I know I’m not the only one.

As an introverted child, I always felt different. Sometimes it even felt like I was not from this world. I didn’t like the same things as most of my classmates. I didn’t view the world in the same way that they did.

Growing up, this feeling got stronger. While many people liked hanging out in big groups, I found myself more comfortable talking with just one or two friends. I knew this was the case, but I didn’t know how to voice it. Every time I tried explaining this feeling to people, my words seemed lost on them.

On constant search to finding out who I am, since no body else seems to know, I came across a personality type website. This site asked me more than one hundred questions and provided me with four letters: INFP.

INFP – Introvert, INtuitive, Feelings, Perception. Comprising just 4% of the population, the risk of feeling misunderstood is unfortunately high for the INFP personality type – but when they find like-minded people to spend their time with, the harmony they feel will be a fountain of joy and inspiration.

As I read the INFP description, it blew me away. It was like I was reading the diary of someone who had been stalking me the past 10 years. I learned that the test is called the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). As a sceptic, I searched far and wide for more MBTI resources. At first, I was afraid that the letters INFP were just a lucky guess, but many sources validated my test results. Once I read more about my personality, I understood why I love reading about philosophers and why I stay up reading about if aliens exist. How come I feel like I just don’t fit in sometimes, and no one understands me. Why I cry when a fictional character dies. How I can daydream for hours and just get carried away when I’m in nature. It’s like I just discovered the answer to the question- Why.

Reading personal stories from people who identify them as INTPs made me feel warm and fuzzy. I thought it was stupid for me to be thinking about ALL the things I was thinking. I thought no human being in their right mind would have so many questions. Little did I know, it’s alright- I’ve got 4% of the human population who are wired like me. FOUR PERCENT- Isn’t that crazy? I don’t need fixing- this feeling I’m feeling isn’t temporary, it’s who I am. And it’s okay.

I just recently wrote about how I’m always inbetween- neither here nor there. Reading about INFPs, I would describe us in one word ‘Paradox‘.  Extremely Sensitive yet, strong. Innocent like child yet, thoughtful like philosopher. Introverted yet, loves to connect with people. Lost in their dreamy world yet, great observers. 

It’s burdensome and rewarding at the same time.
I feel the emotions of others as strongly as if they were my own.
I sense when something is wrong, even with strangers, and feel compelled to help, so I do…  Sometimes forget to save something for myself.
I feel love intensely, deeply, in every form. I get overwhelmed by love.
I love to love.
Those whom I adore can count on my adoration and support forever, but I don’t need to be in contact with you often and quite prefer that you don’t demand that of me. (Don’t call me too much.)
Injustice and the suffering of others causes me deep despair.
I have many friends, but only a few close friends.
I will never judge you for anything. Ever.
I lose myself in beautiful things, smells, thoughts, tastes, touches – they take my breath away… but I become ungrounded and unglued.
I’m extremely sensitive to personal space and feel very uncomfortable when people force their presence upon me.
I love children and animals because they’re so honest.
I’m a poet, an artist, a musician.
I’m a dog whisperer.
I look you in the eye when you talk.
You naturally tell me your problems, because you know I will listen and care.
I express myself much better in written form than verbal.
Color affects me viscerally.
I am very much an individual and suffer under micromanagement.
I take much pride in my individualism and creativity.
I’m prone to depression, as the coldness of the world overwhelms my sense of compassion.
Often I feel misunderstood and alone and lonely, even when with people.
I’m more comfortable with a small group of close friends than large groups.
I’m startled and unnerved by loud noises.
I’m disenchanted with fake, dishonest people.
I lack the skills of time management, financial management, and organization, especially struggling with errands and everyday tasks.
If I love you, I love you deeply and will do anything for you.

(My feelings are valid- yay!)

If you haven’t taken a personality test, I highly recommend you do. Especially if you want to better understand who you are as a person or others around you. HERE

-M.

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Why?

We lay on your red carpet after we drank too much and by morning the fabric would surely hold the smell of cheap cigarettes, but you wouldn’t worry about that now, maybe later, now all you needed was to lay still with me and look through the window and wonder – why?

We’ve grown up being told we need a reason for everything, that there’s a meaning behind every single thing and if only you figure out what it is, you’ll succeed. Wake up, make your bed, get out, be nice, work hard, eat well, be nicer, work harder, read good books, say your prayers, go to sleep. Repeat.

I don’t believe in a higher meaning, nor do I need a purpose to live for. I believe in life, in the magical reality of everything around us. Look at it, look harder because I can’t make you see what I’m seeing. This is it. This is all there is to it, and it’s wonderful enough as it is. I don’t believe in god or praying. I don’t believe in heaven or hell. There’s no afterlife I’m hoping for, no deadline I’m dreading. I don’t need to know what we’re put on earth for – I don’t believe there is a reason, we became and here we are.

