Well, Things Keep Getting Worse


If this blog can do anything for you, it is to make you feel better about your life than mine. Not only am I broke, unemployed, and trying to claw my way out of both states, none of my books, my most treasured possessions, have been published.

In fact, these days, as I trudge through the rain, umbrella in hand, my mind full of dark thoughts, I am starting to feel like a dead man walking. Or woman. Nothing seems to be going right; none of  the careers which I dive into seem to be working right, although, to be honest, I’ve only had three jobs in my life so far: one tutoring children, one working at a fish shop, and another at an age care centre. Nothing fancy, nothing really worthy of putting on a resume. Meanwhile, all my highschool peers are in their last years of university, have extensive experience in their field of work under their arm, and are on their way towards bright futures.

To speak even more honestly with you, if this publishing thing doesn’t work out, deep down, inside, even though I will be too frightened to go with it, I will be suicidal—literally a dead woman walking. Writing has been my dream since I was five years old. It is no longer a dream. Instead, it has morphed into something terrifying and grotesque: a be all and end all. Instead of angels singing, I hear demons howling. Instead of typing up words to build a better future for myself, I feel as though I digging a hole no-one cares about. I have nearly three finished children’s books inside my sleeve, and, while I would love to just publish them on this blog, or on Amazon myself for a couple of dollars, something deep inside me wants to reserve them for an actual publisher, so it has an actual cover, and I can one day hold an actual book in my hands.

I don’t know what to do. I feel myself slipping away. I hope this isn’t misconstrued as some kind of drama queen-esque mental breakdown, because I am not trying to be a drama queen, I am in real, true suffering. I listen to music, and I am listless, I stare out of the window while I ride the bus and I am depressed; whenever I think about my future, I want to crawl up into a ball and block out the sun.

Life isn’t turning out the way I wanted it to. When I got lemons, not only were they too rotten and sour to make lemonade, but they were also crawling with maggots and flies. You know an INFP has hit a low point in their life if delicious food, whenever it is available, is the only pleasure left in their life. I get excited about icy poles, for Dreamer’s sakes. When I eat, at least I am able to forget about the mess my life has turned into. Well, it isn’t such a mess. If I posed my books on my blog, I am certain hundreds of you would like to read it. They are such wonderful, whimsical books, that I am certain not only would I get lots of comments from my readers, but I would feel greatly gratified and happy. Even if I put the books on Amazon, and they cost a couple of dollars, I am sure someone would buy one or two of them. But that isn’t the point. The point is, I want to be published, properly published. And the more time passes, the more I feel as though that will never happen.


An INFP’s Foray Into the Business World


Sorry if my WordPress blog has suddenly become all jumbled up and strange. I decided to unearth some of my older blog posts, ones which had received a good number of views, but which, for whatever reason, I had decided to make a “Draft” instead of a “Published piece.”

If you want to donate to my Patreon page, you can do so by clicking HERE or the link http://www.patreon.com/dreamerrambling . Just know that you’ll be helping a fellow dreamer out with her finances, and at the same time winning yourself Skype conversations, early blog posts, the ability to choose what I write about, and personal advice from me.

Now to the title of this post. Recently, I got called in for a job interview for a sales company. Me! A sales company! To be honest, I was just so sick and tired of searching for jobs through the traditional path—by handing in my resume to stores, and applying at places like Boost or clothes shops, where young women like to flock to when they look for jobs—that I decided to aim for greater pastures, and applied for a string of customer service jobs, requiring no experience. On my resume, I have written that I am a writer, with a blog, three books under my belt, and that I am very creative and outgoing, because that is the only way you can gain any jobs in customer service.

And, frankly, while the interview process was like a dream, I don’t think it is the right career path for me. This job that I applied for is all about closing sales, and business to business sales, where you market through face-to-face interactions products and services to businesses. If anything sounds like an introvert’s worst nightmare, that certainly is, and I would rather teach Early Childhood Education, hands-down.

Before the interview, I was a nervous wreck. My hands were sweaty, my heart was pumping. This job interview was held in the city, and, in the city, far away from the suburbs, people are different. They walk differently, talk differently and act differently. They are brisk, professional, confident and efficient. Just being around them was extremely intimidating. When the actual interview came around, I was in a state of nervous shock. In fact, I was so shocked I forgot to be nervous, and actually relaxed into the interview—this was helped by the fact that the interviewer was very kind, nice and patient, and very relaxed, too. He told me I’d made a good impression during my interview, and to expect a callback around 3 to 4pm, but I don’t think I’ll be accepting the job, any time soon. It just isn’t the right role for me.

So there you go. There was my brief foray into the business world. I put on formal clothing, wore make-up, did the handshake, (bought a $20 pair of new shoes that made my feet bleed, ugh), blurted out a whole spiel of stuff about business, in particular the business I was applying for, which I will not name, just for confidentiality purposes, and at the end of it, I had a couple of heart palpitations and felt a lot of pride. Because stuff like this, for INFPs, isn’t easy. Job interviews, the corporate world, tall men in suits: these are things which intimidate us the way lions do rabbits. And I managed to get through it. If I managed to get through it, then you, my dear dreamer, I am certain, will be able to overcome whatever is causing you anxiety at the moment, whether it is asking a crush out, or a job interview, or something else, like a career change, or speaking in public, or whatever it is that you find challenging or hard.

