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The ENFP friend(s)

I have always been very particular about trust.  I am very protective of myself, very self sufficient, and the idea of actually needing others and relying on others makes me want to vomit, quite literally.  However, I have two very dear ENFP friends who I offer up my life to, including all the feels.  Despite these two (one male, one female) having the same MBTI type, you could not find two more different people.  In an effort to keep anonymity, the female ENFP is light, easy, and the friendliest person you’ll ever meet, with a zany intelligence that will match anyone toe for toe, all while being a devoted and talented musician (we were each other’s biggest competition in high school).  We have been inseparable since fourth grade.  The male and I actually have a little bit of a history.  We met at an honor band in high school.  There was an instant attraction (I think we went from meeting to making out in the span of an hour and a half).  We kept up with each other off and on through college (he went to one SEC school, while I went to its rival), and have remained facebook friends.  He is simultaneously the lightest yet deepest person I have ever met.  He also is hands down the most talented musician I have ever known, ever.  We reconnected over the summer as his marriage was falling apart.  Somewhere along the line, I became a deeply trusted confidant, and still hold that role.  While the nature is purely platonic in this context, the friendship has been fast, fierce, and enduring.  Additionally, he is possibly the most accepting person of me as me that I’ve ever known (my husband is a very close second on that front, but does sometimes have issues with my dry logic).  Between the two of them, they have gotten me back into music, and he has helped me branch back out and make a few select friends (although floating 5 friendships all at once is seriously exhausting).

It brings an interesting twist to life, as I’ve been married for 7 years now.  Can you be friends with someone of the opposite sex?  I say (and firmly believe) yes.  We have acknowledged the history.  My husband knows of the history.  I’m annoyingly transparent about our friendship (also exhausting).  Admittedly, if we were both single, I might completely uproot my life to be with this guy, but I’m mostly happily married, and he has a girlfriend, plus is fixing to go through what will no undoubtedly be an awful divorce.  Most people say the heart wants what it can’t have, but really, with me, the mind looks at the whole situation and says it’ll never be, so why want.

I write about this today, as the issue was an issue yesterday.  My male friend was having a particularly emotional day, so he called.  I talked while entertaining our almost two year old toddler, and cooking dinner.  Afterwards, there was a huge explosive fight, followed by lots of silence, and ‘I love you’s’ on my husband’s part, which has continued into today.  My guy friend and husband have not ever met.  There are tentative plans for the two of them to meet around Christmas (he doesn’t live close at all), but that is all very tentative.  I don’t make light of the relationship my guy ENFP and I have.  I won’t lie; I’ve spent many hours pondering what could have been, and whether it would have worked.  But, at a place that I am at now, I really do believe he’s just my pal.  Probably one of my best friends, but nonetheless a friend.

So what do you do with that?  Obviously it’s a spring stretching to its tightness juggling my friend and husband.  Running in the background is my father, who is fighting with lung cancer (never smoker, don’t judge), and will probably die in the nearer future.  It’s been a battle for four years, which is insanely remarkable, but we are nearing that critical point of cancer ratio to organs.  Fortunately (or unfortunately) my male friend’s father also died of cancer.  Sometimes you need that connection when you need to be negative, or realistic.  The giant red line in the sand has been drawn.  On occasion, my husband challenges it, but then steps back realizing that I do love him (and our son) dearly.

Time will tell, I know, but in the meantime, life is a tangled dysfunctional mess.

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The very beginning . . .

For my whole life, I have always felt like a bit of a square peg in a round hole.  I get along with people, sometimes, on the surface level, but have always found myself constantly longing for something deeper.  I have been lucky.  I am married, most of the time happily married, and have a small, very tight network of friends.  I had always attributed it to just being weird and intelligent, with an out of the box set of interests, that just didn’t appeal to most people.  In walks the Myers Briggs test.  I was instantly hooked.  I’m an INTJ female, which encompasses a lowly 0.8% of the population.  All of my experiences during childhood, and the quest for a significant other, were instantly explained.

Continue reading “The very beginning . . .”

Apparently, I’m full of Love.

