COMEDY: It Saves Lives

Some folks are beautiful. Some folks are savvy. Me? I’ll choose funny any day. Why? Because in my world, comedy is everything. Funny folks often have a history behind why they choose comedy, because let’s face it, being funny can be hard.

At a young age – around the 4th grade – I started honing my material. I was the new kid in school, the skinny goofy redhead with enormous buckteeth and freckles, awkward…the perfect embodiment of comedic nuances. One of my first introductions to true comedy was from my 4th grade English teacher, Mr. White. After we would complete our lesson for the day, Mr. White would look around the room – as if to be certain no other adults were listening – and he would say to us, “who wants to listen to records for a few minutes?” Spindly 10 year old arms would fly up into the air and he would stride to the back of the room, which is where the turntable was. I will never forget the first record. Bill Cosby Himself. We children would sit motionless, mesmerized by Cosby’s voice as it took us on a journey of wit, ridiculousness and sarcasm. I had never heard anything like it. I remember that being the first time in my life that I laughed so hard I thought I was going to throw up, cry or wet my pants. (It was the parenting bit). I was addicted.

Once our class finished Cosby at a rate of 10-15 minutes per day at the end of each class, we moved on to Gallagher. I was already a bookworm and loved words – so Gallagher’s puns and wordplay were sheer intellectual bliss for me. His oxymorons opened my eyes to the dark irony of the world around me and I started seeing hypocrisy with punchlines. I was 10. Next we listened to Eddie Murphy – well, parts of his routine. Mr. White drew the line when it came to sex and language of a certain caliber, so he would sometimes dash back to the record player and we would hear the light scratch of him lifting the needle and then gently replacing it at just the right spot. I did not realize at the time that Mr. White obviously had every routine memorized.

Another huge influence on my sense of humor was my mother. My parents had a bad marriage and there was abuse. My mom had two kids and stayed with a man who did not love her because of lots of reasons I did not understand when I was younger. In retrospect, my mother had a wicked good sense of humor about a lot of things despite the odds. She laughed at herself a lot – because life was sometimes funny and as intelligent as she was, there were still crazy circumstances and situations she had to navigate. I learned the art of self deprecating humor from my mother. She could siphon out the irony in a situation faster than anyone I knew. She was dry. She was sarcastic. She was surviving as best she could. That impacted me in a way that saved me in years to come. I developed a dark sense of humor early.

High school. We have moved again and I was the new kid. We moved to Alabama, which meant culture shock lent itself to my humor. I wasn’t the best looking girl, but I could be funny. I had already learned this: if you can make people laugh, it will endear them to you. And so I made people laugh. I gravitated towards funny people. Comedy was my happy place and I would go to great lengths to find the secret formula for making others laugh. No matter how miserable my home life was, no matter how ugly or worthless I sometimes felt – there was always material there somewhere. Find it. Use it. Make people laugh.

When I was in the tenth grade I had already read countless books by comedians. I remember Erma Bombeck was especially glorious. To have the kind of intelligence that was not performance related but instead showcased in the written word; THAT was new turf. I read everything I could. Movies were funny, but in the same realm that sitcoms got a laugh. I needed something tangible to feed my habit. Then I saw Buster Keaton’s movie The General. Fifteen minutes in I knew I was watching a legend. Outside of Looney Tunes, slapstick had never been my predilection. Keaton’s performance combined exquisite timing with physical comedy and a level of acting that accomplished so much without any spoken words. I was smitten.

My thirst for good comedy never stopped, but it wasn’t enough to be inspired by others. Comedy was part of my fabric. From youth I was analyzing how preposterous social standards were, questioning people’s habits and behaviors, mentally noting the ironies and the absurdity of the world around me. I joined drama clubs. I was a theater major in college. Most women fought over the lead roles while I was often cast as the comedic relief in a play. I couldn’t have been happier.

After college there was a period of time where I was not in good health and even homeless for a short while. I was still funny. More so, I believe.  My sense of humor saved me from the world and most importantly, from myself. Life, everything – all of this is temporary. I never take myself too seriously. If a friend is having a bad day, the least I can do is make them laugh. Comedy has given me purpose. It is my coping mechanism. It is how I make sense of crazy things. Comedy is an intellectual tapestry of human behaviors and triggers. I love this.

Laughter has been my drug of choice. Comedy saves lives.

