I’ve probably never mentioned this on my blog, but I’m a knitter. I learned how to knit when I was about 16 and in high school. I was having a hard time at school, since I transferred to a magnet school and left all of my childhood friends behind, and by the time I could get my license, I was finally free to drive myself home instead of waiting for one of my parents to finish work. I was elated about my new sense of freedom, but I usually drove home after school only to play video games alone or flip through the channels and wait until someone could come home and talk to me.
I think my mom saw that I was having a rough time, so she encouraged me to go to our local knit shop. My cousins knew how to knit and every time I went to their house, I begged them to teach me. Finally, my mom and I signed up for a beginner’s lesson in knitting and I immediately fell in love. My mom, on the other hand, was stressed out and decided knitting is not her craft. Although I should mention she can cross stitch and sew with the best of them.
I’ve always loved crafts, especially making things with clay and painting, but knitting is by far what I’m best at. I gave up drawing in middle school thanks to a mean art teacher, but I’m glad I found an outlet that allows me to create things I can actually use or give to people. Knitting is so relaxing and sometimes if I’m into a pattern far enough, I can watch TV without even looking at what I’m doing.
I decided to start my first knitting project in about two years today because in March, my former host family (from when I first stayed in Japan) sent me an invitation to my host brother’s wedding! It will be my first Japanese wedding and I’m sure it will be a wonderful experience. However, I didn’t have much to wear, so a friend of mine lent me a dress and since it will still be chilly (maybe even cold but let’s hope not) I decided to knit myself a warm and stylish shawl.
I toiled over which pattern to use for a week before finally deciding on Mara, which is free and fairly simple. The pattern uses techniques I’ve never done before, but most of it is straightforward so I think it’s the perfect project for me to get back into knitting. Today I went by the craft store and picked out my yarn and needles and a few other essentials (things I have but left in America) and I felt like a pro – completely in my element.
I started on the shawl tonight and had a few mishaps but thankfully, online communities exist to help out fellow knitters with specific patterns. I was having a problem that is common with the pattern I chose, and I was able to find a good explanation and now my fingers are flying!
This weekend I spent with my friends and at home writing half of a grad school paper that makes up most of my grade in the class I’m currently taking. I didn’t let myself buy knitting supplies until I finished working on my paper, so I rewarded myself today and came home determined to knit and relax. Once I got more into my pattern and felt comfortable with it, I could feel my shoulder muscles relaxing, something they almost never do during the day.
Also, this weekend I had a revelation after retaking the 16 personalities test, which I do every once in a while. Back in December, I read the Highly Sensitive Person, a book that really helped me see my sensitive personality in a different (mostly better) light. However, I used to take the 16 personalities test and they Myers-Briggs test and they usually told me I was ENFP or ENFJ. After embracing my sensitivity and seeing it as more of a good thing and just a part of who I am, I retook the test and was surprised but not upset to learn that I’m actually closer to an INFJ.
I spent time online looking up traits of INFJs and I really connect with all of them. I have talked about being an Ambivert in past posts, and I still consider myself very in the middle of extroversion and introversion, but I think if I admit it to myself, I’m really more of an introvert. I find myself itching to get back home, even when I’m around friends I love, because I need time to process and think or sometimes stop thinking about all the thoughts running around in my head all day and watch a movie.
INFJs are rare and usually struggle with the paradox between loving people and wanting to get to know them and needing alone time and privacy. Reading all the information and thoughts people have on being an INFJ helped me feel less alone and I began to see myself in a more positive light. Sometimes at work I beat myself up for not being extra super nice and faking smiles all day to speak in polite Japanese to my coworkers. I’m a very honest person and can’t hide my true emotions, and I often worry that people think I’m rude or uninterested in them, when I’m usually just thinking too hard about everything going on internally and externally. Also, INFJs are known to think 10 years in the future, freaking out their friends who can’t or don’t want to plan that far ahead.
As an INFJ, I constantly seek perfection and progress in every aspect of my life, so I think about my future and where I want to go from here, and I usually think about the problems that could arise in order to know how to prepare myself in any situation. Often, I go from excited and hopeful to worried and anxious because of this. I’m starting to embrace myself more and expect less of others (because I’m often disappointed if they don’t act how I think they should, which isn’t fair) and hopefully I can continue to have a positive attitude no matter what comes my way.
Shout out to all the introverts and INFJs out there! Let me know your personality type and how you deal with it.