Thursday, April 16, 2015

Celebrating My ENFP...Self.

I would like to take a moment to celebrate my Myers Briggs personality type. I am, proudly, an ENFP. Not to brag or anything, but so is Ron Weasley. So, Wizard's Chess. Let's go.

A few months ago, a few friends and I created a Myers-Briggs "style" (Hi there, nice lawyers of Mr. Myers and Mr. Briggs) chart to describe how people would experience Holy Week at our church. We posted it on our church's website, and on our social media account, and walked away thinking, People at our church are totally going to laugh at this. We then high-fived each other and went our separate ways, where I suspect we were all in bed by 9:30 because we're a wild and crazy group of lower-middle-class white American Anglicans, most of whom are new parents. Kevin and I have a dog, so we totally get what everyone else is going through.

As it so happened, our congregation did find it funny. And then they shared it with their friends. As a matter of fact, it did pretty well on the interwebs in general; it even got picked up by Washington Post, and a few famousy bloggers featured it.

For a moment I was sure Greg Daniels or Lorne Michaels (who is Canadian, by the way. Of course he is, all the funniest people are from Canada) were going to dial us all up and ask us to start writing for their new TV shows. I just finished Amy Poehler and Tina Fey's memoirs (biographies? memographies?) so the idea of something like that happening feels very realistic. Greg, if you're reading, I'm totally interested.

I loved what we created, but I also felt a little bit rattled by my own description--not because it felt untrue, but because it made me wonder how I function as a  human being in any real, sustainable way.


(I cut this from the whole chart image, I have no idea if I did so legally. Here's the link: If I did it wrong, sorry Trevor. By the way, I did, in fact, feel EVERYTHING during Holy Week, and I was depressed for days once it was over and all our lives went back to normal. I hate it went camp ends.)

Seriously, does that sound like a description of a fully-functioning adult? Does it read like someone who remembers to put on pants and brush her hair in the morning before she gets distracted by second-breakfast snacks and Netflix and ideas and friends?


I still haven't brushed my teeth this morning, on a whim I asked someone to write a sitcom with me an hour ago, and I've spent an inordinate amount of time in the last twenty minutes expressing to my dog just how much I love him. I also drove my husband to work and drove myself back home, all before 9:52 a.m. I know, I don't know how I do it all, either.

So, there you have it. My ENFP-ness.

Now that I freelance full-time, I've been forced to take a good, honest look at this personality of mine. I've learned that I'm motivated by feelings, worries, people, boredom, new things, excitement, and sometimes hunger. And Target aisle-end purchases. I've also learned that my personality is a bit like having a puppy for a brain, and if I don't train it, it will pee all over everything, chew up your sofa, and blame your cat.

Being alone all day as an ENFP with a puppy brain goes like this:

I love Grey's Anatomy. I should be a doctor. I could totally be a doctor because Meredith and Christina look like great people to hang out with all day and fast pace seems so fun. Although they're both so skinny, I'd look like a fat gremlin next to them. But I don't mind that I wouldn't sleep as a doctor. That sounds exciting! But I'm bad at science. And that would take way too long. And oh my gosh what if someone died on my watch??? People are always dying on Grey's. I should be a lawyer instead. Olivia Pope. Her suits. Gimme. Huck scares me. DC is pretty. I should really stop watching Shonda Rhimes shows. They make me feel bad about myself. And also they're apparently not "Real Life." Laura and I should take a tap-dancing class at the park district like a couple of old ladies. I really want to take a dance class, and it would be fun to do with a friend. Or maybe a few friends. We could start tap-dancing. Oh my gosh that would be so fun and a good workout. Except you have to buy tap shoes. And I bet my downstairs neighbor wouldn't love my new hobby. Julianne Hough looks like Ginger Rogers. They should make a dance movie where she plays Ginger Rogers and tap dances. I should copyright that idea.  How do you copyright an idea? Who who would play Fred Astaire?

I bet tap classes cost money. 

