic. But you know what they say. Scratch the surface of a cynic and underneath you will find an idealist).

I am desperate for someone to understand me. Not trying to be melodramatic but tears are springing to my eyes as I am typing this. After being shunned so much throughout my life, just once I would like someone to just get me and where I am coming from and look into my eyes and tell me that I am special in my own way even if society says I’m not good enough and love me and hug me. It’s pathetic I know.

I abhor that side of me because I think it is so pathetic. And thus I am also tough and cynical of love in order to never let myself get hurt. It’s my armor.

Then some part of me whispers that no matter how hard I try, I can only get so close to another human being. This existential loneliness, the idea that people are completely alone in their own minds and with their own lives no matter how many loved ones surround them, makes me feel that even if I attain love, it won’t be completely fulfilling.

But I’m not going to lose hope. Because, my friends, I’m idealistic and hope is the bread and butter of idealists. I’m going to wait. I am going to wait for him. And damn it I won’t cry if he doesn’t come or if when he does he isn’t as good as I hoped him to be. The former because I will be spending my time and energy on my career and reading and writing. The latter because I know there aren’t any perfect human beings in the world. I also won’t cry if existential loneliness hits me when I date or marry or whatever because it is part of the human experience and inevitable.

Most of all, I’m no longer going to be ashamed of this part of me. Hi. I am a human being with real responsibilities. I should be starting to act like one. I should be working hard at school, thinking about my career. I should be facing reality. I should get my head of those damn clouds.

But I still believe in true love.

5 Reasons Why People Should Read More

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It is obvious. You know it. I know it. We all know it. In the current zeitgeist, entertainment is known more as television and computer games rather than, god forbid, these strange objects which are not powered by electricity and often have no pictures and are made of bits of bark stuck together with black, dense scribbles on them.

Although there are still millions of people who adore reading, popular entertainment is slowly taking its toll. I used to devour a pile of books every week. Then the internet entered my life and the modern world and though it saddens me to say it, I read far less books than I used to. I mean, you’ve got to admit, Youtube videos are distracting and provide an instant rush of entertainment with little effort on the viewer’s part.

Ahem. I digress. Without further ado, these are seven reasons why I believe people should read more. Perhaps these aren’t exactly conventional reasons, such as to gain more knowledge and be able to spew out facts that make one An Interesting Person. But I haven’t ever been interested in what is normal and proper anyway.

1. Reading improves vocabulary. Yes, I know, it is self-explanatory. But one of my pet peeves is the fact that the internet has somehow transformed these human creatures perfectly capable of articulate, sophisticated communication into little drones who type in an alien code: I tly sd dat i nvr wud smk pt r smthin lk dat, bt yestrdy i tly dd. omg. What on earth is that? That, ladies and gentleman, is the massacre of the beautiful English language. Gah. These horrid abbreviations. Horrible spelling. Why. Just why. Murderers. Besides, if you don’t write internet slang, you come across as more intelligent. Actually, scrap that. Even if you don’t write internet slang, reading will make you smarter. So, read. Expand your vocabulary. Look up words you don’t know. And don’t make Charles Dickens or Ray Bradbury turn fitfully in their graves.

2. Reading makes you more accepting of other people. When you read books, you often come across an assortment of characters from different backgrounds with different personalities. And, usually, the books develop these characters and allow you to empathise with them and understand them. This then can carry into the real world and you become more tolerant of people. You get into the habit of delving into people’s mind as you would into a character. And then humanity will live happily ever after (or not. Perhaps people who discriminate in this day and age should read a little more).

3. Stimulates your imagination. With television and the internet, we are force-fed visuals. The brain loses the ability to create images for itself. While reading, you are effectively creating pictures in your mind that are your own personal representation of the words on the paper. That is known as your imagination, you know, that thing that creates new stuff that no one has ever thought of before? Yeah. So. Read and imagine amazing, beautiful things that will enrich your life and perhaps one day translate into art and bleed into the lives of others.

4. Reading provides insights on life. There is a reason your English teacher asked you to dig around for all those symbols and metaphors like a treasure hunt. You may have believed it to be all useless drivel but those literary techniques are used to provide evidence for themes in books. And themes like love and fear are often universal. They are integral to the human experience. Reading brings to the surface themes which are universal truths, allowing you to gain a deeper insight into life, the world, people and yourself.

