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Being Gray in a Binary World

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Something I have been considering recently is how I have a tendency to reduce myself. I am not sure if I would refer to it this way, but this is what happens. I seek to find myself and to do that I work to discover a number of metrics, what is my style type, what is my Meyers-Briggs, what is my Enneagram, am I an introvert or an extrovert? The problem is that although I can gather data about myself, what do I come away with? Does putting myself into a box really help me know who I am?

I am not someone who likes limits. I do not like the idea that I am incapable of something and I tend to push things to the extremes. I do not like boxing myself in. The hardest part about attempting to box myself in is realizing that I do not fit. None of those categories fit me, none of them solve me, none of them can encompass the entirety that is me. Then I feel lost, because the rules of the system say I am one thing and that that one thing never changes. The sad thing is that it isn’t true, I change, my test results do not fit into one of the categories. This makes me feel more alone and confused, because in a rigid system with concrete rules there is no space for me.

I seek to find myself in metrics because if I could just box myself in I would believe that I have figured out the secret. My life would magically change overnight and it all would be able to be understood and rationalized. I am not sure that this exists. Life is a spectrum, most of the time your whole life doesn’t change over night. Even if it seems like it does, sometimes it takes years to really pick up the pieces and see what happened all the small steps that led to the result.

Living in a life that is more nuanced is challenging, it means recognizing that I am different and that I change, probably more than I recognize. This means I cannot dismiss things, I have to be more engaged and I cannot find a quick fix. I have to do the work of digging deep and figuring out what it looks like for me, which will probably be completely different from everyone else. This means again saying, I will be different and accepting that difference. As a society conformity is the norm, being able to put people in boxes makes things easier in the short term. Why take the effort to know someone when you have a handy idea of who you think they are? The reality though is the odds of us even being born are incredible. I need to start realizing that and acting accordingly, do the things that are uniquely me, accepting that I change and being okay with the imperfect mess that is life. This is needless to say a constant struggle. But, whoever said it would be easy? Are any of the worthwhile things easy?

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