So, I’ve been learning about the Enneagram* and I’m fascinated by it. It goes right along with my personality and how I see people. In the past, I’ve loved learning about people and adding a new piece to their puzzle. If you tell me you are a were in a gang, if you were a pageant winner, if you are a felon, that to me is amazing to fill the picture of who you are. How have you dealt with your past to make you the functioning adult I’m talking to today?
The Enneagram, according to Wikipedia, a is a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. It types you based on your motivations, so it’s you figuring out who you are instead of someone telling you, because only you know you, when you dig into it. That’s the great thing about it, digging around in your own brain, why do I do what I do, how am I when I’m not great, what can I do to grow and be a better me?
After doing the test and reading a lot, it was obvious I’m a 4, an Individualist. Big duh! I was always the girl in school who was a tomboy, loved sports, and would eat my lunch as fast as possible so I could get to the library and read, alone. Today, I go to church and most women are wearing nice church clothes and I’m hanging with the kids, wearing a Doctor Who t-shirt and jeans. No one got me, but not in an emo sort of “nobody understands me” sort of me. I knew I was me and not like everyone else. And while it was tough at times, especially when I was in groups who wanted everyone to fit into a box that was comfortable for them, I always had my journal, the woods, coffee shops, and spots I could get away from folks and be me.
According to the Enneagram Institute…
Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative, and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity. At their Best: inspired and highly creative, they are able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.
Hmmm, yeah, that sums me up. After more digging, I learned I have a very strong 5 wing. They are the thinkers or Investigators. This makes me a Bohemian or Free Spirit. Enneagram 4w5 personalities tend to be creative, intellectual, and objective. They will seem reserved and withdrawn from others. They want to understand the world and seek personal impact and identity and fear having little knowledge and identity.
All true of me. I think the biggest takeaway I’ve gotten from this is, it gives me permission to be myself, which I haven’t gotten a lot. Do not get me wrong, my parents, I don’t think, ever put me in a box and told me who I should be. They let me be me and the only direction they gave me is, we want you to be happy. They let me spend hours sitting on top of the garage fighting invisible bad guys, nose in a book, and being a tomboy. They never said “you should be like so-and-so” or dress this way or go to college for this. They let me be who I was. My husband, same thing. He married me for me and not what another girl he thought I could be.
So, what do I do with all this? How do I make me work for me? I’ve read people saying they thought they were 4’s because they like to stare out windows all day and dream. Well, yeah, that sounds like heaven to me, but not very practical on a homestead. Someone even said they didn’t think I was a 4 because I didn’t come across moody. Thank you?
I feel like when I tell my homesteading friends that I’m a 4, they will, say “Aw, I’m so sorry to hear that. How do you ever get anything done besides feeling all day?” And while, yes, this is true, I’m very grateful for my 5 wing. It’s like my sword, my awesome sidekick that takes over when I need it to do the job. While Feely Beth is over here moping because she “knows” her friends are mad at her and she’s got 1,000 scenarios going in her head because she got triggered by a simple text from someone asking a question and it made her spiral, my 5 wing kicks in and wants to figure out if she can make an outhouse birdhouse, complete with moon over the door, cute hinges, and looks up what size the hole should be for bluebirds.
If some asks if I’m busy, in my head, the answer is always “yes!”
So, on the homestead, I actual do quite well, thankyouverymuch! My Individual side always has me asking the question “Everyone else does it this way, why? Is there another better, more interesting way we could do this?” And it helps me explore new avenues to do things, build things, and different processes. The problem I have is, just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t make it wrong. I usually want to go in the whole opposite direction and do it my own dang way. I need to fight that urge like crazy and realize that folks have different talents. There are older and more experienced women who have amazing knowledge I need to listen to. They’ve done really cool things in ways that are common but work.
Would I rather be another type? OH HECK NO! It’s hard enough being me, I can’t be someone else now! I love how my 2 types merge into the person I am. I love drawing on both strengths and growing through the weaknesses. My word this year has been IMPROVE. This has been an amazing part of it, to give me direction and ways to grow. It shines an uncomfortable light on my shortcomings and that’s never fun but, growing pains hurt. You grow, you add pieces to your own picture and learn more about yourself. We spend so much time getting to know other people, how amazing it is to get to know the person you are around 24 hours a day, know them, appreciate them, and truly dig in and get to know them completely.
Crap, we ARE awesome!
* I’m not going to give you all the in and outs of the Enneagram. I suggest you find a book or use the interwebs, take the test, listen to podcasts, and find your type. There are 329 websites on it and 4682 pages on Instagram pages related to the Enneagram. Remember, 39% of all statistics are made up. 😉