I'm one of those people who is obsessed with the Myers-Brigg personality indicator. I know this drives some people crazy, but I just find the thing fascinating. Most of the time, I don't think about it too terribly much, but I've gone through periods where I wouldn't get my homework done because I got so wrapped up in trying to figure out my type, type other people, etc. I even have the letters of my type as a decoration on my wall along with some print-outs of descriptions of my personality as a pick-me-up for when I feel bad about myself. I guess I find it motivating and encouraging to understand myself, especially since the majority of aspects of my personality (introverted, shy, introspective, emotional, confrontation-avoidant, sensitive, etc.) are not particularly popular or desirable in American culture, which makes me question my worth quite a bit.
Why am I talking about this? That's a good question...Wait a second. I need to stop and remember.
Okay, I'm back. I got it. I'm saying this because my personality type (the big reveal: INFP! And very proud! You can go research now.) is prone to dreaming, which is really a double-edged sword. Dreams are so fun after all. Not the ones where you can't speak louder than a whisper or you just realized that you missed all of your finals or whatever, but the daydream kind of dreams where you meet Prince Charming (I mean, personally I found myself more attracted to John Smith from Pocahontas than P.C., though I doubt he was actually that attractive in real life, but really nothing in that movie reflects real life...) or sing onstage with Demi Lovato or get married to the guy who sits in front of you in chemistry class or your school changes its core course requirements and you don't have to take chemistry...
I find myself daydreaming a lot. Probably more than I'd like to admit. Not that I'm always zoned out or anything, I just have these imaginings of the possibilities of my future running in the back of my head like those houses where people leave the TV on all the time. I've always had such imaginings since I was young, convincing myself I would meet my favorite celebrities or become a great author or singer. Most of these things are just too embarrassing to admit, like old crushes you had on 90's boy band members. I guess I just like the feeling of power that I get from imagining myself in some situation where people can be impressed by me, which I am ashamed to admit because I find prideful people so annoying. I guess that since I haven't had many friends or much popularity or attention over the years, it's a bit addicting to imagine myself in a place where I impress, where I shine, where I am respected and listened to and my opinion is valued. But sometimes I realize that even if I fulfilled those dreams, I probably still wouldn't be satisfied.
Why am I talking about this? That's another great question. I guess because what I'm struggling with today, as the title of this post may indicate, is a clash of dreams, which has made me, well, so confused. I've had my heart set on grad school, but this week my little noggin caught the inkling of some grand imagining for a completely different track I could take, leaving me conflicted. What do I pursue? Where do I go? Further complicating things is the realization that down this new path could be a man who I truly admire. He's out of my reach and no doubt we will never meet and even if we did, he would never take notice of me, but he's the first guy since the fiasco of last year who has made my heart consider that maybe it would be worth letting down the fierce, ten-foot tall wall it has erected to peek out just a little at the possibility of possibly falling in love and surrendering my independence. Someone who might actually care, actually listen. Someone who might accept all my baggage. Someone who might get me.
A year and a half ago, I thought I had found someone like this. And he had the elements of potentially being such a person. But he gave his love to someone else and grew somewhat cold and indifferent to me, even peppering our interactions with callous condescension that was like a serated knife to my already-tender heart, so desperate to believe the best of him. After I left that school and started to move on, I grew hard-hearted and cynical towards people because of the betrayals, let-downs, and hurt I had experienced, but most especially towards men. Not only had this last crush treated me with condescension (even though I'm older and considerably wiser, may I add...I guess I've learned my lesson; go for the older men), but I still was disgusted with how patronizing my high school crush had been to me even though I'm pretty sure he liked me. He once told me when I said I was bored that, "Young ladies tend to have that problem." (I can't make this stuff up, guys. But it did inspire my first song.) Another guy in my church singing group told me that even though I had been nice to this guy I liked, I "didn't deserve to have him like me back just because I was nice." And those are just the highlights of such interactions...
Anyways, what I mean to say is that sometime last year, I decided that the vast majority of men were pretty much all condescending, self-centered, and arrogant. I was tired of being subtly put down and talked down to, particularly by men in Christian circles. I was tired of being circumscribed to certain personality traits, roles, and abilities as a woman. I guess people just have a need to put others down so they can feel bigger, regardless of gender.
I'm still not entirely convinced I was wrong in this conclusion, but when I read about this one man, I saw a beauty and humility of soul and commonality of mind and thought with my own rarely-held opinions that made me stop dead in my tracks. I had locked up my heart behind twelve-foot steel walls, having decided it was safer and easier to just live alone. I could do what I wanted, not pressure myself to pursue relationships, not stress out about crushes, not obsess to the point where I made myself miserable, not ever have to experience a break up, not have to experience the inevitable heartache and frustration that I had become convinced marriage would bring...I would be unique, standing on my own two feet, and I would finally be content.
And I was content! Until a glimpse of a dream of having the privilege to love, support, and comfort someone truly deserving and end any heartache he had experienced and to perhaps - hope beyond imagining - perhaps even be loved back, though I would happily love such a soul without return for a thousand lifetimes. That dream shook me to my core, made me reevaluate and rearrange. And that wasn't the only dream. I also considered the possibility of pursuing a different vocation, a different path. I dreamed of doors opening to a beautiful road of using my talents to help others. Both these dreams just seem so real sometimes. I have to remind myself that neither is really even a remote possibility for me in Real Life at this time. And with that knowledge, I realize in my head that it's pointless to question my life plans when there really isn't an actual "other path" to take right now. But my heart is still enraptured by the possibilities. My soul is still shaken by the earthquake that rocked it. My world that had settled into normalcy, shaped around my ambitions to pursue one path, had been shaken like a snow globe and set back down while the mysterious greater force that stirred things up quietly slipped away.
Now I'm left in the swirl of whatever it is they use to make that fake snow. I grew up believing, in part because of my religious faith, that everything happens for a reason; I've come to nudge myself away from that belief because otherwise I obsess over what the reason for events might be and draw conclusions where I shouldn't. But when things like this come out of nowhere and shake everything up and then move on again, it always leaves me wondering if there wasn't some divine purpose. I mean, why else would it happen? Maybe it's all me being emotional and hyper-sensitive; who knows. But the point is that such happenings leave me wondering if I am being prepared for some new course my life will take or some such thing. And that leaves me confused because I can't let go of this dream, which makes me question whether the goal I've designed the next year or so of my life around pursuing is really a worthy one.
And brooding over an attractive but inaccessible man doesn't help things much either.
Neither does the fact that I am UP PAST WHAT SHOULD BE MY BEDTIME!!! And I need to write a paper in the next 36 hours. But I had to get this out of my system first. It's a bit embarrassing to expose this odd, obsessive side of myself that no one seems to understand and I've often been made fun of for, but maybe someone out there gets it and can be comforted knowing they're not alone.
Keep dreaming, friends. The future is wide open, and one thing I am thankful for is that I can enjoy and relish in that nowadays, because a year ago I thought there was no hope for me and no point in living. Depression puts blinders on me like that and I can't see any truth. I am so thankful that that blindfold has been removed and I can see all the lights on the horizon. I hope that if you're struggling, you know that one day you can see that light, too. Don't give up. Hope is indeed quite real.