Panorama of San Bernardino

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Me an ENFP

I've been thinking a lot about things. My life, my accomplishments, my struggles, my goals and my future. Outwardly, I seem the same. I feed my dogs, go to work, come home, eat, read or watch tv, sleep and wake up again in the morning. My routine remains unchanged. But internally, I feel as if a storm is raging. It's almost like I'm having a mid life crisis in my brain.

There's something about your mid forties. It's a time of re assessment. Questions. With little answers.

Perhaps, I thought to myself, I just need to look inward more. And so I did.

I took a personality test. There's 16 different ones in the Meyers Briggs universe. I fell into the ENFP category. I read the description and it fit me to a T. Suddenly, everything made sense. I experience through performing and am very intuitive, I can read and connect with people. Some call us inspirers or champions. The drawback to this personality is that we have a hard time figuring out what we want to do, and because we are eternal optimists, we see the possibilities in everything. And we live through embodiment which is why so many of us ENFPs are writers, actors and filmmakers. And why we have so may stomach problems. We literally feel our emotions.

We go, go and go, and are pros at trying everything. The problem is that sometimes we rush into things without asking ourselves whether it will fulfill us. And fulfillment and authenticity is everything to an ENFP. Now my 7 years in big law made sense. I was trying it out. I had jumped into it without thinking, is this really for me? The other problem ENFPs run into is that if commitment is a core ethic of theirs, they will not let others down or give up. Now all my inner conflicts make sense. I find it very difficult to cancel a commitment even when I want to desperately. This description also explained my searching and searching for something new to do. Essay and non fiction writing, performing, songwriting, film making. All these things call me. But, add in my demanding job, my writing, all the boards and committees I serve on, and my husband, dogs and friends, and well, it all can be overwhelming.

The key they say, is to slow it down. ENFPs are whirlwinds (especially in court, I can beat anyone on calendar), but slowing down will help let us be taken more seriously. No one sees the hours of prep I do in my office to make it look quick and easy. I want credit. I have always known I was smart, but others don't always see it. They think I am flighty or scattered when really my brain moves too fast for me to keep up at times.

With this new knowledge in hand, my goal is to experience the world and figure out what will truly make me happy. If I want creative fulfillment, what will get me there?

And I cannot rush it. I know that now.

(P.S. I must give a shout out to the "personality hacker" website where I did a lot of my research)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

What's the matter here?

Last weekend, we watched Natalie Merchant dance and sing under the stars at the Greek theater. We almost didn't go, exhausted from the casino the night before, but were glad we did. It was sublime. Natalie's voice was so pure and lovely. It echoed in the theater around the tall trees. It felt almost spiritual. Magical is perhaps the better word.

And today, it's 6 am and I lay in a bath pondering why we are all here. It's something I think about often, especially the older I get. I never worried about why I was here as a young adult. Survival mode does that to you. It makes surviving and getting by the only goal and my years as a waitress working her way through school were tough for sure, but they also made me resilient. There was not a lot of time, however, for self reflection. Leisure time gave me that. I'd almost prefer to be blissfully ignorant of the existence of life's questions, except for the fact that without them, my creativity would be limited.

So here goes. Why are we here? Some might say we are here to procreate. But, for me, that didn't happen. After years of trying, I've given up. I'm a very tired 45. So that theory doesn't hold water in my case. What about the idea that we are here to make a difference? At first perusal, this sounds doable. But then I think to myself, I'm participating in a broken system. I'm a deputy public defender who sees just how messed up the criminal justice system is on a daily basis. At its core. And while yes, on the micro level, I might make a difference, on the macro level, I'm a failure. Also, if we were just here to make a positive difference in the world, that would render anyone not advocating for the greater good useless. And perhaps, "good" is too relative of a term. I am sure many Republican operatives in this administration tell themselves they are there to do "good". My point is that "good" is not always right and true. Or constitutional.

Maybe we are here to have fun? In the purest hedonistic sense, maybe we are meant to take what we can out of life and run. Live life to the fullest, play hard and all that. But, fortunately or unfortunately depending on your viewpoint, I can tell you from experience that acting out that theory leaves one exhausted and melancholy.

I suppose, that maybe why we are here is to answer that very question. Why are you here? Why am I here? Why are we here? Answering that question could be one's life work and is one of the very fountains from where art and creativity springs.

So back to that concert. I can tell you this, for a split second, only a fleeting moment, no bigger than a nano second, I knew why I was there. And that was to be right where I was, listening to the voice of Natalie Merchant under the stars, while the wind whistled in the trees and the stars twinkled in time.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Vacation all I ever wanted

There's an old Go-Go's song called Vacation. It's all about getting away and finding oneself. Well I found myself and it's not pretty. But it's me.

The vacation I'm on with my husband and the moms, we're at an all inclusive resort in Cancun, has taught me some things.

The most important: Never choose a discount tour company for your excursion or you will end up falling in a puddle and be covered in mud from head to toe limping with a sprained foot.

Other things I've learned: I drink too much. I love to meet people. I'm overweight. I love excitement. And I can't sleep very well. And, finally, I'm clumsy. I've fallen twice literally and many times figuratively on this trip. I want to be kind, sober and fun. Instead, I've been sloppy, clumsy and inebriated.

I've also learned that I'm struggling more than I want to admit about who I am and want to be. There's a reason I haven't written for months, shit years. I write blog posts but I'm talking about stories. New stories have dried up. To say I'm in a rut creatively is an understatement. I'm sinking.

It's almost as if I know the stories are there but I feel as if my fingers can't reach them. The problem is that I'm rarely alone with my thoughts. I'm always on the phone, watching television or on Facebook or CNN or something. Anything to distract myself from the fact that I'm failing at this writing gig.

Then I start telling myself negative thoughts. Maybe I'm just not very good. Or maybe the five or six stories I've published are the best I've got in me? Yet, there's something, a little voice whispering, nagging at me, telling me I have more to give.

The high from writing is the best drug. When I write a good story, I feel buzzed. I get to editing and it's all zen. Almost like magic. It's the invisible point I find in swimming when after the tenth or sometimes even twentieth lap, it just becomes easy.

Nothing's been easy as of late. I can tell myself I've been trying to write but the truth is, I haven't been. I've been going through the motions existing. Auto pilot on a flight to nowhere.

But if nothing else, this vacation has taught me that I don't want to be a barfly on the beach. Or even a lawyer. I'm a writer, plain and simple.

And, I gotta try. I might end up covered in mud hobbled and crying for help, but if I can just do it, the rewards will be worth all the effort. I just know it.