If You Could Be Any Mythical Creature, What Would You Be?

Once upon a time, I had a boss who thought each employee on his team might benefit from sitting in on an interview. At the time I was working as a Quality Assurance Engineer for coded litigation documents. That fancy title meant I wore the most comfortable clothes possible without their being pajamas, worked in a cubicle corner that looked more and more like a cave every day, and frequently talked to my coworkers so that we didn’t start gnawing the upholstered walls out of boredom.

Quality control is mind-numbingly dull.

I was thus attired and thus mindsetted when said boss (we’ll call him Jim) alerted me to the interview and his expectation that I be there. I had no training in what to say but certainly knew I ought to have put on something fancier than jeans and a sweatshirt. At least I had shoes.

And so I went, attending my suit-clad supervisor. We met an expectant young man in the conference room. His name was(n’t) Mike. He also wore a suit. We shook hands all around and sat and organized papers and I pretended to know what I was doing.

“I see from your résumé that you worked at X…” Jim began. Fortunately, the questions and responses ran just like I’d seen in movies. I nodded at appropriate points, looked stern and interested at others, and added a (hopefully) relevant query when requested.

We were nearly finished, when Jim asked, “If you could be any mythical creature, what would you choose?”

Mike thought for a few seconds, then responded, “A ninja tiger.”

Besides the usual gamut of “Where do you see yourself in five years?,” “What experience do you feel you bring to X Company?,” and “Have you ever been in a stressful situation and how did you handle it?;” I knew some quirky interviewers pulled out a random question for fun (or, to my paranoid mind) for psychological assessment. When Mike, by all appearances a QA nerd, answered the way he did, I was surprised.

But Mike was/is a bit of an odd duck. I knew that because we hired him and I worked with him for at least a year. He enjoyed sitting at home and introvertedly watching hours of television, yet also bowled. And was quite good. He was quiet and reserved but walked the halls in a sort of sliding fashion. Yes, like a ninja. I believe he told me he had a black belt in karate despite having the physique of a toothpick.

Yes, this could very well be a post about judging people. Bad, bad Chelsea. Don’t judge.

I’m more interested in answering the same question posed to Mike: If you could be any mythical creature, what would you choose? I’m interested because of how that classifies us. People are complex beings. Sure, we relate to certain groups and often lump ourselves together with similar personalities and interests. Through a simple question about preferences, however, we can reveal a deeper aspect.

We can reveal a ninja tiger.

I’m not that cool. Most days I behave like a Grick, a “darkly colored worm or snake-like creature” that lays around caves and waits to grab things with its tentacles. Since I get to name my own preference, though, I’d love to be a phoenix or an imp or a dragon.

Flying, right? No-brainer.

How about you? What mythical creature would you choose? For bonus interview points, what do you think that might say about your personality?

Draconika

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In the real world, here’s what I wrote last week:
Wednesday, May 15: Wrote “Just Another Day in the Life,” and learned that I need to stop dusting.

Thursday, May 16: “Suddenly Spring,” a poem about …well, suddenly spring.

Friday, May 17: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Deb Whittam!

Saturday, May 18: Announced the 26th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is engineering failures, real or imagined. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, May 19: “Tree Search Exclusive Tours, Ltd.,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, May 20: An inspirational quote by Timothy Leary.

Tuesday, May 21:”Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Four.”

Wednesday, May 22: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Don’t Be so Hard on Yourself,” “Special Projects Take a Lot of Time and Mess,” and “A Poem, I Think.”

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Are We Our Personality Types?

Have you ever taken a personality test? I sat the Myers-Briggs sort when I first registered for college. I’d have to dig to unearth the paperwork, but recall that my middle two scores were very close.

As such, my results of Sensing/Intuition and Thinking/Feeling were not the most accurate. When another blogger wrote about personality tests last February, I took a quick online version that said I was still close on those two. In fact, I was close on the last one (Judging/Perceiving) as well.

