Fellow INFPs, do you feel me?

Fellow INFPs, do you feel me?

Oh, my fellow INFPs, can you tell me? Do you feel fundamentally flawed?

Much of the time, I feel like nobody understands me. So many people seem to operate on logic and don’t understand that I am based in the heart. I must seem ridiculous to them, and I find that when I speak to them I have trouble packaging my words in a way that helps them understand how I’m feeling or why I feel the way I do. And I’ll admit I don’t always understand them either. How does one work from the mind and not from the heart?

I feel destined to be misunderstood and alone. All the things they love about me come from the same place as the things maybe they don’t love so much.

All that they adore in us can turn into the reasons they chose to ignore us. Our passion. Our heart.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always felt ashamed of the way I am. I noticed I was different–more sensitive–than others. Hiding the tears I cried during sad movies. Plastering on the fake smile that I cultivated to cover the injury inflicted upon me by the simplest of statements (to them) until I was alone and it dripped down my face like melting wax lips.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve worked hard to embrace my sensitivity and what makes me…me.  But it’s tough when a friend tells you that maybe you aren’t worth their friendship because you get sad or upset when they attack something that you are extremely passionate about. They don’t understand that it feels like the world might crumble without those things which make your heart soar. Without which, we might stay hidden in the dark shadows that our pain buries us in. Often times, they don’t even see how what they may have said could be perceived as an attack at all. Are we unsolvable puzzles to others?

When I love someone and find them worthy of my attention, I love them deep within every cell of my body. This doesn’t happen often. I don’t have many people that I want to focus on in such a grand way, but when I find them, it is like magic. They are magic. But if they end up rejecting me, it feels like a world of color was suddenly reduced to gray.

They may not understand that because I care for them so much, their words can sting more than anything brought upon me by those I do not give a shit for. I guess that is a lot of responsibility to put on someone who may not understand the space in which I live.

But I don’t think they understand the heavy load that my affections place on my shoulders. I feel the pain of others deeply and am often compelled to listen and help. Their pain becomes my pain. If someone or something matters to me, I will put everything I’ve got into making it all better for them.

But not everyone is like this. Sometimes when I need an understanding ear or hand to hold, I can come up empty. Left to shoulder the torturous burdens alone. Not that other types are bad. They just don’t see or feel things the way I do. I understand that they are not trying to neglect or hurt me but they are…different. But understanding that fact doesn’t lift the clouds, does it?

So, am I meant to be alone?

Perhaps this why so many of our kind turn to the pen. The page will always understand the rhythms to which our hearts thump. Putting our words into black and white feels like the safest way to express and release our pain. Maybe no one will read or listen but it helps when we can transform our feelings–heart–into art.

https://www.patreon.com/KAliceCompeau

INFP me.

INFP me.

I’ll never forget the first time I took the Myers-Briggs Personality test and learned I was an INFP. It was a little creepy how well the test knew me, but it was also a relief to read that there are others out there like me. Even though I tend to be a loner, I felt so much less alone.

To be honest, I’ve always been embarrassed by the way I am. I remember always crying at movies when others didn’t, desperately trying to stop the tears from forming then falling, and when they did, quickly trying to wipe them away before others saw. One time, when I was little, I vividly remember watching an episode of Highway to Heaven. In the episode, a homeless boy wishes that someone would love him, Jonathan comes to him to make his wish come true. It had a happy ending. I cried and cried. My sister laughed. Her laughter stung.

I learned to be embarrassed by who I am. “Too idealistic, too altruistic, impractical, taking things personally, and hard to get to know” these are the weaknesses of the INFP.  These are my weaknesses.

Yes, I am hard to get to know, and it takes a long time before I show people the real me. There are only a handful of people who truly know me. So when I finally let someone in, and they disappoint idealistic me, it hurts immensely.

I’m so thankful to be a writer. I could let the pain and shame about how I react consume me. But now, I take to the page and turn all the negative feelings I have for myself into works that I’m proud of.

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Do you know your personality type?

Are you an INFP, like me? How do you work through your “weaknesses?”

You can find out more about the INFP personality type here

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How to read more

How to read more –

I’ve admitted before that I’m a reluctant reader. I don’t ravenously devour books. I don’t have the kind of swoony love affair that others seem to have with them. Now, when I do find a book that grabs me, I fall head over heals in love. Like those Matthew McConaughey movies where he’s this big playboy until he meets that one special girl.