While you’re going through it, it is very hard. But afterwards, you feel an immense sense of relief. You feel as though a great weight has been lifted off your shoulders, and, what is more, you feel confident, or at least more so than you were before. Every experience, I’ve come to realise, whether it is good or bad, as long as it doesn’t impact your health severely or kill you, has its merits, its learning opportunities. As INFPs, our natural instinct when faced with challenges is sometimes to hide and shrink away, especially if they don’t involve our ideals and are to do with survival and money-making, but sometimes, it is a good thing to step out into the spotlight, and try something new, even for a little while.

Another Melancholy Ramble (And A Thank-You)


I have been listen to Sufjan Stevens a lot recently, particularly his song “The Only Thing” and “Fourth of July”. There is such a melancholy air about his songs, and it makes evenings rather strange and magical. Such is the transformative power of music.

Less depressed. In case you were wondering, I am a little less depressed than I was before. I’ve been re-reading a paragraph or two of the book I sent in, and, honestly, it’s not half-bad. If it weren’t missing a huge chunk right in the middle of it, which I sent to publishers without realising its existence, the book may be half-decent.

Enough. I’ve been talking about the book I sent in to publishers far too much recently. I can’t help feel as though my life is going nowhere. As a child, I always expected life to be filled with magic. I expected—I don’t know. Something different from the life of adulthood people all over the world lead, a life spent on work, going on holidays, eating out, hanging out with family and friends, buying a house and pets. All the normal, ordinary things—well, they just don’t cut it for me. I always wanted to be a writer, to see my books published, and to daydream and dance and sing forever and ever, with a beautiful husband and living in a house that was rather like a tiny world of books and cats. Spending my days imagining things, through writing. Visiting caves filled with fireflies, drinking in the magic of the world. And yet, here I am, unemployed, with no book contract in sight, very little money, few friends, few family members, and no handsome man in sight. It’s all very disappointing, and I hope, sincerely, that I do come across as arrogant or spoilt when I say all of this.

I am not an entirely unhappy soul, but I am a disappointed one. Everyone else seems to find life satisfying as it is, but, I’ve always wanted for adventures to happen, rather like those in movies. I want to save a planet from an alien species. I want to hunt for treasure, with a band of pirates, and fall in the love with the greatest buccaneer that there is. I want to go wandering in a midnight garden, dewdrops on all the flowers, and meet my Prince Charming, underneath an apple tree. Don’t you think? I guess that’s why we have films and movies: so the magical things we wish would happen end up doing so, but only on the silver screen. I’d like to think life will work itself out one day, like a piece of crumpled paper that gets flattened. I hope, wherever you are, that your life works its kinks out, and becomes the kind of life you always hoped to have. Life is too short not to try and live the life you want to lead, even if there is risk of failure if you walk off the beaten path.

I will get published one day, I make a promise to you. Once I put it in writing, it’s bound to happen—isn’t that how these things work? I am smiling. No. I don’t know. This life is just so interesting and horrible, all at once, I can’t even begin to grasp it with words. I feel elated after listening to a song that reminds me of a period of my life, then crushingly disappointed when I read a paragraph of one of my own books, then bored at the job agency I attend everyday, sick of taking medication for my mental illness (Anxiety and Depression), and then, in the comfort and quietness of God, silently happy again. It seems that, as I’ve grown older, I’ve only become more confused.

I hope these rambles aren’t boring for you. I can just imagine someone out there reading this, someone who is like me, who grapples and struggles with these same issues, feeling as though they’ve found a kindred spirit. It’s good, I think, to post regularly, because then I become a regular, human voice, speaking to you through the screen, bringing a little interest and comfort to the world. At least, that’s how I like to think of it. All I know is, if I were ever to stumble upon rambles like these, I would find them interesting and be greatly comforted—so, who knows, maybe there are others like me, out there. I know there are. Just by reading and replying to all of your comments, I know my words have resonated with you.

Thank you for always being there for me, especially those who take the time to write comments, providing words of solace, comfort and advice, it’s truly means the world to me. When I started this blog, I had no idea it would grow into a kind of small community, of dreamers and misfits, I really didn’t. Well. What else is there to talk about? I’m just in a very quiet, melancholy sort of mood. I get the feeling that if I posted my book online, on my blog, so many people would enjoy it—but then, I would no longer be able to get it published, because it would have already been made public. I’ve written a good book this time, and I desperately hope publishers will pick it up, I really do. Here’s to another lonely evening, spent watching romantic Hallmark movies. Here’s to living, and dreaming and loving. Here’s to books. Here’s to you, for following me on this journey.

An Example of Subtle Racism


I encountered an example of subtle racism the other day.

It was not a nice experience. As many of you know, I am of Asian descent, specifically, Chinese, and am living in Australia. Let me tell you the story. For those of you who don’t know what it is like to experience racism, of any kind, in any place, then, perhaps this could be a slight eye-opener for you, in regards to the subtle aggression certain people have to experience, directed at them from only some people. Lots of people in Australia—I would go so far as to say nearly most, are very friendly, nice and tolerant of other cultures. After all, we are one of the most multi-cultural places on the planet, and have very good, very kind people in politics.

