What's crackalackin', Percalurkers? And percamembers, of course.
This May's MOTM winner was one of my first friends when I joined the site, but back then she was named Hazelwitch. She had the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet as her avatar, and she said some very supportive things to me back then that helped me get through a difficult time. I still consider her a friend, so it wasn't hard for me to cast my vote in with the dozens of others who voted for her this month.
Boss is one of the site's most prominent poets. If she's not laying down poetry in one of our various poetry threads, she's often exploring the enneagram personality types of others in their "what's my type?" threads, when she's not in verbose contemplation of her own in her personal "type me" thread.
So, please join me in congratulating this month's winner:
What's your real name?
How old are you?
What country are you situated in?
I am visiting India. I am heading to America, next.
Are you single, dating, or married?
Do you have any kids?
I don’t have biological kids, but the children at the Orphanage I support are my children. In general, I tend to view orphaned/abused/exploited/poor children as my children.
How would you describe yourself in one word?
What is your favorite place to travel to?
Ladakh. It’s harsh, rugged and beautiful. It reminds me of my internal landscape.
La Rinconada (Peru), Machu Picchu, Bukhara (Uzbekistan), Lhasa (Tibet), Hvar (Croatia), Luxor (Egypt) and Marrakech(Morocco) are on my long list of places to visit. I have a morbid fascination with places that end up on cracked.com’s creepiest places lists. One of these will enter my travel wish list or favourites list, sooner or later.
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite weather?
I enjoy the harshness of winter. And, I like Spring.
What are your favorite books, movies, tv shows, and video games?
I am a voracious reader, so this is a very tough one.
Prison Notebooks, Hamlet, Women who Run with the Wolves, The Closing of the American Mind, Women, Race and Class, Resources, Values and Development, Macho Sluts, Erotic Justice: Law and the New Politics of Postcolonialism, One-Dimensional Man, The Sexual Contract, I Escaped from Auschwitz, Orientalism, The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture, Catch 22, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Shock Doctrine, On the Genealogy of Morality, Crime and Punishment, Citizenship and Fanaticism, Siddhartha, Mahabharat, The Wretched of the Earth, Black Skin, White Masks, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Zafar-Nameh, 1984, Wuthering Heights, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, Misery Loves Cabernet, The Black Swan, Mundaka Upanishad, Chandogya Upanishad, Things Fall Apart, Midnight’s Children, Sons and Lovers, Cold Moon: The Erotic Haiku of Gabriel Rosenstock, Othello, The Holocaust Industry, The Grapes of Wrath, The Road, Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, A bunch of IR theory texts that were among my closest companions throughout Uni. lol—Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics is an all-time favourite.
Some of my favourite authors include:
Ray Bradbury, Jared Diamond, Khushwant Singh, Munshi Premchand, Allama Iqbal, Robert Heinlein, Alice Walker, Kurt Vonnegut, Stieg Larsson, John Grisham, bell hooks, Thucydides, Patricia Hill Collins, Gloria Anzaldúa, Virgina Woolf, Kimberle Crenshaw, D.H. Lawrence, Emma Goldman, Norman Finkelstein, Foucault and Chomsky. I am a poetry nerd, and I can’t do without my Norton Poetry Anthologies (The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry is among my favourites). I also love my collection of Urdu and Farsi Rubaiyat.
There are way too many to list. So, I’ll mention my Top 10 (ugh..18 lol):
On the Waterfront, The Battle of Algiers, Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam, The Godfather, Schindler’s List, Pulp Fiction, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Vertigo, A Streetcar Named Desire, Seven Samurai, Waltz with Bashir, Bicycle Thieves, Sholay, Bridget Jones’ s Diary, Fight Club, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Harold and Maude, Maqbool
What are your favorite foods and beverages?
There are too many to list. I am a big foodie. I’ll mention my favourite cuisines: Indian (Punjabi, Kashmiri, Mughalai, Southern Indian, Goan), Spanish, Mongolian, Mediterranean, Moroccan, Lebanese, Malaysian, Ethiopian, Thai, Hunan
The South Asian folk might recognize this one—Rajma Chaval. Home-made Rajma Chaval tops everything else.
What is your favorite animal?