 

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Pet Peeves of an INTJ

The Art of Askance:

Growing up I learned that in life there is always a right way and a wrong way to do things. I learned this from my Momma, from Sunday School, from watching old movies, from reading countless biographies (I went through a phase) – you get the point. I liked this idea – it made perfect sense. I also liked etiquette and good manners and being respectful (see “old movies”). I remember being a kid and encountering an issue or a problem and thinking “What would Audrey Hepburn do?” It was awesome.

Early on I noticed a glitch in the Matrix. It seemed folks forgot how to properly ask for things. As I got older the problem grew worse. When I ask for something from someone, I understand that I am asking them to give me their time/energy/talent/money/whatever and that the whole point of asking is because I am not entitled to thing for which I ask! Now it seems “ask” has been changed to “assume”, and you know what they say about assuming!

Every. Single. Week. I encounter someone who asks me to do or make something for them and 99.9% of the time it goes like this:

“Hey, you know what you oughta do for me?…”

“You need to do such and such – I already told so-and-so you would!”

“You know what you could do? You could make me a _________. I would love that!”

I bet you would. And no. NO. NOOOOOOOOOOOO. THAT IS NOT ASKING! That is RUDE! Hand on my heart I recently met with a potential client to discuss the possibility of me doing some professional photos for an upcoming book. This was a professional meet and greet – to see if the job was a good fit. I showed up on time, with credentials and business card in hand. The other party was late, unprofessional in behavior, could not answer my questions and finished with this: “Get started and when you finish email everything to me. I have other projects for you – as soon as you finish this.” WHAT?

I INTJ death-stared the man down for a good full minute and then I said, “Sir, I am not accepting this job. We never even discussed pay. There will be no other projects, either. You haven’t even given me your email address or phone number. I am sure you will find someone.”

Never once in our conversation did he say, “I have some specific photos I would like you to take for this book. The pay is $$$. Will you accept this job?” What is happening in this world? And it isn’t just on a professional level. Everyday folks are making plans on my behalf without even asking me what I want to do – or can do – and worse, getting upset when I say no to a question they never asked. I cannot wrap my head around this. I am 1) not a mind reader and 2) not your puppet. Never EVER assume I will do/say/make ANYTHING for you. Have enough respect to address me properly and ask for something the right way. It is the least we can do to show respect towards one another.

Mooches

I have layers of friends. There are the few and precious Inner Circle Peeps, the Friends, the Acquaintances and then the rest of you are waiting in line out on the streets as far as I am concerned (nothing personal, I’m an INTJ). To my few and precious Inner Circle Peeps – my loyalties are fierce and my love is real and my door is always open to you. You know who you are. Everyone else – do not invite yourself to my stuff. Do not impose. And imposition is the real issue here – because I can make anyone a cup of coffee. Those who expect and demand I make them a cup of coffee are the problem. It is the Mooch I cannot abide. INTJ’s are hyper aware of people who are balanced, people who are Givers and people who are Takers.

Givers need observation because they will spend all of themselves on others and not let anyone pamper or help them. I have a soft spot for these people – my Mom is a Giver to a fault and while I love that about her, it gets her in trouble. A Giver is not a threat – but whenever I am around one I am always careful not to take everything they offer because I know too well they deplete themselves. I say no to them because I know what they sacrifice. There is a purity in the Giver. A Giver friend always meets expectations and never shows up empty handed or expects others to cater to them, treat them, and they have no sense of entitlement. It is their selfless humility that makes them so vulnerable, and beautiful.

Takers come in different forms with different intentions. Some Takers are not even aware of themselves – whether by habit or by personality or by upbringing they are who they are. Taker friends are not really good friends. They make decisions which are self-serving even if they can sometimes appear philanthropic. If you find yourself doing all the leg work in a relationship – you are involved with a Taker. If a friend does not demonstrate that they can easily make the same efforts and sacrifices on your behalf that you have on theirs, they are a Taker.

A mooch is the worst of the Takers. Some are motivated and malicious and know what they are. They take every opportunity they can and manipulate others. Mooches will glom onto you or your successes, or come use up your talents or steal your energy and they will enjoy it. A mooch uses people to get something they need or want – usually without asking (see #1).

I will sniff out and drop a mooch in a heartbeat. As an INTJ, I cannot stand manipulation and selfishness. A sense of entitlement is like a poison arrow. It is almost impossible to use and abuse an INTJ because they will simply walk away – shutting the door on such behaviors. Genuine mooches are easy to disown.