5. Reading is fun.
Did I hear a groan? People have been reading for years. How long has the damn television or internet been around? How on earth did the people of the past amuse themselves? No, they couldn’t attend medieval drunken revelries all the time. They read BOOKS. And if books have afforded entertainment to human beings for so long, I’m sure they can interest you as well. Books allow escapism. It’s a whole another world, just waiting to be unleashed by the turning of a page. You get to become and meet all sorts of people. You get to travel without paying a penny. And all while sitting in your chair! Books don’t need electricity (at least, the physical books don’t. Gosh. How I love to smell books and turn the pages. Can’t stand kindles). They’re portable. You just pick ’em up and open ’em and off you go!

I love books. Love them. And I want other people to love them as well. They deserve to be loved. They are the manifestations of some of the most beautiful minds that ever existed. Absolute treasures. So, go out there and buy or borrow a book. Any book (though preferably fiction. Yes, I am biased. I am a human being. Sorry). And read!

What about you guys? Have you got any more reasons why people should read more? I’d love to hear them.

My Love Affair With Books

Carl Sagan – “What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”

It’s no secret that I would rather live, eat and sleep in a library than my own home. It’s no secret that I feel if the internet and the television suddenly disappeared from our modern lives, I would be the better for it. It would mean less distractions so I can concentrate more on reading and writing. It’s no secret that I would rather spend an evening with a book than a group of friends, as much as I adore my companions. Hell, I choose books even over men and dates, any day.

Today, I decided to get down to the root of it all. Why do books hold so much fascination for me? So much magic? Was it because I wanted to escape reality and the troubles of day to day life? Did I want to improve my writing skills? Maybe I was simply interested in the stories books had to tell?

My love affair with books started at a very young age. At the time, I was in the first year of school and was assigned these thin little books with pictures that filled most of the page and with little row of a few words at the bottom. I read them duly. I didn’t like them too much. They were rather boring. The talked about cats or houses. Basically, realistic stuff. But I devoured them, anyway.

Then, near the end of the first year, I picked up an Enid Blyton Book, one of the many in her ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’ series. I learnt about this wondrous world where these children climbed up this magnificent tree in the enchanted woods and made friends with all sorts of funny little creatures and went up into a different world every day at the top of the tree, having wonderful adventures.

It was as if I had touched upon the essence of my being. Magic, fantasy, wonder, childhood expectation. All those things were revealed to me upon the pages of Enid Blyton books. I moved on from those to ‘The Magic Wishing Chair’ and then ‘The Fantastic Four’.

And from then on a journey began that will never end until the day I die. I fell in love with Roald Dahl books. I fell in love with Ray Bradbury books. I fell in love with Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Edgar Allen Poe, Paul Jennings. I loved fantastical and strange short stories the best. They appealed to my inner desire for the wondrous and eccentric. I began to adore books that dealt with metaphor beautifully, even if they had no touch of magic to them. I fell in love with Scott Fitzgerald’s books and his exquisite writing style.

So after all these years of reading, I sit here now, before a computer, typing up my thoughts, trying to figure out what it is about books that is so alluring. Why would my soul wither and perish if there were no books? I know it is partly due to my introversion. Reading is a solitary activity that enlivens my senses. I know that I am an INFP and this personality type is known for its adoration of books. But the answer couldn’t simply just lie in personality type. That was too simple, too easy. There was something more.

I have finally come to many conclusions. Perhaps there isn’t one answer. Humans and books are both complex creatures (yes, I just personified books). I think it comes down to the fact that books appeal to my inner child, the one who wants to explore the limits of the world, body and mind. I have a vivid imagination and books allow me to set that free after a day spent keeping it caged by reality. But most of all, as Carl Sagan said, there is something magical about the books themselves. When I pick them up, a thrill runs through me. It is amazing to think that a whole other world exists within the pages, facilitated into being by words and the human mind. It is amazing to think that once, perhaps a long time ago, a dreamer sat at his desk and wrote it, pouring out his thoughts. It is amazing to think that now I can pick up the book and read it, to briefly dive into the thoughts of a person manifested into words who was dead long ago.

I think that is ultimately one of the greatest reasons I love books. They have a sense of the immortality to it. Flesh can rot and bones can crumble but books, if preserved, can last through centuries, millenniums. The authors live forever through books. They go on touching lives long after the breath has faded from their lips.

And that is something truly magical.

City or Country Person?

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Hi.

