Reflections of an ENFP: I

As an extroverted introvert, I often end up in these vicious cycles of sacrificing parts of my well-being for the sake of satisfying my spontaneous cravings for social interaction as well as my need to be a supportive and harmonious friend. My moods are not always predictable due to my sensitivities, as there are times when my extrovert/introvert can take the helm for the most whimsical, unexpected reasons. It is then that I have the choice whether to indulge the energy that is naturally manifested within me (and thus catering to my emotional needs) or ignore it, and the reason I would usually be driven to ignore it is due to other people. Being loyal to a fault, deeply empathetic, and especially wary of conflict makes me susceptible to engaging in unhealthy types and/or amounts of people-pleasing behavior. I will often stifle my own needs and desires with the idea that I will earn some sort of emotional payoff for my sacrifice. I try affirming myself with the idea that my intentions are altruistic, the people I am engaging with are worthy, and that I will ultimately feel good about catering to someone else. But when I’m caught up in the moment of a friend asking something of me, I easily become too focused on their thoughts and feelings instead of evaluating my own internal status on the situation.

Sometimes it is the overwhelming sense of obligation that drives me, and other times it is the fear of being perceived as uncaring or selfish, two traits that I am definitely not and the accusation of which would cause me great strife. One of the hardest things I’ve had to convince myself of is that it is completely okay to put my well-being first and not feel narcissistic for doing so. I have begun asking myself why I am doing something for someone else, and whether or not the interaction will prove something beneficial or if it is done out of a sense of duty or guilt.

I have great faith in the elasticity of my heart. I know that I am, at this point in my life, strong and wise enough to persevere in ways that some of the people I know can’t. However, at times I am disheartened by my high self-awareness, in part because it is rarely shared with the people I meet: people who my extrovert is quick to fawn over while my introvert calculates their true value in my life.

I have watched people handle their social life like a switchboard, making quick decisions and not lingering on the diverse after-effects of them. They just do things and do not worry or dwell, and it sometimes makes me envious, but these are the same people who are more liable to hurting others, even when it’s unintentional.

Making people happy is one of the things that brings me unparalleled joy, but when I settle in and realize that I am usually the one to give more than I get, that joy can give way to sorrow or isolation. I must recognize that the most valuable people in my life—my family, my companion, and my dearest friends—will seldom leave me feeling like I am missing something; like I am a wilting flower trying to tend to the garden around me. These are the people who I should focus my energy on, and the rest I should regard with appreciation when appropriate and not give out the very breadth of my being. Those whose energy resonates with mine will humbly understand my nature, while others—who I’ve given my engagement to—will expect consistency without paying it forward and may be inclined to feel shorted or abandoned, thus igniting a sense of guilt that I do not deserve.

So, I will continue to exercise introspection and self-awareness. I will treat my soul to a healthy balance of introversion and extroversion as well as the presence of those who bring fulfillment to my heart—no matter what level of sociability I am operating on.

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It Takes A Year: Part Seven

I was used to my first kiss with someone being feverish, something that happened in the hasty throes of pseudo-passion. In hindsight it always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time; Nothing but hungry hands and desperate mouths acting on impulse. A drunken mistake, an act of pity, or simply the claws of an envious predator. However, some moments in life decide to be generous to me. It’s not often that I actually get to experience a genuine moment of intimacy, at least not with someone new. Most vividly I recall it happening with Will. Not even a year later and now it was happening with someone else.

Speaking of Tyler: He’s sweeter than the words that preluded our embrace. His kisses were tender and slow, obviously indulging themselves in previous desires. Not that I can blame him; I’d been thinking about it for half the night too but I didn’t expect it to happen like this. No, I expected it to be just as reckless as it usually was. I thought maybe he’d plant a sloppy kiss on me while we danced or that I’d play coy before challenging him to make out with me in a drunken game of “Truth or Dare”. I didn’t expect a heartfelt confession or a realization so deep that it made us fall into our own cessation of time. I could trust him and his careful hands, his sincere lips, and his soulful gaze. If it was any other time this year I would have already been screaming words of regret into my own ears. But I was done with that. I was free of my old habits, finished with doing things at the expense of others and beating myself up for past mistakes. I didn’t just want this, I deserved this.