Plans That Aren’t Plans

Someone invites me to meet them for dinner at a specific place at a specific time. I arrive. They do not. Stuff came up. I know Life happens – but LET ME KNOW!

Hypothetical Scenario: A friend wants to go to the bookstore. Yay bookstore! I break my own rule and ride with them (I always take my own vehicle for a myriad of reasons, including I can leave when I want). Friend goes to gas station, to WalMart, to drive-thru, to mall, to…AGGHHHH! It has been 4 hours! I thought we were going to the bookstore? “Oh, we are…soon.” This is death for an INTJ. I can be flexible and even spontaneous – if I have a plan! Why on God’s green earth would you invite me to the bookstore if we were going everywhere BUT there? I know adventure in this form does not bother most people, but some of us just need an outline. (This is why the best surprise party for me would be the one I knew about ahead of time). I have patience and tolerance when I have an idea of what, when and where I need to apply them. It is the unknown – the meandering – that makes me crazy. I’ll meet you at the bookstore. In my car. It’ll be fun.

The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth

As an INTJ I already process and analyze stuff and I weigh every possible scenario. Quietly, in my mind, while I do dishes. I am also a skeptic so I quietly question everything and sniff out potential motives to better ascertain my approach on something. I am also a gut-driven person and to date my gut has not been wrong. When I smell a rat, there’s a rat.

Everyone has a problem with lying because, well, it’s LYING! But lying – that is an easy one. What I seek to understand is the Big Picture. Before I jump on the Negative Bandwagon I need facts. I need to know both sides of the story. I cannot blindly agree that someone or something is terrible/horrible/perfect/fantastic. My mind is Switzerland until I can piece together the puzzle that creates a finished scene. THEN I can begin the process of forming theories or even, dare I say it, an opinion about someone or something. The good news is – this creates an environment where fairness is valued and administered. The bad news – I can’t always hear both sides of the story or get all the facts. Back to my gut… The irritant pertaining to this subject is that, as an INTJ, I do hate lying – especially when I KNOW it is a lie – but I also hate when others want me to jump to their conclusions and grab a torch and pitchfork. Stahhhp.

There are, of course, plenty of pet peeves but these touch on problems inherent of the everyday world. I would love to hear about your INTJ pet peeves.

 

Introverts: Activate the Bubble!

When I was a teenager I had some serious issues with the general public. I started working at the mall, in a coffee shop. While the job itself was fun and amazing, working with the general public was NOT. I already hated the crowded halls of my high school, long lines at grocery stores and pretty much shopping in general. Why? People. I love individual people but I hate crowds. This is part of being an introvert and an empath. Sixteen-year-old me had to adapt, and fast, if I wanted to survive my new job.

My sweet mom knew I had issues. (She, too, is an introvert). At one point she said, “Sarah, imagine yourself inside a big bubble, like a Glenda-the-Good-Witch bubble. You can see and hear everything but you have a layer of protection.” Code: Activate Bubble. My imagination was already ripe for the picking (I grew up to be a Theater Major after all), so it was not difficult to pretend I could activate a giant imaginary bubble – a force field of sorts. If only my bubble could float around like Glenda’s!

At first, this was a challenge. My Bubble was flimsy and popped easily – people got to me or I got that all-too-familiar sickening feeling when I was forced by circumstance to be in a large crowd somewhere. I practiced this imaginary bubble thing – and over the course of several years, I got really good at it. Maybe too good sometimes. In the early days the Bubble would only last a few minutes and then I would crumple. Pop! What started out as a weak decorative bubble  grew into an acrylic bubble (think of those chairs from the 70’s!), and eventually that grew into what I referred to as “the Steel Bubble”. Like I said – this took me years to master.

What was actually happening to me on a mental level was something that has served me well my whole adult life. I developed and nurtured my own coping skills. The bubble? That was just the vehicle I needed to promote and integrate these coping mechanisms. My imaginary Bubble Shield allowed me to peruse exterior circumstances and decide what I would “allow” to affect me. This force field provided a view of the surrounding world without the threat of being attacked by sensory overload. I could cope.

As my Bubble grew stronger I was able to work many jobs in service industries – all serving the general public. Anyone who has ever worked at a mall or a grocery store or as a waiter or waitress – well, ANY job dealing with the dreaded public – KNOWS how hard it can be! There are times when the noise gets to you. Some days the sheer negativity wafting off of people can almost knock you down. As an INTJ personality I always loathed the endless small talk and hearing everyone’s life story – I hated the complaints and chatter. My Bubble worked overtime.

