Friday, May 28, 2010

Cynicism

I recently found myself watching a video talking about how when you are younger you imagine yourself as a different adult than what you actually become, because your perception of what constitutes adulthood changes as you move into the age where larger society considers you an adult. While I understood the point made (my mom always says things about still not feeling like an adult) I found that this was not at all my experience. Thinking about how I've always envisioned myself, I realize that what I'd thought I'd be like is really not that far off from the truth. It's sort of ridiculous, but I always thought of myself as some sort of single independent woman, bohemian and all, living in an apartment with brick walls and an exposed beam ceiling, and green glass bottles against a window. This is a big part of the reason that I tried to be a vegetarian in 7th grade. Not because I had some huge guilt or political agenda about eating animals, but because it fit into the type of person I wanted to be. I'm not sure just how shallow this is. Probably a little bit shallow.

Over the past four years or so, I've become fairly comfortable in my single living stance. Not that I want to be single forever, but in the "God if I'm going to be single forever, that's completely OK, you know, just as long as I know" way. I also have become pretty comfortable living in Troy, and I can't imagine being willing to move somewhere for someone. That someone would have to mean quite a bit to me. I would have to love him more than Troy. It could happen, I suppose. I mean..... it isn't an impossibility.

For a hot second I allowed myself to get swept up and lose my callousness. No more.

Someone posted a twitpic of Daria on DVD. I've been searching for this show on DVD since TV on DVD was first a popular thing. I love Daria. I decided to look up some old episodes on the internet. They weren't too hard to track down.

Ever since I was young I looked up to snarky, cynical, sarcastic women. My favorite Christmas song was always Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses. Ladies like Daria, Margarate Cho and Janeane Garafalo inspired me in the nineties. More recently we've got the sass of Jenny Lewis, and the dry deadpan wit of Zooey Deschanel. I've always been one of those ladies who get along with guys better than with other ladies, but this kind of lady really appeals to me.

I think this has to do with a lot of factors. I'm sure my family dynamic had something to do with it. Though my dad might have been the breadwinner, my mom certainly wore the pants. When I picture myself in my ideal job, I think of my favorite art class in high school and replace my favorite art teacher with myself. My favorite art teacher, of course, being a guy. I knew plenty of female art teachers, but I never envision myself doing things like they do them. I don't know that I picture myself as a guy, but rather, that I see myself as genderless in those situations.

When I pictured myself, I never really imagined what sort of career I'd pursue or what sort of education I'd have, but allow me to be conceited for a moment and say that with finishing up my Master's degree, I feel that the type of articulate discussion I am able to have, the cutting way in which I am able to defend my point, the depth with which I am familiar with my interests, this fits in very well with who I had hoped to be. Sarcastic women are smart women are strong women.

My mom always encouraged me to be the type of person I want to be, but at some point she started worrying out loud that my outward appearance might scare off boys. My stance has always been that if they wouldn't want to date me because I have short hair, I probably wouldn't want to date them either. It's like a douchebag filter.

I start to worry that having such a jaded personality will be more of a wall than a filter, but if other people have gotten past it to break it down in the past, I suppose I shouldn't be worried that such things won't happen in the future.


4 comments:

ally said...

awesomely provocative post. well done!

on a very superficial level, i am also exactly the mid-twenties version of myself i'd been imagining i'd grow into. and it wasn't a conscious growth, either. one day i just woke up and looked in the mirror and realized it.

i have trouble with the statement, "sarcastic women are smart women are strong women." it's true, but the need to be strong in a smart way that manifests itself as sarcasm speaks to something deeper, which i think we could both agree to call patriarchy -- and all that it means to each smart, sarcastic, strong woman in question. and so if that defense mechanism, which i am so guilty of also resorting to, is our go-to mode, what does that mean?

i think it means we still aren't on even footing with our counterparts. we are smart and strong, but still too afraid to take ourselves seriously in an effort to be taken seriously by others, and so make a joke of it all and of ourselves. and then we aren't taken seriously and then we can't take ourselves seriously. vicious cycle!!

i'm sure this helps with your fear of being too jaded! :)

anyhow, i hope this didn't sound like an attack. i'm hoping, rather, to open a discussion. maybe you are not sarcastic for the reasons i've deconstructed. maybe i just worked out my own problems on your blog. oops!

elffia said...

I found this post extremely interesting. Needless to say, I liked it a lot. I think I have conflicting versions of myself, one which wants to be very similar to the snarky, cynical, sarcastic women you discuss in this post, and another which wants to be sweet and feminine and follow gender norms.

Also, the more content I see from you (videos, blog posts), the more I think, "wow, she really seems like the type of person I would be good friends with." So, I hope to get a chance to talk to you more soon, and I can't wait to actually meet you at vidcon.

elffia said...

Also, I love Rilo Kiley's old stuff. So hooray.

Sarah said...

This is a really eloquent post and I'm with you on a lot of points; unfortunately, I fear my reply is not going to be nearly as eloquent. So here's my version. I had a number of future perceptions of myself as a child; I started ballet at the age of three and for as long as I can remember whenever someone asked me if I wanted to be a ballerina I said "no," as much as I loved it I never wanted to do it professionally. Which is strange because as I got into my teen years I decided I wanted to dance contemporary professionally. I suspect my initial resistance to wanting to do something I love professionally was because I never liked being a girly girl. I used to call the girls that like horses and pretty things the gigglers because there is nothing more than giggles in their heads. As I grew the gigglers were sexualised into tarts but my seven year old self didn't see it like that. You've already seen my video in which I say that I thought I'd be like Rory Gilmore by the time I'm 20, or at least I hoped that would be the case. She, like Daria was a role model to me; my final year book graduating quote was a Daria quote by the way. For a long time I thought I'd end up a high school teacher, teaching dance, drama or english. I actually got into secondary teaching majoring in dance at university but as soon as I got the letter I burst into tears and realised there was no way I wanted to do that. So eventually I started university with a really broad degree, found what I wanted and changed courses. I told you that last part to emphasise how much my idea of me has changed over the years and well I only turned 20 the other day. My current idol is Tina Fey by the way. Also to respond to your remarks about your relationship status, I know exactly what you mean- except my hair is long. Thus I am proof that it doesn't matter how long your hair is if you're a clever, slightly odd girl with self respect and don't look like Zooey Deschanel then you're going to be in this predicament. Okay so this is getting long, I hope I've made a point somewhere in this mammoth response. I'd like to leave you with these words: both of those songs you linked are awesome, thanks for that!
- generic/sarah.