The Outside Of Introspection

I woke up this morning to a text that required me to be a bit introspective. Initially, it lead me to two realizations. The first being that I know my friends REALLY well. The second, though, was the one that stuck with me (and also made for a much better post than the first). The question? “What’s one question you always get asked?”

I thought about it for a good while. Tried to mentally tally up years of instinctive questions. But when that didn’t work, I decided to gather outside input and I started a poll. I asked a handful of people what question THEY would think that I’m frequently asked. A few of the fundamental answers were to be expected: inquiring about my tattoos, asking if I’m alright (because I probably just choked on air or tripped over my own two feet), or some version of wanting to know how old I am (because I have a baby face and don’t look like I’m even close to the legal age to [insert anything with an age limit here]). My favorite part about this experiment was that every person that I asked, save for two, had the same leading response: “Probably whether or not your boobs are real.” After the first person responded that way, I realized that this is the real answer. That is absolutely the question I get asked more than any other and, yes, they are and I hate them. Moving on…

The one answer that I liked best was, unsurprisingly, the vaguest.

“What does that mean?”

When explored out of context, I can see how it might seem odd that this is a question that I’m asked on a regular basis. The problem with this inquiry is WHY I’m asked it so often. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m very fond of vocabulary and the literary world. So much so, that in high school, a select group of my peers nicknamed me Webster because they considered me to be a walking dictionary. I enjoyed sounding intelligent when I spoke to people (partially because sometimes I like to feel pretentious but mostly because I believe intelligence is important). I remember countless conversations that would begin with my feeling passionate and excited to have a discussion that went deeper than the cliche goings on of us as high school students. I would dive so deeply into my mind to find and present these thoughts that I was so very proud to have and gratified to be able to appropriately express only to be met with dense reverberation. People would say things like, “Man, sometimes the way you talk, it’s just crazy,” thusly, ending the conversation. They couldn’t respond because they had no idea what I had just said and didn’t care to try to understand further. It was disheartening. Over time, I became upset with myself because I was so lackadaisical about, not only my writing but my vocabulary as well. I’d let my passion for beautiful and complex words fall by the wayside. I no longer cared to access that artistic part of myself because it seemed pointless if no one could keep up. I have hopes that this epiphany (and my efforts to try and change this bleak attitude) will inspire others to push themselves to want to learn more. To be moved by the fact that there are so many spectacular ways to express each and every mood or feeling and impress the same desire and perspective onto others so that we don’t have to live in a world where passion is stunted by someone asking you to “say it dumber.”

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