Tag Archives: Love

MOVIE THOUGHTS: The Great Gatsby (or “A Fundamental Misunderstanding of Hope and Love”)

Standard

It’s probably not good that I am proud of myself for having ONLY a week and a half between this post and the last one. Mental Note: Aim HIGHER, Rach!

Since I started at the end of the last movie, this time I am going to start at the …TITLE! (I’m going to cheat a little because Luhrman closes the movie with a shot about the title.) The Great Gatsby. The operative word here is “great” and it poses the central question of the book and movie: Is Gatsby actually “Great”?

Luhrman seems to be convinced that he is. So, my favorite starting point: after Nick finished typing the last iconic line of the book on his proto-hipster typewriter, he flips all his papers back to the title page which says only


GATSBY.

Above this he writes in painfully sincere handwritten script: “The Great”.
Again, Luhrman gives us his moral judgement on the movie and the characters: GATSBY IS GREAT, GUYS!

The problem is that he’s not. Not that I’m saying any of the other characters are either:

Cast

Daisy is a beautiful and weak-willed fool, who becomes a beautiful and weak-willed adulteress, and finally a beautiful and weak-willed murderess. Tom is a “cruel bodied” philandering, racist misogynist. Jordan is a bored liar. Myrtle is a tramp. Wilson is a dupe then a murderer. Wolfsheim is a gangster. The party goers are users attempting to anesthetize themselves to life. Nick is the guy who prides himself on reserving judgment on people, yet narrates one of the most snidely judgmental books of all time. BUT their frailties do not make Gatsby great by comparison! This is the point that Luhrman seems to miss in his rush to help us sympathize with the DiCaprio character (just like in R and J!)

The funny difference here is that DiCaprio has become a better and a smarter actor – he plays Gatsby exactly as Fitzgerald wrote him: Charismatic. Attractive. False, and in that falseness- subtly, but profoundly unsettling. I should give Luhrman some credit. The screen play he uses is rigidly accurate to the characters’ dialogue from the novel. Even the scenes are picture perfect.The problems come in his additions to narration of Nick Carraway. Henceforth I will distinguish Luhrman’s narrator as Narrator Nick!

NARRATOR NICK!

NARRATOR NICK!

Narrator Nick!, after seeing Gatsby hide the truth of Daisy’s crime, casts Gastby’s life in the following light: He loved Daisy so much that he imagined and hoped the perfect world into existence for her. “Gatsby was a Son of God and as such must be about his father’s business.” Narrator Nick seems to view this business of world-making by imagination and power of will. Gatsby, coming from from nothing, through his colossal HOPE creates the perfect world. The fact that Gatsby (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER!) dies alone is mostly because Daisy and Tom suck a whole bunch. Gatsby is Great because he is the Patron Saint of and Martyr to HOPE! 

It's alarming how charming he feels!!!

It’s alarming how charming he feels!!!

If that were true, then we could really take the title “The Great Gatsby” un-ironically. He never let the world, or reality, or Daisy’s rejection get him down. He hoped eternally. Isn’t that great?

angry-no

The problem is that hope is not real hope which denies reality.

I offer this alternate interpretation of Gatsby’s life: He is a man who creates the Platonic ideal of who he should be at the age of 17 and never allows it to change. He manipulates, lies, and steals in order to bring it all to pass. He does not participate in or take over God’s work in world making. Rather, (here I finish the Fitzgerald fragment that I think Luhrman based his interpretation of the novel on) “Gatsby is a son of God and as such must be about his Father’s business – the service of a vast and meretricious beauty.”

Definition of MERETRICIOUS 1: of or relating to a prostitute. 2: tawdrily and falsely attractive Sound FAMILIAR?

Definition of MERETRICIOUS
1: of or relating to a prostitute.
2: tawdrily and falsely attractive
Sound FAMILIAR?

Put bluntly: Gatsby creates a falsely perfect world – an attractive whore of a world, which he props up and protects by never allowing the invasion of anything real. He cannot bear the threat posed by any part of the world that does not fall into his delusion because reality and its attendants – Alteration, Change, and Growth – all must stand as enemies of Gatsby’s world. Gatsby is not a patron saint of Hope because there is no need for hope in a complete world. It is done. Finished. Perfect. Not for one moment does Gatsby allow himself to truly dwell in the dirty, changing, imperfect, beautiful world of reality.  

