Sunday, September 26, 2010

Something different

     I usually write short stories or essays for my blog, but today I am going to try something different for a change, well....just to be different. I am going to write on one of my favorite topics, personalities, namely my own. What can I say other than I find my personality intriguing? I love learning and knowing what makes me tick. I like knowing that there is a reason I line the cans in the pantry up just so, and even though no one is going to see how straight the sofa pillows are, I straighten them before retiring for the night (or so my daughter says; I do it without realizing it.) I really do not think that most people stop to think about why they are the way they are, why they do the things they do. If they did, they would find out exactly how interesting they really are, or at the very least, understand why they do the things they do.
     For instance, as an introvert, I need what I refer to as “detox time” after being around a lot of people or noise for an extended amount of time. It took me half a lifetime to realize that because I am an introvert, quiet time is necessary for me to find my balance after being around chaos. It explains the unsettlingness that I always felt. Have you ever noticed how some small children get really rowdy and cranky when exposed to chaos, and others thrive on the noise. I would venture to say that those cranky children are your introverts and they need to detox. If we had only realized that our child just needed a little quiet time (and not the time-out we put them in) wouldn’t we have all been happier? Let me interject here that introvert does not necessarily mean shy.
     There is a wealth of information out there if we would only take the time to explore it. It would certainly make our lives a little easier, our friendships healthier, our children happier, and our spouses more understanding.
     When we are young, we find ourselves drawn to those naturally charismatic people around us who always seem to be holding court; they are funny, they never lack for something to say, and everyone loves them. I was no exception. I was a shy child and I wanted to be outgoing. I wanted to tell the joke and make everyone laugh.
     I think we are drawn to people who are the opposite of our own personalities because they have a quality that we think we lack, be it outgoingness, adventurous, or high energy; but as we mature, we realize that being able to settle down in a relationship with someone very much like ourselves is comforting. As I have grown up and matured, and I am speaking of my 40s and early 50s here, I have thoroughly indulged my passion for studying personality traits, especially my own. Exploring the different aspects of my personality has allowed me freedom from a self-imposed exile.
     The day that my now best friend entered my life did not seem any different from any other day. There were no balloons released into the blue sky. There were no trumpets sounding her arrival. In fact, it was just an ordinary day and she, an ordinary person. As time marched forward and we became better acquainted with each other, the more we each enjoyed each other’s company. Turns out, our personalities are so much alike that we can accurately predict what the other is thinking most of the time. Our thought patterns are so predictable to us now that a simple look (you are preaching to the choir sister) is sometimes enough to stop us mid-sentence with a giggle.
     We are both avid readers and if books were a meal, our tables would be overflowing with a bounty of nourishment. I crave knowledge and the written word as some people crave the caffeine in coffee. It is an addiction and it is wonderful to pick up the phone and go on and on about a book knowing the other person is not rolling their eyes or picking their nose in boredom.
     In this friendship, I have the freedom of being myself without fear of judgment; something I had yet to experience and in turn, we allow each other the freedom to express what is on our minds without worrying about repercussion. Others may take this very simple gesture for granted, but for some it is a long awaited luxury. We share a mutual respect for one another.
     I can try the normal person’s patience on a good day, but being friends with someone of a like personality enables me to be myself and to be accepted for who I am, quirks and all – and there ARE a lot of quirks that go along with being me. Long ago, I realized that my personality was a little bit different from those around me. I set out on a fascinating journey after taking a Myers-Briggs personality test many years ago and I have not looked back since. Personalities are intriguing, especially my own. Research taught me that my personality is unique (not common, meaning I am u-n-i-q-u-e.) What a day that was. I was finally free to embrace being different (and in my opinion, quite normal.)
     Being friends with a person of a like personality has opened my eyes to some of my “quirks” which may need a little “tweaking” (hence, work.) When someone is mirroring your behavior, it allows you to see yourself more clearly. Sometimes it is a good thing, sometimes, not so much (chuckling.)
     Predicting that same person’s behavior can be easy, and again, sometimes it is a good thing, sometimes not so much. I know my limits and consequently can recognize when I am pushing the limits of the other person.
     I actually think that being friends with a person of a like personality may be one of life's best lessons. It teaches tolerance for some of those not so good “quirks” we all have; although, I must admit that being married to someone who flies by the seat of their pants can be quite challenging to my plan and organize each minute of the day persona also. That is a story for another day.
     I think I will end here with this one aspect of my personality, but expect to see more on a topic that fascinates me. I am an introvert, more to come on that huge topic! Meanwhile, explore your own personality. I promise that you will not be disappointed!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where were you?

     September 11 or 9/11. It is strange how the date of a tragedy of such monumental proportion rolls so easily off the tongue, like Mary, Joe, or John.     
     On today, September 11, the question on everyone’s mind seems to be, “Where were you on 9/11?” I’ll ask it too. Do you remember where you were when the first plane hit the tower in New York City? There are very few dates that stick in my mind, but this one is as vivid as though it were yesterday.
     I was driving to my daughter’s apartment. I had the radio on which was quite unusual for me. I have a habit of enjoying the quiet or popping in a CD to listen to, but that morning I had the radio on. I was traveling on Highway 308 bypassing the little town of Lockport, Louisiana on my way north when the music stopped anda frantic radio announcer interrupted stating that an airplane had just flown into one of the World Trade Center Towers in New York City. He went on to tell anyone listening that the tower was on fire and madness and chaos were beginning to form in the streets outside of the burning tower. At that time, little did anyone know the confusion that was about to rip our country apart, and change the way we live.
     By the time I reached my daughter’s apartment, the second World Trade Center Tower had been hit and by the time I left to return home, the first building had collapsed and the entire city along with our country was languishing.
     My day started out sunny and clear with the hope of renewing a relationship with my daughter. The only thoughts on my mind were how excited I was that she finally called me and needed my help. I was thinking of new beginnings. I walked into my daughter’s apartment and looked at her in bewilderment and all I could think to ask her was, “Is it true?” Her television was on and as I sank into the sofa cushions, my eyes transfixed to the scene playing out in front of me, my mind seemed to shut down. The film clip of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers was playing repeatedly before my eyes. I felt incapable of forming words or thoughts for several long minutes. Like everyone else in our country, I was momentarily paralyzed thinking the picture before me was not true, it was not happening. We are a civilized country, this happens elsewhere.
     How quickly our world can turn upside down, as we saw on that day. I have cousins and an aunt in New York City and my thoughts turned to them. There are three of my cousins whom I have never had the opportunity to meet and knew little about. I did not even know whom to call to begin finding out where they worked and how close to the Towers they might or might not be. I thought, where, in all of the pandemonium, is my family?
     We all remember 9/11 and the reining chaos it inflicted, and if, by chance, we were to forget, the news media is sure to remind us. I do not need reminding. I remember the day as if it was yesterday, do you?