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Growth

if you know me personally, you know i’m OB-SESSED with anything that helps an individual grow, understand themselves more, and evolve. i’m all about that personal and collective growth, u feel me? so, clearly then, i know a little bit about the myers-brigg type indicators or mbti.

the mbti questionnaire was first published in 1943 in the united states by katherine cook briggs and isabel meyer-briggs (both infj/p types), inspired by carl jung. they wanted to create a practical tool to understand another person’s mode of functioning and thinking. essentially, these four letters speak to your decision-making and learning processes. there are 8 different possible cognitive functions in the myers-briggs system, as listed below.

Learning processes

  • Introverted iNtuition
  • Extraverted iNtuition
  • Introverted Sensing
  • Extraverted Sensing

Decision-making processes

  • Introverted Thinking
  • Extraverted Thinking
  • Introverted Feeling
  • Extraverted Feeling

i know none of that makes sense and we’re all just looking at it like, okay!? but essentially, each of us have 4 processes that we use: a main one (or driver), a secondary process (or co-pilot), and 2 more weaker processes that are opposite cognitive functions of the driver & the co-pilot. for example, i am an infp. my main cognitive function is introverted feeling. this is how i make decisions, i just feel them on the inside. literally. this is what “introverted feeling” means – that you just feel what’s right, you just know. my second function is extraverted intuition. this is my learning process. extraverted intuition is an exploring function, constantly asking “what if?” this is followed by 2 weaker functions that i must learn from: extraverted thinking and introverted sensing. i’m not going to go into that any deeper but i highly, highly recommend this article by personality hacker, where they explain their mbti “car model” beautifully. it’s a really simplified explanation of the four cognitive functions.

so, as i said, i am an infp/j – known as the advocates, the healers, the counselors, the mediators. i bounce back and forth between the p/j functions at different areas of my life. in high school, i got infp for the most part. in college, i always received “infj” while a year out of graduating, i seem to keep receiving “infp” again. i don’t consider this a black/white thing. i think, as with anything in life, there’s a spectrum and we are constantly changing. you might tell me, but it seems like you’re trying to label us all? well, yes and no. i think these tests and understanding one’s zodiac is helpful but it is by no means the end all, be all. it is by no means “the answer”. it is just one part of the vast and constantly-changing puzzle that is you!

so keeping that in mind, you can take the test here.

with all of the disclaimers and prelude out of the way, here are the zodiac signs & the mbti types i believe they correspond to. i don’t think there is a correlation with each sign being a certain type because we are, again, such complicated beings that it is not so simple. i may be an aries but i have so much water in my chart that i could never be the same mbti type. you must really know your whole chart and i advise looking at the dominant signs within your chart for this comparison.

Aries – ESTP, ESFP, ENTP
Taurus – ESTJ, ESFJ, ISTJ, ISFJ
Gemini – ENTJ, ENTP, ENFP
Cancer – ISFJ, ISFP, INFP, ENFP
Leo – ENTJ, ENFJ
Virgo – ESTJ, ISTJ, INTJ
Libra – ESTP, ENTP, ENFJ
Scorpio – ISFP, ISTP, INFJ
Sagittarius – ENTP, ENFP, ESTP, ISTP
Capricorn – ESTJ, ISTJ, INTJ
Aquarius – ISFP, ENTP, INTP, ESTP
Pisces – INFP, INFJ, ENFP

 i believe, generally, the elements can be categorized as such: water/NF, earth/SJ, fire/NT, and air/ST. in other words, water-dominated folks tend to be intuitive feelers, earth-dominated sensory judging, fire intuitive thinkers, and air sensory thinkers.
let me know what you think and whether or not you agree with these groupings. i would also love to know YOUR zodiac & mbti combo, so please let me know in the comments below!
>> i am an aries sun, scorpio rising, with a moon in taurus and my chart is dominated by scorpio & pluto. majority water & fire. and i am an infp/j. 🙂
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as a queer panjabi first generation woman, i would be nowhere without my chosen family.