This brings us to Daisy.

Daisy

(AGAIN, I must congratulate DiCaprio again on the scene I am about to describe because it is beautiful … and frightening.) After Daisy and Gatsby’s whirlwind rekindled romance, Gatsby begins to pressure Daisy to leave Tom, her husband,  but not just to leave Tom: to leave him, saying that she loves Gatsby, has always loved only Gatsby, and has never loved Tom.  When she is unable to do so, he flies at her – wide-eyed, shaking her, shouting – and tries to force the words from her.

Whose charming now?

Who’s charming now?

He cannot, and she abandons him and his world. Even then, he does not see this or her. He is utterly convinced that she is his and only his. 

This is not hope. This is delusion. This is closing his eyes to the real woman in front of him in favor of the Imaginary Daisy who would never have married Tom. Real love is seeing another person rightly and willing and hoping for the best for them. Gatsby does not love Daisy because he cannot see her.

Notice that he DOES NOT EVEN LOOK AT HER.

Notice that he DOES NOT EVEN LOOK AT HER.

Somewhere along the line, his service to and protection of “the vast and meretricious beauty” he has imagined has superseded any love he has for the real, weak, frail, fallible, beautiful woman he avowedly seeks. As such, he cannot hope for her. He cannot will the best for her because that would be to admit that his creation is not the best.

I would argue that Fitzgerald understood this. He leaves Nick’s trustworthiness as a judge of character and sincerity as a narrator enough in question that we must watch Gatsby’s actions. In DiCaprio’s performance, we are still afforded that opportunity to see through Gatsby’s charm to the 17-year-old boy who refused to grow up. Gatsby is “Great” only in his own imagination, which he refuses to leave.

The problem with Luhrman’s interpretation, built on the additions he has made to Narrator Nick! proclaiming Gatsby’s greatness as rooted in  love and hope, is that he once again undervalues the heroism of real love and real hope by using those words to describe paltry imitations. 

 

So, to counter balance him, I will leave you with a man who understood the true nature of Love as seeing rightly (flaws and dignity, frailties and beauties) and Hope as ceaselessly working to carry the beloved to the BEST world and love’s completion.

SONNET 116
By William Shakespeare.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Advertisements

On my Sister’s Engagement

Standard

Hello everyone! My name is Teresa. I’m Selina’s older sister and Matron of Honor. First, I just want to say how happy I am that we have all just witnessed this truly beautiful sacrament of Holy Matrimony between Selina and Andrew. And I have just one thing to say about it… FINALLY.

In all seriousness, though, this has been a long journey.  Selina was saying that as of yesterday, she and Andrew had been engaged for seventeen months.  Now, I know that they didn’t necessarily plan their engagement this way, and it’s been difficult for them to wait so long to finally be married.  But I just want to say that it has been one of the most beautiful engagements I’ve ever witnessed.

I was blessed enough to move home just a couple months before Selina and Andrew were engaged, so I was able to be there—and to be with Selina—for much more of it than I would have otherwise. As Selina’s older sister, I can say that she and Andrew both have grown so much these past seventeen months, and I want to tell you all about a few of the virtues that I’ve witnessed in their engagement—that I know now are going to be hallmarks of an amazing marriage.

I think the first big challenge in Selina and Andrew’s engagement came the spring after Andrew proposed, when they decided it would be best for Andrew to take an opportunity to work and teach with a school in Urbil, Iraq.  I remember Selina coming into my room shortly after they’d made the decision, and she was just crying.  At first I thought she was crying because it would be so hard for her to be away from Andrew.  But in fact, Selina was crying from joy! Because she was grateful for the opportunity, because she was grateful for Andrew’s courage in taking the position, and because she was filled with an unexpected peace that they would emerge from that challenge all the stronger.

It was beautiful to see Selina’s faith in that moment—faith in God, in Andrew, and in their relationship.  In that moment, my little sister’s maturity and self-sacrifice amazed me.