Now. Onto the incident. It took place in a bar, which also doubled as a hairdresser’s place. The moment I walked in, with a group of my friends, who were all Caucasian, or ‘white’ (I do not usually like to use this term), I knew something was wrong. For one thing, not only was the place totally NOT my scene, filled with men, and those drinking beer and waiting to get haircuts, but the owner of the shop, a bartender, greeted everyone who had entered, smiling at each one, EXCEPT for me. Now, this might seem like an accident, but I have encountered enough racism in my life to know it wasn’t. That was just the beginning.

While I was getting increasingly uncomfortable, feeling the sense of hostility in the air, my friend sat down with me, and plaed all of his bags next to the counter. He then went to get his haircut, asking me to look after his bags. The moment he did so, the bartender, the owner, specifically requested for him to look after the bags. He picked them up, and placed them behind the counter, for safe-keeping, after calling for my friend to get his hair cut, in the friendliest manner possible, without ever looking in my direction or acknowledging my existence.

Now that I didn’t even have the excuse of looking after the bags to stay at the bar, my anxiety skyrocketed. I sat and flicked through the iPads, avaiable for free, flicking through the news, waiting for my friend to finish getting his haircut, growing increasingly uncomfortable, and, to be honest, by this point, a little upset.

The worst was when I upped and left the store, before my friend had even finished his haircut. (By the way, my friend noticed the very un-Australian behaviour, and apologised on the bartender’s behalf afterwards). And then, while I was outside the store, I saw the bartender go over to the very seat I had been sitting on, and ADJUST it, a couple of times, as if, by sitting on it, I had made it unsanitary or uncomfortable for others to use. After seeing that, I felt as if the breath had been knocked out of me, I was so angry, and had to get some bubble tea to cool down.

Phew. That was quite the mouthful. You don’t realise how hurtful racism is, until you actually experience it for yourself, and many times, over the course of your life. It has affected me many times, including, in an incident very close to my heart, when my Caucasian counterparts won a writing competition I had a very good story for, and which even my English teacher told me I would probably win. When I read their stories, I found them to be good, but quite ordinary: my story was very good, probably exemplar, but the place, since the person judging it was one of the less kind teachers, had been given to a couple of (six, in fact) other people, none of whom were any race other than, well, ‘white’.

Not to be a bummer, but an incident like this can seriously ruin your mood for the week. I hope you are all having a marvellous week, and never have to experience what I did today, no matter which country you are in, though, unfortunately, this still happens on an everyday basis in a lot of places. I wish for more tolerance, and more hope. Not everyone is bad—most Australians are wonderful people. Take it from me, as someone who has lived here her entire life.


A Teardrop of A Dreamer’s Sadness


I’ve always had the feeling that I should—I don’t know, assert my significance in some way. Not in some egotistical, or grandiose fashion: I’ve just always thought, well, one day, I’ll be a writer, because I am good at it, and have plenty of creative ideas, and, sooner or later, I will get published.

Things haven’t happened like that. Not really. I know I am only twenty years old, but it feels as though I have already lived half my lifetime, with nothing to show for it. And now, as I send out another book, for the third time, to publishers, with little hope, even though I am very proud of the novel and would certainly read the children’s book—and heck, even buy it—myself, I don’t know if anyone, out there, in the world, will find it to be any good.

As a child, I didn’t ever dream of anything except becoming a writer, and now, older, and more grown-up, I’m starting to realise how difficult it really is to get into the industry. And as the days pass by, and I get no email, saying they (meaning the publishers) are interested in my book, and, knowing that I am already halfway to forty, towards a lifetime spent unpublished and unknown, makes me sink, slowly, into the depths of depression.

It is not fame or money that I am after, but literary recognition. I want someone to read my book, and love it—and not just one person, but lots of people. I want lots of people to see my imagination, splashed across the pages of a short, sweet novel. As a writer, I predominantly dabble in children’s books—and, if there’s an industry that’s hard to get into, it’s that one.

I can’t say I’m not a little depressed, as I send another message in a bottle out to the sea, and nothing comes back, no answer, no reply. I am left stranded on my island, alone, with only the seashells and the splash of the waves for company. I don’t think, in this lifetime, I could ever be properly happy without publishing something, by an actual publisher, no matter how small, or insignificant. Even if only one thousand people read it, I would be fine: as long as it’s a book, and it’s out there, I don’t think I’d have anything to complain about. It’s not about the fame, or the money—it’s about the little girl inside of me, with a head full of dreams and fantasies, yearning for them to be seen.

I hope you are having a better week than I am. I hope you are not lonely, that you are romantically involved with someone. It’s always nice to have something like that, someone by your side, a rock, a foundation. I also hope that you are making your way towards your dreams, or perhaps have achieved them already. In this rocky life, we each stand on our own islands, waiting for the messages in bottles we send out to come back to us. Some of us stand and wait for years, just for one reply—other islands are absolutely crowded with glass bottles, each with a missive tucked inside it. And others wait, alone on their islands, until the years grow low, and the sky goes dark, and there’s nothing left, except the sharks for company.


