Sprouting up around the Facebook information garden are a myriad of scientifically dubitable personality tests. Which Scandal character are you? (Olivia Pope.) Which classic literature heroine are you? (Jane Eyre.) Which of Khaleesi’s dragons are you? (Yeah, I made that up, but I think I’d be the green one. Is there a green one?)
So, there I was, innocently traipsing through my friend’s lunches and their kid’s prom outfits on Facebook when I came across two different links. One was, “Ha, ha, only introverts get what this is like! And btdubs, extroverts are assholes,” and the other was, “Ha! Extroverts! Woot! And btdubs, introverts are assholes,” and I read both articles and…
…they were both me.
But I was still not satisfied because, a) Buzzfeed and b) Gawker. I mean, I like Gawker, and Buzzfeed engages occasionally in real journalism, but they’re not exactly my go-to sources for reliable psychological analysis. So I donned my safety gear and went spelunking on the internet and found an introvert article from Psychology Today and an extrovert article from… okay, the best extrovert article I found was from Gurl.com and it shares page-space with “If the condom gets stuck inside of you, can you still get pregnant?” so take what you want from that. But finding reputable sources for stuff like this without going to a real library is hard, y’all.
Regardless, once again, I found myself in both lists. I jump right into leadership roles. I wear my headphones in public places. I’m fine with small talk and can chatter with pretty much anyone, but I prefer deep, meaningful conversations. I get uncomfortable in big, loud, social situations, but I can usually find my groove. I am drained after a day of teaching and being “on.” I’m re-energized by time alone. I don’t need people around me all the time, but I usually enjoy them when I have them. So what the hell am I?
I’m neither. And I’m both. According to Fast Company, whose logo I just freakin’ adore and because I’m a design geek I decided that’s relevant here, creative people are both introverted and extroverted. Except here’s the thing… Brené Brown says that everyone is creative, and I agree. I don’t think there’s such a thing as a non-creative person. Look… there isn’t even a word that means “non-creative” which is why I had to slap “non” onto “creative” in order to name the idea. So… really, what does it even mean? Is there a value to these tests and identifications, or is it just another way to label ourselves into our various boxes? Does it matter which of Khaleesi’s dragons I am, and at what point does it just become snotty to look down on the endless parade of “I’m Spongebob Squarepants; which Nickelodeon character are you?” posts on Facebook?
In the big picture, I think that it’s not the answers to the questions on the personality tests that define you so much as the questions it makes you ask, and answer, for yourself. I am both a taker of these ridiculous tests, a navel-gazer of the worst sort, and the superior intellectual snob who rolls her eyes when she sees them and thinks, “Honestly, who cares?”
I am large. I contain multitudes*.
And also, I am the green one.
*That’s right. I pulled out Whitman. You got a problem with that? Then you’re probably Poe.