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27 Things You Should Know About Me

15 March 2011 47 Comments

The hardest thing in our lives is really knowing ourselves.

Well. That and accepting said knowledge.

Somewhere deep down inside, we know who we are. What we want. Where we are happiest.

By virtue of a link-back teaser I stumbled onto a post by Corbett Barr called 33 Things I’ve Never Told You. It reminded me of a post I read this fall by Tyler Tervooren called 16 Reasons To Unsubscribe To This Site.

Two things appealed to me about these posts:

  • They force the blog writer to dig deep and write about who they are. And face some truths that are hard for lots of us to face.
  • They offer readers insight to the person writing the blog. It is a very comprehensive way of saying “This is who I am, this is what I think, this is what I stand for – you still up for the journey?”

A week of working on and pouring over this post, I think it is a pretty good representation of all that. I chose to list 27 Things because 27 was the hardest year of my grown-up life so far. It was when I realized how utterly unhappy I was with the world I had created and that I wanted things to change.

1. I am an INTJ – One of the rarest of the Myers-Briggs types, INTJ’s are most often known for their independence of thought, their need for efficiency and their unique ability to combine imagination and analytical logic. Much like horoscopes, which are designed to be vague, I understand why a lot of personality labels are nothing more than an easy way to define ourselves. People who know me well and read the profile for an INTJ, however, tell me how creepy accurate it is.

2. I used to smoke close to a pack of cigarettes a day – You know those people with an addictive personality? I am totally one of them. I don’t like to half-ass my habits and addictions. For this reason, I also try to be very careful with what I drink. Try being the operative word.

3. I was a Registered Republican until I was 23 years old – A friend once described me as a Liberal Heart with a Conservative Mind.

4. Once upon a time in a group of 5 guys someone said to me “Elisa, since you are the closest thing we have to a girl, what do you think?” – I love high heels and cupcakes and fashion as much as the next girl, but if given the choice I’d rather spend my time at a bar watching the game, drinking beer, and eating wings. Apparently this often rules me out of the ‘girl’ category. (Related Post: Contrary to Popular Belief I Am, In Fact, A Girl)

5. I never finished college – I started college in the music education and performance program. After a semester I switched to philosophy. By halfway through my sophomore year I switched a third time to English (concentration in Creative Writing) and Classical Studies (concentration in Latin language and Roman history).Β  I worked a lot, partied more and in general did not appreciate the opportunity. At the end of my junior year the University and I mutually decided we needed to take some time to re-evaluate our relationship.

6. Many people think I am a complete bitch when they first meet me – It takes a bit of time for me to assess a social situation and decide how I will fit into it. This apparently makes me come off as distracted or aloof or distant or just plain bitchy.

7. I used to be a Christian Youth Group leader – When I first returned home from college, I recognized the need for a new high school Youth Group leader at my parents’ United Methodist Church that I attended weekly. I was the leader for three years, and I love the kids that were in the group in ways I don’t even comprehend. Scheduling, disagreements on policy, a judgmental homophobic conversation I happened upon and an acquired dislike for the general corruption of organized religion caused me to resign. (Related Post: Honor Students and Jesus Fish)

8. I am painfully shy – When in front of large groups and while meeting new people, I have major anxiety. Some of the better manifestations of my shyness include shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat and breaking out in very itchy blotchy red hives.

9. I actually liked my corporate job – I worked for the largest insurance company in the United States where I trained sales agents on tech systems and life insurance sales. My boss was amazing, my job involved me being on the road at least 3 days a week, I had so much freedom to do my job as I wanted, and I paid forward the message that no one sells a life insurance policy worth keeping by wheeling and dealing and hypothetically killing clients who just want to love and protect their families during sales conversations.

10. I have never been in love – When I was 18 years old I had been with my high school sweetheart for 3 1/2 years and I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with him. I have since seen a stronger teen love in movies starring Freddie Prinze Jr. Three months after we broke up, I was in college and dated my sorority sister’s brother for approximately 10 days. Since then I have flipped between casual relationships, countless first dates and very long bouts of being single.

11. I’m (maybe not so) secretly obsessed with chick flicks – As someone who counts Pride & Prejudice among her favorite books, I am fascinated by the relationships between people. Romantically, platonically, friends and family…they all have such delicate intricacies that are brilliantly portrayed by the likes of Parker Posey and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. If I ever write a screenplay, it will be for a Romantic Indie.

12. My sister is also my best friend – There are countless ceramic sculptures and wall plaques that claim the same sweet sentiment, but the relationship I have with my sister cannot be put into words. If everything in the world fell away, she would be what kept me grounded. And I would do anything for her.

