I stumbled upon an Alain de Botton quote recently [his bon mots work as my bible] that felt perfectly applicable to something I’ve been harping on in my head for a while now. The quote? “My types: crazy, but self-aware; only just holding it together while resilient; tragic but with gallows humour.” In a few short words, de Botton captured the crux of all of my favorite people and why I love them.
These people are all messy amalgamations, none fitting into the cookie cutter confines of a stereotype, but, rather, fashioning themselves out of both complimentary and conflicting traits that take the term “unique” to a steroidal level. Usually this involves some mixture of the following: an infectious sense of humor, bold self-awareness, a penchant for thinking deeply that is both a blessing and a curse, perpetual enthusiasm for the labyrinth that is life (often not knowing which turn to take because so many are appealing), endless ambition, and a tenacious confidence that can only grow out of years of crippling insecurity and self-reflection. Each person’s past has their own semblance of “shit,” some of it considerably harder to overcome than others, but all of it quantifiable as unpleasant. And anyways, none of us should be in the business of discriminating against people’s pain levels–SHIT’s all relative, as no one says, but should.
The original characters I refer to also harbor a load of refreshing honesty and continuously attempt to view others with a non-judgmental eye [I say attempt because it is an ultimately impossible achievement and none of us are pure here, but 9 times out of 10 I’d bet they succeed]. These traits can only exist in people who have spent a lot of time polishing the silver in their brains, ultimately realizing that we all have some unattractive residue…occasionally employing questionable affects that we struggle to wholly evade. They aren’t the people who knew what they wanted to be the minute they crept out of their mother’s womb–we’re not talking Yale-emblazoned embryos here. Instead, they have flung from passion to passion in a manner not unlike the oscillations of George of the Jungle. Now, as most of them near the mid-to-twilight years of the initially tumultuous twenties, they are starting to settle on careers and other life choices that mirror their interior lives: dynamic, creatively stimulating, and philanthropic.
None of them are willing to settle for simple or easy. In their minds “normal” is a fraudulent ideal not worthy of anyone’s time or energy. They are all strange, emotional, and passionate. Main boy de Botton, who obviously falls into this colorful category, notes that, “A ‘boring person’ is just someone lacking the courage to be sufficiently weird with themselves.” This group of people is not lacking in courage, and certainly not afraid to get weird. I love them for it, and I doubt I’m alone–they lead the way for the rest of us to shake off the claustrophobic costumery that society bestows and show some real face. Sometimes that face is true blue and totally lost–but it accepts that, gives itself a moment, and then works tirelessly to perk up. The tools of the trade? Self-deprecation, blind faith, and an Iggy Pop-worthy lust for life.
Let me know if I’m forgetting anything crucial about this party of precious peeps, you know I never like to serve without full-blown justice.