This one time I read an article about that moment when you realize you have zero fucks left to give, or something like that.
I sent it to a friend and said: "You." Followed up by a text that read: "And not me..."
"I have all the fucks left to give."
To which my friend replied, "haha 100000%."
Because it's true. I give allllllllll the fucks.
I might seem like I don't. But I do. I REEEEEEEALLY do.
Especially when it comes to what other people think of me. I recently wrote in another blog post that, and I'm quoting myself here, that I was blessed with both an extremely polarizing personality and an almost pathological need to be liked by everyone. And, thus, I am constantly giving a fuck. So much so that if a situation comes up and I don't have a fuck left to give? I will absolutely find one.
In fact, I recently came to this sort of terrifying realization that I actually don't know if I've ever asked myself whether or not I like myself. Or, like, that I can give my opinion on what kind of person I am. Like, yes, I consider myself funny and at moments charming, but deeper than that. Like...what do I see within myself that makes me feel worthy? I realized that I am so consumed with needing to be liked by others that I have searched for the answer to whether I'm worthy or not completely outside of myself. And that I am only sure or aware of my worth or value to the world when I receive validation of that fact from outside sources. And a lot of the time? The sources I find most reliable are the people who I am 1000000000% sure do not like me. Because, somewhere along the way, I decided that if I can get people who don't like me to like me then that means I'm actually an okay person. Whereas the opinions of people who have always had my back and supported me hold much less weight. As in, "well they're just saying that cause they like me." Uh, yeah, that's the uh...the fucking point, right?
Well not for me it seems!
In the words of the great Groucho Marx, "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member."
So, I don't think I need to really explain why this is something I am working on. Because only feeling that you're a worthy person when someone else tells you so, it's not a great way to live. It keeps you in a sort of paralysis, actually. Even if you're inspired to do something, to share something, to be something, the fear of how it will effect outside perceptions of you can stick you right to one spot and not let you go.
Working in the self-discovery, self-help realm has always been fun for me. I started therapy before I was in my teens, and I loved when my dad would take me to metaphysical bookstores or crystal shops. I would take one breath of incense-laden air and suddenly I knew the type of person I wanted to be. Unfortunately, that person was generally the exact opposite of who I actually was or am, and so, while I could "act the part," for a few days (I once tried to defeat the burden of my "horrific self" in middle school by wearing a pentagram, carrying a 10-pound tome by Silver Raven Wolf, and wearing an Absolute Witchcraft t shirt every day for, like, a week) I always wound up returning to...well...who I was...and am.
I used to believe my inability to maintain these new personas was somehow a deficiency in willpower, but as I've gotten older, I've realized that it has nothing to do with a lack of will, but a lack of being able to accept my truth and then build on that as a foundation.
This is actually sort of where my main mantra of vulnerability being a super power began to blossom. Instead of hiding who I was and what I wanted and all the things I was constantly terrified of, I decided I was going to put them on display and under very bright lights. I also referred to it as 8 Mile-ing myself.
For those of you who haven't seen the movie 8 Mile, let me explain what I mean.
In the movie 8 Mile, the final scene sees amateur rapper Jimmy "B-rabbit" Smith, played by Eminem, going toe to toe in a freestyle rap battle against heavy weight freestyler Papa Doc, played by Anthony Mackie. Now, throughout the film, Eminem's B-rabbit has gone through a lot of shit. His family's a mess, his girlfriend cheated on him, he got punched in the face, his best friend, like, maybe blew his own dick off with a handgun? I kinda forget, but all this to say, things are not great in the world of B-rabbit.
Now, Papa Doc wins the coin toss for who gets to choose the freestyle rap battle order, and he says, very pointedly I might add, "let that bitch go first."
Well...rather than take down Papa Doc, who things seem to going pretty well for, B-rabbit takes down someone else...himself. He completely roasts himself. He is open and honest about all his hardships, about how his girlfriend had sex someone else, and about how he's gotten the crap kicked out of him, and how he is pretty much living life in the shit right now. And he finishes with the line: "now tell all these people something they don't know about me."
Pretty cool, right?
