I mainly chose literature because it allowed me to sit around and read good books all day, then write papers on them and discuss them with like-minded people. I mainly chose psychology because I thought it would help me figure out the people around me and why everyone except me acted so strangely all the time.
Ahem, yeah. Everybody else is crazy. I'm perfectly normal.
So I took a handful of psych classes that were super interesting and TOTALLY supported my theory that I was the only sane one in the entire world, and I used my newfound knowledge to begin diagnosing my friends and family members with any number of psychological issues. Clearly he has a narcissistic personality, some separation anxiety disorder and possibly has a conduct disorder. I can't date him any more. Oh that poor girl. I believe that she has a whole spectrum of adjustment disorders. Oh, and that one? Is that - oh can it be!- oh yeah, that's textbook impulse-control disorder right there.
There is no more dangerous person in the world than someone who has had around half a dozen psychology classes.
And then one semester, I signed up for a psych class with a professor I'll call Dr. M. Dr. M was hugely into self-analysis as a teaching tool, and one of the first things he did was make us take a bunch of personality inventories - that's tests to you laypeople. Laypersons. Whatever.
Oh my word.
While it is totally fun to diagnose everybody else's problems, I'd just as soon leave mine tightly pushed down into the deepest, darkest, dankest recesses of my soul, where they rightly belong, thank you very much.
But oh, no. Dr. M was insistent, and so I quite apprehensively started delving into my own personality, just a little bit.
One of the first ones we had to do was the Myers Briggs Instrument. Yes, it's an instrument, apparently. Nothing hoity-toity about that, now is there?
In this instrument, you answer a series of questions, then you get four letters that describe different aspects of your personality. Here are the areas it covers:
Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I).
Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).
Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).
Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).
Then you take your four letters and it forms a personality type, which you can read about obsessively
which OF COURSE I would never do, but you are powerless to really do anything about, because it's just kind of the way you are.
If you want to take a quick online version of the instrument, you can do it here.
I've taken the instrument many times over the past 20 or so years, first in college, then for work several times, and then I took it again just last week to see where I fell. Every single time I've taken it, I've been an ISTJ.
What does that mean? Well:
I'm Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging.
That's kind of it in a nutshell. This site sums it up by calling me a "Duty Fulfiller" then proceeds to use words like loyal, faithful, and dependable to describe me. Or maybe that's a description of somebody's dog. Hmm. Either way, it's probably accurate.
The description goes on to use phrases like dutiful, uncomfortable with emotion, hard working, serious, and a bunch of other words that come together to mean super boring and robot-like. I guess. Apparently I don't have feelings like normal people, so sometimes it's hard to comprehend something so vague and un-concrete.
This description says that in addition to unwavering loyalty, I will attempt to control my emotions most of the time, but when I perceive an injustice or wrong that I may have a sudden change of attitude. Basically, this means don't mess with me or the people I love or I will go absolute bat-shit redneck crazy on you faster than you can say ballistic.
Um, yeah, that sounds about right, too.
It goes on to say that ISTJs prefer organization, are meticulous and dependable, and often are overly analytical and are serious rule followers who have little use for people who don't fit into these categories. And those are the NICE things. I won't even tell you all the bad things, because my control-freak and power-grubbing nature prevent me from it.
So yeah. The more I've learned about myself over the years, the more I've come to accept the fact that maybe, just maybe, everybody else isn't QUITE as crazy as I suspected them to be.
But it's not me. Really. I'm still perfectly normal, sane and right. Always right. Forever and ever and ever and forever always right.
Yeah, it's nice up here in my brain.
You should try living in it sometime.