Down In The Dumps


Nothing was going right; not her career, or her books, which she had been writing for over two years. And yet, just when it seemed like things were going to become pear-shaped for good, someone dropped into her life. A handsome, young man, a lovely person, with dashing good looks, and a beautiful house, and a wonderful job. With a sweep of his arms, he welcomed her into his life, and together, off they went, living luxurious days on beaches, in holiday houses, with their three cats. He was friends with a publisher, and they quickly published all three of her books, which then went on to become bestsellers, and all was well and right with the world.

Yeah. Right. More like, the reality of the situation is, I am twenty-one years old, broke, living at home, unemployed, with three children’s books under my belt which no-one wants to publish, and I have no dates, no potential suitors, no potential jobs, for that matter, and am just typing away, alone in my room, wondering what I am doing with my life. It hasn’t been a good week, my friends, if my last post was anything to go by, and I haven’t been faring well. Anxiety attacks, feelings of despair, suicidal thoughts—you name it, I’ve been feeling it.

So, what are my plans for now? Nothing, really. I do have lined up a week’s worth of work experience at a childcare centre, just to see if it is a career I would be interested in doing. I have no idea whether I will like it or not; just today, I smiled at a baby, and it burst into theatrical tears, so I am pretty sure children aren’t going to easily warm up to me. I don’t know why; I’m just a young woman, and don’t look particularly threatening. Nevermind: maybe babies are just afraid of strangers.

Honestly, I don’t know what I am doing with my life, and, at this rate, I almost feel as though it would be a good idea just to go out onto the streets and start living the homeless life, I really do. Of course, I’m nowhere near homelessness yet, but that’s all due to my dear mother, who slaves endlessly for hours a day cleaning people’s homes, just to keep the house afloat. I want to work. I want to contribute financially to the household. It’s just a matter of finding the right kind of job, that’s all.

I am thinking about going back to university, but the level of study it takes to return is something I find very daunting. To be honest, in my entire life, I have never been good at anything much except writing. That has been the one, single thing I have felt any passion or liking for, and even that is swirling down the drain these days, since no publisher seems to want to pick up any of my books. I am just at a complete crossroads, and have no idea what to do, and if it weren’t for the fact that money is necessary to survive in this world, all I’d be doing is reading and writing all day, and keeping this blog going, which would be my ideal life.

Tell me, dear reader, since you have followed me for some time—or even if you are just stumbling across this blog—based on my writing skills, and what little of my personality you can glean from my writing, what kind of job do you think would suit me? I, personally, have no idea, I really don’t. I sincerely hope you are engaged in a job that you enjoy, and that it fulfils you. It is important, I think, to spend most of your days occupied with activities that provide joy and happiness, rather than dreariness and misery.

In the meantime, I will be doing my best to navigate the waters of career searching, trying to find some kind of job I would be suited to, one that doesn’t require a university degree—or at least has a TAFE or diploma pathway—and which allows me to write on the side, fulfilling my passion and paying for food on the table, all at once. Thank you for reading, once again, and once again, I hope your own career pathway or search for a career is going better than mine.

When An INFP Can’t Figure Out Their Career


**To get INFP and general life advice, or Skype counselling conversations, click HERE or the link: http://www.patreon.com/dreamerrambling

When an INFP can’t figure out their career, a number of things happen. Here are 10 of them.

  1. We decide the world isn’t a place for us, and we belong on some other planet, somewhere in the ether, where there is no such thing as working for a living, which is a silly concept, really, if you think about it…isn’t it?


  1. Suddenly, all of our time is spent on the Internet, searching for different careers, career tests and various other career information. We become obsessive, and after the end of hours of research, we come up with a handful of careers we could do, like childcare, or writer, or magazine editor, all of which, most of the time, might be too difficult to get into, or maybe a little too difficult to handle.



  1. We think, literally, about how bad it might be to be homeless. Surely there is housing out there for homeless people? That can’t be that bad, can it (yes, it can)?


  1. We start eating as much as possible. INFPs can be prone to eating away one’s feelings, and, usually careful with one’s diet, we start eating junk food, chocolates and biscuits, and eating larger portions than we usually do, feeling extremely guilty as we do so.



  1. We begin lamenting the fact that we are broke, and beginning to daydream about what it would like to have a million, or even better, ten million dollars, winning it through the lottery or through some chance inheritance. Eventually, this daydream dissipates, and reality returns—cold, hard reality: you are young, unemployed, and need to find a job.


  1. Trying to tell yourself everything will be fine, that eventually you’ll be slotted into a job you’ll enjoy, and failing, because you lack the self-soothing mechanism everyone else seems to have.



  1. Imagining yourself in various job roles, and realising you will suck at a great deal of them, because of your social anxiety and natural awkwardness when dealing with people.


  1. Having a mental breakdown, where you cry a little bit, and feel a little bit sorry for yourself, and eat a little bit, and look out of the window and wish the sky was orange or pink or purple, so you would at least be able to tell you were in a different universe.



  1. Reading a lot of books, or watching a lot of films or TV dramas, because you NEED the escape, and only through daydreaming, or living vicariously through characters, are you able to feel better about yourself and the current rut you are in.


  1. Get depressed. Moan and groan, drape yourself over your bed and roll about in a state of absolute misery, stare at the ceiling, feel a cloud of darkness descend upon you like dark veil. Hopefully you find a career soon, because the longer you stay in a state of depression, the worse it gets.


