When I was a college freshman at K-State, I took Intro to Leadership Studies. I can’t remember why I took it. I think it was part of my scholarship requirements. I was briefly interested in pursuing the leadership minor, but other courses got in the way. Anyway…as part of the course, we took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test (MBTI). Not an online one, but the actual paper-and-pencil fill-in-the-bubble test that you have to wait for the results in the mail. I remember the professor being very adamant that we needed to think seriously about our answers and not answer with how we want people to see us. We needed to be honest with ourselves about our responses. That’s a lot to ask of a room full of 18 and 19 year olds.
When I look back on those instructions from the professor, I realize I was full of baloney. I definitely did not answer those questions with how I truly felt about myself and my interactions with other humans. But I know I wasn’t fully aware that’s what I was doing. I realize now that I was masking my neurodivergence…my ADHD, my social anxiety, my sensory issues. To hide the true way that my brain functioned, I acted like an outgoing, confident, smart young woman ready to take on the world. Inside, I was insecure, lost, and always anxious.
As a college freshman, I tested as an ENTP. This personality is what 16personalities.com calls The Debater. At the time, it made sense. That’s how I wanted to be perceived. When I take any of the online versions of the MBTI now, I test as a INTJ or The Architect. This makes a lot more sense with how my adult life has progressed and with the discoveries I have made about my mental health.
Am I really an introvert that has been masking as an extrovert most of my life? I have often referred to myself as an ambivert since I tend to share traits from both types.
It’s incredibly unnerving, but at the same time, enlightening to realize these things about myself at the age of 39. I suppose that’s why I feel such a sense of hope for 2023. I am finally coming out of my shell and embracing my “oddness” rather than try to hide it or avoid it. Or argue with my family members when they point out how “weird” I am.
I’m not weird…I’m not odd…I’m neurodivergent. And it may be corny to say, but I do think my neurodivergence is one of my superpowers.