And Papa Doc has nothing to say to this. Literally NOT A WORD. The beat starts playing for him to retaliate and ZIP comes out of his mouth. Because what is there to say to a person who just openly owned everything (and in rhyme, no less)?
And that is sort of how I decided I wanted to live my life.
I wanted to be in a constant state of ultimate freestyle rap battle with B-rabbit. I wanted to be owning everything about myself. Even the stuff I hate. Especially the stuff I hate. Because if I don't speak those wounds, I can't release those wounds, and then they're just festering and growing and nothing is healing and I'm wondering if I should go back to wearing the Absolute Witchcraft shirt again (nothing against witches, obviously, I'm pretty f*cking witchy, myself. I just mean, I'd be trying to find some way to define myself that was nothing like my current way of being)
I decided that rather than beat myself up for what I was not, I was going to lean into what I really am, and try to find ways to work with myself, rather than against myself. For example, rather than beat myself up for not being hyper organized, I was going to figure out exactly what I was having trouble with and discover what worked for me. And guess what? It made me way more organized than when I was desperately trying to be an amazingly adept bullet-journaler who color-coded everything with aplomb.
It's also what leads me to our main topic today (I know, you're like, "Jesus Christ, you're only getting to the main topic now? I've been reading for, like, five fucking hours) The main topic today is: Enneagram Types.
Okay, so, if you don't know what an Enneagram is here's the definition from Truity, which is a company that develops and publishes personality and career tests.
"The Enneagram is a system of personality typing that describes patterns in how people interpret the world and manage their emotions. The Enneagram describes nine different personality types and maps each of these types on a nine-pointed diagram which helps to illustrate how the types relate to one another. The name Enneagram comes from the Greek: Ennea is the Greek word for nine and Gramma means something that’s drawn or written."
The test not only helps to understand a person's behavior and why they do the things they do, but also helps to understand how they react to certain stressors. And when you're able to understand how you function in times or with certain types of stress, you can also identify the places that you might need support.
The Enneagram test breaks people down into 9 types, each with two "wings," meaning the numbers on either side of your main number. For example, if you're an Enneagram 3, and your 1 number is higher than your 2, you'd be an Enneagram 3 with a 1 wing. Got it? Cool!
I am an Enneagram 6. And, actually, my 4 and 5 numbers are basically totally even, with a teeny bit more on the 5 side, but, honestly, it's by a .1 percentage and so...you know!
Now, before we get into how I am a complete 6 and what that means, I want to say why this was so important for me to learn.
See, I like labels. I like things with explanations. I'm able to see grey areas, and I have a great appreciation for nuance, but when it comes to myself I like to be able to feel defined. Definitions make me feel safe.
Now, how fucking funny is it that Type 6's main desire is safety and security, but when it comes to their personality, "no matter what we say about Sixes, the opposite is often also as true. They are both strong and weak, fearful and courageous, trusting and distrusting, defenders and provokers, sweet and sour, aggressive and passive, bullies and weaklings, on the defensive and on the offensive, thinkers and doers, group people and soloists, believers and doubters, cooperative and obstructionistic, tender and mean, generous and petty—and on and on. It is the contradictory picture that is the characteristic “fingerprint” of Sixes, the fact that they are a bundle of opposites." (source: the enneagram institute)
So much for security and definition, huh?
And, yet, knowing this somehow made things feel better. It gave me the definition of "a bundle of opposites." And it gave me a fact. And, for people with anxiety, facts are golden. Because, when you're pacing your apartment back and forth, hyperventilating because someone you don't even like that much doesn't like you back and so now that must mean every friend you've ever had is against you, being able to remind yourself, "this is just the 6 in me talking," can be a real balm for the soul.
Another friend once sent me a meme that said something about how anxiety is making up insane conspiracy theories about yourself, and after learning my enneagram, I realized that that's basically how I've spent a large portion of my life; doing pre-damage damage control for things that haven't, and probably won't, happen. This shirt pretty much sums it up:
And having the knowledge that allows me to take a step back and realize that I'm basically the head of my own personal, Dani-centric QAnon, it's super helpful. It is a lifejacket in the middle of the ocean that is my anxiousness.
