Am I boring?

Do you ever feel like you’re a boring person?

Last night I got home from work, ran a few errands, and then spent the evening drinking incredibly cheap wine and watching West Wing. In the back of my mind I knew I had to write a blog post, but, for the life of me, I couldn’t think of anything to write about. My life felt so…boring. What on earth could I write about that would be interesting to other people?

To be honest, I wrote this post this morning before work. I just couldn’t find the motivation to write it last night so I went to bed, hoping inspiration would hit me in the morning and actually it did.

I’d like to talk about why sometimes we inexplicably feel boring. I know other people feel this way sometimes and often post about it on Tumblr and Twitter, but why do we feel this way?

Honestly, after thinking about it over coffee this morning, I think it’s another form of self-censorship, similar to the term guilty pleasure. Man, I have been on a self-censorship kick recently, haven’t I?

Anyway, what I mean is that logically no one is really boring. Everyone has something interesting to talk about, I think we as people have a tendency to downplay our own interests and achievements because we fear rejection from society. We don’t want to bring up what makes us happy or proud because we don’t want to feel rejected by our peers, so we by default reject ourselves and call ourselves boring.

I’ll use myself as an example. Earlier this week, as you remember, I was mentioned in a BigCatDerek Walk Around the Compound webcast, which to me is a huge deal. I watched the video at work and was so excited I immediately jumped up from my desk to tell someone. I wanted to share my excitement! Then I realized no one else in my office even knows who BigCatDerek is and they wouldn’t find it that interesting. In fact, they would find it boring.

See what I did there? Yes, a few of my coworkers wouldn’t understand my excitement, but they would still be excited for me. I was the one who decided it was uninteresting and boring because I didn’t want them to say it was uninteresting and boring. I discredited my own excitement because I felt like I should. How messed up is that?

I did something similar last night. I got home from work and decided my life was too boring to write about. Just to give you an idea of how unboring my evening was, I got home and immediately went to pick up mealworms for my chameleon, Togashi. Watching him eat is fascinating. Why couldn’t I write about that? Nope, I decided that was too boring.

After that, I went to Walmart to pick up snacks for a friend and ended up in the makeup aisle for twenty minutes, fawning over lipstick shades. Makeup and beauty products are definitely my vice, which I find a little ironic considering how much of a tomboy I was when I was a kid. Could I write about when my attitude changed? Nope, too boring. Daniel wouldn’t care about the new matte lip stains or how I associate them with self-care and self-love.

Do you care, Daniel?

When I finally got home, I cracked open a cheap bottle of cabernet, which ended up having a cork so obviously it wasn’t that cheap. Grumbling, I had to go to the kitchen to find one of our two corkscrews, which felt like a huge inconvenience! Could I have written about why we have two corkscrews and approximately ten thousand bottle openers? Nah, too boring. Could I write about how I for some reason only buy expensive beer, but never buy wine that’s more than ten dollars? Boring, boring, boring.

Would that have been boring, Daniel? Or am I just making things up in my head?

I finished off the night drinking my wine, crocheting a pillowcase for a friend, and watching West Wing on Netflix. I love West Wing specifically because of Allison Janney’s character, C.J. Cregg. She’s the Press Secretary for President Jed Bartlett and I always found her to be an inspiration. She’s smart, tough, feminine, and six feet tall. Watching her own the White House press corp always made me feel like I could accomplish anything and still be feminine, despite being a giant. Should I write about how she inspired me to go into communications and public relations? Nah, too boring.

Or is it?

Logically, my life is very interesting. It’s just not interesting to me because I live it and, instead of giving you the chance to decide if you’re interested, I just wrote it off. I kept thinking how could I continue the conversation about video games because I knew that’s what interested you instead of thinking about my own experiences.

I need to stop doing that. I need to stop discrediting myself and my hobbies just because I’m afraid someone will actually call me boring.

Sorry this post went up a little late.

-EMS

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Don’t Feel Guilty for your Hobbies

Work trips might be fun, but they completely throw you off your game when you get back. The one and only time I’ve missed a blog post was because of my work trip to Seattle. I almost did the same thing today after getting back from Virginia. Work trips, man.

Thankfully, I basically wrote my post on the flight between Seattle and Pullman. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the term guilty pleasure and why it bothers me so much. For those of you who don’t know, according to Wikipedia a guilty pleasure is “something, such as a movie, television program, or piece of music, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.”

Can you see why this phrase bothers me? No? Okay, let me explain. 

Generally, we use the phrase guilty pleasure in situations where we’re talking about our hobbies, but don’t want to be judged for them. An example of one of my many guilty pleasures would be Taylor Swift’s album 1989. Those songs are just too darn catchy.