I have always been stingy with my time and energy and creativity – it is mine and I do not want to spend it all frivolously or on wasteful ventures. Working with the public was a necessity because I needed money to survive. I had to cope somehow – and even though my Bubble wasn’t completely bullet proof – I cannot imagine the mess I would have been without it. My Bubble allowed me to stay sane and keep some reserves for myself until I could scurry home and quietly recharge my soul’s battery.

Today, my husband and I have three beautiful, intelligent children. ALL three of them are introverts. All three of them are also empaths. Guess what I have taught them? Oh yes – we started young and now they use their own Bubbles. Whenever we load up the Suburban to head out to a birthday party or a big public event you’ll hear one of us say, “Activate your Bubble!” It has made all the difference in how they are able to cope in this crazy world. Nowadays my Bubble is Titanium and Kevlar. It’s pretty impressive. Even my husband jokes about his Bubble sometimes. It is a ridiculous concept – but it works.

 

INTJ: Welcome To Your Super Power

So you just found out you are an INTJ. Isn’t it wonderful? To finally know the truth about what your gut instincts and your intuition have been telling you all along? It is true; you are above mere mortals. Perhaps you knew you were different but couldn’t put a pin on why (which is extremely frustrating for an INTJ). Being an INTJ (and especially an INTJ FEMALE) is like having a super power. No, it IS a super power. Here are some reasons why.

SUPER POWER #1: WE CAN SEE THE FUTURE

As an INTJ your analytical powers rank you among the Jedi. When intuition and intelligence merge into one being, great things happen. An INTJ can observe and assess a situation / event / relationship and then process that knowledge into 100 different paths of outcome, divide those future possibilities by their realism, add potential patterns, multiply the predictable responses to each scenario and come up with a mental picture of what the future should look like. Did I mention that an INTJ does all of this in a few seconds while simultaneously making a mental grocery list? No flow charts necessary.

An INTJ is a decisive person with a vivid imagination who values realistic and rational outcomes. The super power? You can pretty much predict the future – or futures – and 99% of the time you will be right. (However, we hate the phrase “I told you so” because too often an INTJ sees an outcome that is irrational or negative and does not WANT to be right.) This is why it is difficult to shock or surprise an INTJ (besides, we hate surprises). Companies pay huge sums of money to individuals who can predict future trends. If only we cared about such trivial things as trends.

SUPER POWER #2:  WE CAN SEE INTO YOUR SOUL

I mentioned observation earlier and allow me to elaborate. In a normal conversation an INTJ will listen to what you are saying. They will also watch your body language while you say what you are saying, listen to the intonation of your voice, listen to what you are NOT saying and plug your words into the context of the situation at hand. An INTJ will also apply skepticism (it is inherent – no offense), seek potential motive and “digest” all of this information at once. Sometimes it is difficult not to interrupt a person’s soliloquy  with the phrase, “What do you want?” And the observational powers go even deeper than that.

It is impossible to manipulate an INTJ. We smell motives. While most people are deeply scarred by insults and criticism and unfairness and prejudice, we are plain irritated by it. It angers us. INTJ’s are immune to emotional manipulation and will avoid it  (this is why we avoid salespeople)! We do not judge others based on their race, their creed, their religion, or their sexuality. We understand that no one asked to be born and that we have no control over how we came into this world. We also understand that emotional tactics such as guilt trips, insults, back stabbing and manipulation are all too common in society. We know the difference between confidence and arrogance. We know when someone is being honest and sincere as opposed to when they are full of BS.

Within a few minutes of being in a conversation with someone (or seconds if you are an empath like me) you will instinctively know with your INTJ super powers whether or not a person is self-centered, has a selfish motive, is greedy, is lying, is trying to manipulate you or is a negative / toxic person. This is an extremely handy super power that saves an INTJ from becoming entangled with negative and damaging people. While we still learn lessons through experiences, we spend a lot less time mucking through toxic relationships. Our “spider senses” save the day!