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When I find that special book, you know what it’s like? It’s like I’m Angela Chase obsessing over Jordan Catalano!

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Unfortunately, there aren’t many Jordan Catalanos leaning against lockers waiting to steal my heart (Ah, I love the way he leans). For me, the book world contains a lot more Brian Krakows.

Now, I LOVE to tell stories. I think people assume that all writers love to read, but it’s just not true for me. They are two different activities. I mean, I like to eat but don’t necessarily like to cook. Ya know what I’m sayin’?

But I know I have to read to be a better writer. It’s studying. I have to do it because I want to be the best at what I do, so I’m willing to put in the work. (Keeping my fingers crossed each time I open a cover that love is waiting inside!) And I’ve been reading a lot more. A LOT more! It’s gotten easier. How? Well, I’m glad you asked.

I’ve made a list of all the things that make it easier. I’m sharing because maybe it’ll help other reluctant readers.

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1) No guilt over how long it takes me to read a book. I’m always slow. And who cares? What does it matter how fast you travel from cover to cover? Maybe us slow readers are the ones who are stopping along the way to smell the roses. Besides, anyone who cares how long it takes you is kind of a jerk.

2) If a first chapter is painful to read, toss it aside! It’ll only reinforce your belief that reading is a horrible task. Reading isn’t horrible, the crap book is.

3) I take recommendations. This is how I found THE WHEEL OF TIME series. I’m enjoying it, and I plan to finish the whole thing (slowly).

4) When I do take recommendations, I don’t care to pretend I think it’s awesome or even that I’m willing to finish it. “Good, but not my cup of tea” is a good line to throw out there.

5) Read outside the stuff you’d find at Barnes & Noble. There are a lot of good books published by small presses that don’t make it into the stores as well as good self-published books. Did you ever consider that you just may not like the stuff that’s meant to sell to the masses? Sure, there’s some self-published crap, but then you return to number 2 on the list -you don’t have to read the whole thing! And a lot of times, the ebooks are free or 99 cents on Amazon. That’s better than picking something up at a bookstore, paying a lot more, and it ends up being crap too. I’ve started quite a few books I hated recently and was glad I got them at the library instead of the bookstore. You don’t have to have a big bookshelf to impress anyone.

6) I require absolute silence when reading! I’ve learned not to try to read anywhere women gather and have unreasonably loud conversations. There are always these loud moms roaring on about their Disney Cruiseline vacations and who booked a more lavish trip! And by the way, WHY do people talk so loud? Especially when the person they’re talking to is sitting right next to them? But loud-talkers are a whole other topic. I used to constantly try reading in places that weren’t silent, and I’d end up reading the same line over and over. It was frustrating! Once again it reinforced the belief that it was the reading I hated and not what I now recognize as a hatred for overly loud people. I want to fall into a different world, and I can’t do that when some lady is bragging about the size of her husband’s SUV.

7) Most importantly – I read what I want! For the longest time, I was embarrassed to read middle-grade fantasy in public. Then I stopped caring what other people thought.

So that’s it. I hope it helps.

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https://www.patreon.com/KAliceCompeau

Nanowrimo Failure?

Nanowrimo Failure?

Back in April, I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, and I feverishly wrote every day and finished a novel in record time. So when Nanowrimo came along, I thought, “Sure, I can do this!”

Boy, was I wrong!

I stalled out at 10,000 words. I tried to make myself write every day, but it just got harder. The more I tried to force it, the harder it got. And worst of all–I wasn’t enjoying myself like I did during Camp NaNoWriMo.

So what was the difference? Well, I think the only difference was that during Camp NaNoWriMo I had a story beating at the back of my head–begging to be written. During NaNoWriMo, I had a story idea that I didn’t let wait long enough for it to start begging me. I was trying too hard to be like other writers–to take the advice to “write every day.” That just doesn’t work for me. You’d think I’d know by now that I’m not the same as everyone else so why would I think that all the writing advice I read should apply to me. Sure, I have more in common with these people than most other people on the planet, but I’m still me. And I’m going to learn to trust my own advice because I know what actually works for me.

I’m not really a Nanowrimo failure. I tried and what’s ever wrong with that? I learned a little more about me and my writing style. I got to cheer on friends who sailed through Nanowrimo like Rocky Balboa running up those glorious steps. (Yeah, I know Rocky didn’t win at the end of the movie, but he won that training montage!).