I went to therapy.  As I had been told many times, I was met by a genuinely warm and happy older man, who made something that is generally uncomfortable and painful for me, much less so.  I am sure there are other therapists in the area who would work well for me, but truly, I’m glad that I stuck to my guns and was insistent on seeing Dr. Wolcott.  Interestingly, despite being fairly convinced that my life and marriage were falling apart, Dr. Wolcott thought otherwise.  Apparently, I am full of love.  However, instead of showing this love in some healthy, well-mannered way, I will go to the ends of the earth to rescue you from whatever problem you have.  This may be not having enough time to do chores around the house, to, in the case of friends (looking at you Mr. ENFP), dropping whatever is actually bothering me, to help you rescue your relationship.  Myself is never first.  Now, how we are going to fix that is beyond me.  I assume that is why you actually continue going to therapy.  But, the root of the problem is simple.  I am a fixer of all the problems.  And by golly, if you have a problem, I will fix it.  It’s very classic INTJ really.  We see above the whole situation and can hone in and take care of it.  And I do so excellently.  I do it at work.  I do it at home.  I do it socially.  If there is a problem, I have a solution, and chances are it’ll be good and effective.  So that’s what we’re going to work on.  Also interestingly enough, Mr. ENFP was quite aware of this (pre therapy), so when I called him flabbergasted at the latest misgiving of my husband, he let me vent all of my frustrations prior to telling me that his girlfriend had likely ended their relationship.  True to form, I immediately put my frustrations aside, and helped come up with a grand gesture in hopes of reconciling, which he dutifully followed.  True to form, they reconciled.  See.  Fixer.  It also speaks volumes that he’s sensitive to this, and spawns many many levels of questions that will have to wait quite some time, as he is in Europe for the next two weeks.

Also interestingly, the root of so many of my problems may not be my husband, but instead, my dad.  When we started going on these trips to Houston, I was supposed to essentially be a taxi driver.  I had to make sure he was where he needed to be, but the rest was up to my dad.  Now, I manage it all.  I book the hotel.  I figure out what we’ll do when we’re in Houston (although admittedly, it’s what I want to do, not what we want to do).  I find out and catalog where he needs to be when, and whether he can have food prior to whatever procedure he is having, and if he cannot, how far in advance he has to stop eating.  I keep up with where we need to be, and whether this is something that is a firm appointment, or soft arrival (i.e., labs are soft arrival.  As long as they’re done before the procedure that follows, who cares).  Pretty well, my dad just has the procedure done to him. I am 100% responsible for the rest.

Despite all of this fix-it ability, there is one relationship at work that is seriously suffering.  In the firm I work at, offices line the exterior walls with cubes on the inside.  It’s all open, and unfortunately the area is particularly live.  We have a younger, inexperienced, secretary who is an ESFJ (universally, this personally rubs me the most wrong, except for maybe my ISTP brother), and a member of the mean/pretty girl clique.  Why we still have these things past high school just boggles me.  In any case, a lot of the firm thinks she is delightful, which if you are in a position of authority, she is.  However, she’s dumb as a brick, and has zero desire to learn more, and is lazy.  I kid you not, she has said several times “I’m smart enough.”  That statement right there is why we can never be friends.  Unfortunately, my boss and her boss do a lot of work together, which means our work overlaps a great bit.  She is now 3 cubes down, which has helped us some, but not enough.  Today’s drama – she complained to HR about me using speaker phone.  Specifically, I used it twice.  Once, I dialed a long distance phone number and then picked it up after dialing.  The other time, I was on the phone with HER boss trying to edit something with HER boss.  So, the HR guy comes to me in his passive-lets-all-be-friends way, which I detest, and tells me how I can’t use speakerphone.  I immediately then email her boss that anytime she wants to edit something, I need to come to her or she needs to come to me.  We will see how this goes.  I detest office politics, but if what I’m doing isn’t wrong, you damn well better believe I will fight back.  I hear her cough, vape, and type all day with her fake fingernails on the keyboard, and never say a word.  Maybe that should change.

More therapy Tuesday.  Thank God it’s Friday.

I have an aspie husband.