SUPER POWER #3: A WICKED STRONG WORK ETHIC

Every INTJ I know (and that is not many) is picky about what they do. If an INTJ does choose to do / create / invest in something, that means they have already analyzed the outcomes and have decided that a job is worth their time and energy. Even better – if they commit to a project or job that means they are passionate about it. An INTJ hates waste and loves quality and efficiency. We keep our standards high. We push ourselves to meet our own standards and expect others to do so as well. If an INTJ signs up for a task – you can believe they will execute that task by giving 110% and will do so without a trace of ego. In fact, an INTJ will prefer to work behind the scenes and take great satisfaction in a job well done.An INTJ is a workhorse and will even push themselves hard to get everything done to perfection.

An INTJ is not a primadonna. We already know we are awesome. We are well aware of our capabilities. We know we will nail the task and work hard to make it the best it can be. An INTJ can see the big picture and can work well with others but works best when left alone. An INTJ can “steer the ship” when they have to, but hates to steer the ship and would rather allow someone else to be the figurehead.  We can also keep people at arm’s length and be professional without getting attached or involved with anyone. The confidence carried within an INTJ is the sort of confidence every person should have. Believe in yourself. Know who you are and of what you are capable. Isn’t this the goal for everyone? An INTJ may have a few insecurities – but you will not see them. INTJ’s are not afraid to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.

Another aspect of this super power is that INTJ’s can do many different things and they are often great at those things. Hobbies, jobs, experiences – an INTJ learns quickly and can master many trades and skills in a short amount of time. Such individuals are called “multipotentialites” and companies have recently discovered that these types of people make the best employees. Combine a strong work ethic with a constant desire to learn new things and you get a powerhouse. INTJ’s also love research, which means they do not show up unaware. An INTJ does their homework and knows ahead of time what is expected of them. The best INTJ ability? INTJ’s are the best when it comes to the phrase “Fake it til you make it.” We will fake it until we do make it, and you won’t know the difference.

SUPER POWER #4: THE INTJ DEATH STARE

I was an adult before I knew this had a name. The INTJ Death Stare, or “The STARE” is a real thing and it is intimidating. Remember that “look” your mother gave you when you were a kid and you were acting up in public? Multiply that look by ten. As an INTJ I can tell you that the STARE just happens. It is instinctive. An INTJ does not muster or conjure the STARE. When something ridiculous or irrational happens – the kind of stupidity an INTJ simply cannot wrap their head around – the STARE comes out. In fact, an INTJ is prone to having their thought life showcased in their facial expressions. It is, after all, as reactionary as we get. Eye rolls are for beginners. Add some furrowed brows, one raised eyebrow and a Mona Lisa smirk to that list and you have some outlandish INTJ emotional responses going on!

The mother of the INTJ arsenal is definitely the STARE. If I had to describe the STARE, I would say it is a sinister scowl combined with the presence felt when Lord Vader enters the room, coupled by the soul-burning sensation of  the Eyes of Truth boring into your soul. Add a dash of shock – the kind of shock one might experience after being shot – and top it off with the kind of longevity and duration that makes a staring contest seem like child’s play. The recipient of the STARE is either emotionally scorched and has nowhere to hide, or in disappointing cases, is oblivious to the impending death and cannot understand what is happening. This leads me to the Door Slam Effect.

Like the INTJ Death STARE, INTJ’s are known to handle bad situations and especially toxic relationships with what is called the Door Slam Effect. When we are done, we are PAST done and all that tolerance is gone. Forever. INTJ’s can be extremely tolerant and respectful, but the line they draw in the proverbial sand is deep, clear, highlighted, has signs around it and has a map leading to it! Cross that line and you are dead. Dead to the INTJ. An INTJ, when “finished” with someone, will simply cut them out of their life. Poof. Gone. And there is no remorse on behalf of the INTJ. In fact, they will feel like they have made the best decision. It will be a relief to them. As a practice, an INTJ will start pulling away from a person or a toxic situation. This process can be so subtle others may not recognize what is happening. By the time the INTJ has vanished, it is past time to reconcile. No drama. No fights. No accusations or displays of anger. Poof. Done. By the way, the Death STARE usually comes right before the Door Slam.

SUPER POWER #5: MISS INDEPENDENCE

An INTJ woman is oh so special. This woman does not need anyone. If she has someone in her life, it is because she wants them in her life. This woman is strong, intelligent, confident (not arrogant), rational (not cold), quiet (not aloof), reserved and tactful (not a reactionary prone to loud outbursts), decisive (not wishy washy), practical (not high maintenance), and beautiful on the inside and the outside. Every woman should want to be this woman. (Too biased? Sorry not sorry.)