MyersBriggsTypes

What does this mean?

Am I still the profile of the acronym result I got? Should I read all eight possibilities to be safe? Am I divergent?

Or, maybe we ought to say all these tests are a bogus waste of time. Right?

I can go with any side’s viewpoint on this. If, however, we do decide to throw the assessment out with the bathwater; may I ask why categorizing oneself is so popular? Why do people take the tests for fun, or why do their managers have teams do so? Is it helpful?

Three years ago, my mother showed me another personality test: The Color Code. In true non-fiction book-reading fashion, we skipped right to the test for which the book was named. In true me fashion, I tested high in two categories. According to Taylor Hartman’s measures, I was blue and red.

“The most difficult color combination within one individual is the mixture of Red and Blue. If you are strong in both categories, you will often find yourself stepping on someone’s toes to get a task completed (Red), but feeling guilty afterward for making that person unhappy (Blue).”

When I read that, I felt understood. I felt like a stranger walking through a forest who had just been told the name of all those beautiful purple flowers I’d seen growing on the tree trunks. Further, I’d also been handed a manual about that flower’s use and purposes.

This seems an odd reaction from someone like me, a self-proclaimed anti-categorizee.

But I think it explains the popularity of the practice. If I, skeptical and averse, like being analyzed and advised; maybe everyone does. Maybe we all feel a bit lost in the woods and see these self-help botanists as a glimmer of light.

Do you think so? Have you taken a personality test? If so, what did you think?

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While you’re responding, look into what I posted this past week:
Wednesday, May 1: I learned about the many reasons you all create in “Why Do You Write?

Thursday, May 2: “The Cure for Depression: Don’t Skip What Works,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.

Friday, May 3: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Ruth!

Saturday, May 4: Announced the 24th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is Superheroes. PLEASE ENTER!

Answered Peregrine Arc‘s writing prompt with “The Choice of Three: Roll Your Initiative.

Sunday, May 5: “The Animal Facts of Life,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt, sisu.

Monday, May 6: Promoted Fractured Faith Blog‘s post. They want to reach 10K followers and are almost there!!

Also posted “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Three.”

Tuesday, May 7:  An inspirational quote by Theodore Roosevelt.

Wednesday, May 8: Shared Charles Yallowitz’ excellent advice on spying in “7 Tips From a Reticent Spymaster.

Plus, the post you are currently reading.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Go for Perfection …Sometimes,” “Parenting Is Hard, so Why Still Do It?,” and “Short Mom Rap.”

 

Photo Credits:
By Jake Beech – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30859659
Photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash

How to Win Friends and …Nevermind

I am not very good at making friends.

Or, maybe I am and don’t know it.

Reassuring people on places like Facebook (who do not stay to talk long in person) tell me that everyone feels the way I do. They say that they like me and, no, I do not have a smell or an annoying habit or whatever.

Then, as I said, they don’t hang around.

I think, in fact, they are wrong about their assertions. -Though not about the smell. I shower and deodorize and even use girly-spritz most days.- I think I do have an annoying habit and I am a whatever.

My annoying habit is that I am socially defunct and that I kind of want to be. Whilst simultaneously envying the cluster of blonde-dyed women who have all had Botox and wear Size 4 or lower, I also …well, you see what I do. I judge. I think it even shows in my face because what’s internal becomes external for me. No, I am not a good poker player.

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What I am not sure about is whether this envy/judging plays a part in my other behaviors or if I am just trying to ‘be me’ (another terrible suggestion). In this case, I refer to my discussing subjects that are more interesting than whoever is pretending to be The Bachelor or what piece of whitewashed antique barnwood Joanna Gaines is using this week.

Further, I am not sure if I eschew things like barnwood because of my fierce desire to be unique and, most definitely, not ever be classified as a typical woman; or if I really don’t like those things.

Some times I go to social functions and feel things are going well. I listen to a willing woman’s life stories and, occasionally, am able to broach a more advanced topic. More than once when this happened, my conversation partner remarked, “You’re a deep thinker.”

