In elementary school I would spend hours doing quizzes like ‘what colour are you?’ (I was yellow) and ‘what season are you?’ (winter). I find astrology fascinating and I will probably try and figure out which Harry Potter house you’re in upon meeting you.
In high school we were forced to take the MBTI test. I took it again for a college class and then multiple times afterwards… For fun. Since I’m a weirdo and all. Every time I got ISFJ. Until a couple months ago when I took it again on a whim.
And got a completely different result.
I’m not going to lie and say that this prompted a full on existential debate followed by a long ponderous walk through the woods while having a full fledged identity crisis. But it was a weird feeling and I took to Tumblr and removed most of my little personal bio that included my Hogwarts house and MBTI result.
This got my thinking about the newest addition to the Harry Potter universe, Ilvermorny. The fictional Wizarding school allegedly based in the USA was released on Pottermore at the end of June and naturally I had to log into the ol’ Pottermore account and see where I would fit in this totally imaginary world.
And I got Thunderbird.
I read the descriptions and was confused. Was this really me? Aside from a mental image of a giant Zapdos I had no idea where to go with this new category for myself.
Named by Chadwick Boot after his favourite magical beast, the Thunderbird, a beast that can create storms as it flies. Thunderbird house is sometimes considered to represent the soul of a witch or wizard. It is also said that Thunderbird favours adventurers.
An Adventurer? Me? If you were listening closely on June 28 you probably could have heard my incredulous scoff.
I am a true introvert. I make excuses to get out of social events and leaving the house is an extremely drawn out ordeal for me. I don’t have a typical sense of Wanderlust and I am a homebody, through and through. I was tweeting with a couple of my friends about our newfound Ilvermorny results and after hearing mine, Taylor said something that really made me think.
I love road trips. I love going to new places. I love being in unfamiliar towns. Digimon Adventure is probably the series that has affected me most as a person. Almost all the stories I write involve some kind of exciting journey. My favourite song even says, “we were strangers, on a crazy adventure…”. So maybe I’m not a typical Indiana Jones-esque “adventurer” but it is a pretty significant part of how I identify and the things I am passionate about.
Lately I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I wanted to write down all my thoughts (no matter how disjointed and nonsensical they may be) and I was like, hey… You have a blog for this very reason.
I always thought, people change… But I don’t. I learned pretty early in life who I am and what I stand for and am passionate about. I don’t have different “versions” of me for my best friends and my parents. Even my neighbours see the real me, unabridged.
I don’t think people change people. I think events and actions change people. Sometimes by force. Sometimes crying and screaming and falling into a deep dark depression is the metaphorical cocoon you need until you’re ready to emerge as, well, you see where I’m going with this.
This is not to say that people need to exist within the categories set by the world, whether it be societal groupings of race/ sexuality/ gender, or even categorizations concocted by Myers-Briggs or J.K. Rowling. I believe that the perhaps trivial experience of my MBTI changing helped me let go of some categories I had always put myself in. I always wanted to see myself as a certain person who behaved a certain way and wanted certain things out of life. If this year has taught me anything, it’s that nothing is for certain and things that were set in stone one day, can completely disappear the next. So, if those things can change… why can’t I? I’ve learned to let go of a lot of things. And as scary as it was, it was liberating.
With this new life philosophy, I’m not a completely different person or anything. I’ve just realized that for a long time I tried really hard to make other people happy and prioritized that over my own happiness. It’s easy to tell yourself that making another person happy is what brings you joy, but if that person is not in your life tomorrow… what do you have? I think that is where my original ISFJ categorization is from, as defined by 16personalities.com: “ISFJs are true altruists, meeting kindness with kindness-in-excess and engaging the work and people they believe in with enthusiasm and generosity”. I wanted to be that person. I believed I was. I wanted to be seen as kind and thoughtful and selfless.
Maybe it’s because my mom is a true ISFJ, I always thought that she would be one and even made her take the test before continuing this post… and sure enough she is a full blown ISFJ, fitting the description word for word.
But I’m not my mom. Maybe my “altruism” actually came from a place of selfishness. I wanted to make people so happy that they couldn’t imagine their lives without me. But then, as I look back, the people who have stuck with me the longest are the ones who I’ve gotten mad at and told that I was concerned about them and been 100% honest with. The people I’ve felt safe enough to say “no” to, without fear of retribution or of having a panic attack.
By saying I’m not an ISFJ is not to say that I’m not a nice person who wants the people in my life to be happy, because I am and I do, but I’m an honest person and I want to be surrounded by people who try equally as hard to make me happy. For a long time I wasn’t always honest with myself. Thoughts like ‘you aren’t good enough to be treated the way you want’ were always in my head and a significant addition to my anxiety and depression. After the events of this year I’ve become unabashedly honest with who I am, what I love, and what I want out of life. I’m not going to concede any of that for the sake of another person, no matter who they are.
So I’m not lying to myself anymore. I am not that person who is giving to the point of having nothing left and I’m not going to try to be. I’ve always known who I am, but perhaps I was a bit foggy on how I wanted to be seen. I’m still a work in progress but I’m getting there!
From the artist formerly known as an ISFJ, thanks so much for reading this (long, rambly, possibly nonsensical) post!!