Sunday, January 26, 2014

Comes In Like a Lion


Let's just cut to the chase.
The Choleric Personalities are the lions, the type A, the In Charge or Should Be in Charge. They are ambitious, passionate, and high-strung. The Choleric is always right, they know they are right, and everyone else has to know it, too.
And the maddening thing is, they pretty much ARE right, most of the time.

     If you happen to mention you had the flu....he or she will ask if you had your flu shot. : Don't go on about your symptoms, cough, or sniff, or look woe-be-gone; it only adds fuel to the fire. Basically - be alive, be dead, but don't be sick, sad, or anything in between.
     If you need directions, he will sigh and ask what happened to your map, then tell you the best possible way to get there. If you happen to get lost again, do not, I repeat DO NOT go back and ask again. It would be better to miss your transatlantic flight entirely, not show up for the speaking engagement, or leave your kids at the birthday party overnight.
     If you voice any concerns over how your children are behaving, she will explain precisely what it is you are doing wrong, give you 2 or 3 books on the subject, point exuberantly to her own cherubs, smile broadly and ask, "Now, what were you saying?"
     If you don't know what to do, ask a Choleric. They will be thrilled to tell you, no matter what stammering act of humility or bashfulness they may put on when first asked.


Now, you may think I'm being awfully harsh, but I'm simply getting the rough stuff out of the way first.
The Cholerics are also sorely needed in the world. Who is going to take charge at the accident scene? Who will chair the committee? Who will stand up and say what needs to be said when the time comes?
Who will tell you that yes, you do look fat in those jeans, because they are the wrong brand/cut/style/price/color, and here's an exercise program while we're at it....WoooOops!  off on a wee tangent there...back up....start again...
Who will be the President, the lead hand, the manager of the store, the commander of the army, the lawyer who wins the case? Who will lead the band? Who will be fine putting their neck on the line for the rights of the unborn or the mistreated? The no-holds-barred Choleric will!!

"Not me, please."

Not always, of course. Look at history - Napoleon was no-doubt of mostly choleric temperament, as was Alexander the Great, and others who battled, shot, fired, or clawed their way to the top. But what about Abraham Lincoln, William Wilberforce, or Winston Churchill? When leadership is either unapparent or undesired, the personality may be predominantly something else, but a current of Choleric is in there. When they are against the wall politically, morally, or even physically, they will not shrink back, but will lead the charge if necessary or say to the proverbial spade, "You, my friend, are a spade!"

For the Girls

Most people imagine a strong, powerful man when they think of the Choleric temperament. Women, however, have this personality just as often but often choose, or learn, to mask it. Hmm. Yes, indeedy.
        (Masking your personality is an entire matter on its own - books, volumes of books, tomes of books - could be written on how and why people hide behind a different face.)
An opinionated, powerful woman is not readily accepted by society, even today's society. The Choleric woman is sure to receive a truckload of criticism if she is true to her actual self. Unless she owns a navy business suit and a bright yellow Camaro....then, bring it. Or perhaps the phrase "The Honourable", before her name.

Margaret Thatcher aside, you can tell a woman or girl of choleric temperament because she is not afraid to tell you her opinion, and actually will look for opportunities to do so. You may come out of an hour-long debate about the State of Education Today dripping sweat, wrung out, and hung to dry, but she will feel invigorated, high, on top of the world! "Wasn't that a wonderful discussion we had! We should do this again soon", she beams at you. Blinking rapidly and sucking in great quantities of oxygen, you gasp, "Yes, yes of course! Wonderful!" and slink toward the nearest exit, vowing to stick to vapid tea party fare from now on, with perhaps the odd foray into weather.

The Choleric temperament actually enjoys conflict, to a point. You will often find them trying to pin down what someone actually thinks on a topic, and once they find out, Aha!! It's a bit like a fencing match. Sidestep, shuffle, sidestep, JAB!! Isn't this great fun?
Well it is, if you are also choleric. If not, it's a bit like a classical violinist walking mistakenly into a KISS concert, circa 1987. Cover ears, duck, and RUN AWAYYYYYYYY!!!!!

Pluses and Minuseses. es.

The strengths that go with this temperament are decisiveness, leadership, managerial skill, ability to delegate, and a knack for blazing new trails. Think, Rambo, but in a power suit.

