I recently started listening to the Personality Hacker podcast. One of my friends typecasted me as an ESFP when I had thought I was an ENFP, but this shift in understanding, if I look at myself as an ESFP is way more empowering. In it, I am a person who is driven by Sensation and Authenticity, which is very true. I love the feeling of falling in love. I’m catapulted by ideals of freedom to experience my body.
However, I am also a person who has had a deep fear of my body for most of my life. There’s the fear encroached on me from my sexual purity focused upbringing. There’s fear of physical activity and movement from my regular knee cap dislocations and sublaxations. There’s a fear of incompetence from my ADHD which was undiagnosed most of my life. There’s a fear of my own creativity from the combination of having had a manic episode as well as the assault which struck my creative core. There’s a fear of outsiders helping me as I couldn’t communicate my needs or injuries to doctors; physiotherapists who pushed my body too hard trying to help me; police and victim services seeming to fail me; physicians who prescribed drugs which ultimately made me sicker or stammered with fear that I was beyond their qualifications to help.
Through this however, I also have a deep knowing, as it was essential for me to have this to survival and perhaps it was in part due to my sensory driven nature that I was so aware. But my perspective was nuanced and perhaps skewed, this is a weakness for my personality type, being able to keep everything on scale. What is a disaster and what isn’t.
I am a highly recognizable person. If I embrace my own personal style, the facial hair which I had to fight to honor as a part of myself are darkened to be more distinctive. Aside from this, I worked in one of the most central coffee shops in my city where we served everyone, celebrities to homeless people to our regulars, people in commute. It was my job to connect with so many of those people. In my city, I have also made a small splash in the poetry scene, where people have heard my work without a full grasp on who I am. And now also, have been immortalized online in childish forums as a sort of feminazi anti-hitler crusader.
So when a stranger says hi to me, it’s very important for me to know where they know me from, which scattered impression they are building of me. It was strange, because being approached by past customers from the coffee shop is the most confusing. They see me as a beautiful and energetic person, but so many of the days I was at that job I was at war with myself. It was the job that kept me afloat in the aftermath of my assault and one I clung to even after it really served me. I was in a lot of pain that year, physically and emotionally and physically. But it was my job to connect with people and create beautiful moments with them. That was the real product we were selling, not coffee, we were selling inspiration and our smiles. In a way, I likened it to sex work (which I also, very briefly, explored at one point) because our charisma was the product, the cheery moment which gets us from one moment to the next. It was very clear to me that that was my job and I grappled with my authenticity daily. I wanted to not be there, I wanted this chapter in my life to not be true.
I found some poetic comfort in being there, but it was in my own way, my own personal hell, disconnected. So when old customers come to me and say they saw someone beautiful and happy, how do I reconcile that reality with own personal truth. Or is the true truth something between the hell and the happiness. I was depressed and suicidal in my time outside work; work represented survival to me, sometimes in conflict with the needs of my body and the chronic pain I was in.
I have known for a long time that my authenticity is important to me. And perhaps that is why I get so obsessed with these half impressions of me, because I feel broken down into a poetic representation of happiness, to a powerful survivor, to a pathetic social justice warrior. I feel as disillusioned with high praise as I do with harsh judgement and dehumanization. I think this is because in some way, in either scenario, I’m having an aspect of my humanity denied, flaws or talents. (Kitsch)
One of my spiritual flames says that I am in a staggered or botched awakening (which is a nuanced religious standing), but part of my souls purpose is to be a mirror to others, to show them what they are supposed to see or need to see in order to grow. For some, that’s a powerful non-binary person in tune with themselves, for a lot of people that’s just me as a woman, or a man. Others looking for a reflection of hatred can see that in me.
I can struggle with this, the way I did with the coffee shop, being seen/notseen. Or I can honor it, and pray that angels & demons shield me throughout such that I may complete my purpose.