INTJ women do not doubt themselves. They know who they are and have had a sense of self-awareness since childhood. These women function with the concept of free will and have complete confidence in making the decisions that affect their everyday life. Using the scales of morality, an INTJ woman can easily weigh decisions and process her environment and how she survives / adapts to that environment. An INTJ woman is never the victim. (She may, however, leave victims in her wake!) An INTJ woman also has a wicked sense of humor and an elegance that slays (think Morticia Adams). Sarcasm and wit will always win and make for incredible coping mechanisms.

An INTJ woman is ethical and treats others with the respect every human being deserves while she silently ascertains their position through her judgements. An INTJ woman does not need a group or squad; she functions freely on her own and enjoys her solitude. When she chooses to spend time with others it means she greatly values those individuals and can be fiercely loyal in her friendships. An INTJ woman is protective of those she loves and can make an amazing Mama Bear. An INTJ wife does not need constant attention and can use her intuition to know her lover’s wants and needs.

The INTJ woman is immune to trends and social pressures, and yet she is radiant and outshines those who work to meet social standards. If there is a secret to be kept, tell it to an INTJ woman! She understands privacy and her active use of discretion and her respect for the delicacy of another person’s soul makes her the best vault for sensitive information. Most women can hold on to a grudge for years. An INTJ woman can hold on to a secret.

If you are an INTJ woman – THIS…THIS IS YOUR GREATEST SUPER POWER. You are a unicorn among horses and in this world you have the ability to set new standards and be the kind of example others follow. People will always be drawn to you but many of them won’t know why. People will either adore you or loathe you – and those who dislike you will only know that there is something about you that makes them uncomfortable. If you are an INTJ woman then you are AMAZING. Do not ever allow anyone to tell you otherwise.

And if they do, just use the STARE.

 

 

 

The Creative INTJ

We have all seen those little posts where they define each personality type and then list the “ideal jobs” belonging to these personalities. The INTJ always gets World Domination – no, but really we get suggested jobs like bankers, financial analysts, engineers, neurologist, attorney, judge…but artist?

I am a professional artist. I LOVE being creative – no, I HAVE to be creative or it starts coming out in weird ways (“Babe, who spray painted the chicken coop purple??”), so I have tried my hand at many different art forms and mediums. Oil painting, water colors, leather, photography, textiles, collage, sculpture, 3D mixed medium, the list is endless. Art is in my genes. My mother is a professional oil portraitist descended from the Dutch Masters and my father is an architect. And both are musical, and so am I. Some folks are just creative. I am creative. Everything I do has a smidge of creativity somewhere within it. I think in colors and sounds and patterns and fibonacci sequences and music and tone and imagery. I constantly visualize things done five different ways and what it would look like.

Now, I have worked in the art world for 20 years. I have taught art. I was a theater major and a business minor in college. I have taught children’s theater. (I am a drama teacher now!) I have worked in galleries. I have had exhibits and I have been in art shows. I have been in plays, written plays, directed plays, built props and scenery for plays. I have worked as a professional photographer. All of these have been satisfying outlets for my personal creativity. Yet one of the most interesting jobs I held in the art world was as a consultant and mentor to artists who make the choice to go public – try to sell and exhibit – their art. Stereo-typically, creative folks are a messy, free-spirited, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants race of people. I have also learned that many artists are TERRIBLE when it comes to business and numbers. So, creative person = brilliant artist + disorganized business person. I have seen it countless times.

I am an artist. Add Female INTJ to that. Yeah. Layers. LOTS of LAYERS. Being a creative and artistic INTJ offers a unique phenomenon. I can do both. I can also see where another artist is veering off course and is naively preparing to self-sabotage their art career. I can price art whereas most artists have no idea what their worth is. I understand the ways different galleries function and whether or not it is a waste of my time and energy to sell in that establishment.  I understand that, unlike manufactured goods, art is a unique and limited endeavor that can increase in the item’s value over time. Artists use talents to make things most people cannot make. That is a lucrative skill! That is WORTH a lot!

I am also much more organized than most of the creative people I know. I have a thing about cluttered surface areas – I like my desk and tables clean. I like tidy. I like to know where stuff is. And yet I am not bothered by other artist’s mess because somewhere in my soul I get it. I am a perfectionist when it comes to myself, but I am flexible and tolerant and patient with others (unless they are being irrational or making a repetitive clicking noise. #INTJ).

