Tricky topic today!
One I actually doubted to post about, even, for a while. Just because, yaknow. Tricky.
Mostly because I like to be seen as a nice person, even though I’m quite aware of my (many) flaws and the fact that I am, in fact, not really that nice of a person (I always strongly identify with the grumpy old grinches in all of those sitcoms like The ranch (Beau Bennett! <3) or Red in That 70’s show or Al Bundy in well…Modern Family 😉 ).
But also because if I don’t post it, this is something that no one will know about me, so why do it, right? Well: as I sat here pondering I figured I might as well take the advice I often give other people: ‘just be yourself, that’s all you can do, and the rest will come to pass‘.
Anyway – as I was scrolling my Facebook feed the other day, I came across a post from an old friend of mine. And it was at this moment that something I like to call ‘my Popular Girl Brain‘ kicked in. Involuntarily, I might add. But this time – I felt in happen. And intervened (as I usually do, when I feel it happen).
You see, this old friend just happens to be a drop dead gorgeous and inspiring role-model of a woman. A decade older than I am but better looking than most 20-year old models (if ya ask me). Doing her job and hobbies with passion AND skill and talent and a whole list of other qualities that make her one of the awesomest people I may have ever met in real life. She’s like one of those TED talks inspirational folk – but she ACTUALLY exists in my world. She’s who I wanna be when I grow up. And she has been (happily) married for over 10 years to someone who, as ‘my popular girl brain’ very strongly formulated: is nowhere ‘near her league‘.
Not because I met the man for more than 5 minutes and know anything about his personality, life or choices. Nope. But because he’s a head shorter than she is. Kinda pudgy and bearded. He actually DOES look his age and well….he does not fit in any of the typical ‘handsome‘ boxes. Beauty and the Beast, my mind went. And all I thought was ‘I suck‘. It’s when you think something and KNOW it’s not the correct thing to think, but think it anyway, because you’ve been so used to having to think it.
You see, the thing about ‘Popular Girl Brain‘ is that it is only capable of formulating the types of shallow, unfounded, box-y and judgmental opinions that we so often see portrayed in Mean Girls cheerleaders and the likes. Horrendously so. It makes you see the world from the societally accepted AND enforced basic-bitch views and forces you to feel a certain way about things because you have been drilled to do so from a very young age.
‘Popular Girl Brain’ jumps to conclusions on all the main topics. Classifies and generalizes on all fronts. And is basically pretty much gruesomely bigoted, misogynistic and backwards in most of its thoughts. It thinks in terms of beauty/ugly. Of hot/nerd. It divides into leagues that don’t exist anywhere in the real world but solely in the brains of other narrow-minded folk. It sees in terms of sexuality and gender and race and all of the things that may cause strife and wars. And it fucking. Sucks. It isn’t even me, either, I feel like. Because usually, as soon as those idiot-thoughts surface, I correct them to how I really feel about things. To how I think the entire world should feel about things. I instantly flick my narrow-minded switch to open-minded. But I DID start out from narrow.
I have been reflecting on this for a great deal – and have started to view it as something that I do that resides in the realm of what is called ‘masking‘. Not because I am a medical expert of psychologist or have any knowledge in the area whatsoever outside of my awesome Google skills. Not because I’m (diagnosed to be) on the autistic spectrum or think that it’s the same thing – but because there’s certain similarities in behavior that makes me regard it as such.
How is that?
Because if I see myself actively portraying thoughts that are not my own, but adhere to the social constructs of a society I feel I should (and want to) be actively accepted in – BEFORE trusting and using my own instincts – that pretty much fits the entire bill and origin of masking behavior. IF, at some point in my life, I picked up these concepts and generalizations because they were what I actively saw around me and adopted them ‘as my own‘ instead of forming my own opinions and judgments from the get-go – I can call it masking for myself.
But they’re not me. They’re not who I am a person. Right?
Although it does make me wonder a lot. Am I a bad person for having the thoughts, or a good person for discarding them as wrong and stupid AFTER having them. Do my initial thoughts determine who I am as a person, or are my actual following actions and behavior what ultimately matters?
If I, for instance, see someone and my brain instantly throws them in a ‘gay‘ stereotyped box with all the prejudices and stupidity associated with that in ‘normal‘ society BEFORE I get up and get to know them as the awesome new bff of my other horde of awesome friends who should fit that box but don’t because they’re actual people and not stereotypes – WHO AM I then. Am I that ‘popular girl brain‘ and thus a despicable person or am I….well….whatever it is that exists outside of that?
If I think in terms of hotness leagues and must-have sixpack boys, while simultaneously discarding the notion that ‘leagues‘ even exists at all because people should love who they love regardless of….anything. WHAT AM I.
If my first response is always to have the type of ‘world-accepted‘ thoughts that the rest of me views as ‘wrong‘ – which of the two wins. Who determines who I am as a person. HOW does this work?