Insignificant to the universe, we could easily not have been here and all would still be as it is. But we’re here now and for that we’re infinitely blessed. You get to feel the cherry blossoms in your hands. Swim in cold water while the sun rises and warms your shoulders. Cry because you’re sad or cry because you’re happy and never have to explain, because the tears stain all the same. You get to grow, dance and drink and see the world differently in every place you travel to. See birthmarks on your skin develop into patterns that mirror constellations if only you’d look long enough. I’ve got Orion on my thigh and your back’s just one mark short of Cassiopeia.

If you take us all apart, you’d find we’re all made of stardust – as are the trees, the frogs, the grass as well as the dew on it – why would we be any more special? I’ve never seen a tree stop mid-sway to contemplate why it’s moving and if it’ll ever get any closer. It sways and sways and sways and pretends it makes the same wind blow that it is rocking to.

We hold remnants of long-lost stars in our veins. That’s not an answer, but it’s still magnificent. Nothing can ever be both pointless and beautiful at the same time.

-M.

Don’t you dare tell me

Don’t you dare tell me I’m lovely,
I might completely shut you out because I brainwashed myself into thinking that you’re only putting up with me.
Don’t you dare tell me I’m flawless,
I know how I look. I know how one eye becomes smaller when I laugh.
I know the weird crinkles my eyes make. I know that my forehead makes up most of my face.
And even though my weight shouldn’t define me- my stretch marks remind me enough.
Don’t you dare tell me I am strong,
I know I’m not. I’ve got scars to tell me that every day.
Wet pillows are a friend now.
Don’t you dare tell me I’m beautiful.
I’ve felt the word splatter against me enough for a lifetime.
I am better than the beautiful that slips from your lips.
Don’t you dare tell me I’ll get through it,
Until you’ve seen what nights are like, the endless terror that destroys me and the inner torment within my mind.
Don’t tell me that I’m perfect,
because believe it or not- that’s not what I want to hear.
Tell me that you see me for all that I am,
that sometimes you see the darkness I hide behind a smile,
that you see my flaws, imperfections.
Remind me that my hands have helped flowers grow, painted the ocean,
and captured the sky in my phone.
Assure me that with a mind like mine, I can change the world.
Tell me that I’m only an average human,
a chaos that you’ve just found unexpectedly,
that you still want to spend your time with me,
not because of who I am- but what I make you feel.
Maybe- just maybe, I’ll believe you then.

-M.

Self love.

You can look in the mirror at any given moment and find hundreds of flaws. You can turn on the television and compare yourself to every single actor or actress and end up short. You can close your eyes and dream of all the ways you could be better, prettier, stronger, more attractive.

Or you could simply smile and acknowledge the fact that you are always a work in progress.

Self-love is knowing you are exhausted and that you’ve done the best you can, it’s knowing when to take a break.

Self-love is respecting yourself enough to say “No” at work when you simply do not have the bandwidth to do something. It’s letting yourself believe that you are still worthy of your job or where you’re at in your career even though you are not able to do it all. It’s allowing yourself to be enough despite that.

Self-love is walking away from all the toxic people in your life who do nothing but make you miserable and feel bad about yourself. It’s not making excuses for them, it’s not forgiving someone over and over again for the same shortcomings and for inflicting the same pain. It’s letting them go with dignity and knowing that it is all for the best. It’s trusting yourself to make those difficult decisions and not go back.

It’s really easy to get caught up in the daily struggles and responsibilities of daily life, and if you’re like me, it’s even easier to feel like you’re not fulfilling those responsibilities 24/7 and being disappointed. But trust me when I say that you’re not disappointing or a failure for needing a break in the action. Actually, you’re just human. One person can only do so much in a day. Even if it’s just for an hour, or 30 minutes, start making a practice of doing the things that make you feel whole. Put aside your textbooks and your phone, and block out all the extra noise – take a walk or go visit a friend. Finish that painting, or go practice a sport.

And when you start to feel shameful or lazy for doing something that you love, remember that you’re being kind to yourself – as you should be. You should be good to yourself in every sense of the word, and just know that everyone needs a second to breathe. So don’t feel guilty for practicing self care, it’s what we all need to do.

Be patient with yourself, and don’t worry if a switch doesn’t flip in you which abruptly takes you from ‘crippling self-doubt’ to ‘uncompromising self-love.’ Allow yourself all the trepidation and clumsy, uneven infatuation that you would with a promising stranger. Try only to be kinder, to be softer, and to remember all of the things within you which are worth loving. Listen to the voice in the back of your head which tells you, as much out of sadness as anger, ‘You are ugly. You are stupid. You are boring.’ Give it the fleeting moment of attention it so craves, and then remind yourself, ‘Even if all that were true, I’d still be worth loving.’

-M.

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( Art by- https://www.instagram.com/broken_isnt_bad/ )

The World of Murakami

To enter the world of Haruki Murakami is to enter a unique mix of fantasy and melancholy. His protagonists are often 30ish male loners adrift in the world. He takes them on surreal adventures, from the characters separated from their love in Norwegian Wood to the parallel versions of 1984 in the epic 1Q84.