My husband was diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 29.  Though it had been suspected for years that he was an aspie, the official diagnosis came after hours and hours of testing and interviews.  We had been married for two years. At the time, the diagnosis was a beacon of hope, as it enabled him to receive services towards job placement, among other things.  Now, 6 years later, I see it as the beginning of the destruction of our marriage.

Since then, I’ve become a self taught expert on asperger’s and the neurotypical relationship.  I know what my husband’s needs and limitations are, and most of the time, try very hard to respect them.  However, asperger’s changes as you age, and with the onset of the diagnosis, it became an excuse, for pretty much any ill behavior.  I have always fought terribly hard for a social life of my own.  If he wanted to tag along, that’s great, but if not, that was ok too.  I was still going to see my friends.

3.5 years ago, after most of a year trying, we got pregnant.  The asperger’s diagnosis was looming large.  I always wondered if someone on the spectrum could truly care for and take care of an infant.  They can by the way.  I knew that I wanted a baby, and that worst case scenario, I could manage a (single) baby.  Unfortunately, my pregnancy was abominable.  I threw up every day, all day, from exactly 6 weeks.  By 16 weeks, it slowed down some, but then anything that so much as looked at my gag reflex would cause me to vomit.  At around 20 weeks, I swelled up like a balloon and at 24 weeks on the nose, began the trek down the road with preeclampsia.  I was fine until I wasn’t.  At 25 weeks, 1 day, our son was born.  He spent 3.5 months in the NICU, followed by another 4 months on house arrest as he came home during the worst RSV season in decades.  By that point, whatever social network I had was gone.

I struggled through that for about a year and a half.  At that point, I was miserably lonely, and questioning my own marriage.  See, the thing about aspies, is they can put on a good show to convince you they love you and woo you, while you’re dating.  Once you’re married, that show is unnecessary.  I’ve read countless places that NT wives felt duped, and admittedly, my husband and I have had conversations on several issues, where I felt the same way.  In any case, I reached out, on facebook to several friends of the past, notably all male.  I don’t know that I had dishonest intentions, but I don’t know that they were honest either.  I’ve always gotten along with guys, and I knew they wouldn’t want to talk about our kid.  Luckily, one of the friends I reached out to was Mr. ENFP.  Frankly, I owe a lot to him for the fact that I’m still married.  He has always championed the work it out attitude.

One of the traits of asperger’s is that an Aspie is very conflict averse.  So anytime there’s any sort of fight or disagreement, there’s this immediate need to fix it, now.  Except you don’t really fix anything.  You put a bandaid on it.  Finally, the wall of bandaids was so thick and tall with the wound festering underneath, the whole thing fell off.  I don’t know if we’ll stay married.  I get to this point of not wanting to be with him anymore, and then I sit with that, and get really sad.  Failure of any marriage is sad, but I sit in this circle of unknowns, because as sad as it is, I still love him.

Add to the mix, we now have a 2 year old, who is healthy and opinionated and wonderful, except when he’s being an asshole.  I have a dad who has lung cancer.  I’ve become the sole caregiver for everything MD Anderson related.  I have a VERY demanding job, which I love, but that sucks the life out of me.  And then I come home to a cold house, where even though I am with my husband, I’m alone.  I have made some new friends over the past year, in surprising places, and I think that  is what gives me the strength to go to therapy now.  That, and that Mr. ENFP has suggested it every time my husband and I have a fight.  The INTJ can be worn down.

Hopefully therapy will yield something positive.  At least there’s hope.

Dear World, I quit.

Dear World,

I quit.  I quit taking on all of the burdens of my family, friends and co-workers, while I slide deeper and deeper into the mud of my own anxiety without anyone pulling me out or lifting me up, or even noticing.  I quit allowing my needs and wants to not be met in relationships, whether with my husband, my family, or friends.  My needs are not second to yours.  I quit not putting myself first.  If I don’t ever put myself first, I will always be last.  While that’s been ok for 34 years, it’s not ok anymore.  I quit yielding my schedule to those around me.  Your schedule is not more important than mine.  My schedule always involves at least two other people.  My schedule trumps yours.  It is fixed and unvarying.  You can figure it out.  I quit allowing others to tell me what I need to do.  I’ll go to therapy when I’m ready, and to the therapist of my choice.  If I need a glass of wine or a muffin laced with a generally giving substance to calm down at the end of my day until then, then that’s ok.  If I need to pull all of the weeds out of the flower bed, or practice for two hours in the evening to calm down, that’s ok too.