I love lions and dogs.
What kind of music do you enjoy?
I have eclectic tastes; be warned. ;)
Some of my favourite musicians/bands/genres include:
Frank Zappa, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Bob Dylan, Sufjan Stevens, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Billie Holiday, Suzanne Vega, Fela Kuti, Nine Inch Nails, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Conscious Reggae (Burning Spear , Bob Marley, Steel Pulse and Peter Tosh being great examples), Lead Belly, David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Gnarls Barkley, Thievery Corporation, Chaka Khan, Gotan Project, Kishore Kumar, Ella Fitzgerald, Eric Clapton, Zakir Hussain, Sufi Qawallis, Ghazals, Karsh Kale, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Lightenin’ Hopkins, The Kinks, Saxon, 70s “Off the Wall” era and early to mid 80s Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash, The Smashing Pumpkins, Prince, Abdul Halem Hafiz, Black Sabbath, Queen, Metallica, Simon and Garfunkel, 50 cent, Rod Stewart, Rasputina, The Doors, Old school Hip-Hop, Conscious Rap (Immortal Technique, The Roots, Mos Def, Public Enemy are among my favourites), Peter Gabriel, Marvin Gaye, Chuck Berry, Alicia Keys, 70s Blues-Rock from Nigeria, Gaudi, Punjabi MC, Khaled…
Do you play or follow any sports?
I played football (soccer for you Americans) in high school. Tennis and Cricket are my other favourites. I have a black belt in Karate.
What are your favorite websites to visit?
Google, cracked.com, Youtube and a few others I can’t recall. Fb and Twitter are not on the list.
What is your greatest weakness?
I can be a bit naïve.
What is your greatest strength?
Resilience and Optimism
I have lived through war, violence, extreme poverty, homelessness, exile and more. I have relished every bit and every pulse of life. Resilience forms the very essence of my personality. I know how to transform rage and grief into power, love, progress and beauty. I have an indomitable will. My optimism has always served me well.
What motivates you?
Success, Progress, Gratitude, Freedom, Acceptance, Equanimity, Endurance, Kindness, Commitment, Beauty, Accumulation and Expansion of Resources, Poetry, Watching people overcome mounting adversity
What is your philosophy?
I have never quite thought about what exactly my personal philosophy encompasses, but I do have a general idea. So, here goes:
I pursue pleasure, hope and understanding. In addition to this, rational skepticism is a major part of how I approach information/knowledge. I am amoral, but I have integrated Aristotle’s golden mean (Nicomachean Ethics) into my philosophy, so to speak. So, moderation and balance are essential aspects of my personal philosophy.
The transience that marks our existence is both painful and healing. I strongly believe that the harshest, most difficult of circumstances eventually fall apart and give way to joy, laughter and peace. The symbol of the phoenix holds great meaning in my life because it stands for resilience. I will briefly quote Mevlana Rumi here, as these lines have illuminated my way through some very dark paths:
The minute I'm disappointed, I feel encouraged.
When I'm ruined, I'm healed.
When I'm quiet and solid as the ground, then I talk
the low tones of thunder for everyone.
Additionally, the ability to single-mindedly focus on my goals has been a major part of my philosophy. I am reminded of the warrior Arjuna, in the Mahabharata, who could only see the bird’s eye when his archery instructor inquired about the target.
Lastly, I think people have become very disconnected from their instinctual drives.
This, especially, holds true for women because of social expectations (and patriarchal structures) that work to tear women away from their wilder, uninhibited, passionate sides towards a tame and disempowered caricature of ‘femininity’. Dr. Clarissa P. Estes explains this well:
The wild and instinctual nature means to establish territory, to be in one's body with certainty and pride regardless of the body's gifts and limitations, to speak and act in one's behalf, to be aware, alert, to draw on the innate feminine powers of intuition and sensing, to come into one's cycles, to find what one belongs to, to rise with dignity, to retain as much consciousness as we can.
So remaining in touch with my instinctual nature and making the most of my passion, without compromising it so as to prevent people from fleeing in terror from my ‘untamed’, ‘un-lady like’ ways, has, since childhood, fit in naturally with my personal philosophy.
What are you passionate about?
I am most passionate about my career goals.
