Depth Psychology/MBTI were the first of my discoveries, and I continue to learn more and more about myself all the time thanks to these studies. INFJ is my personality type, it is the rarest in the world. It consists of only 1.5% of the world’s population. 1% are female, male is .5%.
So I am a straight black male with the personality type of a highly sensitive introvert. And the INFJ personality type has a lot of qualities that most people would find feminine. In fact, it is so bad that when most people think of INFJs all they can picture is the woman of their dreams. It’s probably true though, I think the INFJ personality type has many characteristics that a lot of men would find attractive. It is even a joke around the internet that INFJ men don’t exist. And it’s pretty true, there is a pretty slim chance that you are gonna run into one and randomly become friends.
Anyway, I had a lot of trouble expressing myself and remaining true to myself as a child. Everyone around me was acting a certain way and I felt like I needed to blend in. If I didn’t then I would garner so much attention to myself I thought, and that was the one thing I wanted to avoid the most. I grew up around people who felt like they needed to act tough, and basically a bunch of people that were doing exactly what everyone else was doing. All I did my whole life was copy the people around me to get by. When I was alone the things I would think, and the way I would act would be much different then when I was around other people. When I was around people who I felt comfortable with like very close friends or family, I also showed a lot of my true self.
My older brother was the person who I copied the most. Copying his ENFP conversational style and mannerisms got me through school. Because although he is an Extravert, he is a little shy and anxious, at least he was when he was younger. So I would watch the way he would dodge questions and avoid confrontation from his peers. Like I mentioned earlier, the people around me and the neighborhood I grew up in was a place where everyone wanted to act tough. They wanted to start fights for no reason and pick on people just because they wore a t shirt that looks weird.. So if you were trying to avoid that you either had to retaliate or avoid it by being clever. My brother was the king of avoiding conflict (LOL, for real). I was so impressed that I copied him, and I still use a lot of his techniques. I think I may have taken them to the next level though to be honest.
Everyone would ask me why I was so quiet all the time and it annoyed me to death because I had no idea. I would always just say “I dunno”, that was my favorite phrase lol. I would use the same tone every time too, like a kind of annoyed tone but not enough to piss the other person off.
“I don’t know why I am so quiet, why are you so damn loud!? Don’t ask me!” I would think to myself. Okay it was probably more like,
“Holy shit why do you keep asking me the same damn question every single day!? I don’t fucking know… don’t talk to me”,
Yes, it got to that level of annoyance, but I did my best to blend in and keep calm. I would say that I was pretty damn good at blending in though, I might secretly be a really good actor.
The quiet thing was unavoidable and I always ran out of energy so fast. There was just too much going on around me. Too many things I needed to avoid, too many things I had to worry about. At home I had my alcoholic mother and financial issues to worry about, at school I had to act and I had to avoid all of the time. I would sleep in class every single day, especially in high school. I was too tired and I was not trying to listen to some boring ass teacher all day. I never caused trouble in class and I was always quiet. I never raised my hand and I tried to stay awake when I could. At first, teachers would tell me to wake up. But at some point I think maybe the teachers just understood? Because I kept doing it and most of them just stopped bothering me, I mean I usually passed anyway, sometimes barely. I hated school. I had friends that I enjoyed hanging out with, but the whole idea of school killed me inside. Nothing interested me, and I rushed through everything. Speeches, presentation, and group projects made me want to die, literally. I would always stutter when I did presentations, then I would stop talking. It always pissed me off that I was forced to do them to pass. Lunch was the best part because I actually had freedom. If I wanted to take a nap then I could take a nap, if I wanted to talk to my friends then I could.
I had my conflicts at times but I was very good getting on the good side of people. I was in 1 fight in high school, it didn’t escalate to fist fight level but it felt pretty intense to me, lots of yelling and pushing. He kicked me too LOL, and over the dumbest reason, I’m not even gonna say. Oh, and he called me a Nigger, like really? It could have only been out of pure rage because that had nothing to do with why we were fighting. I never hit him back, I only pushed him and looked angry, a crowd started to gather and it made me self conscious so I walked away. About a week later he apologized to me and we made up. I still talked to him after that and acted nice, who knows how I truly felt inside though, I don’t remember.
