Monday, 16 April 2012

How to Not Be Taken Seriously

Waxing a little poetic and silly today.

I was thinking about how some people work their whole lives to be taken seriously. They feel, or at least I suppose they feel, that they are in constant danger of looking like a joke, being taken for a joke, or of being the butt of someone's joke. Even tried and true "jokesters" are often pushing to "have the last laugh," using their sarcastic wit and verbal prowess to dazzle and amaze the presumably slack-jawed yokels and folks who ARE the subject of their sardonic jocularity. And then there are those who just FEAR looking ridiculous.

There are times when I wish I was one of those. No, maybe not living in "fear" of looking foolish, or of living in some bizarre state of paranoia regarding the ridiculous. But my mother once told me I was a woman who had no mystery, and I agree with her wholeheartedly. Never mind my emotions, I often live a lot of my life right out there on my sleeves, and never seem to realize when I may have overstepped boundaries from the silly to the farcical to the downright inappropriate. It seems as though I have nothing to hide, and talk equally about academics and ass-over-teakettle falls, about my dreams and my pooping, often all in one breath.

This is not to say that I disclose EVERYTHING about my life to people. There are a select few, a VERY select few, who know my total ins and outs. But if I can make you laugh, even at my own expense, I'm most likely going to do it.

MA Grad Photo, October 2005, St. John's, NL

Case in point: I have told the story of how I pooped my pants in an elevator..AS AN ADULT...several times (let's just say it was not planned, there was some drama involved, tears at the time, etc, but it still happened--and yes, I feel the need to state that it "was not planned" just in case...). I'm mentioning it right now, in fact! I've told folks stories about falling on the ice outside my house in downtown St. John's. (One winter I fell so hard it knocked the wind out of me, and then when I attempted to get up again, I realized I had slid into the middle of a large sheet of ice, and had to crawl up the hill with my backpack on, until I found a spot de-iced enough to stand!) Or how about the time I drunkenly vomited out of a moving car, door open, as my husband (now ex) held onto the back of my shirt collar so I wouldn't fall out into the road? Or perms and herbal-suicide attempts written about in my last post? Honestly, the list goes on and on, from early childhood straight through to....NOW.

And I wonder why I don't often get taken seriously when I suddenly don my slightly deeper and more serious "professor" accent, and try to "school" someone on some topic or another.... I mean, would YOU take me seriously?

Yet, there is something to be said for being a goof. Well...I suppose of course there is in this blog, as I'm not going to very well completely lambaste myself! But honestly, what do I have to prove? I think things became oh so very much better in my life when I stopped worrying about how seriously I was being taken. I can't lie and say that I always want to be seen as a clown or dancing bear-type, and I do like it when people listen to my "professor" voice and get something out of what I'm saying. Who wouldn't? But I think they "get something" out of my stories of elevator pants-fouling and turtle-esqu-ice-crawling as well.

I mean, first of all, how can you NOT feel better about your life when you hear some of the weirdness of someone else's?! And if you happen to be your own life, then hearing that a person made themselves a tiny ham big enough for only two pineapple rings, and washed it down with a drink made of blood orange juice and ginger ale and had vampire teeth ice cubes floating in it, and swished said drink around in a wine glass cackling about "Die Vampyr...drink, my pretty," and did all this while ALONE in their apartment on Christmas Eve, well...I think you'd feel pretty good about your own odd behaviours!

I find as I get older (and older, and older....GAWD!! When does it stop!! ...... No wait...keep it going! Keep it going!!) that I have even less care about how seriously people take me (besides, where my seriousness lacks, my sincerity never wanes!). Even as I get closer to finishing school and know that job-hunting is on the horizon, and my career is on the line, I'm not overly worried about how earnest, sedate and resolute I appear. No, this is not some hipster-I'm too cool thing, or even a "when I get older I'll wear a purple hat" nonsense. I don't care because I just keep realizing that as I've attempted to be "the professor," "the researcher," "the wife," "the daughter," "the sister," "the friend," "the writer," "the student," "the know it all," "the know nothing," "the tutor," "the teller," or even "the jokester" that I can't be anyone or anything other than "myself."

Where ever you go, there you are.

I can always IMPROVE, and grow, and try harder, and hopefully do better, and get wiser, and become stronger in myself and hone my skills. But at the end of the day, I'm still going to be the gal who opens a sweetener packet and sprays toothsome chemicals across my eggs at a restaurant, or who laughs a little too long and a little too loud (sometimes with a slight bray or gasp at the end) at your joke, or who just has to tell you about how I had to rush home to take a wild poop, or who swears in the loudest voice possible in public places when there are children or the elderly present, or who has an incredible gift for saying the most inappropriate thing at the most inopportune time, or who can't help but tell you what a dork I am or how I'm "not so good at [insert anything here]."

I guess I just have to hold on to the fact that I'm the gal that tells you I pooped my pants in an elevator--but that I told you just after you told me a super embarrassing story about peeing a little in front of a guy you like, which kind of devastated you. And I'm the kind of gal that can admit to a smell I NEVER produced to help cover for a gassy pal at a party, cause hey, who cares if they think I farted. In other words, if I can justify my nonsensical living as somehow bettering others, then perhaps I can be taken a little more seriously....?

Or not. *runs into wall*