The final straw that led to my belief that I should just suck it up and write a blog was a conversation with my sister. She studied Archaeology & Anthropology at Cambridge and is intimidatingly intelligent, often impressing me with pretty exciting monkey facts but facts that I nonetheless struggle to slip into casual conversation. Japanese Macaque monkeys take hot baths in the mountains and soak their food in salt water because it enhances the flavour. As someone who pretty much eats raw bouillon powder (but not actually before I’m judged in the first blog post I make), I appreciate their love of salt on food.
So, one of the great bits of knowledge my sister came out with the other day was a link to this website:
“Oh, an unaesthetically pleasing website, snore” I hear you cry. OH NO JUST WAIT, this little website is DAMAGING. What this website is (thank you wikipedia for helping me paraphrase without rage) is a simplified and free version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, which basically shoe horns everyone into 16 categories to decide how you perceive the world and how you make decisions. Originally I spent about half an hour pretty much copying word-for-word the wikipedia page in an attempt to make this make sense. I then read it back and fell asleep in my mouth a bit because it took about a week and a half to read, didn’t really make much sense because paraphrasing is not my forte and most importantly it was probably the most boring thing I’ve ever written (and having just finished an essay-based degree, that’s actually saying something) so if you’re actually interested in taking the test, it’s worth reading about yourself.
Obviously I leapt at the chance to read things about myself that, as I have been myself for a good 21 years, I already know. If you want to do this quiz, feel free – my friend got the result called “Idealist Champion” and has banged on about it ever since – but be aware that the results may not be quite what you had in mind. My results, rather frustratingly, put me somewhere between two different categories, which I guess is what happens when you don’t fork out for the full test, giving me the title of Idealist Teacher (sounds great) and Rational Fieldmarshal (sounds less great.). Teacher suggests that I love leading and teaching others in a really creative and delightful way, that I’m good at language n that and I’m highly sensitive to others and their needs. What great news, I thought, I am clearly a misunderstood DELIGHT of a human being. The Fieldmarshal had other ideas. Essentially this showed me up as an organisational freak with a terrifying desire for leadership and an inability to understand any other people. Famous ‘Teachers’ include Oprah and Trotsky. Famous ‘Fieldmarshals’ include Hitler and Margaret Thatcher. Whaaat.
The thing that wound me up about being called a Fieldmarshal was it suggested I have an inability to not organise things, to the point where I WILL ORGANISE WHATEVER I WANT, WHOEVER GETS IN MY WAY. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love organisation.
This is not just a bookshelf, this is a bookshelf organised by type of book and then with such a complex organisational system that while the book order looks random, it most definitely isn’t. It’s a clever ruse, but I can find any book in a moment. Yumyum.
And this chest of drawers?
This is no challenge. This is an enabler. Few Fieldmarshals have such an opportunity to organise their clothing by genre.
But this is about the extent of my organisation. I feel telling me I’m in the same personality category as Hitler, who was less interested in organising his bookshelf than organising the racial differences in Europe, seems a wee bit extreme. If you are willing to obsess about these results like I am (I don’t remember obsessing over negativity being part of the results of a Teacher or a Fieldmarshal. Maybe it’s a given?), then just a little bit of research reveals the careers that would suit your personality. The career offerings varied greatly under each heading. Fieldmarshal suggested a career in the army, business, or maybe even stockbrokering (not sure that’s the word. Thanks Teacher for giving me false hope in my skills at language), whereas Teacher pretty much only suggested teaching. Great, thanks.
I remember taking careers tests at school, which would ask wonderful, revealing questions like “Do you want to work in smart clothing?” – I think at this point I was about 15 and the thought of wearing heels EVERY SINGLE DAY was the best thing ever. One rather embarrassing careers test result suggested I become a tailor’s assistant with no other options. I do remember that I was in a bad mood that day, so when the test asked me if I wanted to help people, if I liked old people or animals or if I had any social skills at all, I am certain I answered in the negative. A more complex careers test when I was a bit older suggested I go into performing arts or law. The former has been on my agenda for a while – I studied English & Theatre Studies and consider myself a drama nerd, with a handful of Shakespearean characters pretty high on my top 10 literary crushes. (I promise this in a later entry.) I directed Titus Andronicus in the Spring (another later entry will be why I love this play and why T.S. Eliot was wrong when he said it was “one of the stupidest and most uninspired plays ever written”, though Eliot was right about a lot of things. Prufrock is great. Plus he was clearly a cat person LIKE ME) under my theatre company which I hope to run full time when I am rich and know things. I got into the idea of doing law back in my first year at university, when a particularly empowering friend told me about her plans to be a Solicitor (can anybody tell me what the verb is for this? Clearly solicitors do not go out soliciting, a mistake I learnt the hard way) and wear the high heels I spent my time dreaming about circa 2005. To me, being a barrister would be more my kind of thing – think of the drama! If theatre fails me (or if I fail theatre, equally possible.) then law is definitely the next step. When I was feeling law-focussed back in first year, a fellow actor told me I’d never do well at law because I am a woman. I know I should have been taken aback by this terrifying sexism, but actually I was just excited that I was now old enough to be called a WOMAN.
The idea of being a woman does scare me a little bit – I haven’t found what my sister calls ‘the woman’s haircut’, which I believe is the title she uses for the haircut some women get and then maintain for approximately the rest of eternity. I have a curly mane of hair that definitely is not grown up enough for being a woman. The first time I realised I wasn’t a child, though, was when a woman (she had found the right haircut, she looked smart and was wearing heels) guided her young child around me with the words, “Mind the lady.” LADY?! Reading that back it looks a bit like I’m outraged that anybody would recognise my true gender, but that is not the issue here at all. Rather that I am old enough to be a grown up and not be called a girl. This rather puts the pressure on my hairdresser to find me a style to suit me forever and ever. I consider my hair an example of how I consider myself more of a Teacher than a Fieldmarshal. Rather than CONTROL AND ORGANISE my hair, I prefer to lead it creatively, which is the optimistic term for I HAVE TRIED AND FAILED TO CONTROL AND ORGANISE MY HAIR BUT IT IS JUST TOO MASSIVE.
So why blog? Maybe it’s just a chance to prove to myself that I’m more Trotsky than Hitler, more Oprah than Thatcher (I like to think those are comparisons that have never been used before and will never again. See? I am creative and teacher-like after all). Or maybe it’s just a clever form of extreme organisation of my thoughts. Who knows? Watch this space.