A-Z

Magic, Mischief, and a Little Bit of Chicken Fried

is for magic.

In which I weave together writing advice and my feelings while listening to Zac Brown Band.

M is for mischief.

In which I talk about the major downsides of an INTJ personality, specifically mine. And maybe weave in more writing advice, for any of you trying to write one.

M is for muffins.

Because I made some this morning and they were delicious, and I felt like I needed a third item in this list. (more…)

Lists, Lists, Lists

Searching the Internet for things to blog about is like trying to relieve your frustration by pounding on a punching bag made of memory foam. It’s useless, a little painful, and not at all satisfying. So then I remembered that’s what I started my endless A-Z challenge for. With that in mind,

L is for lists.

(more…)

Me, and Stuff.

K is for Kristen.

(Is that too obvious? That seems to obvious.)

kristen stewart.gif

I searched way too hard for an appropriate gif of Kristen Stewart.

I was recently accused (for the twelfth time) of not talking about myself enough. I tried to argue that everything you say is really “about” you, in that everything is a reflection of you: what you think about a person/place/thing and how you express those thoughts shows some aspect of your personality, character, and thought process. He wasn’t having any of it. Which is dumb, because I totally talk about myself plenty. I think.

Either way, I wanted to write but didn’t want to research anything, and, as many an icebreaker game has taught me, there aren’t any good adjectives that start with K (here’s looking at you, Kooky Katie, Krazy Kristen, and Kind Karen), so here’s a list of some random stuff that could probably mostly be qualified as “about me.”

I hate icebreaker games. They’re inane and awkward.

My favorite kinds of movies are ones in which an underdog gets ahead through hard work and perseverance (e.g. Morning GloryNever Back DownDirty Dancing). Bonus points if there’s a happy ending and/or the protagonist won’t put up with any drama.

I hate having all my toenails the same color.

Expensive art makes me lose faith in life and the rationality of humankind.

If my life were a romantic comedy, I’d probably be throwing Milk Duds at the screen right now. (That actually happened once. To a friend. Obviously. This one’s for you, Matty Flamhaff, you eternal heartbreaker.)

Asiago cheese bagels are my favorite food, especially when paired with a really good iced coffee.

I really hate talking about myself. I get about thirty seconds in and start to wonder why would anyone care? I’m not really that special. I don’t have anything to say if I’m not explaining something or providing some new, interesting revelation. Is this too much? This is dumb. And irrelevant. And then I take the time to convince myself otherwise and then thirty seconds later I repeat the process. It’s like one step forward and eight steps back. Blogging is supposed to help get me over this. Without turning me into some self-absorbed, self-obsessed dweeb.

I love 80s music. And 80s movies. Probably more than is socially acceptable.

There are exactly two people that I trust completely and don’t feel at all anxious around.

I believe that thrift shopping is a lifestyle and, if done right, a good lifestyle. You don’t have to pay a lot for clothes or art or coffee mugs. But, there are some things that definitely shouldn’t come from thrift stores if at all possible: underwear, bedding, stuffed animals, bath products, etc. You should always have a full and presentable set of dishes. You should always have a fuzzy blanket that’s only ever been yours. And you should treat yourself occasionally, because you can.

I expect the worst of people but hope for the best.

My perfect date would be a day at an amusement park, specifically one on a beach, like Cedar Point or Coney Island. There’s just something about the lights and the excitement and the sunshine and the smell, that lovely mix of sunscreen, sweat, fried food, and fish. I love it.

I always strive to be happy.

A Liberal Arts Education

I’ve been a college graduate for a little over a week and so far I’ve managed to move home, almost redo my room, lay on the couch sick for a week, watch two seasons of The Fosters on Netflix, and receive a very vaguely worded rejection (probably?) from a job I applied to.

So J is not for job hunt.

Because it’s overwhelming and sad and I really don’t want to talk about it.

My face, as I search for jobs.

There aren’t many good words that start with J. I don’t really like the letter. I’m not sure why. There are plenty of good names that start with J, but very few good, deep, bloggable words. Maybe it’s just a lack of imagination on my part–that’s totally possible. My well of inspiration is running very dry.

So, with nothing better, J is for Jacques.

As in Prince Jacques, who wears aftershave to make people think that he’s older.