What a Choleric may need to work on is a little thing called tact, a servant attitude, listening skills, and empathy.
And also tact.
Interpersonal relationships can sometimes be a tad shaky.
The Choleric parent may have to be careful not to break their child's spirit.
The Choleric boss may have a little problem called High Turnaround.
The Choleric child will have a mom with Dobson's The Strong-Willed Child under her pillow, and a box of Kleenex by the bed. Or perhaps a collection of wooden spoons in a drawer, all depending.

And Big Hearts

The thing with Cholerics is because they lead the charge so readily, others think they have a thick skin. In fact, Choleric personalities have just as many feelings, are just as sensitive, as everybody else. But they tend to get things thrown up in their face a lot. "Well, they dish it, so they better be able to take it", can be the assumption. 
Choleric types have probably the biggest hearts out there. They care deeply about others, but are often misunderstood. Over time, they can be hurt and scarred, and then perhaps comes the thick skin.
A perceived inability to relate becomes an actual inability to relate.
Cholerics may yell the loudest, but their hearts beat the strongest.

And if you love one, or you are one, remember that.
Also remember that people are people -- complex, textured, nuanced, with many colored threads woven through the fabric of their personalities and character.
{Oh, and personality does not equal character; the two are in fact very different kettles of fish.}

Not the Whole Story 

I am not trying here, in this elementary discussion, to pigeonhole Anyone. It would be ludicrous and downright criminal if I was. Just be yourself, your highly textured, nuanced self.
The point here is not to apply labels, but to think, to ponder, to understand in a richer way why we are the way we are, and to give others permission to act like themselves. I take offense less now, because I know the Cholerics in my life are not trying to put me down or run me over, they are most likely simply expressing themselves through their particular bent, or natural temperament. Not to sugarcoat everything, but it definitely helps to know where someone is coming from when they make impossible demands or tell you exactly what it is you're doing wrong. Takes the sting out of it. If you get where they are coming from, you just smile and roll your eyes to heaven. Very quietly, of course.

So, we've begun. Who shall we do next?

p.s. Full disclosure. About eight years ago I read the wonderful book Personality Plus by Florence Littauer. Many of my thoughts and ideas have been distilled from that book, and though I don't have it now, I'm betting some of my basic premises are close to hers. All credit where credit is due! Also I do a lot of people-watching. :)  sounds kinda creepy. :{

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cheese Whiz (also) Adds Personality

"Cheese Whiz adds (bom) Personality, personality...." Da, da da da.

That little jingle is ingrained in my consciousness and I didn't even grow up with TV. So why would the Cheese Whiz people choose to market their brand with the word "Personality?"
Without cheese whiz, you have a bland, boring, insignificant piece of toast, or bread, or cracker. (Actually, without cheese whiz you avoid instant clogging of the arteries, but let's pretend we don't know that.)

WITH cheese whiz, you have Zinggg!! Spark! Fun! Taste! A certain 'joie de vivre', if I may.
WITHOUT it, you lack that defining characteristic that makes things interesting, that makes a robot human, that gives worth and meaning to life. Very important stuff!!

I've always been fascinated by personality.

Why do some people see things so differently than I do? Why do they act so strange?

Personality is sometimes called temperament. The word 'temperament' is used to describe those innate traits that are genetically implanted -- the backbone of personality, so to speak. All the learned behaviors, coping mechanisms and those traits acquired by environment and influence -- those are the flesh and face of temperament, or what the world sees when they see you.

How many people do you know who have been hired at once, with perhaps no skill for the job whatever, and you know it was because they had a naturally warm, pleasing personality? Or maybe there is a great friend that you overlooked for awhile, because you couldn't get past the cool, aloof exterior.

Why does Mrs. Perfect make Christmas lists galore and yet never seems to be quite ready for the party, and certainly can't enjoy it?
And why does Mrs. Nutso, who can't remember or make a list for the life of her, throw an enormous, splendid bash that folks remember for years?

How come the guy sitting by himself at the party turns out to be a witty conversationalist who keeps you fascinated for two straight hours?
And how come the grinning host who took your coats and bags when you came in, then sat you down graciously, spends the whole evening arguing vehemently with another guest? Not to mention you noticed him criticizing his poor wife for her hap-hazard, though colorful, attire.

It's a party, all right. Life is full of personality.

I enjoy studying what makes people tick. It has helped immensely in both understanding myself and others. I have more patience for fellow-travelers on this journey, and more grace for our collective idiosyncrasies.

Does this get people off the hook for being nasty, ridiculous, edgy, or petty? Nope.