i have come a very long way in understanding myself, my relationship with my parents and the rest of the family, and what it means to both receive and give love & nurture.

i love my ma and dad. i truly do. i look at my father’s worn face, deep stress lines, gray hair, slight limp with such a heavy heart. he commutes about 2 hours to and from a computer data storage company that abuses its’ workers, does not allow them to unionize, and forces people of color to stare longingly through a glass ceiling that has yet to be shattered. he has weekly migraines. i yearn, every day, to help him heal.

my sister, brother, and i are my ma’s world. she knows (and desires to know) nothing else. she works at a semiconductor operating factory as a fab operator. meaning, she stands all day covered head-to-toe in a bunny suit, goggles covering her eyes, amidst dangerous chemicals. she is paid next to nothing. she comes home from twelve hour workdays to make dinner and clean, her hands and feet tired and worn.

they immigrated to the united states at an incredibly young age. my father was 25, maybe he was a bit self-aware. my mother was only 20. i can’t imagine that she knew herself at all. she was pulled away from all family and friends, to live with my father’s family, in a foreign country, new baby in tow. i have tried asking my ma what that felt like, “how did you feel? what do you remember about california in the 1980s?” she says something vague and changes the subject. my heart breaks. i yearn, every day, to help my mother heal.

growing up, i was beat. a lot. family members now tell stories of how impatient my mother was with me, how much i cried. they laugh, it’s normal. i was, and still am, afraid of my parents. my parents even often told me that a child should be afraid of their parents. they did not know that they were holding in their arms such a sensitive, empathetic child. a child that needed nothing more than space to be creative and to express her deep well of emotions. through middle and high school, my self-esteem did not exist.

growing up, i recall 0 positive affirmations. no reassurance. no “i’m proud of you” or even “you’re beautiful”. growing up, it was all i wanted.

i remember when i came home with the most exciting award of my young life: “best writer of the class”. 2nd grade. i was so excited, all smiles, jumping off the walls. as my parents walked through the doors in the evening, i ran to them. they said “okay, that’s nice”. later, they would tell me that writing is just a hobby and push me to do my math homework (i was never good at math).

this would continue to be a theme. even until my first salaried job offer at the age of 23.

i was ecstatic, it was my number 1 choice. i ran a victory lap around my home. my parents said,”it’s okay but keep applying for jobs that pay better.” it was at a nonprofit but actually paid better than most nonprofits. again, just like every other moment of achievement in my life, i could not help but feel sad and like i wasn’t enough.

i know it is not their fault, i know that they have struggled, sacrificed, seen and felt things i cannot even fathom. i can only imagine what it felt to travel to a new place, to speak with broken english in a strange country, with traditions and customs so vastly different from the ones at home. that’s scary. that’s fucking hard. harder than anything i have ever done. it’s an incredible, inspiring feat. it does not change the fact, though, that at this moment in my life i find it very hard to share my life with my family.

when i struggle so hard to build myself up, reaffirm myself, praise myself for my growth & good work — it’s terrifying to go to my parents’ house to have all of my hard work destroyed, made to feel small again.

the biggest kicker? my parents have no idea about my queer identity. in fact, no one in my family has ever even come out. i already can imagine my parents’ reaction. they will wonder what they did wrong, they will blame themselves, they will cry, they will want to hide this news from the extended family, they will ask me why i continue to dishonor them… as if i have always been a burden, something they want to hide away.

my whole life has been a constant internal battle with myself: am i really this bad of a child? why is everything i do wrong? why am i such an awful person? why can’t i make my parents and myself happy?

unbeknownst to myself till this past year or so: there is nothing wrong with either myself or my parents. we are all doing the best we can, with what life has thrown our way.

it is for all these reasons and many more, though, that chosen family is so key to my life. when something goes wrong and i know my parents will only kick me down further rather than providing nonjudgemental support — i call my chosen family. when something occurs in my love life and i need advice — i call my chosen family. when emotionally hurt, i call my chosen family, as my family has never provided me emotional support.

