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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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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It Takes A Year: Part Five

[Updated: 4/20/17]

The afternoon sun broke through the blinds and stung at my eyelids. I had just emerged from a deep sleep, my head reeling slightly and my throat dry. I turned away from the white light to lay on my other side. I had almost forgotten that I wasn’t alone in bed. Tyler laid just across from me on his back, one arm over his head and the other curled across his stomach. He had slept in his clothes just like I had. Nerves tingled down my spine and I took a deep breath. I hoped that no one had noticed us go upstairs together, especially not Alicia or the other girls. There’s no way that they’d believe we had simply spent the night sleeping a foot away from each other. I mean, how often did anyone I know really do that? I don’t even know if I’d believe it. All I knew was that if Will heard any more rumors about me that the demise of our relationship would be set in stone.

I pulled my phone out from beneath my thigh where it had fallen out of my pocket. I checked the notifications on the screen. He’d called me two times and messaged me once with a simply question mark. I took another deep breath and opened his chat box. He was online.

Sorry I just got up. couldn’t get to sleep last night.” I typed. A few seconds passed and he started to reply. My heart sped up.

its okay.” he said.

are you at the apartment?” I asked, thinking that maybe I should have said “home” instead.

Yeah.”

I’ll be back soon then. Give me a few.”

Alright.”

Love you, I thought in his voice.

I locked my phone again. These bland conversations starved me and I hated it. I hated myself for everything that had happened. He deserved so much better.

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It Takes A Year: Part Four

[Updated: 4/20/17]

As Will laid alone in his bed I was miles away draped over an unfamiliar couch. Drunken bodies decorated the rest of the room, framing my limp form in the center. I heard my phone nip at my thigh three times after I hung up on him. I didn’t flinch a single time. I knew he had probably poured his heart out to me through the screen and I didn’t have the will to illuminate my face with his fractured words. I felt entirely hollow. The only thing filling my senses were the light breaths of the unconscious ones around me and the soft clicking of dishes in the kitchen. I had forgotten that there was at least one other person awake. I traced their footsteps around the house until they finally creaked into the living room.

“You’re still alive huh?”

It was the party hosts’ roommate, Tyler. I’d seen him around my circle a few times and knew him for how chill he was about letting people over. He wasn’t much of a drinker but smoked a lot whenever we were all together. Even from a few feet away I could smell the cigarettes underneath his cologne.

“Barely,” I said with complete honesty.

“Ah. Well I hope you don’t plan on puking on the floor like my brother did. That shit was gross.”

“No, I think I’ll be fine in that department.”

“There’s that at least. Do you want some water though?”

“Umm…Yeah. Water would be good.”

“Coming right up.”

He turned and went back into the kitchen. I listened to him pull down a glass and fill it with water from the fridge. My hand grasped lightly at my pocket, tempted to finally read your messages. I was just about to pull out my phone when he returned.

“I put ice in if that’s okay,” he said, handing the glass to me.

“Yeah that’s fine. Thanks Tyler.”

“No problemo. I’m pretty much the designated baby sitter at this point. Though it looks like all the other kids are knocked.”

“Yeah…” I laughed weakly. Tyler sat in the armchair beside the couch as I took small sips from the glass. He started scrolling through his phone, the illumination bringing his face into view from the darkness. The light in the kitchen crept a couple feet past its threshold, stopping just before the shadows of the living room. I sat there in silence before glancing up at him. He had steel gray eyes and undercut black hair. He looked so young to me.

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