One of the most frustrating things is hearing someone cover their mistake or laziness with "Oh, that's just the way I am!"  Or, they cannot be persuaded to look at things from an angle other than their own. "That's the way I see it." is their final, smug word. And if you try to point out the trench they have dug around themselves....good luck. They are intently focused on the thin slice of truth directly in front of their eyes.

Now, if you have a certain temperament, there are certain temperaments which will naturally drive you crazy. It will be great fun when we get to that part of the discussion. Also, there is one temperament which scoffs at the study of personality and we can have a good laugh at them because they will never read this far down the blog.
And perhaps most important, there is never just one type of personality in a person. We are each a blend, or a mix even, though generally there is one dominant temperament - one that stands out more from the others.

So here begins a little study of the temperaments. A human exploration, if you will.

Choleric, Melancholic, Sanguine, Phlegmatic
Though there are several modern personality theories, I've found the most helpful to be the original four temperaments suggested by the Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC).

Phlegmatic by Lespagnandelle,
Grande Commande, Palace of Versailles. 

These four were developed further by Galen (AD 131-200), and elaborated on by thinkers, psychologists and scientists up to the present day. Some well-known contributors are Immanuel Kant (1700's) and Ethan Fromm (1947). More recently, we have the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and Meyer Friedman's Type A and B, which was used in cardiology to determine risk factor for heart disease. But let's not get bogged down in the history or the details!

(though if you're interested, I recommend looking it up  - fascinating stuff.)

We must begin with the Cholerics, because they would insist upon it. Though rarely, as suggested earlier, does a true Choleric give this kind of thing the time of day, let alone study it. Perhaps the Phlegmatic could convince one, but only by their subtlety and wit...

Stay tuned for the next post about the Choleric personality. (IF I can carve out an hour to do it; this morning I am pushing back an avalanche of responsibility in order to hold my computer in my arms....)

In the meantime, what is my personality? I'll tell you one thing, I was the most surprised of all.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Help Me!


Hello, and thanks for reading.
I've been aware for some time that my little blog here is a bit dis-jointed. Heck, it's a chaotic disaster. Alright, now that was exaggeration. Let's hit it right down the center: My blog is a messy shelf of random titles. Think, 'book table at a garage sale'.

There are poems (good lord what was I thinking), devotionals (should get back on that wagon), my opinions of life, faith, you-name-it, the first chapter of a wonderful story that is still rattling its cage in the vacuous realms of Pam's Brain, chats about movies. A Literal Hodgepodge, for my English friends!

......I have no English friends. Nevermind!

A cursory survey of "How to improve your blog" yields an avalanche of results. Literally every career blogger has an article or six dedicated to the explanations (dripping with humbleness, of course) of how they made it to the top of the pile. How they Gained Readership, and hence, how they can actually quit their day job.

Well, it was fun reading. Insightful even, and I learned something that I already knew -- that your blog should have a Theme. (ooooh I'm using so many CAPITALS!!)

How Very Niche

Every decent blog needs a unifying theme. You need to find your passion, and from that, your niche. What do you enjoy? What do you think about? What do you have books on? What gets you fired up? No, you can't have a blog about whiskey on the rocks or Brad Pitt. Well you could. But just - don't.

The point is, I haven't really cared. I've been writing "for fun and for practice", which is truth. And I don't especially want a large readership, though I'm happy when my friends read it and especially when they (you?) comment and critique. So thanks for

What About Me?

Well, it got me thinking. What on God's green earth is my niche?? A problem I've had my whole life long is that I'm good at so many things.

I found this pic under "person looking incredulous".
It's quite perfect. 
No really, I do enjoy a ton of different things. 

What do I love?

People.            Books.             Stories. 

Music.     MEANING.      THINKING.     Singing!

I asked someone what I was passionate about. Here's what they said.

Literature. Shakespeare. Rock and Roll. Partying. Jesus. People I love.
What I don't like? I didn't ask, but this same friend said, "Overly intellectual buffoons. Those with sticks up their butt." Haha! That is funny!  (And true) Quite the list, at any rate.

I think if I had known what philosophy WAS when I went to university, I would have taken that. And still the English....and yes the music too. The Education courses (major) I would have dropped. Of course, those have come in handy. Even my Geography of British Columbia course came in handy. Who knew?

To sum up -- I'm passionate about the stories of people in books, music, films. I love to think about the meaning, or lack of meaning as the case may be...of Life. The Story behind the story, I guess. Why people are the way they are.


Still haven't found the theme.  I'm nicheless. I'm not wearing any niche!