I’d say it was pretty amazing that I was only in one fight the entire time despite how ghetto my high school was. Blacks vs Mexicans was the thing. There would be gang fights at lunch and a whole lot other shady shit going down. One time this chick had a baby in the bathroom next to my class and the ambulance came and everything, shit was crazy. I stayed out of all of that. I found my refuge with the gamers and the band geeks, they were much more peaceful. Oh yea, I also played the alto saxophone in middle school and high school. That was actually the only class that I legitimately enjoyed. I was even in marching band for a year in high school, and was in wind ensemble all four years in high school.
When I got to college I started to learn about freedom. If I didn’t want to go to class I didn’t have to go to class, I’m paying for it anyway. Same with homework. So you have freedom when it comes to getting work done and you have freedom when it comes to who you choose to hang around. The environment is much more peaceful than high school for sure, and people are a lot more understanding. I discovered myself in college. It was a gradual process, but from freshman year to my now senior year (one more semester and I’m done!!), I seem to be a completely different person. I think I just gradually got more comfortable being myself and remaining independent.
The biggest breakthrough in my life was when I discovered that my personality type was INFJ. It was about 8-9 months ago, yes, that recent. At that moment everything in my life started to make sense. It was crazy, like a surge of thoughts rushed through my head, and connections from the past were made and understood all at once. I cried, mainly because It killed me that I couldn’t understand why I was so anxious, shy, quiet, and tired all the time and everyone else wasn’t. At some point I literally thought I had a mental disorder or something. Speaking was something that made me anxious. I could never speak for more than 10 or 15 seconds or my anxiety would kick in. There were too many eyes on me and it made me feel extremely uncomfortable. I would get the feeling that I was about to cry if I was forced to speak for longer than that, which is why presentations in high school/middle school killed me, everyone is so judgmental at that age. In normal conversion I always kept my words short. And I still do. I truly am a man of few words for people who know me personally. I can speak up when I need to, but I generally keep to myself most of the time. I observe and listen to everyone else speak, then I chime in with my 2 cents.
Now I could finally answer the people from high school who asked me why I am so quiet. “Because I’m a fucking INFJ, my default mode of living is in my head” !!!
The fact that there are other people in the world like me made me feel not crazy. Making that discovery told me that it is normal to be myself. It doesn’t matter how the people around me are acting, I can do whatever I want and it doesn’t matter what they think. I was not able to realize that and truly believe it until that very moment. It pissed me off that it took me so long to figure this out because god knows I tried to “fix” myself because I thought there was something wrong with me. I would fixate on little faults in myself. Physically, mentally, everything. I went from thinking that changing my hair style would give me more confidence and cure my shyness, to researching if what I was feeling was part of a mental disorder. I fixated on many, many things. I was so critical of myself and any little flaw I could point out I did. I would think so negatively and I think it reflected in how I presented myself.
Fast forward to now. I have learned so much about myself and I feel like I am comfortable with who I am. I also think I reflect that image now. It took a long time but I have come a long way. The push from the INFJ discovery propelled me to this stage. I have also become a lot more tolerant of the people around me now that I understand why they do the things they do. I want to continue to express myself because although I feel more comfortable, there is a lot that I have yet to show the world. Whether the world will accept that part of me I don’t know, but I am determined to get to the point where I don’t even care. I know what I need to do and it is only a matter of time before I reach the level that I have imagined for so long. People who look at me in person often judge me by the way I dress, as a result I often feel very misunderstood. A big thing that I want to accomplish in my life is to show the world not to judge a book by it’s cover, and to pay attention to things that you cannot see with human eyes. I want people to look much deeper into things before they judge people, as I know I am not the only one in this world who feels misunderstood.