Deep thinker? Does that make them a shallow thinker? A not-thinker?

There I go being judgy again. I guess I just need to turn that off. Or, start watching more shows about bachelors.

Are you a social butterfly? An outcast? A ‘deep thinker?’ What do you think about The Mystery of Socializing?

—–

I can small talk. I’ll start with my week in review:
Wednesday, January 9: “A Tree Falls in a Forest; Does the Reader Hear It?,” a post about a little stream, or maybe a metaphor.
Thursday, January 10: “Skinwalkers, XLVIII.” The End of Skinwalkers, at least on here. The story was taking way too long for everything I wanted to do, so I figured I’d stop boring everyone with it.
Friday, January 11: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congrats to a new contender, M.K.M.
Saturday, January 12: Announced the ninth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. Write a limerick and share it!
Also, “Directions from a Druid,” in response to D. Wallace Peach‘s picture prompt.
Sunday, January 13: “Bio-Enrichment,” my flash fiction conversation for Carrot Ranch.
Monday, January 14: “Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-Nine.”
Also, “What Do You Do All Day?” at my mothering blog.
Tuesday, January 15: Inspirational quote from a song written by Charlie Chaplin.
Wednesday, January 16: Today!

Petites Boîtes

When I was but a francophiliac teenager, we learned a song titled “Petites Boîtes.” The first stanza of lyrics is as follows:

Petites boîtes très étroites
Petites boîtes faites en ticky-tacky
Petites boîtes, petites boîtes
Petites boîtes toutes pareilles.

Translated back to the English version written by Malvina Reynolds from Graeme Allright’s fun-sounding word-rhymes, it says:

Little boxes, on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky
Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes all the same.

The obvious gist of the song is that everyone goes through life staying in these boxes that look the same, that they’ve always been in: growing up in the same neighborhood, attending university, making children, their children follow exactly the same path; we even die and are put in boxes in the ground.

I hate boxes.

When I converse with people, I begin squirming at social categorization. Ironically, I have (of course) already placed the other person into neat little groups in my mind. Ah, he’s wearing a camouflage coat and just got out of his jacked-up pickup truck. As he strokes his mustache and stubble, I can tell he must be in favor of: hunting animals, no gun control, and (perhaps) being suspicious of all authority figures.

Meanwhile, I feel like parking down the block so no one sees that I came by minivan. I dislike discussing religion or politics. When asked about favorites, I sweat.

Thing is, I may fit into many of these boxes (petites boîtes -it’s so fun to say!). I just don’t like the idea that someone places me immediately into one, only one, and assumes I’ve all the associated characteristics of someone else who also might behave in a way that places him or her in there.

So… I tend to introduce myself in a way that shakes up typical introductory patterns. “Hi, I’m Chelsea and I can write with my toes,” or “My favorite food? Good food, definitely.” Or, most often, I’m going to just sit and nod and pretend I also like what’s-her-name-Gaines and that I actually watch TV and so they assume I can hang out in their little corner of interests.

Mature, I’m sure. Perhaps you, the reader, have a better approach.

In the meantime, I’ve got to get into my mom-van and pick up children from school, as part of a carpool. I’ll be listening to alternative music on the way and acting like I own a much different vehicle.

I’ve always wanted a lifted pickup truck and camouflage jacket…

Open Book

Message_1500849950052At the time we meet a person, we have caught him mid-story -perhaps on page 322, paragraph 5. He has read all that came before because it is his life, but you have not. You are only looking at that page, and mentally writing your own thoughts entirely for pages 1-321. You’ve even supplied your own prologue, prequels, and alternate series set in the same world.

I recommend this approach for someone who will likely take advantage of you. You may be three hundred pages in; but know, from other stories of scowling street stalkers, that caution would be wise.

That aside, let’s remember that a new person is a new chance for both in the encounter. He and we are perusing people, and the future has not been written yet.