January 12, 2015
I‘ve spent a decent amount of time thinking on the subject of who I am, and what the different parts of me are. This came about in earnest when I was working out the plotting for my current WIP. It’s a book about a girl that has so severely dissected the parts of her life, trying to please the people around her, that she is losing track of who she is as a whole, and can’t quite figure out how to blend the parsed-out sections of her life back together. When you’re one girl at work, one for your old friends, one for your new friends, and a completely different closet version you’re afraid to admit you like, how do you deal when they start to collide?
Once the book was well underway and I could start applying those thoughts to Alex, my MC, and not myself, I left thinking that topic through regularly, behind. That is until recent events had me brewing about it again.
A few weeks ago I was talking to some friends, and a few of their friends that I don’t really know. The subject of movies came up and I was feeling rather lost about most of the titles. When I admitted that, the people I didn’t really know started listing out some fairly iconic movie titles that most people our age have seen and asking if I had seen them. This is far from the first time I’ve had this conversation. I got the normal reaction of slack jaws and bug eyes. How had I not spent my childhood watching Star Wars and the Goonies?
Well, for one, I was told to go outside a lot. I can’t quote movie lines from the 80’s and 90’s, but my fort building skill are on point. Anyway, we can chat about my odd childhood later. I know I’m the only person my age who has never seen Star Wars, or Farris Bueller’s Day Off. I’m coping with it.
At some point during the conversation I was informed that my “geek card” was being revoked. I wasn’t even aware that it was something I had, or that I was supposed to be defending it in that moment, but none the less it was gone. I was officially not geeky enough to be a geek. I was crushed, as you can imagine ; )
I tweeted something about it later that night, and a guy I know, okay this time I actually don’t really know him, I just read his blog and he puts up with my too frequent pestering on twitter (I have no idea why), but I digress. So the guy wrote a nice little blog post about how there really isn’t a such thing as a geek card and how, as a group, it’s a shame to see the “geek club/society” start acting like the “cool kids” from high school. (I might have done a bad job of summarizing that) Point is, it made me happy but seeing as it was not the first time it had been brought to my attention that I was not geeky enough to be a “real” geek, I think the jury is still out on giving me back my imaginary club card.
Fast forward a week. I was on Facebook reading postings in a book club. The question was, “What was the first romance book you read that turned you on to the genre?” I was surprised to see how many people prefaced their answers with “I’m ashamed to admit this…”. That was most often followed up by the answer Twilight, or Fifty Shades of Grey.
I have noticed in many of my social circles, online in particular, that it’s now the cool thing to hate on mainstream, or pop culture. I can’t tell you many things that irritate me more than reading a tweet or post, ranting about some faction of pop culture, knowing that they’re just hating on it because it’s mainstream. I really just want to yell at them to get over themselves.
I read and enjoyed both Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m not really sure why I’m supposed to be ashamed of that? Perhaps because admitting that will get me kicked out of one of the other social clubs that I’m not quite enough of this or that to fit into. So I’m not alternative really, because I like a few mainstream things too.
And now rewind with me a few months. I was sitting in a local sports bar. I spend a fair amount of time there. If you’re on my softball team, you either work there, are dating someone who does, or are enough of a regular that they would probably put you on the payroll. I like sports, participating and spectating. Not all sports, but a majority. I won’t watch a golf tournament with you, and though I’m happy to go out to the greens, it’s likely you’ll just get frustrated at how outstandingly horrible I am at it, and never invite me back. On the other hand, any given Sunday, rain or shine, from the months of May through October, you can find me at the softball fields.
So as a girl, if you ever tell a guy that you like sports you’ll be immediately quizzed. Be prepared, ladies, these are grueling. I was sitting at the bar watching a Mariners game. This guy asked me if I actually liked baseball or if I was just staring at the TV because it’s what was on. I informed him that I do like baseball, and play softball. He then quizzed me on the Mariners roster. News flash, I don’t know it. I could see him scoff as I told him I didn’t know the entire roster, or even who was in their bullpen. Still, I like them and if a game is on that’s what I am probably watching.
I have had a very similar conversation with a man after he found out I box. He then wanted to talk about current boxers and upcoming matches. Thing is, I box, I don’t watch it. UFC? Hell yes. I’m all over it, but boxing, nope. So maybe I’m not Sporty Spice, or a real jock.
I was born in Texas, and am undoubtedly Southern. My first real paying job was herding cattle on horseback (don’t tell anyone). I do have one pic and you’ll never see it. Second job was teaching classes on riding and equine care. I spent summers on a dairy farm as a kid standing in cow shit. I like country music, but only about half, and not much of the current stuff. I’d also take alt rock over it any day. I don’t, however, own cowboy boots, or a hat, or wranglers. I do own guns and like shooting, but wouldn’t be caught dead in camo as casual wear. I don’t kiss men that chew (sorry boys). I’m not teasing my hair, and hate NASCAR. I lost my absolutely ridiculous half Texan, half Mississippi accent (thank the lord) a few years after I moved to Colorado, and for most proper country folks, I’m too liberal. So I’m not country enough to be country.
So here is where I’m headed with all of this. I’ve learned, and it only took 29 years, that I’ll never be enough of one thing for any particular group.
I am geeky about reading, writing, my fish, fish tanks, and the plants I grow in them, but probably not much else. I am a dork; goofy, stupid and silly, unnecessarily so at times. I like sports, but don’t know as much as you do, sir, I’m sure. I’m artsy in that I draw and paint, but by far not hippy. I like some mainstream things, some hipster things, some offbeat things, and some things that I’ve yet to categorize. I like to dress girly, wear my heels, and put on make-up, but not every day, and I am just as comfortable in sweats, or my softball cleats.
Most importantly, I am sure that I’m not alone in my inability to fit into a predefined category. I was relieved when I got out of high school, thinking I would find that these social groups were no longer a thing. I am sad to see that they still are. Not only are they still a thing as adults, they are thriving on social media.
So geek, dork, jock, hipster, preppy, country, artsy, emo, alternative, I’m okay with being them all and not in equal parts or even ratios that make much sense. At the end of the day I’m just me. Something you might not like all of, but odds are we will have something in common. I won’t feel bad for liking Twilight, and Taylor Swift, while also liking The Hobbit, and Goo Goo Dolls.
I find that if you just focus on what you like, and not so much on why or what that means you are or aren’t, you’ll be a happier you. Try it out.
May B.B. (The, I’m confused about who I am and most things in general, Writer)