This weekend I had some time to kill. I didn't REALLY want to do anything, but I didn't want to do nothing either. I grabbed my laptop and just kind of stared at it. There wasn't really anything that I wanted to read about, and nothing which I cared to learn. I don't watch the news and I don't read the newspaper. I have not really any interest in what is going on in the world, and I have a hard time wrapping my head around most things global. Being that I have so much enjoy writing, I googled "what makes a successful writer". As I read each individual point, instead of absorbing the information that the experienced writer was conveying, I found myself conjuring up my own bullet points as to why I would not be following the instruction. The article stated "not use foul language", well that will be difficult. It also said to "target a specific audience", NOPE. The author advised to "keep the content consistently based around a singular topic", I wouldn't even know where to begin. And finally, "make sure that you provide fresh and interesting information about your area of expertise", which is difficult because I don't have any knowledge about any one area, and I'm certainly no expert. So, up your butt Mr. This-is-what-you-need-to-do-to-be-a-writer-guy. Im not doing any of what you tell me to do. To be clear, I actually think his advice is pretty solid, and he seemed to be a really good writer; its me, not him (**GRAMMAR BREAK- I have no clue when to use a semi colon, but I'm dying to slide one in, because Drew Womack did it once, "Finding Nineveh" ). I CAN NOT STAND being told what to do, even if it is in the most constructive of ways, when I feel like I am being ordered, all my defensive walls go up along with the hair on the back of my neck (which is plentiful). There is something about resisting the recommended path that I have always found satisfying. Now I have paid for this characteristic time and time again, but my pattern of not following good advice has remained constant even through adulthood, but much of the logic behind my unwillingness to conform has changed greatly.
I became all-knowing at a very young age, probably about nine. I heard my mom and dad tell me this and that, but never really listened. The teachers at school did all that they could, and I was lucky to even be able to attend Sunday School. Athletic coaches would punish me, but I still knew better. Basically, I was a little pain in the butt. I think it only became worse as I got to high school. Being a knowledge savant, I was unable to understand, empathize, or agree with anyone who did not see the world as I did. I knew what was "right" and if you did not side with me, than you were wrong. I treated the people on my side pretty fairly, and I was a judgemental jerk to those who were different than me. I'm embarrassed to think of much of my past behavior, but I have accepted it for what it is, and have learned a great deal from it. I can think of few examples where my mom and dad warned me that "if I crossed my eyes that they would stay that way", where they didn't turn out to be exactly right. However, I just have to do things a different way. The interesting part of my unwillingness to conform is that it has done a 180 degree shift from my being "all-knowing" to my not knowing jack jerky. Having been absolutely wrong about most everything that I, at one time or another, regarded as "fact" or "truth", it has been a real relief to see that I don't know much of anything... and don't have much of a need to. With the revelation of my excessive level of ignorance, I was able to see one thing quite clear and that is this, NO ONE REALLY KNOWS THE ANSWERS. We each have different viewpoints on various topics because we have each had different life experiences. Depending on which angle you look through the prism, each person is going to categorize different events in different ways, and have varying opinions. No particular belief has to be "right" or "wrong", because they just "are". But I do love to listen to people converse over why their viewpoint is superior over another's, and to hear them exercise their perceived knowledge about what we as a society should or shouldn't do.
I want to let you in on a little secret. You want to know what it is? Of course, you do. Everyone loves secrets. Well here it is... I paint my toe nails. I haven't always painted them, but I do now. It started off as being sorta something funny that I did while Amanda and I were getting a pedicure. Mississippi State was playing Alabama that weekend, and I was trying to put a juju curse on the Tide. Turns out, I could have cut off both of my feet, glued them to my forehead, and it would not be enough to avoid the tail whippin that they put on us, but I digress. So, I had each of my piggies painted maroon, and the middle toe painted white. This would be something that I would do one time, get some giggles from my kids, and would just be another story. However, I found that people really had an opinion about what I did with my toes. It actually evoked feeling in people, and made some so uncomfortable that I felt as if they were holding back anger! It was really interesting, I loved it. Obviously, my only option was to do it again, but this time red, and again, but now they are gold... with glitter. I like the feeling that it evokes, but I am also a 6 foot, 250lb, educated, straight, white male who is making this decision solely from my interest in the sociological aspect. I can't imagine what it would be like to be different, when you never asked to be different, and were treated different anyway. It makes me sad. It makes me sad because of all of the times that I am guilty of it, and it makes me sad that so many people are victims of it. Believe it or not, I had no intention of veering off into an equal rights essay, but that's how my brain works. Anyways, the older I get, and the more I feel like a stable member of society, the more I appreciate those that voluntarily go against the grain. I don't want anyone getting hurt, but I like it when people are willing to turn a few heads in an effort to live the way that they see fit, and not feel like that they have to act or be a certain way.
I was having a conversation with a friend of mine on Sunday at the gym. We were discussing my toe-nails and why he did or did not agree with them. This guy is someone whom I respect and admire (GRAMMAR BREAK- it's a total craps shoot as to whether I use "who" or "whom" BTW, just a guess). It was interesting to hear him verbalize just how and why he felt particular ways about different things. Keep in mind that we were having a discussion, not an argument. An argument is when I believe myself to be "right", and do not have any desire to LEARN anything... I just want to win. I have a much greater history of arguing rather than conversing, but I am learning. I think the fact that I have so much admiration for this particular person made it easier for me to listen to his views. We were on such different ends of the belief spectrum that we were not even standing in the same time zone, but at no time did I ever see him as "right" or "wrong", as much as I did just "different". I like to see people do wild stuff, things that evoke an opinion from others, especially those who break the stereotypes. Amanda Drogmiller is one of my Amanda's very best friends and one of my all time favorite people. Just last week, Drogmiller and my Amanda went to get Drogmiller's nose pierced and Amanda got yet another tattoo. I absolutely love this sort of thing. Amanda quoted Drogmiller as saying that even though they are in their mid-thirties they felt really cool and youthful... until they got to the parking lot and boarded the mini-van. I just like seeing the societal norms challenged, I think that they should be. I like to see the (other) fat guy at the race, the skinny guy on the weights, the business man with the eyebrow pierced, and the long headed go shaved. It is fun for me to watch my generation move into the executive office of life, and the fact that we don't have to dress and act like our grandparents did. It does not make my generation right, or their generation wrong, it's just different. Back in the day it was coat and tie, no questions asked. If you did not wear coat and tie, your chances of survival were slim. Turns out, there where people closer to my age (I am 39), who did not like coats and ties, were not going to wear coats and ties, and had all the ambition, knowledge, and drive necessary to avoid them. I enjoy watching society evolve. I enjoy watching the things that were once social faux pas turn into societal norms, while we come up with other garbage to pick apart, so we can find the reasons that our world will not exist much longer, and remain perpetually unhappy. Today I want to pay close attention to the things I see in other people that evoke an emotional response. I want to see what it is that makes me feel threatened about them, and why I choose to let it bother me. If it is something that I believe that I can (and should) change, than I will act on it, otherwise I am going to do like Elsa and let that mess gooooooooo. Enjoy your day, you big sexy animal.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,