All throughout high school I was an INFP; for those of you who aren’t familiar with Myer’s Briggs on a formal level, here’s what that means – you take a medium-length personality quiz and and they present you with a series of four letters, your MBTI. this sequence of I/E, N/S, F/T, and P/J sum up the gist of your personality. INFP – introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiving, was how I defined myself, until recently. I took the MBTI test a couple weeks ago, out of curiosity, and much to my surprise… I was labeled an INTJ, or introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging. That’s a pretty significant leap. Two aspects of my personality had become the opposite of what I had branded into my skull so long ago, it left me reeling – who am I? I had gone from dreamer to architect, from common to rare, from summer child to ice queen, from Lovegood to Malfoy. I wasn’t upset as the consequences of this questionnaire didn’t impact my future directly, I was just confused. Since then, I’ve been trying to pinpoint the exact moment that this shift in personality happened.
As with most things, it happened in increments; tiny waves instead of a hurricane, all at once. It started in my eyes – a warm, welcoming hope for interaction turned to caution and cold observance. The hazel transitioned from an autumn brown to mossy green with a warning in the depths. From there it spread to my mind – someone who felt the emotions of others and wore her feelings on a sleeve became someone who learned to control the faucet. A person who was gracious and hopeful towards the human race became wary of intentions. A girl who loved bright colors and thought in pastels replaced her wardrobe and introspection with dusky tones. A woman who turned away love stories and spoke to the darkest sides of humanity was born. The metamorphosis spread to my mouth – compliments and kindness were handed out sparingly; I stopped offering my compassion to anyone who glanced my way. Years of anxiety and depression from losing a parent figure had left a bitter taste. They gave me medication that reminded me of swallowing smoke. I stopped using my prescription and the icy fingertips of the woman I was becoming sunk into my heart. The pieces of myself that I was so desperately trying to glue together cemented themselves with frostbite. I learned, in time, that I was continuing to allow toxic people affect me because they had made tiny cracks in my soul and filled the fissures with fragments of themselves. I turned the anger and sadness and hatred inwards and allowed them to freeze the memories inhabiting the crevices. It hurt like a bitch, but when they were immobile and shivering, I slipped tendrils of myself into the open wounds. The cold found my fingers next; I stopped reaching for others. I stopped holding my arms out for the people who would never come back, or worse, leave me bleeding and shattered again… and again… and again. I reached, instead, for a select few and then for my pen. I filled my arms with stories and covered the flesh with ink.
I have days where I melt – when the sun is too strong and the tear tracks melt my cheeks. Those days are rarer now since I have embraced the winter queen who resides in my soul. Her and I are close, you see. No one gets to her and very few get to me. She’s taught me when to sneer and when to purr, when to grin and when to snarl, to bring her out when I need strength. She whispers to me “You can love yourself now. I am not anxiety or self-hatred or even rage, can’t you tell? Where he felt like barbed wire, I feel like fresh snow and cold sunshine.”
So here I stand today, a product of long awaited self acceptance. I have grown and I will continue to grow, like frost on a windowpane.
The Book Witch
On the left, two pictures of me, shy of 17. On the right, both barely 22.