I have recently become re-interested in Myers-Briggs Tests, a type of personality test that basically explains how you perceive the world and go about making choices within it. I am an ENTP, which are described as outgoing, inventive, attention seeking, distracted, knowledgeable and argumentative people. That pretty much is me in a nutshell, although after reading over a few descriptions of my type again I have come to the conclusion I am something of a late onset ENTP, at least when it comes to two of the biggest features of the personality: being extraverted and attention seeking.
When I was a kid I was pretty darn shy around adults. I think this came from my big reliance on my older to brother to take charge in situations. He would deal with people (mostly because he just wanted to be the leader) and I would sit back and let him do the talking. If I could call any relationship the defining one in my life it would be the one I have with my brother. When we were kids he and I were close, but a somewhat vitriolic close. He treated me like crap and I made fun. I antagonized him and he beat me up. Even today most of our discussions become arguments. I will even argue with him just for the sake of arguing, something that is very classic for an ENTP. However, my relationship with my brother is what in the end pushed me out of my shyness. I think subconsciously my choice to go into the performing arts was something I did not only for myself, but also just to get under my brother’s skin.
Another contributing factor to my social reluctance is still something I struggle with: my fear of being wrong. I have always been afraid of saying something that is not the right thing in a given situation. So I shut up. That is until a topic came up that I knew a lot about. My family and friends can attest to my ridiculous knowledge of anything I am interested even mildly in. By mildly I mean things I have only spent maybe two or three days looking up on Wikipedia rather than weeks. So if say, the subject of comic books came up, I was all over that conversation like a fat kid on cheeseburgers. One of my most fond memories of such an event was when I just started working at a local hobby store I never talked to any of my coworkers. Mostly because they were frequently old boring dudes, but partly because I just didn’t want to say anything out of line at my first job. Then the topic of palaeontology arose, which led to several ongoing discussions with my coworkers. My quick absorption of knowledge is something that has served me well in school and in my social life. I have in the past gotten A’s on tests without studying while others have spent hours going over textbooks and have barely passed. I know that sounds like me tooting my own horn but I can name just as many times where my lack of studying failed me miserably. But for all this knowledge I had, I still wasn’t exactly a confidant kid.
When I was in middle school I started getting severe migraines and I was out of school for weeks at a time. This was probably the biggest influence on my social growth, or lack thereof. From grade 7 to, about halfway through grade 11 I rarely hung out with friends I pretty much wasn’t close to anyone. I could tell this worried my mom who thought I was going to end up being one of “those kids” that didn’t have any social interaction. By grade 10 I was in a pretty bad place because really, all I wanted to do was socialize. I yearned for it, but had no fucking clue how to do it anymore. It took two choices to pull me out of my shell.
In grade 10 I was offered the chance to take part in a theatrical production that would be taken to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I jumped on my chance to do this, and I still don’t know all the reasons why. I had been taking drama for the last few months of that school year and felt like it was the only part of my day that I truly felt like I was myself. So my choice to go to on the trip to Scotland could have been motivated by that. However, I think it may have been mostly spurred by my constant strive for close friendship, and after seeing how close the theatre kids were (and how cool they all seemed) I thought this was my best chance to accomplish that. I signed up as soon as could (one of many impulsive moves I have come to thank my ENTP personality for), but the rehearsals for the show didn’t begin until the February of my next school year. This left a full nine months before I would be working with my potential new friends. At first I was okay with this, but I soon went to a pretty dark place. Come autumn I wasn’t doing so well in school, something I hated myself for. At this point in my life my plan was to become a zoologist or a palaeontologist, both careers that require good grades and a lot of science courses. I came to realize that maybe this wasn’t the career path I wanted to follow. Maybe, I needed to follow my artistic streak. At the last second I changed my second semester course of chemistry to Drama P (the more…advanced drama course offered at my school). This rapid choice was but another that I thank my personality type for because it finally opened me up to my new life as an actor. During my second semester of grade 11 I was getting a double dose of theatre kids, and I loved every second of it. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t an immediate change. It took me a while to get used to all these new people, which was something that frustrated me as I am an extremely impatient dude (go figure), but eventually I did bust through my wall of insecurity.
So now, here I am. Eighteen years old, in my first year of college studying theatre and I am completely comfortable with myself and who I am. I have friends I wouldn’t trade the world for and I get to spend hours a day doing something that feeds my ENTP brain, in all its inattentive, impulsive, zany glory.