And then, as you all know, Andrew was accepted into Officer Candidate School midway through his time in Iraq.  And he and Selina made another difficult decision: for him to come back, go to Rhode Island, and commit to the U.S. Navy. One of the biggest challenges that came with that decision was that the timing of this whole wedding was thrown into complete turmoil.  As was mentioned last night at the rehearsal dinner several times, both Selina and Andrew are planners. Andrew’s being in the US Navy made it really difficult for them to begin to plan either this wedding or the rest of their lives together.

But again, I witnessed Selina rise to the occasion with so much sweetness and grace.  You all should have seen her in the months leading up to this day. Her concern with the material details of planning a wedding sort of fell away, and she told me, “I don’t care.  I just want to be married.” I admire so much Selina’s ability, amidst the stress of planning a wedding (not to mention being IN SCHOOL), to focus on what really matters. Because your marriage is your vocation.  It is THE MOST important thing that God has put in either of your lives.  Everything else is secondary. And you have both shown that you understand that.

Andrew, I am so happy to welcome you into our family.  Because I see these things about Selina—that she is selfless and faithful and sweet and gracious—but I think you see them even more.  You see that you are the luckiest man in the world, because you could not ask for a better wife.

And Andrew, I want to tell you one more thing that I think you know: Selina is so proud of you. She is so proud, that I am sometimes embarrassed to take her out in public because I know as soon as I turn my back she’ll start talking to a complete stranger about you and your accomplishments, and this day, the day she gets to be married to you.  You deserve that pride she has in you.

This has been a long journey for you both.  But you have shown that you have faith in God, you have faith in each other, you can roll with the punches and you can come up with the knowledge of what is most important in life.  You are going to have an exceptional marriage, and I could not be more proud.

Congratulations Selina and Andrew.  Many blessings for a beautiful marriage and life together.  I love you.

Spiritual Warfare of Valentine’s Day: The Lie of Specialness

Standard

BY Rachel

Does anyone remember that Drew Barrymore movie, Never Been Kissed? In it, she plays (apparently) the ONLY fully grown adult who has ever made it to maturity with the crippling deformity of never being kissed. This (of course) means that she becomes a crazy, grammar-obsessed, crocheting, cat-lady with bad hair, who is weirdly interested in the lives of teenagers.

For the visual confirmation of loserdom

For the visual confirmation of her specialness.

I freaking hate that movie. It is a parade of awkwardness from start to finish, complete with 90s fashion. And in my weaker moments, I become convinced that it will be my life… MINUS the Romantic Comedy ending. 

I become absolutely certain that I will be the ONE PERSON IN THE UNIVERSE who will NEVER be in a serious, long-term, marriage-destinationed relationship. (Fortunately for me I have been kissed. In my most psychotic moments, that convinces me that I won’t be a cat-lady or have bad hair. That leaves me with crazy, grammar-obsessed, crocheting, and being too aware of the teenaged relationships around me.)

Three down. Just need to learn to crochet.

Anyways, why am I sharing this?

Here is the list:

  1. Because this week is Valentine’s Day.
  2. Because a statistically improbable percentage of my friends are dating, engaged, married, pregnant, and/or have babies.
  3. Because I am teaching Pride and Prejudice to a group of 11th graders who are simultaneously relationship hyper-active and relationship challenged.
  4. Because ALL of my students are obsessed with my relationship status and ask about it weekly.
  5. Because today was World Marriage Day, so the homily centered on that particular vocation.
  6. Because my roommate has taken to sharing (frequently and in alternation) a list of her prospective suitors and her extreme romantic woe.

  7. Because I am lonely.
  8. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Because I am pattern obsessed and convinced that all of these things are some combination of God’s will and the devil screwing with me via Spiritual Warfare.(I never really used to think about Spiritual Warfare. Until Reesa. And Jennifer Fulwiller. I really like the idea. It means that when I am a raging psycho, there are actual evil things attacking my psyche, and apparently I am confrontational enough that this idea gives me a reason to fight back.)My current battle is the battle of Special Loneliness and Suffering. Basically, the devil tries to convince me that I am alone. That I need to lie so that people don’t discover the awful truth. That I am the one  broken never-dating girl in the world. That NO ONE has ever been as lonely as I am. That NO ONE has ever been as pathetic and undateable. That NO ONE can understand. That I am Specially Doomed.