Would you rather live in the city or country? I was having a conversation with my friend the other day. We were visiting a rural area at the time and I remarked that there was something so peaceful about the countryside and how lovely it would be to live there. It was so expansive, so quiet, insects buzzing in the air, sun casting rays that turned mundane objects into idyllic and romantic items straight out of a fairytale.

My friend turned to me and wrinkled her nose. ‘No. It’s too quiet and empty. There are, like, no shops around here. It’s like we are far away from civilization. I mean, there are hardly any people!’

I provided no rejoinder to that. However, inside, I was having a secret chuckle to myself. It was funny how everything which she had mentioned as being distasteful aspects of the countryside were all the things that made me adore it.

I don’t like highways. The rushing noise. The cars whipping past you in a frenzy.

I don’t like tall, grey skyscrapers. They stare down at you, imposing. They block out the beautiful sky. They keep you locked in.

Cities are choked in concrete. It makes me feel like I can’t breathe sometimes.

People are everywhere. You can’t avoid them. They mill through the stores, walk the streets, sit down at cafes. For someone with social anxiety, that can be a nightmare.

The country is a soft, idyllic place. Perhaps that is just my idealism making me view it through rose-coloured glasses, but there is something so immensely soothing about the country.

During my trip, we stayed at this darling little cottage. It was my dream come true, I felt like I was inside the book ‘House on the Prairie’. I sat in trees with great, sweeping boughs and read to my heart’s content, the breeze tangling my hair and the sun kissing my cheeks. I woke up to the sounds of birds trilling. But the greatest thing of all was when I ventured outside one night. In the city, we often forget the look at the stars. Perhaps, sometimes we can’t even see them, what with the pollution and the towering buildings. But in the countryside, the stars were spread out before me upon the heavens, scattered like diamonds.

And as I watched the stars, something deep inside me which had been wound up tight for a long time released. The most wondrous peace radiated through my body. And I was incandescently happy, engulfed in the enormity and magnificence of the universe.

What about you? Do you prefer the country or the city? I’d love to know.

Idealistic Love

Hi.

Love is hard enough as it is right? I mean, for your average Joe or Mary. It may only serve the biological purpose of reproduction but we humans twist it into something far more complicated and meaningful than that.

Now. Throw into the mix social anxiety. Introversion. Painful shyness. An idealism that floats up towards the heavens (unattainable? Pfft, I can dream, can I not?)

I don’t whether it is because of my personality type (INFP, check out the Myer Briggs Test if you are unaware what these four letters mean) but love is pretty damn hard to deal with. I don’t know why it has to be such a big deal, I could just blame the media the way most people do, but the truth is I don’t know. All I know is that when I see someone and my heart flutters, I know I am involuntarily signing up myself for torture.

See, I’m not an outgoing person, if you have not already realized that. So when I see someone from across the room and my eyes light up and a grin plasters itself upon my face, the last thing I want to do is go up to them and say hello. I know what you’re thinking. It’s just a greeting. Nothing to be afraid of. But I find it to be absolutely terrifying to even make eye contact with the men I like, let alone hold a conversation with them. Pathetic? Yes. Abnormal? I sure hope not.

Yes, I am literally physically and mentally unable to communicate with men that I am attracted to. In fact, you can tell when I like someone, because I avoid them like plague. And if I do have the off chance of talking to them (could you please pass the pepper?), the event and the words spoken are indelibly printed upon my mind. I replay them over and over again, trying to glean a fragment of attraction on his side (usually non-existent).

Due to my reticence, I have had many extroverted friends try and pressure me into talking to men. They bombard me with sayings such as ‘what have you got to lose’ or ‘you might as well try, maybe he will like you.’ No, although I love my friends, many of them do not understand what it is like to be a Highly Sensitive Person. People like me literally cannot weather rejection or humiliation without it feeling as painful as having a limb amputated. Imagine someone digging a knife into your chest and twisting it around in there for a few seconds. And, while you are bleeding to death, they put a little strip of Band-Aid on the wound. That, ladies and gentleman, is what I have got to lose and the kind of comfort I receive after the gut-wrenching ordeal.

I was in love with a boy for four years in highschool. And do you know the worst part? By the time graduation came, I had built up such an idealistic image of him in my mind through lack of personal contact that when I finally did face the music and talk to him, he turned out to be an arrogant, careless person who desired riches, fame, status and pretty girls to parade upon his arm.