Becoming A Mature INFP?—Psychotic Episode, Social Anxiety, God


I promise I haven’ left my blog again, like last time. Instead, it’s more like something left me. The letter “t” on the keyboard of my laptop, to be precise, which decided to break yesterday, on the very afternoon I came back from work and conjured up some good blog ideas. Since the letter “t” in the world of writing is as crucial as water is to life, this put me in a very tricky situation—the urge to write, but no means to do so—until I realised, smacking myself on the forehead at my own stupidity, that until my keyboard gets fixed (hopefully it is covered by warranty, as I simply cannot afford to buy another $200 laptop), I can just write using my phone instead, even though I don’t like it and I feel it makes my writing quality poor. Which is what I am doing right now.

First up, some life updates, in case you are interested in this little INFP’s life. Well, to be frank, I’m not really little anymore. I started this blog five years ago, when I was just finishing highschool, my love for writing was just starting to blossom, and social anxiety crippled me to the core of my being. I am now in my twenties, and in the space of these five years, much has happened, much has changed. Some of it has been good. Some of it has been bad. And some of them are strange changes, peculiar and colourless as air, that have left me quiet and thoughtful.

Even though I “published” my first book on my blog exactly 9 days ago, something I started working on after I became a Christian (another change), my love for writing, while still effervescent, has been relegated to a hobby instead of a career goal. I love writing, but fiction writing, while I do enjoy reading it immensely, is not my field of talent (and arguably, I don’t have any talents, but I’m trying not to play into my low self-esteem these days). I wrote a book, that people liked, but I did not completely enjoy writing it, nor did I feel the need to repeat the process anytime soon. It’s strange. I have changed.

Yes. I have changed. No longer am I completely the shy, floundering INFP girl who desired only to subsist on stardust and dreams, and believed, with all her heart, that being able to write for a living was the single and only path to happiness and well-being in this world. Part of it has been the realisation of the limitations of my writing talents. And part of me, surprising as it is to say, even to myself, is that I have grown out of fiction writing, and matured into an adult who much prefers writing “self-help”; or non-fiction works.

I am also not shy anymore. Well, not completely shy—in fact, I have been working for the past week or so at a pharmacy, believe it or not, a job which entails greeting customers, speaking to people and stocking shelves from morning to afternoon while I wait for my other courses to start. I had to do it. I forced myself to do it. No, I am not an INFP who sold her soul for money, or who now worships capitalism in all its environmentally-damaging glory, but someone who grew up and realised she would have to find a way to feed herself in this world, keep the fridge stocked and a roof over her head, or risk not only homelessness, but her sanity and buoyancy.

And what I discovered was this: no matter how exhausted I am at the end of the workday, after so much time spent engaged in social interaction, and how I wish I could return to the days of daydream and wishes of my teenage years, some part of me—and likely a very INFP part of me that is starting to mature—actually feels a sense of satisfaction from finally being able to function in the real world. But, let’s backtrack for a moment. Just a year or two ago, I wanted to live in a car and write books, or even risk homelessness so I wouldn’t have to join the pointless drudgery of the capitalist workforce, and stuttered and could barely speak in front of strangers, so, what changed?

Two things. One: I experienced a psychotic episode, that was highly traumatic and bizarre. Two: I started to believe in God. And those two things, by the way, are not related in the slightest–people who believe in God, I assure you, seeing as there are millions of them around the world, are perfectly sane (well, most of them are, at least).

A psychotic episode? Why, whatever happened? I went a little crazy, that’s what, perhaps because of a chemical imbalance in my brain, as my psychiatrist put it. I didn’t speak of this when I first returned to my blog because I still wasn’t sure how I was going to talk about it. Basically, what happened was—and why it happened is still a complete mystery to me—I started to believe, over the course of several days, that I was an Angel, on a mission on behalf of planet Earth, along with fifty or so other individuals on the planet, to save the environment. No, I’m not speaking in metaphorical terms. For the duration of a week, this was my reality—I believed in it as much as I believed in the power of words—and I actually thought I heard the voice of planet Earth speaking to me inside my mind, telling me what to do to save the world.

Yes. I wouldn’t mind if you stopped reading my posts, or unsubscribed from me after this, because it does actually sound crazy, and this episode was severe enough to land me in hospital for a couple of days, and start taking medication for delusions. I’m off the medication now. I am, I assure you, completely sane. What happened during those weeks felt entirely like a dream. And apparently, it’s not that uncommon among young adults, particularly those who have suffered from depression or anxiety.

But after that happened, I grew up. I don’t know why, but much of my agoraphobia and social anxiety faded away after that. Unfortunately, other things faded away too, not completely, but enough to be noticeable: my passion for fiction writing, a little of my blind idealism. It was as if, in a burst of colour like rainbow, my imagination spent itself in one go after the episode, leaving me feeling horribly empty, yet also strangely lighter.

After that, I discovered God, felt His presence in the world around me, in nature—in the curious, peaceful feeling I get whenever I pray—became a Christian, rolled up my sleeves and sallied forth into the world with a feeling that there was someone out there watching over us all, even the most delicate and anxious. Five years from now, instead of an author, I want to be working as a nurse, preferably in a mental health hospital, dispensing medications and helping people overcome themselves and their own minds with my words and my heart.