I should sign up at Second City for improv. That'd be funny. Wait I'm watching videos on YouTube and it all looks super dirty. I can't be super dirty. Ugh. So unfair. I remember that one drama class I took in middle school--it gave me panic attacks. But that was because my teacher was such as weirdy. She had grey hair and was pregnant at the same time. That was confusing for me. I remember I hung out with the cool kids in drama class, but then when we had to partner up I ended up as the odd man out. Ugh no improv classes, I hate "find a  partner" activities. I'm breaking out in hives.

Oh middle school. I miss Pamela, I wish she'd move back from DC. But also I'm glad she lives there. I'm proud of her. Sigh. I miss Andrea too. Oh man I need to call my sisters. When is April's birthday? It's this month. Crap, when though? The 20-somethingth. Why do I never write this stuff down. I need coffee. The dishes are dirty. I should write a blog post. But what if people don't like it? I am so lazy with my blog, I should really get on it more. I should write a sitcom. But seriously I don't have the discipline to write a sitcom. I need someone to force me to do it. Oh my gosh I'm Nick Miller. But people are always telling me I'm Schmidt. What is that? I just need to write. I love writing. Or maybe I should go back to my idea about selling art on Etsy. Sometimes people make a lot of money doing that. Oh my gosh I need to get to work today, I have editing to do. And I need to write my book proposal about anxiety. Okay but I'm not diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Yes but I really should be. But sometimes I'm not so maybe they'll think I'm a liar and I'm pretty sure my doctor is already sick of seeing me.   

Speaking of, I should be a doctor. I love Grey's Anatomy...

And so forth. I am a toddler, living in a cycle of neurosis and possibilities.

Today, in light of all this, I've decided to celebrate my ENFP-ness. The "P" in Myers Briggs is often seen as the stupid little sister of the "J." The J, you see, signals to everyone that a person knows how to get crap done. The P, on the other hand, makes it so that people always want you on a project, but work hard to make sure that there's someone else in the group who knows how to wrangle puppy-brain into getting something done.

But you know what, I bet no J has gone from dreams of stage-acting to the planning out how to be an overseas correspondent who owns a line of high-class whiskey bars on the side within 48 hours. That focus on one thing until it's done thing--it's not me. 

Actually, I like having ALL THE FEELINGS and thinking about ALL THE THINGS and being distracted by ALL THE SHINY because I feel like (of course I do) it allows me to see the world as a place that still has opportunities. I like that right now, in this phase (where I swear, I do actually get real work done, too) of my life, I'm allowed to let my freak flag fly freely. I'm allowed to spend days planning out my dreams of becoming the Iron Chef while I, at the same time, have no desire to go to culinary school. I have an inherent need to let myself dream big.

For years, I've spent a lot of my energy feeling like I need to compensate for this personality of mine. But what I realized yesterday while trying to bribe my dog into going to the bathroom in the middle of the day (it's a whole thing) was that I don't need to. 

I don't need to feel guilty for who God made me or how many millions of dreams I have. I'm not hurting anybody by spending a month pondering whether or not I should be a yoga instructor--as long as I'm doing my day job well, I don't think I need to stifle my imagination when it comes to myself, or the life that me and Kevin are building together. I don't need to feel guilty. I AM A GUILTY ALL FEELS PERSON, so this is big news for me. I DON'T NEED TO FEEL GUILTY FOR HOW GOD MADE ME.

I don't know what your personality type is, but I'm willing to bet that there's something about it that you feel like you need to compensate for. What would it look like for you to just lean into it? As long as it doesn't mean that you're going to pull a Pinky and the Brain and try to take over the world (Kevin) I say go for it. Stop feeling bad for being "too" introverted, or "too" time-oriented, or "too" feely.

You have an important role to play in your life and in this world. Don't be scared to play it.


  1. The Holy Week personality types post — absolutely wonderful. I was grinning a whole bunch. I enjoyed picturing the people I know being the different saints/types. PS I am an EN(F/T)P, can you tell? :) PS2 — I just discovered my siblings go to your church! Scott & Sarah Roney, with the four adopted kids (two black, one Indian) and one white biological baby.

  2. I am going to share this blog with my ENFP husband!

  3. You may appreciate this. I do as an INFP.
    I hope that the link works.


Leave me a comment. It makes my heart happy.