If it sounds dumb, that is because it is. As an antidote to this ham-handed but wildly effective assault on my soul, here is some “Fight Club”:

Fight Club

Listen up, maggots. You are not special.

You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake.

You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”

Harsh? Yes. But I am pretty sure that the principle holds. I think that one of the greatest lies that the Devil has come up with is that suffering makes us special. 

 I wrote this post, because I am not. AND I AM SO GLAD! My loneliness is not special. My sinfulness is not special. My suffering is NOT SPECIAL. 

Crucifixion

Christ died on the Cross, saying:

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

In that moment suffering and loneliness were transfigured into the great and beautiful points of connection between people. Even if I am the only person in the world who never has a date on Valentine’s Day. Even if God’s will is for me to spend the rest of my life teaching high school students about healthy relationships without ever having one myself. Even if I watch every last one of my friends and roommates fall in love, while I do not. Even IF…

My suffering is still not special.

He shared every moment of it. I am not alone and neither are you.

Happy Valentine’s Week, y’all! If there is someone who is fighting the same spiritual battle as I am: REMEMBER, not dating does not necessarily lead to lonely cat-lady-hood.  We can be crazy dog-ladies together! 

MOVIE THOUGHTS: Les Miserables

Standard

For all my promises that I would be “Movie Thoughts” Girl, I have been posting a whole bunch about not movies. Sorry! Part of that is because mostly I have be watching and re-watching rubbish TV shows on Netflix Instant. Because I am cheap. And super busy. (By the way, this is Rachel, as have been the past 4 posts.)

However, it is now CHRISTMAS BREAK! This is just the best thing ever. It means that I have watched movies, specifically the new movie-fied version of the musical Les Miserables!

Les Miserables

FIRST, (I need to get this out of the way so that my music-person soul doesn’t devour me) I was really disappointed by the singing. The exceptions to this rule were Colm Wilkinson (Bishop) briefly, Eddie Redmayne (Marius) always, Anne Hathaway (Fantine) sometimes, and Samantha Barks (Eponine) in one of her songs. Russel Crowe was better than I anticipated he would be, but my basis for comparison on the role of Javert is operatically trained baritones, the depth and warmth of whose intonation makes you want to weep when you hear them sing warm-ups. So he lost.

As for the rest, for some reason the presence of microphones and close-ups has made several people who should be able so sing for real forget that part of singing is carrying through a phrase. For those of you who are not super interested in the emotional ideas behind different techniques of singing, feel free to skip down to the bolded and underlined  word “SECOND.”

As for the rest of you: part of what makes singing work is that when sustaining a note you are not “holding” a note. It isn’t your thing that you hold onto until you are done playing with it. Rather, you keep your breath, and body, and emotions so completely open that the sound can continue without you getting in the way. What this means is that you “feel” an emotion for a note in a different way than if you were  to feel it normally. If you try to sing feelings exactly the way you feel them, somehow it becomes self-indulgent.When you are sad (I’m talking ugly-cry sad), you are not attempting to let others into your suffering.

WHY ME?!

WHY ME?!

That is why the tenseness, shaking, series of gasps, sighs, and hiccups make sense for that emotion in real life. However, if someone were to ugly-cry a note, while the audience might pity the performer,  it is almost impossible for the audience to enter into that emotion with the performer .  The point of singing is to feel things not for yourself, but in such a way as to allow other people to enter into that feeling.

This mini-treatise on singing effectively is mostly to say that the trick of “singing more naturally” or “with more rawness” that is allowed by microphones is actually terrible for conveying the original intent and emotion of the songs. Hugh Jackman, by sighing, cutting the lines off in weird places, and refusing to sustain notes that are meant to be powerful, open, and vulnerable seriously detracts from his performance. He refuses to let the audience in. What should be a painfully vulnerable moment shared with the audience becomes about Hugh Jackman and all of his feels. This is safer, less human, and  ultimately less interesting.

You can see this distinction between feeling for the audience and allowing the audience to share in the feeling by comparing any of Jackman’s songs to Eddie Redmayne’s performance of “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”. The openness, honesty and vulnerability is undeniable.

