Hmm, not so much…

I’ll be lecturing a class on Creative Blog Posts titles at Harvard later this month if you’re interested.

We’re all given a lot of advice throughout our lives, right?  Some good, some not so much (see what I did there?).  Anyway, I was just obsessing over insignificant things in the shower, as you do, and I realized that a lot of things I have been told in my life, that I have taken for granted as hard, cold truths, are not actually true at all.  And so, since I possess that rare gift of oversharing, I’ve made a little (long, rambling, endless) list of them for your viewing pleasure.

  1. It is good to be a perfectionist.

I am NOT a perfectionist.  At all.  No one has ever accused me of being one (my nickname for years was Spacey Casey) and I am fairly certain no one ever will.  Example: I was late every single day of my junior year of high school. Every. Day.  Example 2: While changing my baby’s diaper yesterday, I wiped her with a damp bib  because I had run out of 1. wet wipes as well as 2. paper towels as well 3. toilet paper.  Now, most of my life I considered this a weakness.  It was certainly a weakness while in school.  But now that I am an adult, honestly, I’m starting to see it as a strength.  There are a number of studies out that say perfectionism can lead to depression because, while it may be possible to fill out a scantron perfectly, it’s not possible to argue with your husband perfectly. Or teach your kids perfectly.  Or pray perfectly.  It’s just not.  Not being a perfectionist has allowed me to be an optimist.  Yes, I might screw up here and there, my kids might be crazy, feral beasts off and on throughout the day, and my husband might be gone working and doing homework more often than I would like him to be, but, at the end of the day, we all love and forgive each other and that is enough.  That is more than enough!

sleep

(excuse me while I earn my nickname)

2. I would get used to waking up early.

Nope. Never.  Never.  Ever.  Mornings = death.  (I think the above picture was taken before 9 am)

3. I would miss working once I became a stay at home mom.

I remember being told this when I was pregnant with my first daughter, by virtually every woman I knew, and thinking inwardly, “For real?!” Now, just to clarify as my former boss aka Dad will be reading this: I had a great job.  My heart just wasn’t there.  I think this is true for many girls though it’s unpopular to say so.  I have met so many young girls who aren’t sure what they want to do with their lives.  They say maybe they’d like to go into creative arts or open a bakery or just travel a bit.  I wonder if maybe, like me, their true heart’s desire is to be a wife and mother.  I used to feel ashamed about how little ambition I had in school and work.  I thought maybe I was inherently lazy or stupid.  I can tell you now, after having/chasing/cooking for/cleaning up after four small children (and still hoping and praying for more!), I am neither lazy nor stupid (proof: I used nor in a sentence).  I’m actually pleased (and  a bit surprised) to say I can be quite the hard worker.  I just needed a vocation.  I needed a purpose.  Working couldn’t give me that, but motherhood and wifehood (is that a word??) has.

baby jo

(sweet dreams, you beautiful excuse not to work)

4.  Even if I did get used to the SAHM gig, I’d be dying for playdates so I could have “grown up” conversations.

Ahh, playdates.  Save me.  Please.  Playdates = death.  Contrary to what I had been told, children are fascinating as well as hilarious company and are, gasp, also capable of conversation.

5. If I didn’t succeed in high school, I’d never make it in college.

Blatant lie.  I barely graduated high school.  In fact, there was some controversy over whether or not I should be allowed to walk on stage during the graduation ceremony.  I did great in college.  I actually earned straight A’s one semester, and close to straight A’s all the other ones.  Yes, I did end up leaving college before I graduated but that was not because I couldn’t handle the workload.  I went full-time every semester while also working and even joined the debate team.

6.  I would regret dropping out of college.

While I am not against college in the slightest, I am against the idea of “finding yourself” in college. College is a horrible place to find yourself.  If you are lost, you will be more lost on a college campus.  I was very very lost in college and, upon reflection, probably depressed.  I had no clue as to what I wanted to do for a career.   Though I did enjoy my classes and received grades my high school self never dreamed of, I was floundering in my personal life.  I decided to take some time off to travel with my sister and get my head straight.  Within two years, I had a passionate faith, a beautiful husband, and a pregnant belly.  I have never, ever, for a moment, regretted dropping out of college.  Actually, it’s one of the best decisions I ever made.

