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Savoury and Sharp

By Jes Scoville

Life at the university has picked back up again. This week I’ve been flailing under an avalanche of sticky notes and emails and phone calls asking me to rearrange classes, times, locations, lunch menus, and acoustic panels. (I also had to deal with an unfortunate situation I’m calling, “Christmas Tree, Over and Over Again.” I am hopeful, however, that the third Christmas tree they send will possess all its requisite parts.)

I made it home yesterday and fell onto my couch, my whole being the limpest noodle. My eyes were leaking, from sadness or exhaustion — it wasn’t clear. So I started watching inane YouTube videos, as one does. I stumbled on an interesting fellow who makes videos about life as an INFJ. (If you’re not familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality test, you should fall down that internet rabbit hole and meet me on the other side.) I am an INFJ, proudly representing 1-3% of the world’s population. We’re a rare breed. And, as I discovered from watching an obscene amount of YouTube videos, we are weird.

I always knew I was not like other people, but I didn’t know that my weirdness fits into a category.

(Does that make it no longer weird?)

It is a life of interminable thinking. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to wake up and not care what’s going to happen, not plan what’s going to happen, just walk out the door and let the world hit you in the face.

I mean, the world often hits me in the face, but I usually work it into my plans.

Somehow this whole couch-laying, YouTube watching moment I ended up at this video describing why my INFJness is keeping me single.

Then I started to wonder, doesn’t everyone crave to be understood to the uttermost part of their soul?

Apparently the answer is probably no.

I went on a few dates right after Christmas with a fellow. We ate soup, talked about making houses out of straw. We went out again and played Monopoly Deal for hours and talked. I thought we had a wonderful time, as far as dating goes. When we parted, he promised to text and set up something again soon. I went home believing that we were enjoying the process of learning about each other.

However, I woke up that next morning to a midnight text from said fellow letting me know that he’s “simply not attracted to me and goodbye and good luck” and so on. (It is another post to discuss how a grown man can think it’s okay to send that kind of text to another sentient being.)

But here’s where I’m left. I want, as Stephen Fry said, something “surprising, savoury, sharp, unusual, cosmopolitan, alien, challenging, complex, ambiguous” instead of your ordinary “chicken nuggets.”

I suppose I will be single until I find someone who can, would like to, and will likely enjoy a connection with my bizarre and surprising soul.

Let me know if you have an idea of where he might be.

PS — The picture, I’m sure, represents some part of my brain or lymphatic system or essential organs, whatever makes me so odd.

Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash.

About Jes Scoville

Jes grew up in the mountains. After many years living all over the US, she is happy to finally be back west. Most days are filled with work and kids and writing and reading.
She is certain the future is bright.

9 thoughts on “Savoury and Sharp”

  1. Hi from a fellow INFJ! Thanks for introducing me to all those YouTube videos about INFJs, they help to explain so much about some of the things I do and think. A friend once told me that I need to be less picky when I date, but now I can tell her I am just really focused on what I want (and have yet to find). Hang in there with the dating scene; It definitely isn't fun but hopefully you can find someone good!

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  2. ENFJ over here.

    I have worked in English Departments for nearly 40 years, and they are populated with INFJs (and INFPs), so I interact with them more than I would in the grocery store or in my ward. (I've found that INFJs are deeply spiritual, but they don't like the social / rote religious rites. They are often home on Sundays, so they can be hard to find, but they have great insight if given space and possessing an inclination to share that insight.)

    Even though I share 3/4 traits with your type, I do recognize that I am wired very differently. My mother is an INFJ, and she divorced at 39 and remarried (an ESFJ) at 52. But I know that as a person who didn't marry until 34 (and went several years without even one date or flirtation), I did not like people telling me anecdotes, implying that my life would be parallel to another's.

    I do see great value in these rare birds. They think and feel deeply. They are highly metaphorical. They are champions of ideals, and they have uncompromising integrity. I always seek them when I move from place to place, and I do the happy dance. I try to explain what hidden treasures they are to others, but I've found many INFJs don't like me to broadcast their strengths. They are very understated on the surface, but extremely deep.

    May God bless you with every needful thing. And may you continue being your fabulous self. I don't know if you would enjoy Brene' Brown's latest book (Braving the Wilderness), but it's about belonging by being fiercely yourself. (I think she might be an INFJ.) I'm only one chapter in, but you may find it worth looking at. (Or maybe not; choose your own reading adventures.)

    Anyway, I can say that I adore your writing. It has a lyric quality that is at once provocative yet doesn't require me to wrestle with your atypical choices. I often reread your posts. Keep creating meaning and beauty. These are important gifts.

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  3. INFP here in awe of all that you’re balancing. If I were attempting even half of it, every day would end with me fused to my couch crying and scrambling to process it all. You’re doing heroic and miraculous things.

    P.s. texting seems like maybe a blessing but mostly a curse to dating. ?

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  4. Aren't those videos nuts? I have no idea what makes him an expert but I really love his hair, so that's enough for me. I'm hoping to convince my boss I need to go to Hawaii to recruit, so if you're still there you should show me some turtles.

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  5. Thank you so much for this response, Karen. I don't think I ever take time, really, to think about the parts of my personality that are valuable. (One of the problems with endless introspection?) And I think the part where you say I'm "provocative" but I don't trip you up with my "atypical choices" is my favorite thing anyone has ever said to me.

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  6. I'm wondering if there's a way to get a phone that doesn't text — that just makes calls. (And cookies, if possible.) Texting has ruined more things for me than it's helped. Except for confirming haircuts. That is incredibly useful.

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  7. You wondered about a phone without texts. If it helps:
    I use a sim card from a mobile provider (I am not an advertiser, so I won't name it here, but ask me if you want to know the name or more details) that allows me to customize my phone plan monthly, choosing how much texting I want to pay for (as well as how much data I want, and how much talk time I want).
    Result: you can simply not buy anything in the "texts" option when you prepay for the upcoming month and voila!, your phone doesn't send or receive texts.
    If, in the middle of a month, you want to text a little bit, you can buy a little bit of text..
    So, as I said…if it helps…

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