I have a two year old, a husband, a demanding job, a time consuming friend, all of which are male.  I quit having men govern my life.

I quit apologizing for being weird.  I have an eccentric taste in music.  I have an eccentric taste in most things.  I’m not particularly friendly most of the time, and I hate emotions.  Crying is overrated.  I quit apologizing for feeling that way.

I quit not being me.   I am weird, and analytical, smart, and decisive.  I have a lot to offer the world, and I’m tired of nobody seeing that.

Dear World, I quit.  And you’re just going to have to deal with it.

The shelf life of a co-ed friendship

One common problem among female INTJs is that we have more masculine personalities than our female counterparts. We think rather than feel. That, at least for me, has yielded a lot of co-ed friendships. They work great, until they don’t, and I can’t think of a single instance where I ended or limited the friendship. I always get demoted because a girlfriend (or boyfriend) becomes important enough that suddenly, I’m not as shiny, or interesting, or whatever it is that my co-ed friend found so awesome about me. After a year, it happened with Mr. ENFP. It’s been working on it for a while. I’ve felt it coming. I’ve dreaded it coming. But today was the realization, that it’s happened. And like every other time, it breaks my heart. I know this is how all co-ed friendships will go, but it doesn’t make it ever hurt any less.

I have a preemie, and he is magnificent

My son was born at 25 weeks 1 day.  For those not super fluent on pregnancy gestation, term is considered 37 weeks; most babies are born at 40-41 weeks.  He was 15 weeks, or 3 months early.  He came into the world weighing a stealthy 1 pound 6 ounces.  In the NICU, everything is grams, for the longest time.  That translates to 623 grams.  Like term babies, there is a weight drop after birth.  He got down to 550 grams.  He had no fat yet, so his skin was red (from the blood and organs underneath) and see through.  You could see the network of his thread like veins, and on occasion, you could almost see his heart beating strongly beneath his ribs.  You couldn’t actually see his heart, but it would make the skin flutter if he laid correctly.  It was both amazing and daunting.

I had severe preeclampsia.  They don’t start watching you for it until around 20 weeks.  As I have generations of preeclampsia in my background, I started monitoring my blood pressure from the first moment my ankles looked a little puffy.  At 23.5 weeks, I went in for the monthly appointment.  My feet were giant.  I had gained 11 pounds in a month (where I had been averaging 1-2 steadily), and I came back with protein in my urine.  A barrage of tests led me to a visit with the perinatologist and bedrest.  I would see doctors twice weekly, and the goal was to keep him inside me for at least another 3 weeks (I was 24 and some change at this point), but nobody was really worried.  I was stable.  Yes I was swollen as a full tick, and my blood pressure was elevated, but it was stable.  Then I wasn’t.

I saw my OB on a Tuesday for that God forsaken glucose test, which I failed.  I don’t remember why at the time, but as I had been diagnosed with pre-e, she gave me the first of two steroid injections to help Mr. Man’s lungs along.  I think she saw the writing on the wall.  In any case, besides being wound up on steroids, I was still fine.  By my Thursday appointment, I was not.  My blood pressure had started to soar, and frankly I felt crummy that whole day.  I was tired, and everything was difficult.  I had zero energy.  But, my entire pregnancy had been awful, so nothing was too alarming.  My blood pressure was reading in the 170’s over 95, which was alarming, but I was convinced that it was wrong.  I had my Thursday appointment, so I knew in a few hours that it’d get straightened out.