p and c

(Hong Kong)

7. Getting married young is a mistake.

I was 21 when I got married.  My husband was 19 (yes.i.am.a.cradle.robber.  Seriously, what would happen if this joke was not made every single time it’s mentioned I’m older than my husband?  Would the Universe implode?)  We’ve been married nine years now.  In a lot of ways, we ‘ve grown up together.  We’ve made foolish, youthful mistakes together.  We’ve been poor together.  We’ve quit careers and started careers together.  And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Going through all the ups and downs of life has truly made us partners. It’s made us One.   There’s a scene in “Letters to Juliet” where the grandmother, who is searching for her long lost love, pulls up to the giant mansion  where she thinks he’s living and her grandson turns to her and says, “Well, looks like you got to skip the messy bits.” To which she quietly replies, “Life is the messy bits.”  Word.

c and s

(babies)

8. My kids wouldn’t connect to the Faith in an Orthodox church.

Okay, no one actually said this to me, it was more something I said to myself.  In our seeker friendly culture, I was afraid my kids wouldn’t be able to find meaning in a 2-hour service full of chanting, incense, and standing.  Didn’t they need Veggie Tales and a rocking worship band to engage?  Wouldn’t they dread the services, as there are so many of them?  Wouldn’t they find the priests and the icons and the hymns strange?  No, no, and no.  It has been one of the greatest joys of my life to see my children grow in Orthodoxy.  They get it. They just Get. It.

st anna

Btw, kids LOVE icons.  And prostrations.  Who knew?

Okay, there you have it.  I could have written more but I assume you have better things to do with your time to read my endless rants, right?  I’ll just end with this: there is a certain mold people are expected to fit into; in school, work, adulthood.  When you don’t fit that mold, it can be scary. I don’t fit that mold.  I never did.  And, for many years, that truth really did scare me. I remember crying myself to sleep one night, calling out to God, begging Him to give me a future, pleading with Him to set me on a path, because I couldn’t imagine how I would walk the one the world had laid out for me.

And He did.  He gave me an awesome life.  He gave me purpose.  He gave me a future.  It’s okay that I didn’t fit the mold.  I think one of the reasons I am so grateful for my present life is because I always assumed my life would suck.  How could it not?  If you’re a terrible student and unmotivated worker, your life will inevitably be a giant failure,right?  As it turns out, No.  That’s not right.  There is more than one version of a Great Life.

9. This is only one version of a Great Life.

Until next time.

 

Personality Types

So, we’ve already established that I’m obsessed with Myers Briggs, though at present I’m a little confused over what my type is.  I was so so sure I was an INTP but then I thought, no, I’m probably more of an E than an I, so I must be an ENTP, but then Shaine was like, you are not a T, you’re an F.  So now I’m all confused…Is it possible I’m an ENFP? All these years I’ve thought of myself of an introverted thinker, but is possible I’m actually an extroverted feeler?  Could the sun set in the middle of the night and the sky be pink? Maybe friends, maybe.

Thrillingly, for this huge nerd right here, there are many more personality type thingys (that is their Latin name) out there in the university of Google. Such as!!! Enneagrams!  And Temperments!  Woo Hoo!

Not that I would ever obsess over anything, least of all myself (lies lies lies), I may be a personality type junky.  I can’t help it!  They are far from an exact science and I seem to change my mind about which type I am every week or so, but for some reason I’m hooked.  I’m a Cabo San Lucas Grouper and the Personality Tests are a boatful of drunk tourists. Get me?

Ok, I know you’re all dying of suspense, so I’ll just tell you: I think I may be a 7 on the Enneagram, which would mesh perfectly with being an ENTP.  I thought for sure I was a 5 which would mesh with an INTP but all the tests I’ve taken say, no, you’re not a 5.  I think the thing that trips me up about all this is I must view myself as a shy, reserved, deep thinker (i.e., 5, INTP) but I’m actually an obnoxious, pleasure seeking lush (i.e., 7, ENTP).  This is reflected perfectly in a conversation I had with someone who knows a lot about Enneagrams:

“So, what’d you score?”

“Well, I thought I’d be a 5 but I scored 7.”

“Hmm, what degree did you get in college? That should tell you something about your personality.”

“Oh, I dropped out of community college after about a year.”

Awkward silence.