I am not impulsive. I am not super emotional. I analyze and pre-plan my works long before they ever manifest on paper or canvas. I loathe most commission work because I feel like it robs me of my own creative voice and ideas. Commissions make me feel like I am spending all my talent and energy on someone else – money is rarely a motivator for me. I am stingy with my gifts and talents – and if I create something for you that means I REALLY like you! I am subjective about art and view the works of others as a narrative and visual emotional response. Some art touches me deeply.

I feel like creative INTJ’s have the unique ability to stand in both worlds and see them with all of these magnificent visual layers. I believe creativity is intelligence having a lot of fun. My art is where my emotions DO leak out far enough to be seen. My art is my soul on canvas. Being an artist has taught INTJ me that mistakes and failures are my university. I learn and get stronger, better. An INTJ artist truly does get to make their own world, and yes, dominate it if they feel up to it.

I have tried for years to find another professional artist who is also an INTJ. So far no luck. I know you’re out there. If you’re reading this, do you find it easier than your fellow non-artist INTJ’s to communicate your thoughts and visions because of your creative flair? Do you help other artists become better in their business? Do you advocate the arts and artist’s rights in a way that is difficult for some artists to clearly communicate to others? Just wondering. Also – I would LOVE to see your work!!

And if you want to know how I really feel about the “art world”, visit my article “ART: A Common Sense Guide to Survival” published on DeviantArt:

https://sarahredhead.deviantart.com/journal/ART-A-Common-Sense-Guide-To-Surviving-214243524

 

Robots? INTJ’s? Whaaaaaa?

My nickname is Stone Cold Sarah. Why?

One time we lived in a little neighborhood and the family across the street suffered a terrible tragedy. One of their children passed away one morning and the mother was desperately trying to get help. NO ONE else was home on the street – but I was a stay-at-home mom with an infant. I was home. This young mother banged on our door and I instinctively grabbed the phone on my way to the door. I called 911 and then went to her house to try to help. Once the ambulance arrived I got out of the way – and returned home to my own children.

Later that night another neighbor asked me what the hell happened that morning – word had gotten around. Me, being a firm believer in stating the facts and not embellishing someone else’s story, briefly described what happened. Mouths dropped open. “You were THERE?” the neighbors said. How had I gone so long without telling everyone the gory details of the day’s tragedy?! Imagine someone respecting another person’s grief and privacy. The gall. But that is not why they made fun of me.

Another neighbor reported weeks later that they were incredulous that I showed no emotion when discussing “the facts” about a child’s death. “You were stone cold – like “hey a boy died and I called 911…” I found this amusing. Stone Cold Sarah had a new nickname.

Then, when I worked as a dog groomer, (accidental hobby that I discovered I was great at doing and could make good $$$) (YES I became certified – #INTJ) we would occasionally have a customer come in and cry because they lost one of their fur babies. The other groomers would always send ME out to “handle the grief”. Apparently these other groomers would break down and cry alongside the client and things would get messy. I would listen attentively, nod appropriately, patiently wait for the tears to subside and then politely ask, “So are we doing the puppy cut on Fifi this time or the Teddy Face?” Life would go on. Stone Cold Sarah.

I won’t bore you with other stories of my robot ways – but I will say that sometimes I have the unfortunate reaction of laughing when something bad happens (this was NOT the case with the child). This is a reaction and it is called the pseudobulbar effect and it is a real thing. So there have been times when someone fell or got hurt and I laughed. I could not control it. Which adds to the whole insensitive / cold thing. So yeah.

INTJ’s are not insensitive and cold. They feel more deeply than other types and are extremely protective and passionate about those people they deem their innermost circle. However, we do NOT waste energy and time on reactions and melodramatic behavior. It bleeds our souls dry to put out that much energy on emotional reactions. We save up for the important moments – when life will demand our emotions. We may seem a bit dry, a bit guarded, a bit automated. That can be a great thing – to have someone “strong” enough to handle intense situations without getting too messy. I rather like it. I am pretty low-maintenance after all.

Remember that your local INTJs are full of love and deep (deeeeeeeep Challenger Deep) emotions and they are safe, where others cannot use and abuse them. Rationality and Practicality Reign – at least until our favorite fictional character dies unexpectedly or our favorite chocolate coffee drink gets discontinued. Then you might witness an INTJ make a face. If you are one of the Chosen Ones in an INTJ’s life, then you are blessed because INTJ Loyalty is wicked fierce and so is their love and protection.