Am I still an INFP? Yes. Everyday, out in the real world, I have to put on a mask, and I’ve become remarkably competent at it. INFPs do have quite a bit of acting skills up their sleeves, often honed out of necessity, and while I am not perfect at pretending to be tough-skinned like everyone else, I am passable. I need to be, in order to survive in this world. Do I want to starve, or become homeless? No. For an INFP to mature in this world, they do, unfortunately, have to change a little, or at the very least adapt. Even quiet artistic jobs like being an author or an artist have a remarkable amount of social activities tagged onto it.

I will never stop writing, and never stop daydreaming. However, I have discovered other things I like. Caring not just for animals, but people, most of whom are very nice. I like stacking shelves. I like using the cash register. I like all the different pills and medicines out there, and the diseases or conditions they correspond to. I like hospitals—they have a curiously calming effect on me. And so far, I like the idea of being a nurse. Out in the real world, given time, I know I will be able to stand on my own two feet.

But behind closed doors, when the mask falls away, I am just the same as I ever was. I still liking drinking fruit juices and eating Haribo fizzy cola gummy sweets. I still like books, very much, and films, especially romantic ones. I am still a loner, still transfixed by the beauty of the world, the universe, still someone who picks up a pen or logs onto her laptop (or in this case phone) and spills out her thoughts in a stream of flowing words. And at my core, after all the growing up I’ve done, all the steps I’m starting to take to ensure I won’t starve or be homeless, and will spend my days doing some good in the world, I am deeply disappointed with life, and deeply afraid that this is all it has to offer—a job, hobbies, a house, cars, holidays, cats, books.

Because after everything I’ve been through, I still want more, and one of the reasons I became a Christian is because God represents that “more” that I am lacking in the real, boring mundane world, and which I believe I will never be able to attain. Few people understand me when I say this, or try to comfort me, but I am at a point in my life where I honestly do not believe I will ever experience that “whirlwind” romance I’ve always dreamed about. In fact, I cannot, no matter how hard I try, even imagine a man being interested in me, which is one my deepest, darkest fears and wounds. I cannot imagine having a family, children, a husband, and even if I did, what then? Everything becomes ordinary and normal-feeling eventually; even the most beautiful song can become annoying after listening to it on repeat for months on end. I find no happiness in material goods, and to me, holidays are just explorations of other parts of the world, with the same sky, the same rocks, houses, society, paths, animals, grass, trees and concrete, that eventually become nothing more than photographs and faded memories.

The truth is, what I want is not just hard to attain—it is impossible. What I truly want, as an INFP, is for fantasy to become reality. I want for there to be floating islands, celestial spirits, rocks that hum and murmur with secret forces, skies that suddenly turn purple, to grow wings, to be pressed between the pages of a book as a character in a whirlwind romance or a fantasy quest for all eternity. While I have grown up, and adapted, and even grown to like some parts of the real world, and have always lived many parts of the natural world—aren’t blood and flowers fascinating?—but some part of me, as an INFP, deep down, will always stay the same, like a tiny iridescent pearl tucked inside a shell, quietly wistful, quietly disappointed, burning with a slow, strange and awful sadness.

Tomorrow, I will put on a smile, laugh and talk, and stack shelves. I will inspect the different medicines, ointments and creams, and find their uses to be fascinating. I will eat some of my favourite foods, which I can now afford to buy occasionally, watch films, read books, write and listen to music. I will be fine. I will feel satisfied. Competent. Maybe even happy. But at night, when the lights are turned off, and I’m lying by myself in bed in the darkness, thinking and wondering, as always, the only way for me to cope with reality is to daydream or fall asleep. And I’m starting to think that is the way it will always be, until the day I am no longer in this world, because I wish for true magic and the impossible, for fairies and stardust, and always will.

How To Love Yourself When You Are An Outsider

alone girl hi

The clamor for good self-esteem has become almost cliché, an excuse for parading out a barrage of aphorisms: Love Yourself For Who You Are, Accept Yourself, Love Yourself and Others Shall Love You, Woman.

Whether that means loving your skin, or eyes, despite the White Beauty ideals seen on magazines and television; or flaunting those curves or hips rather than hiding them, it is part of a new wave of Self-Love scouring across society.

And sure, I can relate.

Being Asian myself, and very thin to boot (throughout school, I was teased mercilessly for my stick-thin wrists, and a girl once, upon raking her eyes over my spindly body in a bathing suit during swim class before puberty hit, pronounced me a “monkey” – skinny-shaming is just as debilitating as fat-shaming), I have had to deal with self-confidence issues related to these two traits, just like people who are a little on the plump side, people with disabilities, any physical signifier that classifies them as “Ugly” or “Other”.

But so much of the recent Self-Love onslaught focuses on appearances, particularly the appearances of women. And while that is all good and important, humans being highly visual creatures, very little attention to paid to the confidence issues one has to deal with by having a particular personality.

Personality is the true determining factor of your self-confidence, I think, at least in one’s younger years. It is much easier to feel happy with yourself when others seek out your company, like to talk with you; when you feel loved, approved of, accepted – and when peer acceptance is not present, low self-esteem is often, unfortunately, a natural consequence.