13. I have always lived in the state of Maine – It isn’t because I am fiercely devoted to staying by my roots or being scared of the unknown. I am a ridiculously analytical planner. I never wanted to move just to move. There always had to be more involved. (Related Post: Location Indy Haters)

14. I am fiercely dedicated to finding a cure for cancer – By nature I am an activist. I see badness in the world, and I want to help fix it. Cancer is a badness I would like to eradicate. It is a hateful little parasite, that destroys not only the life of its host but anyone they touch. Building awareness, raising funds, participating in legislative and committee work – if it will one day find a cure I’ll do it.

15. I have a stammer and a speech impediment – I have a speech disorder called rhotacism, which means I sometimes get my “R” pronunciation confused with other letters, most often “W”. I speak very articulately and carefully because of this. Sometimes I am not afforded that luxury and that is generally when I start stammering to make sure I am enunciating correctly. People made fun of me as a child and still do when I slip up.

16. On paper, I’m a genius – IQ testing consistently puts me in the ‘genius’ range. This does not stop me from having enough common sense to not walk into oncoming traffic. From my experience, intelligence quotients don’t really mean a lot unless you are working in academia or something similar. Being good with people and perceiving situations are far superior mental abilities in the other 99% of life. (Related PostI Know You Are But What Am I?)

17. I used to have a tongue ring – “There is a time and a place for everything, and it’s called ‘College'” (from South Park). I lost my tongue ring while visiting friends, when I was too drunk to fix the ball at the bottom of the bar and it fell into the sink drain.

18. I know that my life is going to explode in the next 18 months – With projects lining up and new offers coming in and learning about different opportunities near daily, I feel like I’m standing on the edge of a painting that is brilliant and beautiful and ready for me to leave my mark on it.

19. I have been known to sing jazz in clubs and bars for extra money – When I was younger, I was in a couple bands and also sang solo standards at open mics and obscure hole in the wall dives for beer money (or often times just beer). I love music and singing, but I have never been able to deal with the belief that I am not good enough.

20. I have a chronic illness called fibromyalgia – Fibromyalgia is a disorder that affects the musculoskeletal system and is characterized most notably by severe and lasting pain, fatigue, memory issues, difficulty sleeping and mood problems. Basically, I am sick and tired every single day of my life. I spent the first five years of my twenties with a doctor who tried to regulate the disease with anti-depressants and sleeping pills. I rarely take medication, even aspirin, as a result. I also go to homeopathic doctor now. (Related PostHow I Crossed The Stream)

21. During my freshman year of college, I was responsible for a riot on the quad – I was the public relations chair of the Student Government at the University of Maine in 1999 when they won the National NCAA Hockey Championship against long-time rival, the University of New Hampshire. I was charged with organizing an event for the student body. While I was in the field house cleaning up after, a peer came running in to let me know that the students had poured out onto the quad and started a massive bonfire. They had even stolen a snowmobile to drive into the center of the woodpile. When I had to meet with the President of the University to discuss the riot, he greeted me by shaking my hand and saying “So. You are the little girl who started the big bonfire.”

22. I am super goofy – For all my careful carriage and polite intelligence and perceived distance, I am just a goofy girl who laughs at knock knock jokes and dances the robot randomly. One could say that I am just uncool, but uncool is cool now, right?!

23. I’m born in the XY Cusp – Born in 1980 I’m smack dab in the middle of a bidding war between membership in Generation X and Generation Y, depending on which study you pull the dates from. I like to think I got the best of both generations, but in reality I am much more Gen Y.

24. I’m a feminist – I don’t usually play well with many feminists and women’s organizations, often being scolded for not being passionate enough or defending women’s rights the correct way. That is not how my brain works, and instead I logically break down a situation and form my opinions. I do not think women should be given special rights or emulated at the expense of men. Perhaps I’m an idealist…I’d rather just see everyone treated fairly.

25.I almost was not hired for a job because the hiring manager did not like my laugh – I have a very loud laugh. It is hearty and sharp and boisterous. I have been told for years that people can hear me laugh from other parts of a building. It annoys some people. Others appreciate my desire to express genuine happiness. (Related PostIn Maine The Devil Wears Macy’s)

26. I have the ability to be scary manipulative – Years spent methodically breaking down situations often allows me to quickly understand the different perspectives at play and how they can work together or against each other. When I was younger, I did not always use this knowledge in a good way. As I grew older, I learned that I did not like being that person.

27. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up – It seems to many that I am living my dream life, being a freelance writer and strategy consultant. I love my work. And I don’t know if it is that I am terrified of peaking at the age of 30 or realizing there’s still so much more I want to do in this world, but I question daily if this is the career I want to have.

For those of you that are new here, this is what you are in for.

