I love a good personality quiz.

Today I found the (free! Unless you want the entire report) HIGH5 Personality Test. After 100 questions, you find out your top 5 strengths.

Here are mine:

1. EMPATHIZER

Your objective is to be empathetic to others’ emotions. No one can step into the others’ shoes better than you – it comes so naturally to you. You might not agree with every perspective and emotion, but most importantly you are able to understand what the person is going though. It allows you to have personalized approach to everyone, to see their differences and specialties, to include them and to treat fairly. Naturally, it draws others to you, as you know exactly how they feel. In a team, such a strength based on kindness can be essential for mitigating conflicts by making sure all team members are aware of each other’s emotions and challenges.

2. STRATEGIST
Your objective is to see the big picture. Have you heard about ‘taking the helicopter view’? In your case, you are constantly on this helicopter! That’s not even a skill, it’s a special way of seeing things – a special perspective on the world at large, where everything is interconnected. While others could be confused by your short-terms steps, in your mind you have a clear multi-step strategy on how to arrive at the desired outcome and to avoid paths leading nowhere. Such a strategist is an essential asset for any team determined to find a clear direction in a complex situation.

3. THINKER
Your objective is to think. Some get excited by exercising their biceps or triceps, you – by stretching your ‘brain muscles’ through deep thinking. It does not necessarily mean you are a very focused person. It just means you enjoy the mental activity and meaningful conversations. For your mind journeys, you perceive yourself as the best companion. This introspection allows you to digest complex information and ideas before communicating about it with the surrounding world. Who wouldn’t like to have a team member who can simplify even most sophisticated concepts in a way that a 3-year-old would understand?

4. COACH
Your objective is to develop people’s potential. Contrary to what others might think, you believe that every person has the potential for development. None of the people have achieved the ultimate level of excellence – there is always space to grow. You perceive it as a personal mission to help others utilize their potential and to experience success. As the result, you look for ways to facilitate their learning process – from challenging their thoughts in a discussion to creating environments which would facilitate learning process. You are one of those leaders that really care about the development of team members and they really appreciate it.

5. PHILOMATH
Your objective is to learn new things. Due to your love of learning people tend to say you are a very curious person. You like to experiment with different styles of learning as well – in the end, there is something to learn from that as well, right? As it’s the processes itself that excite you, you are not necessarily interested in becoming a subject matter expert. Instead you prefer learning something fast and then shift to a new thing to learn. Thanks to this strength, you learn very fast and thrive in short projects and dynamically changing environments. Needless to say, you will always be the one to contribute with new knowledge to your team as well.


This Myers-Briggs Personality Type Test is one of my favourites, as is this one – it has really in-depth results and cute graphics. I am INFP-T by the way; a less assertive and more ‘turbulent’ form of the Mediator / Healer type.

From Twitter

Last, I like the Enneagram Type Test. There are 9 types in all; I am Type 2 – The Giver/The Helper.


I could go on and on about quizzes and personality types. I love knowing more about myself and exploring the different, and often contradictory, aspects of my personality.

Any quiz recommendations? Let me know!

Rainy Days

Rainy days are perfect for so many of my favourite things: reading, napping, writing, and cuddling with my puppy.

Inspiration doesn’t hit me like it used to. I blame the uncertainty that comes with a global pandemic. I obsess over what’s happening, and what could happen. I frame these thoughts in a negative way. But I know I need to switch my thinking and not dwell on the doom and gloom. We don’t have to go back to way things were; we have a chance to make the world better and to give our children hope.

So more often than not, I am weighed down by the heavy things. I think, “Why bother writing about love, friendship, or anything light-hearted? The world is crashing down upon us in so many ways – there’s no time for fluff, for laughter, for light!”

But this is exactly the time for such things.

The following is a poem I read recently that really resonates, so I wanted to share it:

I cannot tell you what lies ahead,
but I can tell you: you will grow.

Your ability to keep going each day
is a sign of courage on its own.

I know that peace feels far away
as you try to make sense of all the change,
and I just hope you can remember this:

You do not have to make sense of it all
in order to be worthy of peace.

To be the one keeps breathing
in the unknown is a brave and miraculous thing.

Learning to exhale is no small feat.
You are doing brave things.
Yes, you are doing brave things.
Even though it doesn’t always feel that way.

By Morgan Harper Nichols (on IG @morganharpernichols)

Harry Potter

In 2001, I was 11 years old.

On November 16 of that year (my birthday!), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone had its first showing in my small city. My best friend’s father worked at the movie theatre, so my best friend and I were there almost every weekend.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I had no idea what or who Harry Potter was, but it was the only kid-friendly movie showing that night. My best friend and I squeezed into the last available seats in the front row. We sat back, craned our necks, and the obsession began.

