People seldom differentiate you doing a thing from being a thing. We harbor this compulsion to categorize. Sing a song in public, you’re a singer. Rescue someone, you’re a hero. Throw a punch, you’re a fighter. Be party to a physical indiscretion, you’re a cheater. When a person performs an extreme action, negative or positive, we are loathe to allow them the full spectrum of their humanity. Heroes can’t be rude to waiters; cheaters can’t love their kids. When the streets is watchin’, there’s no room to deviate from the script.
This wouldn’t be as problematic if people didn’t buy into that brand of logic, particularly on the internet. Far too often to suit me, when a person is branded a “thing,” they fit themselves into that box, no matter how rigid. Sometimes, it’s interesting to see people stage tiny rebellions against their personas, only to slide back into the zone of what was assigned to them. It’s not even always a “comfort zone.” Just accepting a lane. The Fugees hit the nail on the head when they asked, “Yo everybody wears the mask, but how long will it last?”
Rejected. I believe the great animated philosopher, Eric Cartman said it best when he proclaimed, “WHA-EVA! WHA-EVA! I DO WHUT AH WONT!” At one point I did almost succumb to the pressure of finding a lane. I’d considered giving my blog a “theme,” so that people would recognize me for writing about topics I’m only vaguely interested in. Seriously…picture me a beauty blogger? Right. I reject each and every label and category. I may not be the best or most entertaining blogger or, but I never want to be disingenuous. To be fair, the people who read my blog and follow me on Twitter seem to allow me a very wide berth when it comes to my expression. I thank you for that, because I don’t really have a lane. Being bright and funny helps, but by no means do I corner the market on that. My presence on Twitter is no different than here. I cuss a bit more on Twitter, but only because I believe in my extended writing, profanity can be a bit distracting. I speak on whatever strikes my fancy, in a way where I am true to me. I’m not shy about the type of things I like or dislike, because that’s my space to share myself.
One of my favorite moments in Twitter history is when Paulo Coelho, the mind behind The Alchemist tweeted that he was now playing Snoop Dogg’s Gin n Juice. Within moments he tweeted, that he was not hacked, and he did like Snoop. His willingness to show that type of humanity, made me develop a little crush on him. It’s not the nuance of him liking hip hop. I probably would have been equally enamored had he said he was watching “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” I admired his matter of fact delivery and how he made no big deal about it afterward.
It would be amazing if more people felt that type of freedom. How willing are we to allow people to have that type of freedom. In my relationship with my kids, there are things which interest them that make me want to HURL. I remember my parents completely shutting down the music, television shows and clothes that I liked. My interests felt like dirty secrets. So with them, I approach them with an open mind. Sure, I have the last word, but it’s far easier to reach common ground on a platform of reason. I believe the same goes for people who are in “lanes.” Open your mind to the possibility that you must might enjoy the unusual. It doesn’t even have to be a “guilty pleasure.” I once read somewhere that when tiny things bring you pleasure, you have no need to feel guilty.
I embrace being a dichotomy. My favorite second line song contain the lyrics, “Take em off! Take ya m*********n draws off!” I can also vibe out to Dvořák’s Nocturne in B. Hang out with me and we could guffaw to “Friday,” or I could dissect the sexual imagery in Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” or Keats’ “La Belle Dame Sans Merci.” I’m neither a “hood rat,” nor am I an “intellectual.” I’m a person, and not a persona. You are more than welcome to join me in being the same.