as a queer first generation panjabi woman, i am also afraid of losing family upon coming out. then, too, i will call upon my chosen family.

i have not always been the most loving or caring friend or family member but in these past couple years, it has become one of my most important goals. to become more loving, more caring, more compassionate – especially towards my loved ones that show me true unconditional love and support, leaving all judgement, biases, & attachment behind. i think it is for this reason, too, that i become so afraid & a little bit maniacal at any moment that it seems like someone in my chosen circle is angry with me or distancing themselves from me. i am loyal, protective, and a little bit too attached with my chosen family… but i can’t help it, it comes from a fear that maybe one day… if i choose to come out to my parents… that i will no longer have “family”.

one day, i hope my relationship with my parents will be a little bit more open, a little bit better. it will never be perfect, and i will never give my parents exactly what they dreamed of. all i want for them is to be able to find happiness from within themselves, not through their children. i hope that we can come to an understanding and at least, choose to be happy together. i hope, one day, that they will treat me as the autonomous, strong individual that i am.

 

i was sitting inside the san juan bautista parroquia in the center of coyoacan in cdmx today and suddenly, i felt an overwhelming rush of emotions. this isn’t new to me, as an empath and highly sensitive person. it just is. particularly, though – i’ve realized – in spiritually charged spaces.

it’s funny, growing up – i vividly remember resenting and rejecting sikhism. it felt forced. i was told to go to the gurdwara and my mother tried, tried, tried. i didn’t get it. maybe she didn’t have the words she was looking for. regardless, i thought i was an atheist, i thought religion was silly. i didn’t understand how anyone could believe in this higher being or power that we couldn’t see, couldn’t “prove”. i often looked to my books and felt that i needed science, literature, something “academic” to show me it was real.

i stumbled through much of my life, identifying as an atheist while unknowingly participating in spiritual acts.

by the end of my college career and months into living in oakland, i caught myself in the act. lighting sandalwood. carefully walking the incense around my room, even to my darling cat. my mother’s spirit moved within me. her soft worn brown hands blessing me with sandalwood, as she carried it throughout our home and back to the altar.

while in oakland, i began learning about meditation, devouring article after article on higher purpose and soul-searching and spirituality. i’ve read more about sikhism in the past year than i have my whole life. i was drinking dramatically less. (i realize now that my drinking was truuuuuly numbing my spirit and i, as a highly sensitive person, cannot be drinking like the folks around me – a truth i still struggle with.)

you know one of the craziest things? i believe in signs. i always kind of have. again, i was always a bit of a contradicting atheist. this past year, as i’ve been delving deep into spirituality, i remembered a third grade project that i had to participate in.

we had to pick a part of the brain and write a basic report. any part. the teacher gave us a huuuuge list of examples. my little ten-year-old self wanted to write about none other than the pineal fucking gland. the pineal gland. the pineal gland!?

as in the third eye, the crown chakra. this realization blew me away. this realization came days after i (kid you not) tried to attempt astral projection all week. in third grade, i i did not have a single clue about the pineal gland but i remember that it struck me at the time. the universe just knows what we need, right? the universe is constantly trying to light our path but we miss the messages.

one of the first books i devoured, too, was a book on astrology. a book right off my late grandfather’s book shelf: the birthday book.

the signs only continued, though. my first boss in a salaried job, right out of college, is spiritual. she does not speak about it directly at work but she doesn’t intoxicate her body in any way. she believes and preaches “selfless service” – a tenant of sikhism, in fact. under her mentorship, i opened my eyes.

then, months later, i found myself joined by a new co-worker and we found ourselves speaking of spirituality, rituals, cleansing our bodies and leading more compassionate, selfless lives. it was because of her that i felt encouraged to join the east bay meditation center’s people of color sangat, another tenant of sikhism. without sangat, we are not held accountable and i was definitely struggling. i am so grateful for her friendship and sisterhood in this spiritual journey.