But, wait. Daniel, you’re probably thinking “Emily, that’s not a guilty pleasure! I like her songs, too! I would never judge you for that!” However, there are a lot of people who would judge me for it. She’s too girly, too mainstream, too poppy.

And that is exactly why I hate the term guilty pleasure. Basically, it’s a label we use to police ourselves based on what other people think. When we use the term guilty pleasure, we’re saying “I know you’ll judge me for this, so I’m going to invalidate my own likes and dislikes so I can stay your friend because you’re a judgmental jerk.”

I have been trying to remove the term guilty pleasure from my vocabulary. At the risk of sounding dramatic, as I find my way in this world I’ve realized I need to start being honest with myself and be more comfortable with who I am. Yes, my friend might judge me for listening to Ke$ha while I run, but that doesn’t mean I should make myself feel bad for it. As long as I’m not hurting anyone or doing something out right illegal, no one should care what I listen to when I’m exercising or watching while laying in bed on a Friday night. I’m still a cool person and my pleasures are a part of that. I need to stop being a judgmental jerk to myself.

I’ve also been trying to be less of a judgmental jerk to other people. My biggest sin in that regard is beer. I am so bad about judging people I see in the beer cooler, buying Bud Light or Coors. Does it affect me? Nope. Should I care? Absolutely not. They obviously like Bud Light and their taste in beer doesn’t dictate their entire personality. This person could be very awesome and I’m automatically throwing up a wall by being so judgmental.

You do you, stranger in the beer cooler. I’ll do me and try to ignore the people who are judging me for my choice of beer. My beer can be way too expensive, way too strong, and way too hipster, but it’s what I like. I’m not going to preface my love of fancy beer with, “Well, this stout is my guilty pleasure…” so I’m not going to make anyone else do that either.

Well, there’s my rant. I love painting my nails, trying new lipsticks, watching Roseanne reruns, watching B-flick horror films, and listening to auto-tuned pop songs, and I don’t feel at all guilty.

Sorry for my late post. At least this time I avoided a punishment.

-EMS

 

Selfishness can be a little bit Selfless

This is a pretty confusing world we live in.

We’re constantly bombarded with the idea that we should follow our dreams and passions, and yet the fear of failing our families, friends, and communities keeps so many of us from doing just that. People can get so wrapped up in what others think or need they never stop to ask themselves: what do I need?

I found your mathematical solution for how to be a good person hilarious and very insightful. The idea that we’re all fighting for the same thing, our collective happiness and prosperity, is wonderful. Not only does it make complete sense, it supports a personal philosophy of mine

Taking care of yourself is just as important of taking care of other people.

I think we live in a society that in some ways glorifies the idea of selflessness. Don’t get me wrong, being selfish is rarely a good thing and having empathy for others is always better than being a sociopath, but sometimes I wonder if we take it too far. If our desire to be selfless takes away from our own happiness and, in turn, from the collective happiness of our race.

I’m going to borrow your idea, but instead of time I’m going to pretend we can quantify happiness. How do you measure happiness? In smiles? In laughter? In cups of coffee? Wait, that’s a song from Rent.

I digress. Let’s just pretend happiness is measured in smiles.

Now, let’s say after work you usually go home and read for a while. It helps you wind down and it makes you smile. Well, one day you’re on your way home and you’re excited to pick your book up again, but you get a call from a friend. Your friend is really upset. They just had a fight with their significant other and need some support.

Okay, you say. You love your friend and you can always read tomorrow.

You’ve given your smile away to your friend and that’s okay. Sometimes, someone needs that smile more than you.

No loss or gain for the human race.

Well what happens if that friend calls the next day? And the next day? And the next day? You haven’t had a chance to read in days and now you’re feeling frustrated and run down. Now, you just don’t have any smiles to give away and neither of you have smiles.

That’s a loss for the human race.

See what I mean?

I think our culture sometimes puts a lot of value on being generous and empathetic and selfless, but we never talk about the fact that it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to be a little selfish time to time, even if that means someone in your life might be upset or disappointed.

You can’t give other people smiles if you have no smiles to give.

This is a philosophy I’ve developed over the last few years and it’s something I have to remind myself of every day. It’s difficult and I have to be realistic with my limits, but it’s made me happier and in turn has allowed me to be more selfless.

Selfish is such a dirty word. According to the dictionary selfish means devoted to or caring only for oneself. Selfish isn’t inherently a bad thing, it’s just how our society views the word. According to that definition, my craft projects are selfish because I do them for myself as a form of self care.

But wait, most of my projects, despite being done for selfish reasons, result in beautiful gifts for my friends and family.

See? Selfishness isn’t always selfish.

-EMS