I felt Tyler’s fingers curling into my hair from the base of my neck. I didn’t think I could get anymore goosebumps but I did. I’ll admit that there was always something exciting about kissing someone new. Luckily this time it wasn’t just another shot in the dark.

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Can You Find Me? II: Exordium

Disclaimer: Mature Content

I always knew there was something fucked up in my head.

It wasn’t like I was really destined to be this way. Mom and dad were in the picture from birth. Neither of them ever raised a hand to me that was too harsh or spoke a word to me that was too cruel. My mother doted on me for every minor achievement I made growing up and my father was your typical suburban dad, dead-set on making me the king of football or baseball while teaching me life lessons on how to be a man. We had money, we had a nice house, and I never went for longer than a day without something I asked for. Sure, I was a spoiled kid but I wasn’t a spoiled brat. My best friend in high school was even more well-off than I was and anyone would call him a good kid. A good friend, a good guy, a good son, yet his only faults were a short fuse and a tendency to be over-protective. At least his mistakes never hurt anybody; Mine did.

In regards to the “Nature vs. Nurture” argument I have trouble seeing where my nurturing failed me. I mean, maybe my good life was the reason for my problems, but then I remember my best friend and that he doesn’t have the same issues I do. In fact, he doesn’t have any of the same issues that I do. He had his emotional outbursts so that it was no secret what was going on in his head. I was always calm, cool, and collected. My demons rarely came to the surface.

I grew up being everything my parents wanted me to be. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to play baseball and take photography classes, I’m just lucky that I wasn’t stuck doing anything that I hated. I was being cultivated into the perfect little plant for all to see. Once I hit high school my GPA and sportsmanship spoke for themselves. By junior year I was good-looking, I was successful, and I was popular. My future seemed unlimited to everyone else but me. My paraphilia was the demon hidden inside of me, waiting for me to slip back into his clutches at any moment. I started over-stepping my boundaries as a child. Many young children are caught and disciplined for certain behaviors before it can get worse. Sadly, I was never caught and never disciplined. Because of this, what started as simple curiosity morphed into a complete obsession. That obsession took me down an unforgivable road that put some of the most precious people in my life in danger.

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Finding Home

“She’s just so moody you know…”

“So was I.”

I rubbed the handle of my coffee cup as my eyes traced the lines of the wooden table. He sighed again as he looked at me. A single breath traveling the lengths of many seasons to finally come to rest. I looked up.

“I know you. You get lost with people and you think you have to look beyond them to fix it. You think that talking to a girl who isn’t moody will make up for it. You’re not a boy anymore, it’s time to stop the games.”

This whole afternoon had become a game. From the embrace of our greeting to his eagerness to talk about all the good times we had. What was he trying to remind me of? What did he want?

“I’m not playing games, it’s just I know an ongoing problem when I see it. I feel like she doesn’t even try anymore.”

“Don’t you talk to her about it?”

“Of course I do.”

“Hm.” I pondered taking another drink. His eyes were pleading with me, looking for guidance. I had coddled him for so many years of our friendship. I had dipped sweet words into his heart when I called him mine. I was used to being the wrong one, the “moody” one. He was rarely keen on his own reflection. I wondered when he’d learn.

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Of My Darling

If you could powder up a storm and give it diamonds you’d call it Emily. Who but me would know that her hair was once untucked beneath the Midwest sun and that her breaths were girlish laughter instead of sultry sighs? It had escaped me then but her outer glow was the trophy of New York, at least to those blessed enough to kiss her hand and get tipsy on her conversation. I don’t think she’s ever fluttered her lashes so much or pouted those rosy lips until she danced across marble floors and broken hearts. And God how tempting she was, how seductively slender and impossibly charming that girl could be. Most would assume that shame had left her after girlhood, but I should know better. Beyond the champagne nights and glittering jewels was the home we had to come back to. The home where those heels fell messily on the floor as she whined drunkenly for her towel to wipe off her sultry mask. “What a darling wife!” they’d say, “You’ve got the best looking girl this side of Manhattan!”. Nobody knows that Emily has freckles or dying eyes or sickly breath. They don’t know that she can only stand to make love when she’s tipsy or that her face was actually more beautiful back in Iowa than under the chandeliers in Paris on our honeymoon. Nobody knows that she’s shattered as many wine glasses as she has hearts or that her only talents are for petty conversation and making the world believe she’s anything but a pretty face.

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