Over the Christmas holidays we devoured the books in the series that were already out. We excitedly discussed theories and covered our bedroom walls with printed photos of our favourite characters. We discovered the world of fanfiction – the website Schnoogle, in particular. We would read as many chapters as possible on our dial-up computers on school nights and on weekends.

I began writing my own fanfiction around this time (2001/2002). My pre-teen self wrote pages of self-insert Digimon: Digital Monsters stories, X-Men stories, and of course, notebooks-full of self- and friend-insert Harry Potter stories. I enjoyed the challenge of keeping the characters as close to canon as possible. I have vague memories of my character dating Ron Weasley while carrying on an affair with Draco Malfoy behind his back. My 12 year old self loved drama just as much as my current 31 year old self does!

Pen to paper is still my preferred way of writing

Now, in 2021, I get to experience Harry Potter through a different lens. My 9 year old daughter has been watching the movies; we finished the first part of the 7th and final movie a few days ago. She knows bits and pieces of the story, but was never particularly interested in reading the books or watching the movies until lately (she wanted to know what her friends were talking about so she could join in). Dobby’s death hit me differently as an adult. My daughter was very upset about it, understandably. The second part of the final movie is going to be even worse, emotion-wise, I’ve warned her.

At least in the epilogue portion the badly-done old age makeup on the actors should make her laugh!

Remembrance Day

In 2000, I was in 5th grade. In November of that year, we were tasked with memorizing the poem In Flanders Fields by John McCrae. On Remembrance Day, each one of us faced the class and recited the poem.

All these years later, I remember the words.

Today stirs up a lot of feelings. My dad joined the Canadian Armed Forces when he was 18. He was inspired by his own father’s service; he wanted to help people and make the world a better place.

So I grew up on military bases around Canada. I knew my dad had a very important job. His job took him away from us for months at a time. As I got older, I would hold back tears during the schools’ Remembrance Day ceremonies. I thought of the times he was in war zones; the times he came back but some his friends and colleagues didn’t.

I remember when he was overseas in Afghanistan. I would hardly breathe when the news came on TV, waiting to see if his name and photo would flash across the screen.

The first time I saw my dad cry was when he said goodbye to us before his second tour. I was a teenager, and I did my best to hold it together for my parents.

He is retired now. I know that as a combat engineer and EOD specialist, he saw and experienced some (or a lot of) very bad things. He doesn’t talk about it.

So on Remembrance Day, I am thankful to all soldiers for their service. I hate that they experienced so many awful things; I hate war. All of the senseless death and destruction makes me physically ill. I hate that war is so often viewed as necessary.

We can do better.

Feeling It

The days are getting shorter. My favourite time of year is upon us! I love being able to go outside and feel a cool breeze. I’m not uncomfortably hot, I’m not uncomfortably cold – it’s perfect.

I like to take my puppy, Bailey, on long walks, letting her sniff and explore to her heart’s content. She’s endlessly curious and makes me smile every day.

Look at this face!

Every day is a fresh start. I’m really trying to be present in each moment.

Wordy Wednesday

Today’s word is sempiternal.

The word means eternal and unchanging; everlasting. Its origins are from Late Middle English: from Old French sempiternel or late Latin sempiternalis, from Latin sempiternus, from semper ‘always’ + aeternus ‘eternal’.

But in philosophy there is a distinction between eternal and sempiternal. Eternal implies something that is infinite outside the bounds of time, like God, while sempiternal is a more earthbound way to talk about forever. 

“The one thing which we seek with insatiable desire is to forget ourselves, … to lose our sempiternal memory, and to do something without knowing how or why….”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Scratch

As writers, we know the hardest thing to do is to write.

I hold myself back. I acknowledge this. I am a procrastinator, through and through. “I’ll do it tomorrow” is a staple in my vocabulary. “I’ll write in my journal tomorrow.” “I’ll write a paragraph for a story idea tomorrow.”

Joke’s on me, right? Tomorrow never comes.

In these uncertain times, my usual anxiety is heightened; I feel scared, irritable, sad, angry, and numb, in the space of minutes. My emotions swirl around in a wheel, the colours all mixing and bleeding into each other.

I overeat all day, or I don’t eat all day.

Control is vital to me. It is a main source of my anxiety, it’s why I’m scared of flying on airplanes, it’s why I’m an annoying passenger in vehicles – I’m not in control so I can’t relax. But I can control food. I can’t control if my family members will get sick during this pandemic, but I can restrict my own eating. I can binge and shovel food into the gaping hole made of anxiety and stress and fear until it’s (very temporarily) filled and buried.

The current state of the world is wreaking havoc on my brain, body, and soul. No doubt about it.

I have a follow up appointment with my psychiatrist next week, thankfully. I was doing pretty well three months ago, when he last saw me. I’m looking forward to telling him what’s going on inside me. It will be a tiny bit of relief.

I have no support system; I have no one to lean on, no one to go to for advice or comfort.