But it's not just the reminder that it's me creating these situations and that I am absolutely not alone that's helpful. It's also being able to then create tools that will help me to live the life of a healthy 6 vs a hysterical, paranoid, self-destructive, unhealthy 6. (Oh, yeah, there's a scale for each number, did I mention that? It's also insanely accurate. Kudos to The Enneagram Institute)
And, jumping back a second, when you know what spins you out of control, you're able to create tools to mitigate those experiences. Or, to help pull you back to Earth, when you can't. I know that my biggest concern is safety and stability, so, having a schedule is very important for me. Being able to count on certain things that I know I can provide (meditation, journaling, going to bed at a certain hour) Those are things that keep me feeling grounded, safe, and secure.
I also know that outer chaos causes inner chaos for me. So, making the bed each day, doing the dishes, folding the laundry, etc, makes me feel relaxed and organized, which gives me more space in my mind to think.
Journaling, blogging, or saying my fears out loud, also provide me with a space to untangle the web of anxieties in my head. I'm no longer spinning out about things that might happen, I'm able to pick them apart piece by piece and trace them back to the source. I think of it like the thought-version of untangling Christmas lights. If I'm patient and focused, I can eventually detangle the wires and get them back to their normal spaces.
And by doing that, I'm also able to uncover what might be causing my spinouts and develop ways to remove myself from whatever, or whoever, that might be. Because fuck, if there's one thing that this year has made abundantly clear, it's knowing who I want to spend my time around, and who brings my energy up in a healthy way, and who affects my energy in a negative way. And while it is scary AF to suddenly realize, "well, crap, I don't know if I like who I am around X,Y,Z," (especially since 6's are terrified of being abandoned and left alone, which, I am, and thus, I will hold onto even the shittiest relationships with a vice-like grip due to the terror of having no one) It's sort of freeing to realize that that terror isn't actually rooted in truth, and those relationships might be keeping me from being a healthy 6, which is pretty fucking great.
For me, having a definition, even if it's one that goes something like: "At unhealthy levels: Sixes become extremely paranoid and suspicious of everything and everyone in their path. They’re prone to developing anxiety due to their hypervigilance to any impending (real or imagined) sources of harm. As a result, false memories may form, and they may start to suspect others are trying to fool them, when they’ve become masters at fooling themselves. When events go out of the frying pan and into the fire, Sixes can develop overwhelming and debilitating anxiety from the illusion of constant danger. This causes them to psychologically latch and cling onto a protective figure in their lives in order to get through each day (also called codependency). When exasperated and fed up, Sixes will project their insecurities onto others and claim they’ve done something, when it was all brewed up and imagined from the beginning." (Thank you, Truity) Is awesome, because it also let's me know that when I lean into caring for myself in an authentic way, I can also embody a definition like this, "At healthy levels: Sixes are caring, generous and thoughtful team players who move colleagues and friends forward in a positive direction. They’re valuable and hardworking employees who take great pride in serving an organization and will make every effort to hone their skills. During times of stress, they know how to handle and diffuse the nerves with finesse. They develop secure attachment styles and easily trust others. Through their patience and courage, Sixes can learn to accept their independence and express themselves freely in the world. At their best, Sixes are able to let go of their worries and focus on matters they can change in the present moment."
And that's the goal, right? To be the healthiest version of ourselves, which is still sometimes blocked by shadows of old trauma and pain. Because that shit has it's place, too, you know? Our pain allows us to empathize and to connect. It's a special part of the, uh...I don't know...the "patchwork" that makes up the "quilt of us," or whatever you wanna call it.
And I'm still gonna give all the fucks. I love that I care. I love that I want people to feel loved and seen. But, I also want to love and see myself. Which means, pruning away the dead branches of things that don't serve me. I like a clean mental garden, you know? And the more space I make, the more clearly I'm able to see what is feeding me and what is failing me. So that I can finally get to the answer of, "what do I think of myself?" Without needing an outside opinion.
It might take time. But I'm willing to take it. Even if I get anxious from time to time. I mean...what else can I expect? I'm a textbook 6.
til next time,
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And also, here's the 8 Mile scene if you haven't seen it ;)