The best authors can make you laugh and cry at the same time. But Haruki Murakami has other, less predictable, results too: bankruptcy, because everyone who reads Norwegian Wood runs out to buy more. No one buys one Murakami novel; the damn things are addictive. They are playful and sad; full of wrong turns and red herrings, corridors that lead nowhere and, above all, girls who disappear. The motifs are endlessly repeated: wells, talking cats, exquisite ears, jazz records, beer and more wells. And yet each page of each title seems fresh and revealing.

“You’re kind of weird,” is the sort of thing his characters often say to each other, and it’s comforting and funny every single time. Through his simple yet bizarre storylines, Murakami reminds us of the simplest notions of life. He creates perfectly ordinary moments with elements of fantasy. He forces you to question your morals and even feel compassion towards unlikely characters.

In Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, the titular character makes an observation on love: “There are countless things in the world for which affection is not enough. Life is long, and sometimes cruel.” For anyone who has ever been dumped, or has broken-up with someone they love, it should sound familiar. Sometimes, love falls short. Sometimes, it surprises us by how far it left us from where we wanted to go. And with Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, Murakami reminds us how jarring it can be when we first make that discovery, and how it can be paralyzing.

In 1Q84, Murakami unfolds a parallel universe where one of the characters must confront his estranged father while he searches for the love of his live who always seems to be just out of his reach.

“The young man knows that he is irretrievably lost. This is no town of cats, he finally realizes. It is the place where he is meant to be lost. It is another world, which has been prepared especially for him. And never again, for all eternity, will the train stop at this station to take him back to the world he came from.” 1Q84

Leaving the best for the last- Kafka on the shore. Everything is a metaphor. Murakami states that the key to understanding the novel lies in reading it more than once. “Kafka on the Shore contains several riddles, but there aren’t any solutions provided. Instead, several of these riddles combine, and through their interaction the possibility of a solution takes shape. And the form this solution takes will be different for each reader. To put it another way, the riddles function as part of the solution. It’s hard to explain, but that’s the kind of novel I set out to write. ”

I simply cannot and will not try to explain this masterpiece, it’s unexplainable and out-of-the-world. So instead, here is an extract from the book that I re-read a couple of times. There are many such instances in the book, that make you stop for while to let the words sink in- till it hits you where it must.

“ Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

An you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

All this being said, no collections of words, however great can and will do justice to the feeling you get while reading his books. You are transported to another world and you fall into a self paradoxial loop of not wanting to put the book down, but also never wanting it to end. To read a Murakami novel is like diving into the ocean, only to discover you were a fish all along.

-M.

( Photo by : https://instagram.com/coffeestaind )

Moments.

Sometimes life makes me wish I could take pictures with my eyes. Yes, I know. How long is it going to take for you take your phone and take a picture? Oh, but in that moment, to look away and to loose even a fraction of what was happening would be a crime. And most of the time- pictures don’t do justice to how breathtaking something actually is.

When you see something beautiful or touching, maybe a sunset, an animal, or something as simple as the way the light disperses from the voids in the sky, an urge arises to capture it with a camera. Look what’s happening! Don’t let it get away!

Sometimes we want so badly to capture a remarkable moment in progress, that we introduce an unnecessary anxiousness to our experience of it. Because half our attention is in ‘later’ mode. I need to save this. I need to have it for later, not just now.

Don’t get me wrong – Good pictures do pull all sorts of compelling emotions, opinions and stories out of our brains — different ones from different viewers, but those are all just projections, assumptions about the moment the picture came from. Some may be appropriate, others completely misplaced. The moment itself was over as soon as it happened.

How amazing it would be if we could let the experience itself be enough, however long or short it may be, and let go of the need to try and make a possession of it. To let the sun go down when it pleases, to leave the waterfall where we found it, to let the deer slink away into the trees without a trace. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate acknowledgment that it was, indeed, amazing?

The truth is sometimes the moment is so perfect, you’re struck with the notion that the rest of life will not live up to it, and that it would be nice to have a little stash of that beauty and bliss for later. It’s also fear- the fear that the experience won’t last long and will soon be lost. And of course, it always will be.

There are moments that words can’t describe, that you wished you could save. But time– it flows when it flows, and there’s nothing in the world that can contain it, so you’d better really be there when it’s happening.

-M.

The mirror.

I am scared of the mirror.
It hangs in my bedroom,
And boomingly it loomed
and laughed at me.

It didn’t show me imperfections.
It never showed a reflection,
it showed me fiction.

The fiction was perfect.
It was coloured, and detailed,
And knew long words,
And had deep thoughts.

The mirror laughed at it.
I asked why, I won’t cry, I said.
But why do you care, it asked,
and why would you stare.

I wonder if it sees me at all.
There was just the mirror.
And the laughter. The fiction
was perfect, and quite dead.

-M.