June 20, 2015

And I see myself wandering
While my friends chase their dreams
I’m sure there are some things that can slow them down
But they finally get on with it

Am I Wasting My Time by Ele

I was in a job interview. A question was raised from my atypically honest personal letter: "What do you mean when you write you are 'introverted'?" Keep in mind that "Quiet" was my gospel and Susan Cain my idol at the time. So I happily shared why being an introvert made me an ideal employee; hardworking and loyal. I've accepted it as a key piece of my identity. I wear my INTP badge with pride.

Identity. The mental model and expression of who I am. The unique combination of characteristics that define me. It's partly shaped by my own choices but also by stuff where the only choice is acceptance. However, I've found that telling one from the other is sometimes deceptively tricky.

It's been said before but for most of my life, I've felt as though I really didn't fit in. I kept a low profile in school. If anything it was just painfully uneventful. That made me struggle to find a way to carve out my own dent in the world. Being true to myself is scary though. I fear being rejected (or ignored) precisely for being who I am. At the same time, I've realized that to be happy there's no getting around making myself vulnerable.

So how do I get there? I've always believed in the power of inner motivation. It worked more than well when I studied, which represents the better part of my life. In the end my inner self will be the only thing I can trust to always fall back on. However, it simply won't get me all the way.

Enter external motivation. Part of my identity is formed through my identification with others. It may either be an aspiration to be like someone else or a wish to dissociate from other's characteristics.

I was recently on a trajectory that I really enjoyed. I met someone I could share anything with. I lost count of the times where our minds collided in moments of surprise and laughter. It was as real as it was unexpected. It really hadn't started before it was over but in the mean time I inadvertently made it part of my identity. Now it's time to sort things out.

In a way my identity is kind of a puzzle that I keep building. Piece by piece. When I've found one that matches - I need to trust my intuition to leave it there and move on to the next.

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