I am also passionate about improving the lives of children escaping war, abuse, poverty and exploitation. I have the resources and the will to improve lives, so I put them to use. It’s very healing. So, fighting discrimination and exploitation is among my favourite hobbies.
Another one of my passions is promoting size acceptance, especially among the youth. I am strongly opposed to arbitrary beauty standards that not only keep people from being healthy but prevent them from accepting and honouring themselves fully. Promoting a physically, psychologically and emotionally healthy state of being is important to me.
Besides, the Eurocentric nature of these ‘standards’ can make women (and men) of colour very self-conscious about their appearance, to the point of feeling inferior and inadequate. I am passionate about opposing the internalization of these racist, degrading and discriminatory norms and encouraging acceptance, critical thinking and self-respect. That cosmetic companies earn millions of dollars by marketing skin lightening and harmful bleaching creams to people of colour, the world over, is a disgrace. It angers me. I feel similarly about the skin tanning trend in the West, eyelid surgeries among Asian populations and so on.
My other passions include writing poems, public speaking and acting.
What kinds of jobs have you had?
Working as an undertaker was phenomenal.
lol I have worked as a Dishwasher at a restaurant, a warehouse worker, a part-time house maid, an annoyed baby sitter at her wit’s end, an ESL instructor, a swimming instructor, an acting teacher, head of the education and outreach department of an NGO and held similar positions in the non-profit sector, a Research Assistant, an entrepreneur etc.
What are your pet peeves?
a) Invasion of Privacy
b) People who find me intimidating, and cover up their discomfort with childish temper tantrums.
c) Any kind of prejudice is a pet peeve.
d) Poor and untimely Customer Service is irritating.
e) Immaturity, losing one’s cool at the drop of a hat.
f) Moving my stuff grrrr!
i) Thread derails on my threads;)
What are your fears?
- Grief and Misery
- Devastating failure
Who do you look up to?
I only look up to myself.
However, I recognize that some people have truly won my respect and admiration. I honour individuals who have had the strength to lead and revolutionize the way we approach equality, leadership and truth. I am a seeker of inspiration, and the following people have always given me a spark of inspiration and grace when I needed it:
My father (He taught me my earliest lessons In compassion, love , critical thinking and non-discrimination), Sir Frederick Douglass, Bhagat Singh ( Indian Marxist Freedom Fighter who was executed at age 23, during the course of the Independence Movement), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Norman Finkelstein, Dr. Shirin Ebadi, the 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh, Carl Sagan
Do you have any pets?
What do you do for fun and relaxation?
I read and listen to music. I lounge around and daydream. I write poems and meditate. I also do Yoga and Pilates for relaxation. Taking long walks along scenic routes is my favourite activity, though.
How did you get involved with personality typing?
To be perfectly honest, I am not very involved with personality typing. I got acquainted with personality typing after I joined Perc in late 2010.
What is your Myers Briggs personality type?
I am going with xNTJ.
Research and introspection are pending. Several people think I am an ENTJ. I lean 70% INTJ and 30% ENTJ. I just have to really dig deeper into JCF before I reach my conclusions.
What is your enneagram type?
I am still open to considering a 1w2 fix, people. It’s a limited time offer! You heard me! Head to my Narcissistic Inferno, and chat me up! It’ll be a lot of fun!;)
So what's it like being an xNTJ and an enneagram type three?
(1) Being an xNTJ woman is an interesting experience because my so-called ‘masculinity’, self-assuredness, leadership skills and ambition are seen as both admirable and threatening. The threatening part applies mostly to the way some of my male co-workers respond to my personality. It makes for complex professional dynamics, and there are frequent power struggles that I don’t care to instigate but have to resolve proactively to keep things running efficiently.
I enjoy putting effort into actualizing my visions and persuading people into doing my bidding;). No, I do enjoy leading teams and the entire process of having my plans manifest tangibly. I enjoy being on stage. I feel very energized when I meet my goals, and when I give speeches to thunderous applause. Now, we’re entering Type 3 territory. I like how smoothly that transition went;).
(2) Being a 3w4 makes for a somewhat unusual 3 because the stereotypical 3 description seems to have a 3w2 bias. I want to be, and be seen as, a successful and distinguished leader. I want to create something that will stand as a testament to my will and my glorious journey.