Can you blame him, though? Nobody’s going to take him seriously either way; he’s just trying to seem like the adult he feels like.

I get you, Prince Jacques.

Here I am, masquerading around as some kind of adult, crossing my fingers that people are going to take me seriously and not realize that I’m secretly an eight-year-old trapped in a college graduate’s body. I put on my makeup and my big girl clothes and I use fancy words to convince people I don’t regularly take time out of my day to color and nap and eat too much cake. Granted now I pair that cake with wine instead of milk, so does that make me a real adult? What’s the secret? When do you cross from “precocious” into “actual adult,” even though you feel exactly the same, possibly even less prepared than you did before you had to worry about whether you were actually prepared or not?

liberal arts adult.gif

“It’s the world’s dirty secret.”

Liberal Arts is quite possibly my favorite movie. This line is one of the reasons why. Josh Radnor looks back (realistically) on his liberal arts education and drops truth after truth in a funny/sad/beautiful way. I honestly can’t recommend this movie enough.

I guess J could be for Josh Radnor, too. He’s pretty cool. I think we’d be friends.

ted mosby ohio.gif

(His parents actually do live in Ohio. He went to college in Ohio. The same college Liberal Arts was filmed at, actually. Fun facts.)

But seriously. I love both of his movies. They speak to my soul. And he just seems like a cool, down-to-earth dude. Here’s some things he said, if you don’t believe me.

If you’re out there, Josh, we should be friends. Either way, I’m a big fan.

I’ll leave you with a few of the best quotes from Liberal Arts before I go watch it:

“I like trees because they give us books.”

Nat: Want some good news?

Jesse Fisher: Yes, please.

Nat: Caterpillars… give me my hat… they’re just scooping along, right? Being caterpillars. At some point, these cells show up, called imaginal cells. Scientists don’t know where they come from or why they appear. These imaginal cells show up inside the caterpillar and say: “Get psyched, caterpillar! It’s butterfly-turning-into time!” And what do all the other caterpillars do once these imaginal cells show up?

Jesse Fisher: I have no idea.

Nat: They attack ’em! Try to kill ’em! They’re, like: “Screw you, imaginal cells. We’re happy being a caterpillar. Get lost!” But eventually, the imaginal cells keep growing and overtake the destiny of the caterpillar. They will be in this cocoon! And then guess what happens next?

Jesse Fisher: The caterpillar turns into a butterfly.

Nat: [repeats him excitedly] The caterpillar turns into a butterfly!

“You think it’s cool to hate things and it’s not. It’s boring.”

“Fortune never smiles on those who say no.”

“Don’t be a genius who dies young. Be one who dies old. Being old is cool. Grow old, and die old. It’s a better arc.”

So yeah, watch it. Love it.

P.S. Zac Efron is in it.

zac efron wink.gif

Humanizing the INTJ

I once had an INFP friend tell me, without any doubt, that he understood me. Naturally, I told him to prove it. And he did. He nailed it. He understood my emotions, my motivations, how my past affects my present. But he missed one thing.

He didn’t realize that while all those things are true, they aren’t the deciding factor on how I think and act.

They affect me, sure, but I am logical and rational above all else. Feelings are secondary; motivations only hold if they fit into my schema of survival. I’ve told him this many times, but I don’t think he believes it. Naturally I took that disbelief into account: am I more influenced by emotions than I think? are my actions impacted by unjustifiable thoughts? am I controlled by unconscious factors? The answers I came up with were, respectively, yes, yes, and no. I’m not a robot, as much as I might wish I were sometimes, but all my unconscious motivations are run through a serious of rigorous (often habitually subconscious) tests of rationality and reason. Is this going to benefit me? Is this going to last? Is this going to have a negative impact on anyone? What is the ratio of positive to negative? Will the negative impacts have worse implications down the line? Do I want this? Do I need this? How does this tie in to my eventual plan for success and fame and fortune and happiness? Etc.

If a thought, feeling, or motivation doesn’t pass the test, I don’t act on it.

Granted, I make mistakes. I do stupid things–though I usually do them well–and say stupid things and I make bad decisions that don’t benefit anyone either short term or long term. In short, I am human. (Ugh.) Anyway, I have a lot to say about Myers-Briggs. It’s one of the things that fascinates me (at least until I get bored of it) so I’ve spent a fair amount of time researching it. It, of course, is just a theory, a way of categorizing people that’s generally fairly right but, since people are people, has exceptions. No two people are exactly the same and that’s the beauty of humanity.