For everyone who has been here all along – you still up for the journey?

47 Responses to “27 Things You Should Know About Me”

  1. Burnsy06 says:

    I can’t seem to quit you…

  2. Darryl Seamans says:

    This was a really cool post. You’re all kinds of awesome. πŸ™‚

  3. I knew a handful of these, but always nice to get a refresher course. I wouldn’t have guessed you were a smoker, but I know what you mean by the addictive personality. I have that same disease. Ha.

    I can also identify with that scary manipulative… I don’t particularly like that about myself, but I can play those games if I have to, and usually win. So much so that I’m #biwinning, obviously.

    And my dad is 57 and still says he doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up. I don’t think that’s uncommon. I think that’s also a result of being pretty damn good a lot of things.

    • Ryan – Yeah, I knew people who had “been around” for awhile would find some of it repetitive, but its always a good idea to remind ourselves every now and again who we really are.

      As for scary manipulative, I would tell you about how a close friend described me as Rachel Berry from Glee, but I’m guessing that reference would be lost on you. πŸ˜‰

      I’ll take good at a lot of things and not knowing whether I’m a grown up at age 57. As long as I’m grinning like a happy fool!

  4. Alan says:

    I’m with Darryl. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Lisa Marie says:

    Love it πŸ™‚ 27 reasons your blog is one of my favourites to read πŸ™‚

  6. Julie Lynn says:

    Reading each new thing listed, it just got creepier…..I think you might be my sister from another mister….

  7. Linda says:

    I didn’t know rhotacism was called rhotacism. I thought I had this problem because I’m Asian and learned Vietnamese and English at the same time. A 2nd grade teacher once made me stand infront of my classroom and say “rock” (which came out as “wock”) repeatedly.

    That was fun.

    I have a laugh that people liken to a witch’s cackle.

    Thanks for taking my mind off my troubles, today.

    • Yep. My friend who is a speech-language pathologist diagnosed me. When I was learning to speak for whatever reason I never learned to form “R” with my mouth correctly. Rock is easily “wock” for me if I don’t pay attention.

      Or if I have imbibed a large amount of vodka. πŸ˜‰

  8. Elisa,

    As long as you’re here writing, I’ll be here reading. A lot of these 27 things I’d already known from reading your blog and getting to know you; many things were new and refreshingly honest. Others, still, were a blend of both that made me think, “we are more alike than we realize” — and I don’t just mean you and I, I mean all of us, in this world.

    But between being a fewllow INJ (in my case an INFJ), loving the romantic period and subsequent chick flicks (seriously wondering if this is why I’m still single, because I still believe in romance. Also, have you watched Lost in Austen? Netflix it. Immediately.), and the observing and assessing people and situations before getting to know them, making you seem distant or cold when you’re anything but…Well, I get all that too. It’s awesome when someone else can verbalize it all, when you can see yourself in someone else.

    Makes you feel understood.

    Well done! Think now more than ever we should have a catch-up call one of these days…

    • I *have* seen Lost in Austen, I watched it 3-4 times while it was streaming. I really liked it!

      And yes, I totally know what you are saying. It means a lot to hear (or read) someone else say (or write) words that often whisper in your heart but never make it out of your mouth (or fingers).

  9. Amy says:

    This was so good πŸ™‚ I loved that it was really in depth realizations. Not, “I love movies where Ryan Renoylds takes his shirt off”. I mean who doesn’t but you know. I knew all of these but I’m so so proud of you for putting them out there to let the whole world to see. YOU amaze me and I consider myself so lucky to have you in my life. You’re my favorite sister πŸ™‚

    Oh! And “I feel like I’m standing on the edge of a painting that is brilliant and beautiful and ready for me to leave my mark on it.” Perfection πŸ™‚

  10. I love this and learning about people. So many are afraid to open up like this so I feel it is especially awesome when people write these lists. I want to do one as well.
    I used to be your #6 as well – but I really worked on it and I don’t think I come off that way anymore – at least that is what people have told me. I recognized what I was doing. But sometimes I can’t control the emotions that show on my face. πŸ™‚

    • Diana – Fortunately I have learned a lot from my younger days and I don’t do #6 as often anymore, but like you I still struggle to not paint across my face what I am thinking. Or wearing a look that isn’t at all what I am thinking.

      I’m thinking I should just start playing lots more poker and learn the strategery. πŸ™‚

  11. Katy says:

    Love this post! I’m also an INTJ, break out in a red rash when nervous or drinking and used to have a tongue ring. I knew there was a reason I liked your writing.

    Thanks for the honesty!

