Recently I took a personality test. The results were far from shocking. Every time I’ve taken a personality test I have been utterly unsurprised by the results.
Whether I take Myers-Briggs, the “16 personality” test or the “color test” I get the same general feedback.
- Overly responsible
- Utterly lacking in spontaneity
- Practical (to a fault I might add)
- “By the book”
Aside from always ending up in the most common personality type (which is enough to make you feel definitively un-special), I’m also in a personality type that appears to be the opposite of an artist.
Nothing about the above list screams creative free spirit who will one day pursue the uncertain life of a novelist. The person above sounds like someone who could very well die at a desk typing up a TPS report.
The person above sounds like the kid in class you use to get an A on a group project. The person above was the type of kid getting used in class to get an A on group projects.
The person above supports people who want to achieve their dreams. The person above builds a comfortable life filled with bubble wrap, traffic cones and baby Aspirin (you know… to prevent heart attacks and what not).
The trouble is, that’s not the life I want.
I love my life. Don’t get me wrong. I have a great job (in the publishing industry no less) that pays well. I have a husband that makes my whole world go round (and calms my anxiety-ridden brain). I have two perfect stepkids (and I’m impatiently working on making one of my own). I have a beautiful home I’m proud of. I have a car that gets me to and from. My life is very good.
There’s just one thing. One thing that I can’t seem to quiet.
I want to be a novelist.
And the worst part is, I know I can do it. I feel it coursing through my veins. I think about it EVERY SINGLE DAY. For nearly 10 years I have been crystal clear on what I want to be “when I grow up.”
Now I creep quickly towards 30 (quicker than I could have ever imagined possible) and I am still waiting to grow up. I’m still waiting for someone to give me permission to take the plunge.
The problem with knowing exactly what you want is the realization that only you can make it happen.
Your spouse can support you. Your parents can cheer you on. Your friends can say “fucking do it.” Yet it still just comes down to you. The choice to be brave, be great, be awesome and quit waiting to pursuit your dreams is still entirely up to you.
I hate taking personality tests because it just reminds me of all the traits built into my goody two-shoes nature that keeps me from being bold. I’m reminded that in order to get what I want, I’m going to have to buck against every natural instinct I have that makes me the crowd-pleasing, self-sacrificing perfectionist I am today.
That sucks and that hurts. To disappoint yourself and the people you spew your wishes and hopes to. To feel chained down by who you are while knowing what you want to be.
For me, being bold feels like role-playing. I can put on the hat (or fishnet stockings depending on what role-playing means to you), puff up my chest and step outside of myself to make a grand gesture, but it’s always temporary. I can only play brave moments at a time. A couple of days if I’m lucky.
On those couple of days I’ll flip open my laptop and write a few thousand words. In those fleeting hours I will read some inspiring articles that fill my heart with hope. Occasionally I’ll even get the gusto to quit my job before coming quickly to my senses and rushing to the next practical choice.
If I’m being 100% honest with myself, I adore stability. I love feeling safe and certain. So I live every day in a protective harness built by me.
I’m probably one of those people who could use a near death experience. Something that clarifies for me how short life is and how ridiculous all these peppered in practicalities are.
As much as I build safety into my day-to-day, that’s unlikely to happen (damn Gold/Logistician/ISTJ personality type), but I can’t help but wonder what will be the catalyst.
I’m beyond clear on what I want. I would surely survive the aftermath of a less-than-perfectly-planned decision. I’ve more or less already taken a stab at it (the results of which being me panicking while in a completely livable situation).
So what then?
What is it that gives a personality like mine the mental fortitude to step off the ledge?
I guess we’ll see…