So, that being said, is for INTJ.

First, we are not villains. Fiction has given us a bad rap. Meet your INTJs:

moriarty ordinary people.gif

house idiotic theory.gif

tywin lannister lions sheep

emperor palpatine hate.gif

I mean, I get it. The intensely driven, seemingly emotionless, incredibly intelligent, easily obsessed character is a shoo-in for the perfect villain. I’ll confess, my favorite villains are (or could be, with more fleshing out) INTJs, specifically INTJs done right, given personalities and motivations and not just a desire to watch the world burn. Though those can be interesting, too.

I fully believe that the Joker used to be an INTJ. Before he got those scars. Let’s see if I can explain.

INTJ is broken down into introverted intuition, extraverted thinking, introverted feeling, and extraverted sensing (Ni-Te-Fi-Se). Our dominant function is introverted intuition, which is how we can disappear into our heads and come out with a seemingly random solution to a problem that’s almost guaranteed to work. This is paired with extraverted thinking, our auxiliary function, which essentially means that we take any and all objective information (information outside of our own minds) and weave it together to draw conclusions. These two are why we make good wizards and mages. Our tertiary function, the one that’s usually slightly underdeveloped, is introverted feeling, which is concerned mostly with personal feelings, values, etc. This one makes us uncomfortable. Since it’s not as developed as the other two, we push it down, ignore it, hide it from the world. This is why we’re made out to be sociopathic robots. Finally, our inferior function, extraverted sensing, is the reason we’re overwhelmed in large, boisterous crowds. It’s the reason we abuse substances. We try to work without it, but it occasionally pokes its head in and makes us crazy.

So that’s an INTJ.

An ENTP is broken down into extraverted intuition, introverted thinking, extraverted feeling, and introverted sensing (Ne-Ti-Fe-Si). It’s the shadow of an INTJ (and vice versa): The letters are in the same order, so the two have similar strengths and weaknesses, but the introversion and extraversion are switched. From what I understand, when a person enters a period of extreme stress, he’ll act as his shadow functions. Therefore, a stressed ENTP would draw inward, and a stressed INTJ would lash out. So the Joker, after enduring trauma, snapped, and became his shadow type.

(Disclaimer: I know nothing about the comics. This is all based on The Dark Knight. And Heath Ledger’s Joker. It’s also all speculation.)

My best friend, I believe, is an ENTP. She’s never quite been able to figure out what she is since every test gave her a different answer, and for a while she thought she was an INTJ. She and I are similar, but not similar enough. She’s too much of an optimist and a risk-taker. After realizing this, she tried switching a few of the letters–INTP, INFJ, etc.–but, like Goldilocks and the beds, none of those were quite right. So when I found this whole shadow function thing, I was intrigued. Being an ENTP would make her simultaneously my twin and my opposite which is, I guess, pretty accurate. We think in the same meandering patterns, which makes us excellent at brainstorming together, but we see different sides of issues, so our reasoning for something working or not working balances out. She’s more right brain and I’m more left (Lenore Thompson‘s theories of cognitive functions), but we’re both creative and both rational.

I checked reddit INTJs’ opinions on ENTPs and it seems to be a mixed bag, mostly “wow they’re tiring” or “I hate them.” My initial response is, of course, people who comment on the internet are dumb. But I know that’s not a perfect answer, so I’m looking into it some more. I think I’m on to something, but I don’t know exactly what.

Anyway, she was dead set against this typing at first: “But I’m not an extravert,” she said. And she’s not. She recharges alone, or with a certain few people. But she focuses her energy on the outside world, rather than spending hours introspecting, which is how Carl Jung meant the words. This may have come from her being raised as a PK, or it may just be her–which brings in the question of nature vs. nurture as it applies to personality types, something I have no answers for yet. But I’m working on it.

alice down the rabbit hole.gif

An INTJ with an unanswered question.

But we’re not villains, really. We’re just people. With traits that make us easily typed as sociopaths and evil geniuses.

Second, INTJs go on rabbit trails. If you haven’t noticed.