Now that I have had my little singing rant…

SECOND , this movie was so close to being faithful to considerations of Victor Hugo’s book… but they just couldn’t let it be.

Basically, the idea we are meant to examine is: How ought we, as human beings, to respond to “Les Miserables”-  the miserable ones? What is the right human response to suffering?  Hugo  (and the creators of the musical) give us a number of alternatives, and show us the fruits of each.

1.) Marius and Cosette: The Romantic Impulse

mariuscosette-4_3_r560

The Romantic Impulse, which sees nothing but the beloved and seeks to simply be away and happy is absolutely a response to human misery and suffering. It is the recognition of and desire to escape suffering. This is (quite simply) a young response to misery, and there is there is a certain validity to it. It is rooted in love, that much is certain. Yet, it also results in or requires a blindness to all but the beloved. As we see in Marius and Cosette at the end of the story (once they have matured and truly opened their eyes), both are left with the realization of how much they have benefitted by the sacrifice of others. Romantic love, while it can anesthetize us to the suffering of the world, does not actually make it go away. Sooner or later, we must grow into a deeper love that allows us to do more than escape suffering.

2.) The Thernardiers: Opportunism

Thernardiers

Oddly, this is likely the oldest human response to misery, and the hardest to eradicate. Actually, one of my favorite (and least favorite) aspects of Les Mis is that the Thernardiers keep showing up. They are like cockroaches after the bomb. Nothing kills them, and they always have a new way to take advantage of the suffering of others. Much as we may wish to ignore this aspect of humanity, Hugo does not allow us to. At the end, when idealism and justice are dead and real love is at best a miraculous memory, opportunism is alive and kicking. (Side Note: Helena Bonham-Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen were PERFECT for this!)

3.) Javert: Absolute Justice and Judgment (THE LAW)

Javert

Javert is the ubiquitous man-of-the-law. Oddly similar to Thernardiers, Javert is always there, but always in a new uniform. He is more than a legalistic man; he is The Law. He is Every Law. From jailer, to parole officer, to town constable, to Parisian officer – he is human law, which in every form aspires to divinity it its absoluteness. Except that he is also so human! When faced with suffering, misery, sin and squalor, we WANT to stand beside and become the law. The law seems safe.

My favorite parts of this movie were both of Javert’s major soliloquy songs. Both perfectly illustrate the problem of the “Absolute Judgment” approach. Each is performed with him walking along an impossibly high ledge looking out at a beautiful and cold view of a Paris night. The director, Tom Hooper, does a brilliant visual refrain in each song. As Javert sings about the perfect and unflinching justice of God, which casts men down even as He cast out Lucifer, Javert’s feet are shown teetering, barely staying on this impossibly high ledge.

Hugo uses the character of Javert illustrates the problem of perfect justice. As Javert realizes: we are imperfect. If the response to misery is justice untempered by mercy then at some point we will ALL fall. And so he does. Judgment is not enough, or rather it is too much. For a human being to attempt to maintain perfect justice is  ultimately suicidal.

4.) Enjorlas and the Students: Revolution

Enjolas

Hugo gives us yet another young approach to suffering. Revolution. The good intention is undeniable: make the world better for the oppressed poor. However, it is not an accident that when Hugo depicts this it is a failed revolution. These passionate young students whose idealism keeps them painfully awaiting the uprising of the poor whom they defend…. they die.

This is a problem. This is a young approach to suffering, like the Romantic impulse, because it also is predicated on a sort of blindness.  While the revolutionaries see all of the evil and weakness in the world in the oppressors, they are blind to the evil and weakness in the oppressed. The correct approach to human suffering cannot be blindness to its effects, or blindness to God in those who persecute. In order to respond rightly, we must see rightly every aspect and still love, give, and sacrifice – whether or not it is deserved.

This does not make the deaths of Enjorlas and the students less tragic. It does, however, make Hugo’s opinion on the Revolutionary approach to suffering more clear. Which brings us to….

5.) Jean Valjean, Fantine, Eponine, and the Bishop: Christian Charity and Self-Sacrifice

The essential differences between the students’ self-sacrifice for the people who never come, and Jean Valjean’s sacrifice and submission to Javert is this: the students EXPECT the people to rise, and they fight for that anticipated utopian ideal. Valjean expects nothing, except perhaps for follow after him and arrest him once he has been set free. Valjean performs his sacrifice with no notion of recompense. Every act of self-gift is a perfect and FREE gift. That is Christian charity.