And that is when I came to the realization that the thing holding me back from talking with men wasn’t simply social anxiety. It wasn’t only fear of rejection or humiliation. It wasn’t only that I was a very sensitive person or that I was shy. It was also my unbridled idealism. My idealism is what allows me to imagine the wondrous and fantastical stories I write. Yet, it clouds reality in my every-day life.

Because in my mind, I have constructed a perfect man. And I am far too scared to talk to men I am ostensibly attracted to because coming into contact with them breaks the illusion. Humans are imperfect. I know that, we all know that. Yet I can’t help but carry this idealism around with me, like a photograph which I pull out to make comparisons. My idealism may preserve me from the harshness of reality but it also prevents me from finding happiness in love.

Will this realization change anything? I sincerely hope so. I hope to make steps towards curtailing my idealistic views, to embrace the reality of human nature. And one day, I hope to find true love. No, wait. Just love, just affection. After all, true love is too idealistic for the real world, is it not?

 

What about you guys? Do any of you harbor idealistic views about love? Ah, such is life. C’est la vie.

 

INFP and the Rat Race

Hi.

If you are an INFP or you know someone is an INFP, chances are you know that this particular type is especially adverse towards eking out an existence of drudgery in the form of a 9-5 job. I used to call it the ‘rats in the successful capitalist experiment.’ See, scorning the entire concept helped me, as an INFP, to cope with it.

Almost everyone is steered towards the conventional path in life. Get good grades, get a degree, get a job, work at a job for five days a week, dive into the embrace of the weekends and then start it all over again. And again. And again. And again. Until your teeth fall out and your eyesight grows dim and your hair fades and withers into white straggles. And then, hooray! You’re free to quit your job. You’re free to quit the rat race. Because now you’re retired. Now you can enjoy your life. Now you can write the books you always wanted to write, paint the things you always wanted to paint, travel the places you always wanted to go. Now wouldn’t it feel better if your mind was vernal and your body youthful and supple, so you could do all those things you loved with ebullient spirit?

Before I came to terms with the whole thing, money was the scapegoat in my mind. Money was the root of all evil. ALL EVIL. If there was no money, there wouldn’t be a rat race and single mothers wouldn’t have to drag themselves to work just to get by. But then I realized money was inevitable because it dealt with human selfishness. Would we provide any services to other people and would other people provide services to us if they did not receive compensation for their work? Some compassionate people. But most people wouldn’t and society would entirely crumble due to pure selfishness. So. I told myself, money is necessary. Now what?

Let me just say it. I don’t believe that personality types usually predisposes anyone to greater or lesser fiscal gains in the future. But I do believe it may have an impact when it comes to INFPs. First of all, all the lucrative careers such as accounting, business, law and even medicine (this one is only personal) are all odious to me. And then, we are introverted and highly sensitive which is a disadvantage in most work places. And we have to find a meaningful jobs that fulfill our ideals. Unfortunately, such jobs do not provide a hefty paycheck.

In the end I was left with this. The rat race is inevitable. Money is inevitable. My personality traits were inevitable. My desire for a meaningful job was inevitable, or my soul would die (not an exaggeration, never underestimate the power of stress or monotony or meaninglessness). How was I to live on a good income in my idealistic bubble? How was I not to feel like a cog in the machines of something money-hungry and despicable?

I don’t have a magical solution. But I believe I have come to a logical one (INFP logic!). The key to living the life I want is to save money. I don’t care for many materialistic goods anyway. This way, I can work at a meaningful job that pays not a great deal and still have enough money to cover necessities and enjoy life. As I said, it’s not a magical solution as saving can be hard work. But I think it’s the best option yet. I think I will write a post on materialism next, a post from a girl (yours truly) who believes the only things worth spending on are the necessities of life and books and food for the cats.

 

Goodbye.

Are you in the rat race and what are you doing to try and get out of it? It’s a hard-knock life.

Existential Depression

Moon

Hi.

I am laughing at my own melancholy. I really don’t want to start this blog on so ‘gloomy’ or ‘negative’ a note. However, the more I think about it, the more I realized that this topic is only considered macabre because other people think it to be. And, seeing as death and oblivion are all inevitable, shouldn’t we be treating it as something that should be logically and clearly thought over, rather than avoided?

