Thursday, October 27, 2016

Feeling Blue

Can we talk colors? Four, to be exact.

I teach a course at a community college designed to introduce students to the wide world of college. The content includes college success skills and a bit of career counseling, among other topics. One of the assessments we use to help students learn more about their personalities and how it may relate to potential careers is the True Colors Test. Now for you personality assessment junkies (and who isn't?), this instrument uses the principles of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, which is based on the theories of Karl Jung's personality types. I won't bore you with it all, but essentially Karl Jung believed that there were "temperaments" or types of personalities. Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs (a mother and daughter team during the 50's-- not really the most supportive decade for women so let's give them a rousing round of kudos) developed an instrument that refined the theory into 16 types of personalities. The True Colors Test is an offshoot of this that simplifies the "types" by eliminating a few categories (introvert/extrovert). Still with me? It doesn't really matter. Keep reading.

As part of my training to teach this section of the course, I had to participate in a True Colors workshop. Sign me up. I totally geek out on this kind of stuff. I was really hoping to learn something about myself I didn't know. Alas, at 52, it seems there isn't much about myself I don't know. My results were predictable.

You can take the test here-- it's the same version I took. It will explain the results which boil down to four colors:

Okay, now to get to the point of this post. I want to be an orange. Oranges are Tiggers! They are fun, fun, fun. They are spontaneous and bold. They are active and optimistic. Oranges are the life of the party. They "bring excitement to society"! I want to be this person!

I am not.

I'm a blue. I knew it when I was taking the darn assessment. I was going to be the nurturer. I would need harmony. I would be a heart-follower. I would be forever in search of myself. Sigh. Not that there's anything wrong with this. I mean, yes, we blues are likable; we're peace-makers; yeah, yeah, yeah. All warm and fuzzy-like.  I want to be dashing and exciting.

But I suppose there's some good that comes out of this. I'm adaptable. This has come in handy over the last couple of years. I need opportunities to be creative and seek that out (however, I'm not bold or orange enough to let my creative light shine too much).

Oh, but good heavens, the drawback is I'm forever introspective and in search of myself.  I can get lost in the dusty caverns of my mind, which is sometimes not the best place to hang out. Trust me. To make matters worse, my second highest color is gold. We are the conventional backbone of society and adhere to structure and schedules well. We are values and order. Seriously? This is the opposite of exciting and spontaneous. I feel boring. And safe. I am forever the people-pleaser and rule-follower. Just... SIGH.

But here's the good news. Taking this little inventory and knowing thyself isn't a life sentence. We can learn to let our lessor colors shine a bit. So I'm going to work on actively putting a little spit n' polish on my orange. I'll never be a complete convert; I doubt I'll ever "thrive on crisis". But I am going to actively be more aware of being in the moment, being a little less concerned and uptight about what others think. The Squeeze is a great partner in this effort. Although I don't think he's an orange either, he does bring me a great deal of fun and gently encourages me (sometimes not so gently) to not be so worried about convention or what others think. He takes chances and lets his creative light shine. Yes, this is living!

I know I can never shake who I am, nor do I want to. Shakespeare had a good point: to thine own self be true. And let's be honest, I don't really have a choice because to quote another famous character: I yam what I yam. And that's OK.

But let this serve as a warning, dear blog readers: I might let a little bit of audacious and stunning orange show up from time to time.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Starting Over

I think I must be crazy. What was I thinking to leave a perfectly stable life with a nice house and nice life? At fifty, no less! I guess I wanted more. Nice isn't bad; it just doesn't feel vital. You don't hear passion or living fully or thriving in "nice". You hear good enough, mediocre, surviving.

I don't think I would have had the courage to move out and on if it hadn't been for a couple of hard years wearing down my resistance and fight. To recap the two years I now refer to as My Life As A Country Song-- and to catch you up-- my son had cancer, my "baby" graduated from high school, I was lonely, the dog died, and my body betrayed me with a potentially life-threatening, big-assed words disease. Let the music twang.  I was done.

I won't go tabloid on you about why I left: I refuse to be one of those those people who publicly bashes their ex. (A side tangent: how can people do that in social media? Publicly? With potential friends, family, and kids reading their words? Have we lost a sense of decency? Kindness? Privacy? Tangent end.) The fight to hang on and save a marriage was gone from me. Sometimes your heart just has to wave the white flag and realize the other side walked away from the battle long ago. It's over. Make your choices.

So I did.

That was two years ago, and that's where this blog picks up.  I sometimes feel very alone in this new life, my path obscured by a dense fog of unknowing, stumbling, wondering what the heck I'm doing-- faking it as I go along. But I can't be the only one determined to find joy, and redefine the person I really envision myself to be. There must be others out there like me, who want to be able to laugh, ponder, and see the humor and be okay with the fright in moving forward with absolutely no recognizable map. I can't be alone in my crazy...can I?

So that's how I move forward with this blog. A conversation of like-minds. So let's talk. Let's dance. And let's be a little less alone.