For instance, for many years I was made to feel defective for being introverted, so introspective that I barely paid any attention to the real world reeling by before my eyes. In the media, in modern literature, a new breed of the ideal woman was sprouting forth to smash traditional gender barriers: independent and bold and confident – in other words, extroverted. Though this “New Woman” allowed for greater opportunities among the female populace, at least in Western countries, doing so only replaced a previous admittedly debilitating standard for women with another – less constraining, yes, but a new standard to measure oneself up against, nonetheless.

Being Asian, in this case, actually made matters worse, as there is this absolutely nonsensical stereotype that all Asian women (I do hate using racial monikers; we’re individuals, not groups; people do not think all, say, brunettes or Caucasian men possess the same personality type, so why the generalizations?) are shy and submissive. As an INFP, a personality type which naturally, even among males, is conflict-averse, withdrawn, dreamy and, yes, has a tendency to be quiet and shy and burrowed in a corner with a book, I fit into this stereotype perfectly.

But, racial stereotypes aside, it is a fact that introverts, or any outsiders, have greater difficulty with self-esteem than their extroverted or more accepted counterparts. People find “confidence” (Read: Extroverted) beautiful, they find a “sense of humor” (Read: Usually Gregarious) attractive; and those who are shy, reserved, slightly weird, are overlooked or disliked, dubbed sometimes, infuriatingly, as possessing no personality at all.

It is hard, to learn to love yourself, when not only do people not seem to like you, they do not even see you.

How can you love something that does not exist?

On top of being shy, introspective, and skinny as a rake, I also had Asperger’s, suffered from social anxiety, and, lo and behold, was a creative thinker and writer – and we all know how solitary and odd writers or original thinkers have a habit of feeling in mainstream society, probably accounting for their general recluse lifestyles throughout history. This is not me complaining (Oh, Delia, my dear, I had such a hard time of it, you can’t possibly imagine!); all I am doing is trying to point out the various contributing factors, along with living in a low-income household that could not afford items such as new clothing more than every few years (“daggy” clothes are not great for popularity), that led me to have such low self-esteem for years, and years. Long, long suffering years.

Oh, actually, I am garnering for a little sympathy here, but it comes from a good place: perhaps some of you out there can relate, to any of this, and will feel less alone for it.

The bullying from my peers, ranging from abuse to exclusion, the days spent hidden in the back of the library, the days spent watching television showcasing people who looked nothing like me, a lack of supportive friends, not looking right, acting right – all this, for an excruciatingly sensitive and aware child, and later teenager, added up. I did not like myself – no, I loathed myself.

As if that wasn’t enough, once the Self-Love movement took off, self-help books flying off the shelves, people told me I just had to realise I was “worthy”.

Yes, indeed; it is easy to feel worthy without the particular history I had, without the particular brain and psychology, the particular body, skin, experiences; it is easy for you to say that, when you are talkative and loved and have never spent time alone in the bathrooms, imagining yourself being flushed down the toilet in a gurgling swirl of oblivion; it is easy for you to say that, when you are not slightly neurologically different from others, when you do not feel like an Outsider, when you are not so sensitive each day is a tiny battle, each night a time to cry, and bandage your accumulated wounds.

It is easy to say that, when you are Extroverted, or Straight, or a Non-Minority, or Well-Liked, or Neurotypical, or Male (though this is unfair, men, on average, tend to suffer from fewer self-esteem problems than Women), or Non-HSP, or Non-INFP, or Well-Off and can Fit In Happily.

(Note: I do not mean to say that Extroverted, Straight, Caucasian, Well-Liked, Neurotypical, Wealthy or Male individuals do not have any problems: I am simply trying to make a point that when you are an Insider, it is rather presumptuous to dole out voice to an Outsider)

It is easy for you to say that I simply must feel “worthy”, when everything and everyone your life has affirmed that, and everything in mine has pointed to the contrary.

Frankly, just being an INFP and Highly Sensitive, especially if you are male, is enough to lower your self-confidence drastically, let alone the extra baggage I dragged around. What’s worse, being sensitive dreamers, we have a tendency to blame ourselves whenever anything goes wrong.

People, extroverted individuals surrounded by friends, told me, I should tell myself I was “worthy”. They were speaking from a good place; they just wanted to help. But when I was unsuccessful at raising my self-confidence that way, I believed there was something wrong with me. I grew ashamed of my lack of self-esteem, which only fueled the self-hatred.

I was a big, fat Not.

Not curvy enough. Not talkative enough. Not outspoken enough. Not friendly enough. Not normal enough. Not realistic enough. Not pretty enough. Not. Not. Not. Not. Not. Not.

Also, I was a big, fat Too.

Too weird. Too quiet. Too shy. Too strange. Too sensitive. Too poor. Too androgynous. Too isolated. Too skinny. Reads Too much. Thinks Too much. Head Too stuck in the clouds.

Above all, what drove the pain deeper, and still stabs me now and then today, was my unbearable loneliness, for I had no friends – and loneliness, as you may well know, only breeds further insecurity. A young female, or male, lonely and misunderstood, is bound to have some problems loving themselves without either a dose of wisdom or intervention.

In my case, the intervention was internal. And the recovery slow.