This same charity is demonstrated in EACH of the characters listed above. I defy you to look at Fantine, Eponine, and Valjean and say that they are in any way blind to the misery that can exist in this world. Yet each gives their love unflinchingly.

Fantine, the abandoned, broken, prostitute gives her dignity, honor, and life for the future of her daughter.

I dreamed a dream... so different from this hell I'm living.

Eponine, the ill-parented, unloved young girl gives her friendship, her love and her life for the future happiness of a man who does not love her back.

I love him... but only on my own.

Valjean, the wrongly imprisoned,accursed, hunted convict gives his freedom, money, safety, future, EVERYTHING for everyone he meets.

valjean

They perfectly see the corruption and misery and suffering of the world. They live it. They do not expect it to wipe it away by their individual actions. They are not so proud. Nonethe less, they give love in perfect gift and humble hope, in participation with the love of God. This perfect sacrifice and gift is why these characters make a final appearance at the end of the stage musical. They are each permitted to sing in beautiful and heavenly harmony the moral of the story:

To love another person is to see the face of God.

 “To love another person is to see the face of God!”

This is my gripe: the movie makers could not let that moral stand. Even before the last note of that refrain finishes echoing in the Parisian chapel where it is set,  the camera zooms out to a heavenly…. BARRICADE?! On this utopian barricade that spans all Paris, the final refrain is given to the Revolutionaries, and the refrain becomes “Do you hear the people sing?”

 Having seen this musical before, somehow I have never minded the refrain of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” as the finale of the show. The ghostly revolutionaries standing and marching in the background of heaven has never bothered me until now. However, the visual jump in the movie from the chapel to heaven as a barricade struck me violently with the sense that they missed the point.

 The cinematographic decision to set that final song on a barricade  (US AGAINST THE WORLD!) completely undercuts that message. “To love another person is the see the face of God.” That emphasis on love as seeing rightly seems to me essential, and the revolutionaries do not see rightly. They fail to see God in their adversaries. They fail to see the effects of sin and suffering in their compatriots. I absolutely believe that Victor Hugo issues a call to action. However, that action is not to battle. It is to Love – to see the face of God in other people. 

This is what makes Valjean the hero: he sees God even and especially in his persecutors. If that ain’t an attempt to be like Christ, I don’t know what is.  

Why I never get anything done and how falling in love changes everything

Standard

This post is inspired by two of my most recent Accomplishments – Accomplishments for which I am More Proud of Myself than for anything else I have accomplished these past two months. Yesterday and the day before, I renewed my vehicle registration AND FURTHERMORE had my newly-registered vehicle inspected.

And that needed to happen. Like, really needed to happen. One of my stickers expired in May, and the other had been out of date since January. Although I should say that I hadn’t actually noticed either of them until Dan pointed them out Sunday night. I’d been just tootling along the roads of Dallas, totally oblivious that I could be pulled over any minute.

This is Teresa writing, by the way—and I am an ENFP.

If you don’t know, those letters refer to my personality type under the Meyers Briggs Personality Test—a psychological system that breaks the various personalities of the world into sixteen types, the descriptions of which are surprisingly detailed and freakishly accurate. Your type depends on your answer to four questions:

  1. Are you Introverted or Extroverted?
  2. Are you iNtuitive or Sensing? (Do you see the world as it could be or as it is in the present moment?)
  3. Are you a Thinker or a Feeler? (Do you base your decisions off of rational thoughts or emotions?)
  4. Are you a Judger or a Perceiver? (This one is always the hardest for me to explain. As far as I understand it judgers are organized and punctual and perceivers are disorganized and tardy. Serena, any further light you can shed on this??)

So when I say I am an ENFP, I mean that I am an Extroverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiver! And that’s why I never get anything done. You see, though ENFPs are, in fact, known for many good things (creativity, enthusiasm and charm among them!)

Bill Cosby is an ENFP! Isn’t he so charming? I’ve always thought he was so charming.

they are also known for many (it sometimes strikes me as MORE than most personality types) bad things… like oversensitivity, gullibility, and extreme ineptness at routine, maintenance-type tasks.

