Surprise, I’m not an extrovert

I used to absolutely adore parties. Not the raucous drinking and dancing parties of college, but the middle-school, my-parents-dropped-me-off parties someone would host once a month. I was extroverted beyond belief. I couldn’t wait to go out. I would be texting 3 friends and talking to 4 more on Facebook. I lived and breathed people.

As I got older, these events began to exhaust me. Groups seemed louder and conversation was harder. I became tired more quickly, but I couldn’t understand what had changed. As an extrovert, I knew I was supposed to be energized by these events, so I kept making myself attend, even though they were actually draining me. I was working under a false impression of myself, and it was negatively affecting how I reenergized.

Then one day I stumbled across the definition of an “ambivert” and the heavens opened. A choir of angels descended from the sky and blessed me never having to attend a party again with sweet angelic song.

Someone who is ambiverted is neither extroverted nor introverted, but is instead a mix of the two.

I am an extroverted-ambivert, meaning I still lean toward the extroverted side. For me, this means that I draw energy from small groups of people, but shut down at large events. I can stay up all night with three people, but prefer watching movies alone to attending a house party.

Knowing that I draw my energy from both staying in and going out has changed the way I interact with people and how I take care of myself. Knowing what kind of interaction is best for me means I won’t put myself into situations where I stress myself out more. I use this knowledge to make sure I am at my best.

The more you know about yourself, the better you can take care of yourself. I definitely believe that if I had not realized I was ambiverted before college, I would have tried to reenergize by going out on the weekends, because that’s what I was “supposed” to be doing as an extrovert. Instead, I know that staying in or socializing with just a few friends is a far better way for me to relax and prepare myself the fresh hell of Monday.

If you’re an incoming freshman (or even if you’re not), I encourage you to take a Myers-Briggs test. You answer a few simple questions and it will tell you your personality type, including how extroverted or introverted you are. The more near the middle you are, the more you share traits from both sides of the personality spectrum.

When I first took this test, probably sometime during late middle school/early high school, my introversion/extroversion results leaned heavily extroverted (somewhere above 50%). Because personalities shift as a person matures, levels of introversion/extroversion can change, too. My latest result told me I was 3% extroverted, meaning I am almost exactly in the middle of being introverted or extroverted, with a very slight leaning toward extroversion. This fits exactly with what I observed about myself.

The official Myers-Briggs test costs money, but I like THIS knockoff, as it tells you the percentages of your results.

Share your personality type! Are you introverted, extroverted, or ambiverted? What are some of your self-care tips?

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After Orlando: An open letter to the Christian community

I am not even sure where to begin. Tragedy has struck Orlando, and America as a whole. My heart breaks for these victims and for their families.

49 dead. 53 injured.

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Image originally from Jetblue.com

It both matters and does not matter that the victims of this tragedy were members of the LGBT community.

It matters because of their attacker. Omar Mateen reportedly pledged alliance to an Islamic terrorist organization. Islam has long been known to condemn homosexuality and identities related to it. Pretending these victims were not in a gay club when they were shot would be an insult to them. Pretending that is not why they were attacked is ignorant.

Do not sweep this fact under the rug. It is important to remember who they identified as, because it was the reason they were targeted.

At the same time, these identities, whether they were gay, bi, or trans, also do not matter at all. Even to Christians, it should not matter that these victims were members of the LGBT community. This could have happened at any club, at any school, at any supermarket, at any church.

Victims are victims are victims are victims.

Mourn them. Do not qualify your grief. Do not add an addendum. Forego the “even though.”

This is not the time to get on a pulpit. This is the time to stand beside people who are hurting. Show Christ through love and support.

Christ suspended judgement and showed love.

In this time of grief, do the same.

Different kinds of perfect

There are some moments that no amount of photography or videography can adequately capture.

Different Kinds of Perfect

One such moment was just the other night. My friend group had spent the day together swimming and adventuring and were finishing out the night on a boat. Pizza boxes were scattered around and empty pop cans sat on the table. I was snuggled against my boyfriend, a blanket keeping out the cool air. Stars were starting to shine against the dark sky, and music played softly over the lapping of the water against the boat.

Why, I wondered, would anyone want to give this up?

I realize this time in my life is fleeting. That one day staying out until 1 or 2 a.m. won’t be possible because we told the babysitter midnight. That one day I will need more than six hours of sleep. That one day exploring with my friends will dissolve into meeting for lunch occasionally.

If life is perfect as it is now, with all its adventures and terrible food and long days, why would I ever want it to change?

Because, I concluded, watching my friends talk among themselves, there are different kinds of perfect.

As we change, so does our idea of perfection. At age 19, it consists of late nights and greasy pizza and friends—but our tastes and desires and wishes shift. What was right for me now won’t always be what I want.

If my idea of perfection is growing, it means I am, too.

Even as we grow, though, we yearn for what we lost. That’s why we take the pictures, why we take the videos. We want to desperately remember all our versions of perfection. Even as they change, we hold them dear.

Perfection is fleeting, but only because perfection is always changing.

One day, my life will be something completely different than it is now. It might involve children, or travel, or photography. It might be right back on the boat, with summer air and older friends.

Whatever it is, wherever I end up, it will be perfect.

Try it Tuesday: 3 Homemade Face Masks

As someone with pretty sensitive skin, I have to be careful with what I put on my face. Because of this, I am honestly just too scared to try store-bought face masks. I love, love, love homemade versions, though!

Homemade masks are great for your skin. They’re natural, you know exactly what is in them, and you can tailor them to what you and your skin need.

Here are my top three favorite face masks, made with ingredients you probably have in your kitchen.

1. Egg White Mask

How to make it: Separate the white and yolk of one egg. Whip the egg white with a fork until slightly frothy, then apply it to your face. Leave on until dry (10-15 minutes). Wash off with warm water and then wash face with whatever cleanser you use.

What it’s good for: This mask is a great skin tightener. It will reduce red spots and close pores. Make sure you wash your face afterwards to get rid of any remaining egg.

 

2. Vitamin E and Coconut Oil Mask

How to make it: Split open two Vitamin E capsules into a small dish or the palm of your hand. Mix with an equal part of coconut oil until it is runny. Apply to face with fingertips. Leave on as long as desired, then wash off with warm water.

What it’s good for: This mask is great for acne and dry skin. Vitamin E will help combat any acne spots, while the coconut oil acts as a moisturizer. This mask can be used daily or overnight.

 

3. Honey and Aloe Vera

How to make it: Use real honey (not a sugary substitute—avoid anything in a bear bottle). Mix a small amount with aloe vera in a small cup and apply to face. Make sure you use pure, alcohol-free aloe vera gel, as alchohol is drying. Leave on as long as desired, then rinse face with cool water.

What it’s good for: This mask leaves you with very soft skin. Both honey and aloe vera actively fight against acne and moisturize the skin.

 

Of these three masks, the honey and aloe vera mask is my absolute favorite. I use it at least once every day and have seen a great improvement in my skin. I’m not as dry, have less scars, and fewer acne spots.

What are your favorite DIY beauty tricks? Do you prefer store-bought or homemade facials? Tell me your favorite face masks in the comments!