It would be accurate to say that I am enchanted with the darker, more disturbing and grotesque aspects of my psyche as well as my body. I tend to be emotionally detached, and I have always had a deep sense of having stood apart from others. I relish this. I am very individualistic, and my personal journey holds a lot of meaning in my life. I like to re-invent and re-construct my image in alignment with my wants and ambitions.
I have always glorified and honoured my struggles, hard work and my scars, both physical and psychological. I wear these proudly, and I enjoy how they set me apart. There is this revelry in grotesqueness and the dark; as well as, a propensity to utilize these in a tasteful or shocking way or even hiding them completely, based on whatever suits my goals.
The challenge has been to realize that my worth is independent of my accomplishments. It took me a major failure to acknowledge this, but it’s one of my goals to disentangle my inner worth and value from material gains and accomplishments. The following lines from the Tao Te Ching resonate with me and offer a valuable lesson. Other threes may find them insightful:
She has but doesn't possess,
acts but doesn't expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.
Do you think the different personality theories give an accurate description of you?
JCF research is pending. But, the Enneagram provides a pretty good description. More than the accuracy/completeness of descriptions, I care about understanding the cognitive biases that prevent me from reaching higher levels of awareness and actualization.
Which personality theory do you prefer, and why?
I prefer the Enneagram because of the pyschospiritual nature of its approach. This is coming from someone who is not a fan of New-Agey Self-help stuff, at all. But, the Enneagram is so raw, fleshy and dark. It was very tempting.
Overall, it has been very useful in helping me realize that I need to access what lies beyond my personality, what is my true or Essential nature, free of the ego’s agendas and illusions. I came to see that we are so closely identified with our personalities (thoughts, feelings, reactions, self-image, habitual patterns etc.) that we lose sight of the present and cease to live as fully and robustly as we deserve to.
Unlike the concept of fana (ego annihilation) in Sufism, the Enneagram emphasizes that the maturation of the ego facilitates transformation and a deeper connection with one’s authentic self.
Then again, I don’t remember the last time I had even thought about an authentic self. So, the Enneagram forced me to really think about what I was missing by remaining stuck in a stubborn pattern of “I don’t have time for spiritual bullshit. I have goals to accomplish, money to earn and indulgence awaits me with open arms.” I am no enlightened being. But I now know that my personality/Type binds me in certain patterns of deception, vanity and pain, so I can go beyond it and not live life as though it were a rat race.
It brings you face to face with your unconscious motivations and fears. I see a lot of people approaching it in a superficial way, especially online. It’s counter-productive. I didn’t discover my type on the first go, and my biggest advice to you is to conduct significant self-study/research and introspection.
The goal is to transcend the type. Wisdom and self-acceptance are key. Understanding how your personality works is difficult and transformative, but it’s only a part of your journey. It is not the destination. I’d say that acquainting myself with the Enneagram was worth all the time, effort and emotional discomfort.
Do you use personality typing in the real world?
Sometimes, I do. I use personality typing (mostly Enneagram) to understand people close to me or people who work with me. Other than that, I don’t engage in personality typing much irl.
Has personality typing helped you in any way?
Yes, the Enneagram has been a useful tool. It has brought some deep-seated and critical issues to the forefront of my consciousness. More than understanding how personality works, the Enneagram has helped me acknowledge that I need to find my way to what lies beyond it. I am learning to be more “present” and aware. Seeing the more expansive qualities of my mind and heart emerge has been worth it.
Do you prefer to associate yourself with certain types, and why?
I don’t prefer to associate myself with any particular type/types. For the most part, I don’t pay attention to types. I associate with people I find wise, mature, open-minded, rational and emotionally intelligent.
How did you initially find your way to PersonalityCafe?
I was doing a google search on the Enneagram. I came across some interesting threads on the Enneagram Theory forum, and I decided to join. I had never been on a forum before, so I was excited lol.
What made you join us?
PerC dealt with a subject I had just begun to discover, so it seemed like a good place to hang out.
Your name was Hazelwitch when I joined. Why did you change it to Boss?
