Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"your greatest asset"

Some one posted a quotation on Twitter last night, attributed to Joss Whedon  (And I have no reason to question that):

"Whatever makes you weird is probably your greatest asset."

I have questions about that. (As did the person who posted it, they simply commented "Probably...." which I think I am to take as slightly snarky).

But anyway. Whatever makes me weird and my greatest assets seem like disjoint sets to me.

What makes me weird, according to what I see out in the world (where: "the world" is "news and pop culture and what I read on the internet" because I work all the time in what is really a very small space and I don't interact with many people, and most of those people are probably too polite to tell me how I am weird). So I am going with self-diagnosis here. Anyway:

1. I am 47 but still watch cartoons and still like stuffed animals and things like glitter nail polish
2. I never married or had children
3. I am not "desperate" to find a boyfriend, nor am I honestly all that interested in dating. If a nice fellow happened to show up and we seemed compatible, I'd go out with him, but the whole idea of things like online dating (which friends have suggested to me) gives me the fantods.
4. The fact that I know and use words like "fantods."
5. Being an introvert (There is a whole subset of the culture that says this needs to be "fixed" about me.)
6. I would rather spend my disposable income on old books and yarn than on purses and shoes
7. I can happily go off on tangents about learning something "useless" to me in any practical sense (playing the piano, being able to read German, knowing the history of World War I)
8. In general, I am kind of a pedant and a "swot"
9. I dislike the kind of humor that seems designed to humiliate or make someone else seem "other." I dislike exclusionary humor, whether it's pranks that humiliate someone or poking pointed fun at a person's foibles.
10. I like to spend my spare time making stuff

I don't know that any of those are particularly great assets. Some of them make me more vulnerable (my inability to take part in the sort-of-mean humor that happens in some circles means I wind up the target of it), some of them are neutral (How I spend my money), some of them maybe mean I miss out on opportunities (the introvert thing)

I would argue my greatest assets don't intersect with what makes me weird. I would say my greatest assets are:

1. I am diligent, hard-working, and responsible
2. I am kind; I am good at seeing the other person as a person

I don't think those make me "weird" though given some of the cultural interactions I see regularly I wonder if #2 makes me atypical of people these days.

One of my other questions about the whole quotation is perhaps related to my tiredness in general with the whole, what I would call "geek ascendant" thing that's going on right now: the idea that being interested in  a specific unusual thing (though it's only SPECIFIC unusual things: there is a hierarchy of cool, even in geekdom, and there are some things it's not cool to be geeky about) makes a person cool now, when, back when I was a kid, it made you weird.

One of my issues with this is the whole pecking-order/purity-test thing. And this is what drives me slightly mad about certain fandoms: the fact that some fans get bullied or excluded because they're not quite big enough fans, or they're newer to the fandom ("newbs") or they're not the "right" type of person, whether that's by skin color, gender, SES, age, whatever. (In other words: kind of like any human group ever, I guess.) I would have hoped that maybe the "geeky set" would be nicer about such things because they know what it's like to be bullied and excluded.

(I've often said that if I can make any lemonade about the lemons I got as a "weird kid" in school - the exclusion, the teasing, the not-quite-bullying - it is that it has made me a more compassionate person)

I also note that my two self-described "greatest assets" are things that, in some ways, tend to benefit other people more than they benefit me. I've almost made myself sick over my need to get everything I agreed to do done, and I know people have told me I probably overextend myself in terms of helping other people with stuff. I dunno. I don't have any real artistic talent I can call an asset - I can make stuff, but mostly from existing patterns, and I don't have enough time for that anyway. And I can play the piano but imperfectly at best and I will never be of sufficient quality to perform.

(Maybe: "The tendency to keep stubbornly pushing on working on something even when I know I will see no material benefit from it"? Though that's a pretty crummy asset to have. Though I do tend to be pretty stubborn about things in the sense of not giving up quickly)

But yeah. I'm not sure about "what makes you weird is what makes you great," which would be another way of phrasing that quotation.


CGHill said...

I used to define the fantods as "the heebie-jeebies with hair on 'em."

Roger Owen Green said...

#5 and most especially #9 is true of me