So, I guess I’m that terrible kind of person that thinks they’re much smarter than they really are?  But, on the plus side, maybe I’m also more likable than I ever thought I was?  I don’t know.  Does it matter? No, probably not.  Ok, I just heard the whole blogging world sigh in unison so I’m moving on.

To the Temperments!  (You didn’t think I was done talking about the tests, did you? Neva)  The Temperments are much easier, in my opinion, to figure out as there are only four so their descriptions are much broader and I don’t feel the need to flip-flop every time I have indigestion or don’t get enough sleep.

Part of this obsession with typing comes from wanting to understand my children (it’s not all about me, I promise!) so I think I’ll describe the four types through them:

jo

Jo – Sanguine/Choleric.  The most active of all the types (hold me, Jesus).  Sanguine types are fun loving, pleasure seeking extroverts.  Cholerics are quick tempered, strong willed types.  This is the type of child that will tie FOUR ropes of varying materials from your bannister (see above) so she can continue moving even while watching TV.  Jo’s main goal in life is to make people laugh, though, if she can’t pull that off, she’s also content with making people cry.  Whatevs.

anna(I did not make the above picture Godzilla gigantic and this pic small as a mouse on purpose.  I just have no idea what I am doing)

Anna – Melancholic/Phlegmatic.  Melancholics are sensitive, quiet, introverted thinking types.  Phlegmatics are calm peacemakers.  This combo is interesting as the two instincts are at a bit of a variance with each other.  Anna is the type of child who cries over something her sister has said to her, yet begs you not to be upset with the offending sister, and cries even harder if said sister is punished in any way.

If you can’t tell, Anna and Jo are complete opposites, which has the potential to create conflict, but actually has been a huge blessing in many ways.  Jo, left to herself, is a savage barbarian that belongs in a Roman colosseum while Anna is so prim she shrieks if an ant crawls over her toe.  In short, they NEED each other.  Jo brings loads of fun into Anna’s otherwise neat and tidy world while Anna makes Jo a bit more aware of ridiculous things such as manners and closing the door while you go the bathroom.  God knows what He’s doing, it seems.

ruby

Ruby – Phlegmatic/Sanguine.  Phlegmatics, as we’ve discussed, just want everybody to get along, and Sanguines want to have lots of fun.  I have no favorite among my children (no nope never), but Ruby is seriously so so easy.  As any parent of multiple children will understand, a child who’s main goal in life is getting along with everybody is a GODSEND (hallelujah hands emoji).  She also happens to think I’m pretty and awesome so, cheers to you, Rubes.

zoe

If your main hobby is not staring googley eyed at sleeping babies, then we can’t be friends.

Zoe- Choleric/Sanguine.  Oh, Zoe.  Zoe, Zoe, Zoe.   Should I say it again? Okay: Zoe.  I have never had an angry baby.  I’ve seen angry babies, sure, being pushed around in strollers by other, less competent parents.  But my children never acted in such a way.  Last said by me, about twelve months and three weeks ago.  This kid has such a temper!  I used to blame it on teething, and the kid does have an obscene amount of teeth (what baby has her back molars before age 1?), but I’m starting to come out of denial and realize that, yes, she actually is trying to bite me.  She seems to get over things quickly (thank you, friend Sanguine) but it can be a bit of a wild ride until she does.

How have  I rambled on so far down the page about personality types??  I should probably be embarrassed by this, right?  In case any of you are thinking, seriously, this is your Easter weekend blog post!?  Let me remind you that I am Orthodox so Easter is still weeks and weeks away for me, so ha! I promise you, whilst I am shopping for deeply discounted Easter merch in the following weeks, I will be constructing something of a bit more depth to lay on ya’ll.  Or, I’ll write about how much I love the show Parenthood.  You’ll just have to wait and see!

P.S. In case you were wondering (you weren’t? what?) I am a Sanguine/Phlegmatic (No, Parris, I am not a Choleric. No!) and Shaine, sweet, blessed Shaine, is a Phlegmatic/Melancholic.  I highly recommend marrying a Phlegmatic. They are thee best.

P.P.S. Yes, I am aware that I use an unwholesome amount of commas.

And, (not P.P.P.S., this is too big to be a P.S.) to all my non-Orthodox friends out there: Happy Easter!  Christ is Risen!