In case you were wondering, the most pathetic place to cry is in a 2004 Nissan Xterra, with a smashed to shit left bumper, in the parking lot of Sprouts. Side note, cars don’t render you invisible. Cue concerned passerby probably speculating that I was just another twenty-something chick overreacting to the rising avocado prices.
Alas, my dignity was not being jeopardized by a fruit. C’mon guys, I have some pride. No, I had been reduced to a sniveling idiot by three words: “It’s just boring.” Translation for dummies: “You’re just boring.”
I am not vanilla, I insisted. NO. I am vanilla bean.
So slightly elevated boring.
Boring is un-dyed cotton or chicken breasts or taupe walls or caution tape. Boring looks at maps more often than it looks at the sky. Boring buttons up and covers their mouth when they laugh. Actually, boring doesn’t even laugh. Boring chuckles briefly and almost inaudibly to itself.
Getting dubbed “boring” made me angry. And it was good in the way that a nice, resounding smack to the face is good. All of a sudden, I was like “Oh boring am I? Just wait for next week! I am going to be so edgy, buddy.” And then next week came and I’d written couplets in perfect Iambic pentameter about a BBQ sauce and was met with, “Okayyyyyyy, so this is kind of too weird.”
Bring out the laurel crown because “too weird” is a fucking victory.
Second quarter taught me that writing (or just creating in general) is harder than scaling the side of a skyscraper with heavily greased roller skates attached to your hands and feet. Being good at it is like scaling that same skyscraper but without hands or feet at all. What I’m trying to say, is that you have to risk failing spectacularly to make things ring with badassery. Yeah, you might figuratively shatter yourself into a thousand minuscule shards but at the very least, people will be listening and watching, instead of sleeping.
I recently listened to a podcast with Lin Manuel Miranda, the mastermind behind Hamilton, in which he discussed the creation of The Hamilton Mixtape. Despite never having seen the actual production (because I am not willing to donate a kidney in order to purchase a ticket), I am infatuated with the song “Satisfied,” which Sia covers in the Mixtape. When asked what distinguishes Sia from other singers, Manuel Miranda said, “Sia weaponizes vowels.” How dark, how beautiful and how powerful is that? It’s been circling around my brain like a buzzard ever since. Imagine if you could write like she sings?
There’s a typography poster in the bathroom at school that speaks to that same theme. It says, “Language should bend to your will, not reveal your inadequacies.” Pretty sure it’s a Dan-ism. Sia would probably dig it.
1/4 of the way through life under The Big Top and so far, my creative brain has knees. Not legs. I know what you’re thinking: so what, your brain is like some kind of vaguely-jointed mermaid? Um, yes. Yes it is. Can you claim learner’s curve for as long as it takes for people to question your status as a “learner”? Um yes. Yes, you can. We will be learners for as long as we are specks that inhabit an incomprehensible universe, the majority of which remains a vast mystery to us. Don’t be afraid to own the dumb parts of yourself. Find interesting ways to use them. Get curious again. Examine yourself and the brilliant myriad of gorgeous other brains in this world. Don’t settle for smart, seek genius. Don’t be content with brave, strive for fearless. Don’t give encouragement, radiate kindness and compassion.
And above all, give boring the finger.