Though I know that it would take a great deal for a paradigm shift in society’s thinking to occur. Every time I venture the slightest bit near the topic, it is as if I create my own force field that magnetically repels people. Okay. Perhaps that is an exaggeration. But I have received the gamut of human expression whenever I have tried to talk about something existentialist, from confusion to disapproval to plain and utter indifference. And I remember feeling so different and out of place, as if everyone else’s minds had gone to heaven and were having a blast while mine still toiled away on Earth, wondering how they could go up into that golden world when there was still so much work to do, so much thinking to do, the clock forever ticking towards a nothingness we label Death.

Let’s get down into the nitty-gritty. I have been sufferer of existential depression for as long as I can remember. Well, perhaps it only evolved into despair and depression in my teen years. Existential depression is basically when you start thinking about the meaning of your own life and existence and slowly fall into this vortex of agony when you can’t find an answer. It started when I was around six or seven. I remember lying down in my bed and thinking about death. People are strangely freaked out when children think about these things. I found that out when I asked a ‘trusted adult’ and she tried to soothe me by stuffing my head with banalities like ‘you’re still so young, you shouldn’t think about these things’, ‘the meaning of life is to be happy’ etc. Excuse my language, but that is complete and utter bullshit. More on that later, perhaps in another post.

Anyways, I was lying in bed and thinking about death. And at the time, I simply couldn’t wrap my head around the thought of their being nothing once I died (now that I think about, it is hilarious, I was born an atheist). Because my own thoughts and my own sights and my own feelings and my own experiences, my own consciousness, was all I had ever known, I couldn’t imagine there being just nothing. How could there be? And because the fear began creeping in, I comforted myself with a future in which I had all the toys and books I ever wished for and rolled over and went to sleep.

Now that I think about it, that concept involving the toys is often the way adults try to avoid thoughts of their own existence and death, by using material goods to fill the vacuity that comes with the human experience. Interesting. But it all went downhill once I hit my teen years.

Let me tell you something. When I look at surreal art during the day, I often have trippy dreams that night, as if the strangeness of the artworks have spilled from my own subconscious and stained the paper of my nightmares. When it came to existential depression, once I started thinking deeply (note: I was fifteen years old. There aren’t many fifteen year olds you can talk about this kind of thing with, especially when relationships and school and societal expectations are on the agenda of most people’s minds) about existence and life and how small we really were and how arbitrary my life truly was, the reverse happened and I began to live in a surreal daydream.

Here’s a rough example of the kind of monologue in my head during that time:

My hands. Look at them. One day, the flesh will melt off the bones of my fingers. One day I will be a skeleton, buried somewhere. That is everyone’s fate, to become worm food. What is language? What is writing? I love writing. I love language. I love communication. But it is simply meaningless scratches upon paper, arbitrary sounds issuing from our mouths. Is it worth anything? What is consciousness? My eyeballs are cradled in their sockets at the moment and seeing out of my skull, telling me about the world. Is it my brain that is me? Is it my heart? Is it my soul? Who is me? We are so selfish, so unaware. Right now, somebody could be dying of AIDS, their mind embroiled in agony. Right now, a woman might be getting married, her heart brimming with joy. But we never know those experiences. We are only aware of our own. Are our lives worth anything? Earth is miniscule, absolutely nothing compared to the immense size of the universe. If that’s the case, how small are we? Humans have only been around for a blink of an eye in the full age of the universe. Are we nothing? Are we an accident? Does some greater being watch us as we watch the ants on the ground? Am I just a random organism that will fall over and die and add to the circle of life? Help.

Obviously these aren’t the most cheerful thoughts. During those dark days, I found myself sometimes just staring at my own hands, frozen, heart empty.

I’m not going to end this on a cheerful note. After all, my existential depression will always be there, because it isn’t so much as a depressive state as an inevitable state. There is no going back once you reach awareness. There are no answers to my questions. I believe my existence, your existence, everyone’s existence is meaningless. After all, we don’t even understand what life, and by that, I mean biological life, truly is. What makes creatures move and reproduce and eat and walk and live? But I know a few things. I know that I love being able to see the beauty of this world, a ray of sunlight, single flower. I know that I love being able to write, to pour my soul out onto paper. I know I love the warmth of human companionship and love, no matter how misanthropic I may be. I know that I love being able to read, to be whisked away into another world without paying a penny. Maybe that isn’t worth much. But I have hope that someday I will give something back to humanity after I have died and my body has rotted. Perhaps that is too idealistic.  Perhaps that will never happen. And if it never happens, it doesn’t mean anything after all.

But I shall try anyway.

Have any of you experienced existential depression or an existential crisis?