The nurse took my blood pressure at my OB’s office.  186/98.  She instantly freaked out, and put me on my side.  I started crying.  I knew this meant hospital bed rest, which is the thing I had so desperately wanted to avoid.  I had no idea that it would mean that I would be a mom approximately 3.5 hours later.  The nurse took my blood pressure 30 minutes later.  Still crazy high, though I don’t remember what.  That bought me a ticket to observation.  Ironically, I hadn’t even had my hospital tour.  I had no idea where I was even going.  I was met with the most fantastic nurse there ever was.  Medication upon medication was administered to try to get my blood pressure down.  Nada.  Alecia, her real name, stayed with me, and was calm and cool.  She was concerned, and I could tell, but she was there for me and my baby.

Even in the moments of extreme stress, we had moments of happiness.  Little man had no desire to stay under the fetal monitor, and when you’re only 25 weeks, you can wiggle out from under it.  We talked about how my husband had never felt him kick because anytime you’d try to feel him kick, he’d stop.

The anesthesiologist came in.  By this point, my blood pressure had topped 200/100.  I was loaded up with magnesium, so I was swollen and red.  I am sure I was a sight.  Everyone was constantly amazed that I was talking, and lucid, and had no signs of impending stroke.  We waited for the NICU team to show up.  They too were great.  Every time anyone would give a report on what was coming, and what their job was, I’d cry.  Then I’d apologize for crying.

You always hear about surgeons joking around while doing surgery.  I had two OB’s perform my c-section, and both were hushed and serious.  Even at the time, that made me nervous.  At 7:26, my teeny tiny little guy was born.  My blood pressure was 218/108.  Before he was intubated, he cried, which is unheard of for twenty five weekers.  I knew then, at that moment, that he’d be ok.  And he has been.

He’s swimmingly passed every milestone that he’s supposed to.  Except for speech.  The kid just does not want to talk.  He has doting grandparents and parents, who all understand what he wants, and the kid does not talk.  We’ve been going through the process of speech evaluation, which has been hugely stressful for me.  You worry if there is something that could have been done differently, or some area that you lack care .  Today, was the final appointment where we met our therapist, and set up our goals, and the first appointment.  I have been exceedingly nervous about all of this the entire process.  But today, I feel strong and confident.

I instantly liked our therapist – which is highly unusual for me.  She is calm, and interested, and loves these little kids.  I haven’t met someone so into the children since Mr. Man’s NICU nurses.  I know we are doing right by him, and that as a preemie, this delay in speech is expected.  The fact that he’s healthy, and opinionated, and into everything, with no food aversions, or health problems, is a miracle.  If he needs a little help in this one area, it’s ok.

We start speech therapy next Tuesday at 10:20.

Accepting that we didn’t do anything wrong has been the hardest thing ever.  I constantly feel like I’m being judged for my parenting choices, even though by all standards, we have a well adjusted two year old boy.  There are always things I would change, but you do the things you do because it works for you and your family then.  Sometimes preemies need a little extra help.  And we are getting our boy the help he needs.

Obviously, I am biased, but he is truly a miraculous little boy.

Grass, Weed, Pot, Dank, Reefer, Dope, Mary Jane, Cannabis – AKA Marijuana

So, I will be the first person to say that in college, I was absolutely convinced that pot was merely the gateway drug to what would surely lead to a life in a gutter.  Let me be the first to say that I was wrong.  This weekend, some friends and I combined the best parts of Cinco de Mayo and 4/20.  I’ll leave it at that.  I can also no longer say ‘I’ve never smoked anything ever,’ as of Saturday.  Take that for what you will as well.  Smoking was, as expected, gross.  The taste is foul, and because of the taste (not the inhaling; I did surprisingly well with that.  It’s still not the preferred method), I thought I was going to vomit.  But, when the homemade muffins aren’t working, and you’ve got one night away from the family with zero responsibilities, you’ll do what you need to do, to achieve what you want to achieve.

I share this article, because on the outset it looks like it’s badmouthing the ultimate taboo subject.  But really, it’s not.  And, the ‘harms’ do need to be looked at, plus there should be a certain amount of common sense, which we all assume way too much of.  But, if you look at the physical harms – risks of cancer, etc., the grass just doesn’t really do much.  Which, especially with someone who has a father with lung cancer, that’s refreshing to hear.