Our extraverted thinking and introverted intuition work together to show us every side of every issue and then the merits and downfalls and future implications of each side. We attach random facts to other random facts and try to make a spiderweb of sense until we find answers that please us. The closest representation of this I’ve seen is Sherlock’s mind palace.

sherlock mind palace.gif

This is seriously how my mind works, for those of you who thought this was purely fiction. Granted, it doesn’t often work this fast or this well. But it’s the general idea. So, when not given an important case that needs solving before people die, we tend to meander, explaining as we go because we learned long ago that most people can’t keep up, not because they’re any less intelligent (though it’s tempting to think so, and sometimes true), but because we jump from idea to idea very quickly.

Third, we get bored easily.

We can go from obsessed to uninterested in less time than it takes you to read this sentence. This switch can be flipped due to a few reasons: we learn what we wanted to know, we see whatever we’re working on is pointless, or we get distracted and lose our momentum. Which is what happened here. I left to go furniture shopping and now I’m bored. So, I’m sure there will be more INTJ posts in the future–I really do have a lot to say on the topic–but I think this post is already long enough. And if I’m bored, I’m sure you are too, dear reader. So thank you for getting this far. I’ll talk to you soon.

bye wave leo.gif

In Which I Listed All the Words I Could Think of that Started with H in Desperate Hopes of Inspiration and Still Came Up Short

H is for head.

As in, get out of it.

As in, I have things I need to do.

As in, I have things I need to focus on and I can’t do that when I’m stretched a million different directions. I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.

As in, I’m behind. And I need to be ahead. A-head. Get it?

As in, I’m trapped in my own head and I can’t figure out how to get out of it.

As in, I’m apathetic and empty and yet I can’t stop thinking, constructing arguments, running in circles and circles and circles and circles.

As in, ARRRGGHHHHHHHHH.

frustrated scrubs

Frustration Is an Emotion, and a Persistent One at That

G is for GAH.

This word, while not being a commonly recognized Oxford English proper term, is one of my favorites. Don’t get me wrong–I don’t like how it looks, I don’t like that it’s not proper English, I don’t like that it’s overused. But the sentiment it expresses is one I am very, very familiar with. And its expression is unparalleled in any other word. GAH is halfway between a scream and a sigh; it’s the lexical equivalent of running both hands through your hair and trying not to rip it out by the roots. It is, at the moment, my constant state of mind.

GAH nicely either precedes or follows sarcasm–but it should never be used in a sarcastic sentence. (e.g. I love when someone I trust assumes half the things I say are lies. It gives me a feeling of joy exceeded only by said person lumping me in with everything and everyone he hates. GAH.)

GAH is a lovely substitute for actual words when you are frustrated beyond the point of being able to think in complete sentences. This can be caused by many things including, but not limited to, the complete and utter stupidity and relational impossibility of the person(s) you are talking to:

gah ryan renolds

when you screw something up beyond repair due to lack of information, lack of foresight, bad 2am decisions, or any number of reasons, or, as is more often the case, when said utter stupidity screws something up and you end up having to try unsuccessfully to fix it:

gah IT

a silent plea for supernatural intervention as you have reached your wits end and are unable to even comprehend anything beyond trying not to collapse in a frustrated, sobbing, undignified heap due to any number of overwhelming external irritants:

gah jake gyllenhal

being in an argument that someone else started and realizing that no matter what you do or say, they will stick with the story in their head despite how disassociated from reality it may be, and they will argue as though this is your fault:

gah brave

when you see the end of the path someone has started all of you on and you try to explain that this really will not end well because of reasons and experiences (a), (b), and (c), but they assure you again and again, with an irritated and condescending tone, that “it’s fine” and “you worry too much” and “goddamnit Kristen, we’ve been over this”:

gah rdj

(bonus points if it turns out you were right):

ed wood frustrated

and finally, when you realize that no matter what you do, you can only succeed as far as the people around you will let you succeed. Personal accomplishment means very little if it’s not validated in the real world, and more often than not, something (someone) will come along sooner or later to screw up every good thing you’ve worked for:

cameron frye

Cameron: [screams]

But you drudge on through the banality and frustrations of life and take joy from what you can until someone comes along and screws that up, too. GAH.

Eff It All

Well, the first week of my last semester of college has come and gone, and I’m resigning myself to the fact that my constant state of being for the next four months will be tired, stressed, and surviving. So, with that in mind,

F is for eff it.