    • Haha, I get the red rash when I am drinking too. Especially across my cheeks and nose. It is horrible! Makes sense though, cause I often go to comment on your posts and think “I have nothing to add, she already said exactly what I think!” πŸ™‚

  12. Beach Mama says:

    Great post/purge Elisa. Very gutsy.

    I’m a year behind Ryan’s dad and I also don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I have a teenage son and I oftentimes get that he’s more grounded than I am. That’s life. I remember thinking in my 20’s, “I can’t wait until I’m in my 30’s and I’ll look older (I always looked much younger than my years) and people will respect me . . . than in my 30’s thinking, “40 is the magical year, that’s when I’ll really feel like an adult and get the respect I deserve”. I had my son at 41 and finally grew up enough to realize it’s about ME. I am my own worst enemy and biggest stumbling block in life.

    Most people don’t give a rip about all of our faults and our idiosyncrasies. What people really care about is how you make them feel. So this is where I shine most of the time (I do have my dark times). This is easy (I am lazy) and it makes me feel accomplished and happy (a cheap ego boost). When I make someone laugh, smile, even cry, I feel as if I’ve given them a gift . . . and it’s a huge gift to myself as well.

    BTW, I used to smoke nearly 2 packs of cigarettes a day. I quit 26 years ago (second time) and have never looked back. If you knew me you would just about fall over hearing this . . .

    “If you really knew me . . . ” is a theme of ‘Challenge Day’ (http://www.challengeday.org) in schools across the country. It’s an amazing day for everyone who participates. I will always treasure my experience with the kids the day I volunteered. Anyone in the community can volunteer to assist. Check out the website and see if it’s a fit.

    Thanks Elisa . . . still here with you sweetie . . .

    • Based on the notes I’ve gotten the smoking thing is completely surprising people here as well. I guess I don’t give off the smoker vibe? If only they had seen me at age 20!

      Challenge Day definitely looks interesting…thanks so much for sharing!

  13. Grace Boyle says:

    I love this! It’s such a great way to dive a bit deeper into Elisa πŸ™‚

    I didn’t know a few of these and it was really fun to hear the past and background, obviously pre-blog.

    Only qualm, I wish you would have included a beautiful picture of YOU since this is all about you, instead of that girl πŸ˜‰

  14. Reponsible for starting a riot? That is so fantastic! Here’s to starting many more.

  15. Cordelia says:

    I’m still up for the journey, and even more so now. It’s so nice to “get to know” someone whose thoughts you’ve been following, especially when so many of them are things you can relate to.

    I’m painfully shy in new situations, I used to be a youth group leader, my husband has fibromyalgia, and although I’ve never been responsible for a riot, I have to say I’ve always kind of wished I had.

    Really enjoyed reading more about you, and eagerly awaiting what’s the come. πŸ™‚

    • Hey Cordelia – glad you are still with me! Thanks for sharing some of your stuff too. Youth group leaders often seem to turn into something even more awesome!

      The number of people who are interested in this riot thing, I think we might be able to organize something great here!

  16. Noel says:

    This is so intriguing! I definitely feel you on #23 and #24. Not sure how I fit into those groups as well … but I know I fit in somehow and that’s enough for now.

    • Noel – I definitely feel the push me-pull me dynamic of each. While I appreciate the linear organization labels provide, I also recognize the very finite definitions they create.

      The biggest problem comes when others try to decide that everyone needs to fit into those very defined things. And, of course, with everyone being so amazingly uniquely different, it is impossible for everyone to be the same.

  17. […] epic 2-hour long slumber party call with my BFF Elisa (Ophelias Webb) during which she calmed me down from a complete book tour overwhelm meltdown. Decided that […]

  18. chaitanya says:

    Hey Elisa,
    I rather think you expressed yourself in a wonderful way. I had a nice time reading your post.Thanks for the post ELisa

  19. Ah! I love learning more about you dahling!

  20. Felice Lam says:

    Nice list. I am definitely sticking around for this journey, right here by your “side”!

  21. Emmanuelle says:

    Love the list! Oh and #18? Brilliant! πŸ˜€

  22. I hadn’t seen this post yet but just wrote a similar one! πŸ™‚

  23. Amanda says:

    I had completely forgotten that riot was all your fault! πŸ˜‰ Hahaha Oh what a night that was! And if you didn’t see first hand someone driving a snowmobile into the bonfire, it was quite a sight.

    • Yep, I have many a claim to fame from the reckless craziness of my youth. I’d like to bring back some of that crazy recklessness, just in very carefully selected forms. πŸ˜‰

  24. […] and a self-proclaimed Super Goof at Ophelia’s Webb, I’ve shared her stuff before. After reading 27 things about this blogger, I found that we have about 15 things in common. I’d bet you do too She blogs about career, life […]

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