Well, there is a funny story behind it. A friend and I had the misfortune of developing acne before a party that was three days away. So, I was looking up the acne curing properties of Witch Hazel when I decided to join PerC. I didn’t really put much thought into my username. A year or so down the line, I got bored with my unintended tribute to herbal medicine.
I decided to choose something that had to do with my personality. It’s also humourous when people address me as Boss.
If you had to choose your favorite forum on PerC, which would it be?
Initially, I typed as INFJ. The INFJ forum is among my favourites. My other favourites include the Enneagram Theory sub-forum, Critical Thinking and Philosophy, the Current Events sub-forum, General Chat and the Arts one as well.
What do you like most about PersonalityCafe?
I like that, despite being a forum geared towards personality theory, PerC contains a multitude of discussion topics on subjects ranging from Analytical Psychology, religion and politics to “what do you call your privates?”. I just love the range of topics here. I also like how knowledgeable some of the members are. On the whole, I find PerC a close-knit community of interesting, mostly positive and level-headed people.
One of the members here had inspired me to start writing poems again. Had it not been for PerC, I would’ve likely not returned to one of my biggest passion as soon as I did. So, thank you
Oh and Stephen’s Bannericks! I love those!
What do you dislike most about PersonalityCafe?
The raging typhoons of butthurt over the silliest, most inconsequential of things are most annoying to me. You just have to remember that, just as in real life, you won’t get along with everyone. Not everyone will like you or appreciate what you say. Problems arise when people get too emotionally involved and develop difficulties with maintaining an objective and detached stance.
What is the most important thing you've learned here?
Interacting with people and listening to some of their struggles has helped me hone skills that I learnt while receiving empathy training for work.
The online medium allows me to get over my embarrassment with emotions and really connect with people in an intimate and warm manner. This is a skill that will be very useful for me in real life. I tend to lacerate people emotionally when I all I wish to do is reach out to them. This holds true as much online as it does irl. I have a lot of rough edges, and I expect a lot of toughness from people.
But, then, I came across @snail here. She showed me how much strength resided at the core of vulnerability. I could see how I needed to be more flexible and, in some ways, softer with some people to make the most of our interactions, without underestimating their fortitude. I’d say that I have undergone emotional growth through this forum, and that is something I value.
Do you have any advice for the community of PersonalityCafe?
Take it easy. Learn to let things go. Don’t feed the trolls.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
The ability to make my wishes come true at the twirl of a wand is what I’d like. I really wish I could twirl a wand and have a green tea flavoured cake arrive right on my dining table.
What do you know now that you wish you'd known five years ago?
That I am not invincible..That I can fail.
What do you believe is your greatest accomplishment at this point?
There’s no such thing as the “greatest” accomplishment.
Tell us something about yourself that we don't already know.
a) I have 18 tattoos. I made sure to pick locations that could be fully covered, and I am perfectly content with having to wear ¾ sleeves at work until I become my own Boss;).
b) I am fluent in 7 languages. And, I plan on becoming fluent in Modern Standard Arabic and French in the coming five to seven years.
c) I can’t tell between left and right.
d) I have traveled to nearly every continent with the exception of Antarctica .
f) Despite my stoic nature, I sat by John Keats’s grave and cried for half an hour. I am glad no one saw that lol. I wrote him a poetic tribute on the spot and left it next to the flowers I had brought. I think I have a heart.
g) I am half-Indian.
What is next for you? What are your plans and goals for the future?
I plan to get a JD/MBA. I am going to start a successful business in the near future. I am also going to establish a child welfare focused NGO in the coming 10 years. In 20 years or so, I plan on constructing a hostel of sorts for children escaping abuse and exploitation. I want to give them the resources they need (education, for example) to go out, explore and conquer, like I did.
Give us your parting words.
I am honoured to be PerC’s Member of the Millenium;)lol! .
Thank you very much: ) I appreciate it. I will see you around!
I leave you with Allama Iqbal’s (noted South Asian philosopher and poet’s words: ) :
“Tundi-e baad-e-mukhalif se na ghabra ay uqaab
Ye tou chalti hae tujhay ooncha uranay ke liye”
Don’t let the intensity of the opposing-wind unnerve you, O’ Eagle
It only blows to help you fly even higher.