March 14, 2010

That Thing You Do

Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character had abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and courage which it contained.”

John Stuart Mill

Idiosyncrasies. We all have them...some of us possess more of these delightfully, pesky critters than others do. And for THOSE of us, we have given our idiosyncrasies more flattering lil' pet names like "color,it-factor, creativity,complexity, flavor, spice, our own personal brand of crazy"...and we learn to embrace them because they are woven into our ornate life's fabric. Besides, they aren't going anywhere without a battle, a lengthy, difficult battle we are likely to lose. Even if we are victorious, we are left lonely, simple, and well? dull. What kind of victory is that? Besides, we get used to them-like that friend, that beloved friend we all have one of. The one that wrapped around our heart like a weed and never let go...ever. And if you're anything like have a set of coordinating idiosyncrasies, partially because the 'syncrasies' part of 'idiosyncrasies' feels like fluffy sweet whipped cream as it passes through my lips. I am kidding, but you have to admit that it is fun to say...(try it-you'll like it). The other reason to coordinate eccentricities? is because we simply HAVE to do things in pairs. Kidding again, well sorta...Nothing like a little OCD humor on a snowy spring Wednesday.

According to Wikipedia: Idiosyncrasy comes from the Greek 'idiosynkrasia' defined as: a peculiar temperament, habit of body, an individualizing quality or characteristic of a person or group, and is often used to express eccentricity or peculiarity

For those of us not elite or creatively ingenious enough for eccentricity, the most we can muster is neurotic. But eccentric sounds prettier, so let's stick with is better for our all too sensitive psyche.

Now I am no psychologist. Nor do I see one professionally(the need of which is only slightly debatable), nor do I play one on TV. Yet I have come to this novice conclusion: we are all control freaks. Every, single, solitary one of us. As a direct result of our appetite for power (at least over our own lives),the less control that we have, the more we crave it. I suspect that our eccentricities developed or continue to develop as an innate need to maintain or pointlessly grasp at some sort of control. This is both feeble and ironic in a number of ways. When we feel as though we are not in charge (which let's face it-we usually aren't)our idiosyncrasies enhance, are suddenly switch blade sharp, become more defined...speak up (sometimes with an accent), multiply (like gremlins in water). Somehow these little habits and rituals-make us feel as though we are the boss...of something-of...anything. Again? This position of mine is grounded in mere personal observation, it is not at all rooted in any field of science. Consider yourself adequately disclaimered.<-Oops... I did it again. Made up another verb. Just one of the many services I offer...that there is no desire or need for...*sigh*

Funny thing about our eccentricities, is that they do not play well with (the idiosyncrasies of)others. This would be one of those sneaky little ironies that I mentioned previously. When we bring to mind the things that drive us batty about those around us on a daily (or every single solitary second) generally has everything to do with their idiosyncrasies. Those very same things people do that shape them into the objects of our affection, are identical to those aspects of them that on any given Sunday,would make us tear our hair out...if only we weren't so fond of it...if we hadn't grown so attached to our lovely locks- pun intended. And? Come back here-don't think you are getting off that easy. The endearing qualities that make you sparkle on a day kissed all over by sunshine, on a dismal,cloudy, got up on the wrong side of life-day...are like nails on the chalkboard of your loved ones'lives. Believe it. Sad-funny, nothing you can do about it funny. funny-'hey pot? This is kettle. You're black too'-funny.(FRIENDS-loosely quoted)

So the little things that your subconscious invents to make it feel all big man/she-man on campus, or woman/man about town? Regardless of your gender or location-or whether your subconscious mind opts to let your conscious mind in on its dirty little secret(s)...that thing you do (perhaps that list of things you do) it casual hair twirling, incessant fidgeting, absent minded pen flipping, the focused bottom lip nibble, the nonessential throat clearing, meticulous lining up of foods by color, that nervous little laugh, the blink so large that it is almost audible...the list is never ending, really. Like the song..."it just goes on and on my friend"...That thing (those things)? It's connected to you. You both inadvertently created it and non-directly keep it around-for a reason. Something about its unrelenting presence soothes your soul-no matter how superficially. However, what eases your spirit like a Valentino couture gown...(of course I am taking a confident stab at this. If you happen to have a spare, in grown woman size-I'm your girl)may very well scathe another's soul like a marathon of super sappy, poorly acted Lifetime movies, or a marathon of The View. These traits cause one person to love you, and another to flee you...Sometimes it causes the desire for both simultaneously in the same individual...and that is just confusing...and disorienting.No good can come of that. And you, you should know ALL about it. Empathize, because those same people's eccentricities evoke a similar reaction in you. Best advice? When you awake on that stormy day, and feel that you're gripping your eccentricities with the ferocity of a Bengal tiger gripping a medium rare cut of prime rib...stay inside and draw the curtains. And if that's not possible? Limit yourself to yes or no answers and deep nose breathing. Because on those days-your idiosyncrasies are after the jugular and the prey they seek just may be the traits you USUALLY love in your people...Just like "they" always say..."If you can beat em...tie and gag them until they are fit for human consumption..." And if "they" don't say that, they should.

“The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even / if you will / eccentricity. That is, something that can't be feigned, faked, imitated; something even a seasoned imposter couldn't be happy with.”-Joseph Brodsky

Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know more, and be more, and to do more. -Oscar Wilde