and you know, though some of my closest chosen fam are 300 miles away from me… i have been saying these past two years: i feel like i need to be in oakland, i am meant to be in oakland right now. and how incredibly true that has been.

today, i sat inside the church for quite a long time. quietly. meditating. feeling. tears threatening to fall. this journey is a battle but i’ve come so far. i spent junior and senior years of my undergraduate career drinking every day, transforming into someone selfish and suicidal. though i still drink, i rarely remember when the last time was when i do choose to drink. progress. i was un-disciplined in my vegetarianism but i feel such a deep roaring motivation to stick to it. progress.

i have spent so many days on this trip, beating myself up for not knowing enough spanish and for just being out here to vacation while offering no services but i forget to give myself love for the internal work that is pushing through. i feel as though there is love, creativity, and compassion bubbling beneath layers of self-doubt, laziness, and lack of action.

it is all coming together. this trip has opened my eyes to so much, has solidified so much of my strength and power. i feel affirmed in my self. i’m constantly growing and constantly asking myself hard questions, unafraid to be honest with at least myself. for that, i am proud.

i have always been an explorer, a wanderer, always wondering “what if?” and since i was a little girl, it was a dream to travel. not to party or to indulge (much) but to discover, learn, push myself into serious discomfort. growing up, it was never a possibility to travel. family rules and money prevented it. my tremendous lack of self-confidence and inability to tightly grasp my agency and autonomy as a first generation panjabi girl prevented it. finally though, here i am. i did not take no for an answer. it felt right, it was time to go.

family, friends, acquaintances, strangers all ask the question: but why alone? yet, for me, that was never a question. why not alone? consider me strange, i adore my solitude. i’ve fallen in love with silence. yet, traveling solo is rarely solo. hostels are bustling with other travelers, locals glance at me in confusion in sodas and cafes, white men feel entitled to dump their every thought on me. even here, i create my solitude. i carve out moments of silence. i make space and time to decompress in solitude. i say, no, gracias. it is a part of my careful practice.

family, friends, acquaintances, strangers all ask me, too, the question: why costa rica? in all honesty, i was not even sure at first. my original plans were to support my comrade in her local permaculture work with la comunidades idígenas. to work with the earth. to provide my services. when her plans were left in the air, i decided i was to go ahead on my own. it felt right.

in my first moments in costa rica i met a sikh man, with whom i found myself in deep conversation about sikhism and spirituality.

just like that, the universe sent me an answer. well, damn. pura vida. it has been a tumultuous year of excruciating growing pains through self-discovery, self-healing, and spiritual growth — this was its culmination, or rather, continuation.

yet i felt confusing feelings of discomfort and pain my first few nights of backpacking. i stayed in a hostel in a remote area of the osa peninsula, literally immersed in the rainforest. no sign of human life in sight, except for us, 10 or so travelers. this was the beginning of my trip. i didn’t do this for any particular reason but that it felt right. i make 99% of my decisions because they feel right. my intuition is my guide. it was right. i was uncomfortable. i cried. i was emotional. and it was okay.

the sun, the moon, and the trees held me. the coos and caws of birdsong told me it was going to be okay. the wet heat, similar to that of my homeland, enveloped me in a hot, but comfortable, embrace. it was going to be okay, it was going to be okay. the long, strenuous hikes reminded me why i was here. the persistent roars of howler monkeys reminded me to push through. i have never seen or heard such life. my mind frequently flooded with the question: where the hell am i? how the hell did i end up here?

i spent hours hiking, solo, through the vast jungles — crossing streams, climbing up waterfalls. i got lost. i trusted myself: i found my way back. i focused on my breath. i looked to the sun. i thanked the steady, capable tree roots – as they held together the small cliff sides i walked across. i have, honestly, never been in such awe. of the land. of my self.

i said goodbye to that woman i was in the forest and i am now, under the bright full moon, in the city of san jose. wondering who i will be by the next cycle of la luna.

nvknkr.