 

Uterus Women

BEWARE THE UTERI

There are two kinds of women in this world. I have classified women into two categories based on my personal experiences:

A) working with the general public,

B) networking via various social outlets (i.e. PTO meetings, church, birthday parties and more) and

C) family reunions. Before you raise your hackles ladies, hear me out. The two types are easy to remember: you’re either a Uterus Woman or you’re not.

Take for example my new neighbor, whom has graced our neighborhood for less than a month. As I walked my dog the other day, New Neighbor called out to me, prompting introductions. Dog and I made polite introductions, followed by a smattering of polite conversation (which I hate). This brief banter was not good enough for New Neighbor. New Neighbor did the unthinkable. Now, pause for a moment and focus on the fact that I have known New Neighbor exactly 6.17 minutes. Around 22.03 minutes I knew the following about New Neighbor: She is divorced. She caught her old man cheating. She is remarried. She has three kids, their existence completed by a play-by-play recounting of her labor pains, the hue of her placenta, how many stitches she had in each episiotomy,which drugs she took and how great/bad they were. She likes to drink socially. She likes to smoke all the time. She hates perverts. She loves steaks. She hates cats. She has a mastiff. Her new husband had a kidney transplant. Her lawn needs cutting. She likes to watch the neighborhood out of her window. She likes to call the law whenever something looks suspicious. She noticed my motion sensor light came on at precisely 2:49 AM last Tuesday morning. She feels like justice is overrated. She hates nosy people.

I also knew that New Neighbor must be allergic to bras, which was a shame considering a 42 DD would have been appropriate in her case. New Neighbor also uses her arms a LOT when she talks – perhaps she was an orchestra conductor in a past life. New Neighbor punctuates her sentences with raised eyebrows and knowing looks. If you think I am making this up – I will give you my address. Come by. Visit my neighbor. She’s lovely. As I made my escape from New Neighbor, she was still yammering. Her voice grew louder and louder until I shut my front door. My husband looked at me. “D’you meet the new neighbors?” My glare must have clued him in.

Here is another example; I once had a coworker whom we all thought was a class act. She was well-kept and well spoken. She was educated. She had money. (By the way – none of these things will make you presentable when it comes to the personality department. Stripped down to nothing but our characters, we’re all pretty much on our own. Like they say, you can take the girl out of the trailer park, but you can’t take the trailer park out of the girl.) Picture all of us ladies, working on a big event planning project at a fancy winery and accomplishing our tasks with a sense of cooperative harmony. Enter Classy Coworker. We all welcome her into the fold. She begins her work. Suddenly, Classy Coworker poses a question to the room. We are rapt listeners. What does she say? She asks us to look at a rash and diagnose it for her. Already a few of us are getting uncomfortable. One or two kind ladies urge her to continue, their best intentions at heart. Classy Coworker hoists up her Donna Karen skirt and displays said rash. Copious amounts of fidgeting have ensued and many of us are hurting ourselves as we search for an object at which to stare. Classy Coworker sees discomfort and laughs, telling us she doesn’t have one single thing we haven’t seen before. I beg to differ: a rash would be quite different! Classy Coworker demands Nearest Lady to stare at rash, hoping to identify the problem. I have already identified the problem: she fooled us. It’s another Uterus Woman. All agree too quickly that a doctor should be seen, and that Classy Coworker might want to choose something besides the flesh-colored thong she is wearing when she does see her doctor. I ask you one question: WHY on God’s green earth would ANY woman do that to coworkers?! Tell your doctor, tell your Momma, tell your spouse, but otherwise keep it to yourself!

Two words: Uterus Woman. Ladies, a Uterus Woman can be defined as any woman who is willing, no – eager, no – desperate to tell a complete stranger her life’s story within the first twenty minutes of your introduction. Put your money on the table, because if she’s good, you will hear about her uterus, her stretch marks, her anything having to do with the female reproductive system during this allotted time. Not only will she inundate you with gory details about her inability to wear thongs due to her latest C-section scar, but she will truly believe that you are:

A) interested in this knowledge and

B) are a better person for hearing it.

Strangers and their uncontrollable desire to verbally vomit their private lives into your tender ears are a nightmare. My advice: one can easily fake a distraction or even an illness in order to escape these crazed individuals. If need be, run as fast as you cGuess where I'm tattooed Continue reading