Alicia Silverstone. From “Clueless.” Also an ENFP. Charming but, yeah, inept.

You may say, “Teresa, everyone hates routine, maintenance-type tasks! Get over it!” to which I say, “NO. I HATE IT SO MUCH MORE THAN YOU DO.”

Because ENFPs live in the world of exciting possibilities, the details of everyday life are seen as trivial drudgery. They place no importance on detailed, maintenance-type tasks. And will frequently remain oblivious to these types of concerns [e.g., cruising around Dallas illegally for five months]. When they do have to perform these tasks, they do not enjoy themselves. This is a challenging area of life for most ENFPs, and can be frustrating for ENFP’s family members.

I’m pretty sure my mom laughed for a long time when I first read this to her. Out of recognition. And relief. That she is not alone.A

And because she recognizes that the above is an accurate description of my faults, she knew to be really impressed when I came home yesterday with my beautiful new stickers, before I got pulled over. Because that’s what usually happens. I don’t do my paperwork, and I go along all happy and oblivious and frolicking until I fall flat on my face.

Like this, only less cute.

So why am I doing this?? Why am I putting myself through the horrible, no-fun, stress-stress, ugly-ugly, mundane work of renewing my stickers without the outside impetus of getting a ticket from a mean Dallas policeman??

I’ll tell you. I’m in love. I’m in love!! In case anyone in the world doesn’t know by now: I’m in love. With an ISTJ.

Um, how could I resist including this? I couldn’t.

ISTJ. ENFP. …ISTJ. …ENFP. Wait a second. Are there any letters AT ALL in common between these personality types???

No.

No there are not.

As you might guess, that means that there is also very little (so… so little) overlap between those personalities. One of the largest differences is that ISTJs are extremely (EXTREMELY) motivated to fulfill duties and do things “by the book.” Things like getting your stickers renewed. Things that are un-exciting and un-fun and that people like me only do when they are held at gunpoint and/or in love.

WHERE AM I GOING WITH ALL THIS

I’m wondering the same thing myself at this point because this post is not writing itself at all the way I intended it to. Ah, spontaneity. One of my better qualities right? Right??

Sigh. Alicia Silverstone. Even her faults are charming.

  1. You have a personality type too! Odds are it’s not the same as mine, but I’d recommend that you find out what it is, because…
  2. Every personality type comes with its own strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Knowing your weaknesses helps you start to fix them.
  4. You may be wondering HOWWWW you can fix those weaknesses and THAT (finally) is why I’m writing this post. Until yesterday, I did not know how to fix them either! But yesterday, after renewing two tiny, inconsequential slips of paperwork attached to my Ford Taurus and then writing an email to Dan to convince him that even though this is considered standard behavior he should be exceedingly proud of me for doing so… I stumbled across an article entitled, “ENFP Personal Growth.” It not only identifies my strengths and weaknesses–it gives concrete suggestions as to how to combat them.
  5. Do yourself a favor and figure out your own personality type then read the article about you.

You won’t regret it. Seriously that’s why I wrote this post. Plus you’ll get to go read all about yourself. And isn’t that everyone’s favorite thing? By now you’ve been reading a lot about… me. Boresville.

Meta-blog.

I am also, in fact, writing this post right now as a small step towards combating my own greatest weakness, a weakness I knew but re-discovered through my Meyers Briggs Personality profile. You see, when Rachel and I started this site we were super excited… but that was last week… and I lost steam thinking about allllllllll the blog posts I would have to write—and I started to talk myself down from the endeavor entirely.

But when I read the description of the ENFP tendency to abandon projects once they lose their charm, I thought, “Whoa, whoa, this is sounding familiar… Rachel and I had so much enthusiasm for that blog thing and then I lamed out and moved on to something different… I CAN’T LET THIS HAPPEN. I must blog! I must blog about this realization that I am having… about my blog! And me! And my weaknesses! And how I’m in love with Dan so I want to be a better person so I’m not going to let those dumb weaknesses get the better of me ANY MORE!”

And that, my friends, is why I wrote this post. Because I SAID I was going to. And gosh darn it, I just did.