I carry burdens by myself. It’s so heavy all the time. Crippling.

And yet… I continue to stand and move forward. Sometimes I stagger; sometimes I take a few steps back. I fall and scrape my knees and palms and cry.

But I get up. I always get up.

Hope is there; hope is all around us, you know.

2020

I’ve always loved the idea of new beginnings. Fresh starts. Next chapters. The thrill of reinvention, rebirth; wiping the slate clean.

We, as humans, give time meaning. We have followed the movements of the moon and the sun and other stars for as long as we have been on earth. The sunrise always means a new day, a time to start again. So does spring. All living things have a season – us included.

2020 feels special to me. I am so aware of my patterns now, both the destructive ones and the positive ones, and I am looking forward to actively and purposefully making changes.

I need to let myself breathe. I need to be just fine with existing. I am not worthless because I don’t have a job. I am more than my depression; I am more than my anxiety. I am allowed to rest without feeling guilty.

I am doing the best I can with what I have.

I cannot control others, and that is okay. I only control what I do and what I think. I want to embrace others and see them for who they are, not for what they can be or who I want them to be. This part is difficult, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. I have fallen in love with others’ potential so many times, it’s kind of embarrassing. But now that I see this so clearly about myself, I can actively work toward accepting people as they are.

I also know I can’t be hopeful and optimistic all the time. Cycles exist for a reason. Even with medication and therapy, I have dark days. Sometimes I feel bogged down and sad and grey. For me, ‘pushing through’ with a smile just doesn’t work. So, when I can, I let it hurt. I feel the blackness, the loneliness, the despair.

The sun pokes through eventually.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Mettle

My emotions have been VERY BIG lately. Overwhelming. A towering wave crashing over me, again and again, not caring that I’ve fallen over and I’m struggling so bad to get back up. I feel sad. I feel lonely. I look back over this year and I dwell on the things I should have done, the things I didn’t do. The negatives seem to outweigh the positives, but as I want to be more forgiving to myself, I’ll list the positives:

  • The creative writing course I completed
  • Ending a romantic relationship that was headed nowhere
  • Reconnecting with old friends
  • Making an effort to build new friendships
  • Practicing patience in the face of frustration

I have a physical journal that I keep. It’s leather-bound and quite beautiful. It was a gift to myself in the spring of 2016, to honour the ending of a chapter in my life and the beginning of a new one (as a single woman for the first time in almost a decade and as a mother). I have to be in a special sort of mood to read the oldest entries. I’d love to give that version of myself a big hug. I fell in love with someone, in those early days – someone selfish, controlling, and utterly broken inside – and the thing he said he admired most about me is my perseverance.

The concept has stuck with me: to persevere. I’ve felt so low, so terrible, so bleak. I’ve wanted to give up so many times. I get so exhausted and don’t want to fight anymore.

But I do. I’m here to stay.

So, dear reader, I hope you’ll stay too. Tomorrow is the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. Take time to huddle close and feel some warmth; be kind to yourself and to others.

Turning Points

Today I turn 30.

I struggle with milestone birthdays. 25 was a hard one, too. At 25, I was on the verge of a completely new life – single after many years in a relationship, a young daughter in tow. I came out the other side, obviously. I survived 25. I moved on. I did what I could to put the pieces into some semblance of a picture.

But 30?! I had all these plans and ideas of what my life would look like by now. A white picket fence sort of thing, with a doting, successful husband, a few children, a few pets. A garden. A front porch with a swing. A fulfilling career for myself. By 30 I would have all of those things. Wrapped in a perfect pretty bow.

I can still have those things. I know this. But it felt like 30 was a deadline and if I hadn’t achieved every single goal and dream by then, I’d be a failure. And so for the past few days, I’ve been feeling like a failure. I wanted to stay in today and hide from the world and not acknowledge anything or anyone.

But I didn’t. I went for supper with a few friends. We laughed and talked and had a good time. I’m glad I didn’t hide. I know ‘age is just a number’ and it’s ridiculous to think that life somehow ends at 30. I’m remembering to breathe and to remind myself that life now is good. Not perfect. But good. And that’s okay.

There’s loads of time for me to get what I want.

I am being very intentional about how I spend my time and where I put my energy now. I want love and compassion and reliability, so that’s what I put out into the world. I do my best to be kind and to be understanding. When I feel sad or frustrated, I take time to actually sit with the emotion, hold onto it; I acknowledge that shitty feeling and then I let it go.

It’s not easy, of course. I have a tendency to dwell on negative thoughts and feelings. Stew in it. Or push it down and bury it until there’s no room left and it all comes out at once in great howls of despair.

I don’t want that anymore. So I’m trying something new. I’m going into 30 with with as much hope and confidence as I can muster. That hope and confidence is a tiny, flickering flame right now, but it will grow.

I’m sure of it.