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Creative Compost

Creative Compost

I have multiple “books” in the works. They range anywhere from a measly 200 words to 17,000 words, not to mention all the ideas in my “idea book.” Some of these I know I am going to keep working on. Others, well, they may have already been placed into the trash bin and retrieved once or twice. I never really had the heart to “empty” the trash bin with them in there and now I am glad I didn’t.

A new story idea seeped into my head and would not leave me alone. It was like when it’s 20 minutes to 5 pm, and my dogs stare at me until I get off my butt and feed them their dinner. So I give in, and banging away at the keyboard, I realize that a portion of one of my old stories will fit perfectly into this new story. I open the file, and there it is, a little pearl just waiting to fit seamlessly into this new creation.

So lesson learned…nothing I write is ever a waste.

Even though I wasn’t able to move forward with some of the stories after a certain point, it doesn’t mean I wrote them for nothing and wasted my time. These words sit and ferment in some file (pile) until I use them in something new and better.
Like on Fraggle Rock, how Madame Trash Heap had so much good advice to give out, I am my own Madame Heap. I call it my Compost File.
That’s what it is to me, Creative Compost

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(Awww, isn’t that ridiculous? The image of the beautiful garden growing from the former coffee grounds, lettuce that was forgotten in the crisper, and egg shells. But that’s how it feels)

Rejected!

 

 

Rejected!

When I was about 14, I was shoveling horse poop in the barn and a wasp stung my inner thigh. It hurt like a bleeping bleeper! I still have the ugly, raised, and ghostly white scar. Even now, (many) years later, I transform into an Olympic sprinter when I see one.

I received nothing but rejection (mostly in the form of crickets chirping) on my first novel. Now, as I wait for the rejections to start rolling in on my second, I wonder if they will sting as much as they did the first time around, maybe more.

But this is what I do know. I’m not going to quit. I’m going to keep on trying. I have a lot more courage than I thought I did. I keep putting myself out there knowing that I may be dismissed over and over again. I keep heading back into that barn knowing that those hornets are going to sting me. But the sting of a hornet won’t kill me and neither will the sting of rejection.

This is what I want. This is who I am. Maybe a reject, but definitely a writer.

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Bring it on!

Chin up, Charlie.

Chin up, Charlie.

Keeping my chin up, having a stiff upper lip, and growing a thick skin…yeah, that’s not going to happen. Best to admit it, I think.

While I don’t necessarily feel the need to whine, complain, and bash myself over this hard, hard, super hard process of write/edit/query/rejection (mostly the query/rejection portion)…I also don’t feel the need to pretend I’m tough and that it doesn’t get to me, that I don’t want to give up. Quit.
I am a sensitive girl, always have been. I have always cried at movies and TV shows (agh, the end of E.T. or the Green Mile and that particular episode of Highway to Heaven with the homeless boy living in a box with his cat) Happy endings, sad endings, doesn’t matter…a river of tears will flow. Books also make me cry (The One and Only Ivan had me doing a very ugly cry, complete with gasping. This was partly because it is a beautiful and sad story and partly because it was similar to a book I had been writing and my book seemed too similar to this one to continue with. Mine was about a space chimp. When I stopped writing it, I felt like he died).
Kisses in movies always make me “woooooooooooooh!” gush out loud. Funny, ah, I love funny things and people beyond belief! I don’t know if I love anything more than getting hysterical with someone.
And really happy moments make me squeal like a pig! I just can’t contain it.

Yes, I am a person of tears and pig squeals! My heart, I wear it right there on my sleeve. I’m not a person with a poker face or with a stiff upper lip. If I’m mad, there is a pretty good chance my brows will betray my feelings.

I will be super embarrassed if my work is never deemed good enough. I almost didn’t share this journey (journey, I hate that word, but I can’t think of a better one at the moment) because it is hard and embarrassing. I am sure I am going to shed some tears. Of course, I will, this is hard on the heart. But, I am going to keep writing. I am going to keep on editing. I am going to keep on visiting the Grammar Girl to try and relearn everything I forgot since school. I am going to keep querying. I am going to keep on getting rejected. I am going to feel free to share my failure and my success. It is not going to be my little secret.

I am going to keep trying. When I need to cry, I’m gonna. When I need a hug, I’m going to ask for it. And hopefully, the day will come when I will squeal like a pig.