Plus, as someone who does live a tightly wound life with a decent amount of anxiety, whether external or internal,  the calm that I’ve experienced while high is marked.  I know it’s not forever, nor is it something I am constantly striving to achieve (except when it’s been planned, which is how edibles turned into smoking), but for those few hours, the brain break is wonderful.  I am responsible.  I make sure that I don’t have to make any childcare decisions for 12 hours.  I get a Lyft home. I would be willing to bet, there are many other mothers just like me.

Also, living in a poor state, whose budget woes are real, I see the fiscal potential.  Louisiana is in a sad state courtesy of Bobby Jindal.  There’s still utter gridlock, because there’s no reserve fund anywhere.  Taxes need to be raised, but nobody wants to raise them. Nothing happens.  Pharmaceutical dispensaries are set and running in Louisiana.  An additional dispensary, not directly related to pharmaceuticals, is also in Shreveport (and presumably there are others across the state).  The basic infrastructure to make Louisiana a lot of money in fast succession is there.

Why pot was criminalized is beyond me.  Maybe we have more and better information now.  Maybe we were just daft.  Who knows.  The point is, keeping it criminalized, especially when it is less harmful to your body than alcohol and cigarettes, is just waste on the part of the states.  Regulate it.  Tax it to death.  If Louisiana got on board, suddenly a state so deep in the red, might actually see black.

Oh, and don’t drive while high.  That is dangerous.  But so is driving drunk, which you should know.  Get a Lyft/Uber.  That’s what they’re there for.

John Popper’s Vaginal Teeth

Mr. ENFP works on occasion at a local music venue which houses both random, weird local to the area, and famous musicians, in this case, John Popper from Blues Traveler.  Specifically, he’s coming May 17.  Mr. ENFP is working for that show, and told me about it a month ago, and much to his surprise, I was a giddy little school girl.  He often tells me of the artists he meets, and most of the time it’s like telling me what you had for dinner.  But, I am a huge Blues Traveler fan.  Child of the 90’s I am.  So he and his friend, who also works at the MIM were talking, and the subject of John Popper came up.  Apparently the dude is a total tool.  Needless to say, the autograph I have been pining for will not be happening, and frankly, after further information, I don’t know that I want it.  His production company is called Vaginal Teeth.  Surely by decision of MIM, there will be no females on the crew that show.  When Mr. ENFP told me that, it was more than slightly off putting.  The vag gives life, and love, it doesn’t bite.  It’s soft and warm, and a place of safety.  Surely we all have our qualms about the vag (Is it itchy?  Does it smell ok?), but at its core is what makes me a woman.

The name – Vaginal Teeth – in itself is derogatory towards women.  It implies evil and malice – like the vag is out to get you, or something of that nature.  I’ve been running with this thought since 7am this morning.  In a world of #metoo, and all of the other movements that have come up, a name so blatantly anti women just is jarring.

I am sure whoever formed this company surely has some deep rooted issues towards women, none of which I can address.  Also, I know I wasn’t always perfectly wonderful towards men I dated.  I have been called cold on numerous occasions.  Once I decided I wanted out of a relationship, or that it wouldn’t work, I was done.  I never cheated.  I never intentionally inflicted harm.  And, now as a woman, half of my life is based on care.  I care for my husband.  I make sure clothes are ironed, people are fed, dogs are walked, etc.  I care for my son, which is obviously a time consuming endeavor, as life is with all two year olds.  I care for my dad, who has lung cancer, by going with him to MD Anderson every other month.  Those trips are no picnic.  They’re grueling, and long, and by the end, as much as I love my dad, we have to take a few days off from each other.   I care for Mr. ENFP.  I offer counsel to him.  I share my days with him.  We support each other.  I care for my male bosses.  I make sure they have what they need. I try to anticipate their needs for work.  All of this I do while having none other than a vagina.

I’d like to say I’ll get past this situation and be the avid fan that I always have been, but I’m really not sure.  While me and my vag don’t always have a loving relationship with each other, she’s mine.  She’s what makes me, me.  And really, that’s a lie.  My vag and I always do great together.  I know how to make her happy, always.  It’s when you start adding other parties to the mix that she can be picky.  Be kind to the vag.  Without her, none of us would be here.  She should be cherished and loved.