As in, “Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.” (If I were a book, it would be Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Or possibly Good Omens. Both wonderful reads. I’m not biased at all.)

As in, keeping up most relationships is more trouble than it’s worth.

As in, conversely, my plan to avoid all but like five people this semester is going terribly. I’ve had plans with different people every single night so far. And dare I say I’ve enjoyed it? I’m exhausted, sure, but I don’t like being alone. Might as well make the most of college. So my plan has changed. Rather than avoid everyone, I’ve resolved not to unduly dislike anyone. It’ll take some work, but I hope it’ll turn out worth it. If people want to be my friend, I might as well be theirs. I’m too tired to hold pointless grudges this semester. For the most part.

As in, I spent all day yesterday at a bridal show with my best friend and seeing that many happy couples made me want to vomit. If you had enough patience, a bridal show would be a great place to pick up chicks. Because all the single bridesmaids are there with their soon-to-be-married friends, surrounded by things meant for couples, and already used to writing their name and phone number on things. It’s pretty much foolproof. If only I could have run into the cute male model from the weirdly upbeat fashion show.

As in, I WANT TO BE DONE WITH MY THESIS.

As in, I’m supposed to have a writing portfolio completed in about three months and I have next to nothing that’s not the novel I’ve been writing since June. And I can’t decide if I care.

As in, a coffee addiction is only detrimental if your heart stops, right?

As in, my priorities this semester are having fun and getting thin, but everything is enough of a priority that they all have to get done. If everything is a priority, is anything? Is it possible for me to stay sane right now? I have my doubts.

As in, it’s much more fun to get organized than it is to do the things you just organized.

As in, caring about things takes too much effort. I’m not a robot, but I want to be. Life would be infinitely easier if I were as task oriented, practical, and emotionless as I pretend to be.

As in, I have no idea what I’m doing after graduation and it’s terrifying and I’m occasionally crippled by panic but I’m not actually worried about it.

As in, eff you.

As in, I don’t actually know how to say eff it and then follow through. Like the character in Dirk Gently’s Holisitic Detective Agency, my life is a constant cycle of this: “That was it. That was really it. She knew that she had told herself that that was it only seconds earlier, but this was now the final real ultimate it.” Until the next time.

As in, I can think the unthinkable. I can do the undoable. I can grapple with the ineffable itself. And we’ll see what comes of that.

star trek ng dance party.jpg

“But if It Had to Perish Twice…”

E is for editing.

I don’t know how to edit.

I should be editing right now instead of writing this.

The idea of editing the book I’m writing right now is making me physically nauseated, but I have to finish it soon.

I don’t like doing things I don’t know how to do. Okay, that’s not true. I love figuring things out; the best way for me to learn is hands-on. I love deconstructing just to see how something works and building it back up again, or being given a task or having an idea and watching it come together under my fingertips. But I don’t like being expected to know something I was never taught, being thrown into a mess and told that if I’m not out by the time the timer is up, I’m going to lose. I don’t like that. I don’t want to edit this book. I don’t know how.

I’ve hated working on it for so long that you think I’d be used to it by now. But hate isn’t something that hits you once and lets you get used to its sticky, oozing, smoldering darkness. Hate pours itself like tar into the cracks in your heart and nervous system and expands, until its object becomes so repugnant to you that you would rather do literally anything else than face it and deal with it. Anything.

Robert Frost (and I’m sure many others) claimed that hatred is ice. I don’t believe him. Hatred is hot. Hatred is the igneous rock of the soul. Hatred is turning the shower hotter than you can take it and relishing in the heat so intense it feels cold.

Hate is a nuisance. Like jealousy, it holds no useful traits for my survival as a functioning human being. I want it eradicated from my mind, if that is indeed where it resides. (I’ve never quite been able to distinguish the exact differences between feelings and thoughts and the respective places they reside. Some past society or another believed that emotions resided in the bowels–a theory I’m inclined to believe, for connotational reasons.)

So this is me choosing not to embrace hate. This is me choosing to eliminate hate. And, when that inevitably fails time and time again, this is me sucking it up and editing my novel and dealing with stupid people with a smile.

crazy stupid love I will kill you laughter.gif

I am both of them.