Yes, I did realise I was fine, just the way I was; that many writers, throughout history, had been considered eccentric, reclusive, shy, and many even had Asperger’s – so I was not alone, really; and perhaps, if I was not the way I was, I would not have my creativity, or interest in writing, or my imagination. That being shy daydreamer does not make me submissive woman; I have my own inner strength, only it is expressed differently. That the negative opinions of other people, though they hurt when expressed (“Shit! Look at your wrist: Are you anorexic?” “You’re too, um, quiet”) are less important than how I think about myself.

But the turning point, for me, was the realisation that, in the end, no-one really cares whether you are strange or different or shy, as everyone is too focused on themselves, and that everyone, even the most privileged, like all humans, go through their share of suffering. Sure, you may suffer more, you may feel lonely more frequently – but is that so bad a price to pay, for your unique gifts of sensitivity, compassion, creativity, perspective etc.? You may be disadvantaged in some respects, but blessed in others. Everyone is good at something; everyone has a spark, deep within them.

It is true, what they say: self-acceptance does come from the inside; but you will not find it by repeating mantras to yourself (I am worthy, I am worthy, please let me feel worthy…), or pretending you like being an outcast, or wearing a mask of superiority (Those unoriginal commoners!).

Instead, it comes from having a realistic outlook – no-one really cares that much about you, so you might as well care for you – and feeling compassion for all human beings. Even those who possess all the traits society accepts, they, just like you, have their moments of awkwardness, isolation, their own internal conflicts and problems.

We are all outcasts, deep in our hearts, only some people are better at hiding it. By the same token, we are all beautiful, in our unique and wonderful ways, and even if other people do not see or affirm it, you must. Hard as it may be to possess a trait that deviates from the norm, you can use it to your advantage and, if not like, at least accept your differences, in spite of the pain, in spite of the suffering.

Loving yourself, as an outsider, is not about never feeling uncomfortable or out of place among other people; that will never go away. Instead, it is about feeling Acceptance and Compassion: For The People Around You, For Others, and, most of all, For Yourself.

Things That Make INFPs Gloomy


A gloomy INFP is never a good thing. We sit around, in silence, our thoughts coloured by darkness, and nothing or no-one can drag us out of it. Frankly, it usually lasts for a minute or so, because the world is still full of marvellous and wonderful things, like books and films. For the sake of this list, I will exclude things like world disasters and animal cruelty, big things which are impossible to fix at the moment, and are unlikely to discontinue, simply because they are too obvious, and instead concentrate on everyday matters that are likely to, well, make an INFP rather glum.

1. Unimaginative people.
If you utter the words “Imagine if” and get someone who replies, “But that’s impossible,” then, my friends, you have met an unimaginative person, and there is no-one better to put a damper on an INFP’s day.

2. Bad food.
INFPs are very, very sensitive people, not just psychologically, but also physically, and if we are asked to eat something that doesn’t taste nice to us, it will make us very miserable, and most likely throw up (for instance, I don’t like celery, and nor do I like eating “old food”, like leftovers that are still edible but have gotten all soft and mixed together).

3. People who do not like cats, or find dogs are better.
Because they are wrong, and because cats are wonderful. Is there anything left to say?

4. Sunny weather.
This might seem strange to some people, but INFPs love everything grand and mysterious: which means rainy or cloudy weather is ideal. Since we are sensitive, sunny weather, especially if it is hot, is more likely to give us a headache than anything else.

5. Busy places. Including roads.
Busy streets, busy shopping centres, busy roads, busy festivals: INFPs do NOT like these sorts of places, and, unless they really need to go to them (and sometimes, you do; there is no choice), then we must grit our teeth and bear it, hoping perhaps the merchandise on display or the company we have will make up for it. Busy places just make us feel overwhelmed; we’d much rather stay at home, with a good book.

6. Bad energy.
An angry commuter that pushes you aside; some racist person who yells an expletive as they step off the bus: these sorts of things, while uncommon in civilised society, do still happen, and when they do, the negativity energy that radiates off these people is enough to make an INFP ill. INFPs will need to go home, and recover for a very, very long time.

7. Loud, obnoxious friends.
Sooner or later, an INFP will attract one of these people: someone who is completely self-centred, and always wants to talk about themselves, be it their own problems, their own looks, their dating life, their career, their work. INFPs become a dumping ground for all their problems, and are too shy to speak up or break off the relationship. Meeting up with these friends, while we may be smiling on the outside, more often than not makes us gloomy on the inside.

8. Not indulging in our creative passions.
Most INFPs are creative, and like to read, write or draw, or sing, or dance, or anything which involves an ounce of creativity, and if we are kept away from these activities for too long, we become gloomy and depressed, and feel as if the light has gone out of us.

9. When life stops being silly, strange and wonderful.
INFPs like to live in a neverending wonderland, where perhaps, just around the corner, we will meet our Prince Charming or Damsel in Distress, or step into a world where flowers talk and chess pieces show us the way. If we ever encounter something sobering enough to snap us out of this fairytale land we inhabit, then we become very withdrawn, and bored. Very, very gloomy.


Well, that’s it from me, folks. Let me know in the comments if there are any more you would like to add, and I wish you all a very un-gloomy next week.