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Asperger’s, or why I am taking a writing course with Penelope Trunk

penelope trunk writes about aspergers(This post is in English, just for once, so P.T. can read it.)

Penelope Trunk sends me an email: Can an ENFP be an introvert?

I raise my eyebrows.

Trunk has been my favorite blogger since 2011. She writes on her blog what you and I hardly dare think. See The psychology of quitting. I’m too sad to write a title. 

She is sharp, rebellious and witty.

penelope trunk is geestig en ze schrijft over aspergers ofwel autisme
Testimonials on PT’s homepage

As a bonus, she has Asperger’s. Since Autism runs in my family, her contrarian insights into the matter fascinate me. What it’s like to have sex with someone with Asperger’s. Why I need a sick day to register my car.

Back to that email.

Can an ENFP be an introvert?

ENFP is a personality type in the Meyers Briggs classification system. Penelope does a lot of job coaching. She uses the Meyers Briggs test to assess her clients quickly. Actually, she does not test them. She can tell your type just by listening to you for a few minutes. May be even from reading your blog. Possibly just from sniffing you.

I refuse to believe in Meyers or Briggs. Psychologists have shrugged their shoulders and told me the test is oversimplified. I suspect Trunk just uses it to make sense of the world.


I write to her. Or rather, to her assistant.

Hi Amelia, could you please remove me from this mailing list? I am not even an ENFP ;-)

Penelope cuts in:

I wonder how you got on the list???? Are you on the INTJ list? You’re an INTJ, right?

She would know that, because we have been talking. Back in February she offered a year long writing course, which consisted of editing, really. I told her I would love to work with her, although I did not know on what. So now we talk every month and we make up a problem.

I write back:

According to you I am an INFJ. But I am an IWTF ;-)

She writes to Amelia:

Put her as INFJ. She has Aspergers.

I bristle.

I do not.

She has written on that, too

As if it weren’t bad enough that I already disclosed on this very blog that I have tics, that I am impulsive and intense, that I prefer books to people, hate dressing up, forget to pee when I work, that I take anti-depressants and that I will never, ever just simply do the things I am bloody paid for.

Mr. Blogacademie wil not be happy if I add another diagnosis to my list. Not happy at all.

He always tells me it does not signify, as he likes me exactly the way I am. Though preferably with my clothes off.

Yes, he is quite the charmer.

Last night Penelope and I were on the phone again

‘So how come you now believe you have Asperger’s?’ she asks.

‘O, I’ve always known, I guess. I start my writing course with a little movie where I tell my students how to deal with me. They have to tell me their feelings specifically. And they should not feel hurt all the time, because I can be blunt.’

‘That is such a great idea,’ she says. ‘My students never tell me when they are hurt because, they say, they freeze up.’

‘Huh.’ I say. ‘That’s funny. They say the same thing to me. Like: I was so hurt I could not tell you I was hurt.’

‘Huh’, Penelope says.

‘Even if I tell them not to get hurt.’

‘Funny’, she says.

‘I know,’ I say.

‘I read this book on Aspiegirls’, I say

‘Or rather, it was for the partners of Aspiegirls.’

‘Was it any good? Should I read it?’ Penelope asks.

‘Nah,’ I say, ‘it was just qualitative stuff. But I laughed when she explains that, if your 16 year old car broke down, your girlfriend with Aspergers might just say: well, what did you expect, it was old.’

what aspiegirls soms zeggen
Rudy Simone: 22 things a Woman with Asperger’s Syndrome Wants Her Partner to Know

‘I would totally say that’, says Penelope.

‘Of course. Me too’, I say.

‘You know’, she says, ‘a lot of my writing students have Asperger’s. They write about daily life with Asperger’s. And they are such great stories. I could make a book

‘You should do it’, I say.

‘But how? They will not admit to having it.’

‘Ah’, I sigh. ‘Whyever not?’

‘Yes’, Penelope says, ‘whyever not?’

tips voor beter bloggen

(Zet je VPN uit als de knop niet werkt).

Over Kitty Kilian

Kitty Kilian

Schreef voor NRC, gaf les aan vakopleidingen Journalistiek. Sinds 2011 docent copywriting | De Blogacademie. Delicate as a hand grenade.

Blogbasics (beginners)
Blogpro (professionals)
Karakter & Dialoog (fictie)
Little Black Dress (strakke huisstijl)


  • Het blog van Penelope is niet mals zeg. ‘Ze mag wel even in ons logeerbed’, dacht ik onder het lezen over haar blauwe plekken. Maar dat is eigenlijk een heel ‘koloniale’ gedachte.

    En ook dacht ik: zijn er ook mannelijke bloggers (NL/foreign) die zo ‘disclosed’ zijn over hun leven? Ken jij ze, Kitty?

    (En verder: meneer Blogacademie heeft natuurlijk gelijk – al kan ik dat van die kleren uiteraard niet beoordelen ;-) )

    • Dat is een van haar ergste blogs. Er zijn er ook een boel die alleen maar geestig zijn, of eigenwijs, enzovoorts.
      Haar openheid is extreem. Ik ken niemand anders – als professional, zeg maar, want het stikt natuurlijk van de privé-wacky blogs – die zo open is. Ik vind trouwens ook niet dat dat per sé moet. Het past bij haar. Ik zou zelf nooit zo ver gaan. Maar ook haar openheid is gestileerd. Oh well.

  • Oh wow Kitty. Ik heb serieus geprobeerd een paar van haar blogs te lezen. Maar ik word er zo verdrietig van.

    Ze schrijft heel bijzonder, maar ik kan me er niets bij voorstellen dat iemand haar blogs grappig vind, wat ik wel in de comments eronder lees. En dat terwijl ik toch echt niet zo’n softie ben.

  • I love your idea of starting your writing course with a little movie to tell your students how to deal with you. You’re so smart!

    And I agree with Mr. Blogacademie—you’re fine just the way you are. Just be Kitty.

  • wooow……… such clearcut honesty… I especially like her writing about having sex with her farmer… so moving… echt totale ontroering.
    Thanks for sharing Kitty.

  • Ha! Leuk om te lezen dat jij maandelijks belt met Penelope. Ik volg haar sinds de Blogpro. Geweldig hoe haar ‘mind works’, hoe ze dingen met elkaar verbindt en mij vaak troost. En ja, vooral: wat een lef.

      • MiesPerfect, zeker geen toeval. In 2008 maakte ik een blog aan maar ik durfde niks te publiceren omdat ik bang was dat het niet goed genoeg zou zijn. In 2016 besloot ik om er lak aan te hebben en mezelf dan maar Mies Perfect te noemen. Sindsdien schrijf ik over mijn ‘Perfecte’ leven en probeer er steeds beter in te worden.

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