Oh yeah, and Humour, too. Spelt the Canadian way, might I add. Is "spelt" even a word? Do I care?

(yes, I care, it's driving me nuts and yet I'm too lazy to look it up.)

To Sum Up

If anyone has ideas about this I'd love to hear them. Sometimes others know best what you are passionate about. In return, I will name a planet after you, or maybe a mountain on a planet, or something. You will be rewarded!! Never fear!!

Basically I would like to rename and refocus this blog to make a little more sense. I don't like parameters. But there is more freedom sometimes within them, and less chaos. Perhaps less crazy. Is that a good thing?

Look very forward to hearing your thoughts or ideas for a blog theme. If you have trouble commenting, send to my e-mail or look me up on Facebook or whatever.

NO stalking though, I've had my fair share of that and it is No Fun At All. Curious?

That, dare I say, is another story.



Friday, January 3, 2014

Watching More Spiderman

watching Spiderman … 3

Heh, heh. I love this movie. Or these movies, to be precise.

Opens --

“Everything is wonderful”…. so they say. Love is in the air, people holding hands, everybody loves Spiderman. Next -- James Franco in his boxers, sinister and full of dark fury, walking out of a chamber of green mist. Maybe not so wonderful.

Enter villain two: Venom falls from the sky.

Enter villain three: Sandman the escaped convict in his kitchen, arguing with his truly terrible wife.

I like Aunt May. “A man has to be understanding, and put his wife before himself. Can you do that, Peter?” Peter looks so happy, so self-satisfied and beatifically content. A perfect contrast to the heyday of hell that is about to be unleashed. BAM!! HISSSSS!! ROAR!!

Our Hero

What I like about Maguire’s portrayal is the latent energy behind his mildly bemused, slightly sad face. I like people like that, who have so much going on under the surface, but never let you know it.  He’s very human, and that’s why we like him. He takes MJ for granted like any other guy on an ego high. He tells her what to think and how to feel, and then expects her to be ecstatic to marry him. But we know he has so much more in there. Character, strength, kindness, passion, grit. His gentle eyes belie a fierce resolve.

Maguire does this so well I cannot separate him from the character. In the newer movie, The Amazing Spiderman, I like the guy but keep thinking, “Well, that’s great. I wonder when the real Peter Parker is getting back.” Sorry. I know it’s different… and he’s good, too…and I have to admit – handsomer –blah blah blah.
Love that Tobey Maguire!

My Best Friend Harry

Harry is so happy until he lets revenge eat at him and take him over. While he forgets his father’s death and Spiderman he is able to be carefree and enjoy life. Then, he remembers. Shakespeare's Hamlet is all over this. The mirror, the ghost of his father, the revenge, the exact words, “Remember me.” Fighting with Laertes – I mean Peter – I mean his brother – ahhh it’s like a dream of Hamlet meets superheroes in New York! Something is rrrrotten in the state of Denmark!

James Franco is a wonderful tortured villain. I see shades of heroic Tristan and Isolde and echoes of the insecure James Dean. I am now on a quest to see more of his movies. This is unlikely to ever happen, but one never knows. I may break my leg and have to spend a month on the couch, which would be lovely.

The Symbiote

The concept of Venom is fascinating. Giving life and a black, twisted, tarry form to the evil that lurks in every heart is something we all understand. I know how horrible I can be if I let myself go, a perfect glint-eyed monster of selfishness. Angry.

     Giving vent to evil grants us power, for a moment, when always we feel powerless in this ugly world. Life hurts and hurts and hurts some more, and when we run out of ways to shut it out, we feel the anger, and it pushes feeling and power through our veins. A kind of inverted hope, a black hole that vacuums our soul and causes us to hurt everyone we can. Venom’s razor-toothed roar is frightening and seductive at the same time.

Le Finale

Watching Spiderman takes me away for a bit and yet leaves me with food for thought. Not to tread on the toes of the Cool People and overthink it (heavens!). There is a great deal of commentary on humanity that can be made. This is what makes Spidey 1, 2 and 3 my favorite type of movie. I watch, I enjoy, I gasp, laugh, and smile, and I think. Watching movies is not a waste of time at all; it moves me forward actually, depending. Helps me process life, and throws a little light on things sometimes. When I recognize a feeling or conflict a character is going through it helps me feel more alive. Some days the rest of my life is a lie and the movie is the only truth.

*          *          *

So guess which one is my favorite.

Yep, Spiderman 2. It is smarter, more tightly woven, and looks deeper at the love story…and I am after all, a girl.