Is there anything more satisfying than saying no to something? I’ve never been a high powered megalomaniac, but I’m pretty sure the good ol’ fashioned family fun of being able to crush the livelihood of scores of employees would pale in comparison to opting out of pre-made plans. There’s a giddiness inherent to holding that kind of sway over your own fate. Being able to say “meh, not my kind of thing” holds a fulfilment seconded only to doing something that really is your thing. But what are the chances you’re actually gonna discover an activity that makes your heart and brain hum in unison? In all likelihood if you dabble in pursuits outside of your tailored interests, they’ll be fine (if unexciting) or actively non-good (we take vocabulary super seriously here at I Have My Doubts ).
Okay Leon, we get it. You’re a curmudgeonly dweeb who dwells so far up his own arsehole that popping his head up to take a look would mean wading through a bunch of his own personal shit. What’s your point?
Do I always need a point? Well since I wrote your apparent objections from the peanut gallery, it’d be dishonest for me not to lead you somewhere.
I’m a master at deciding the things that I’ll enjoy. I derive huge amounts of personal pleasure from finding things within or adjacent to my niches and loving the ever-loving shit out of them. I’ve learned by now what my tastes are and I’ve got a decent track record of adhering to them. Through this talent I’ve also developed true skill at pushing things away that I very well may enjoy out of disinclination of widening my borders. THEN I’ve got the audacity to turn around and chide others for doing the same. Surprise, I’m human. I feel like this is something most of us do. Waiting to explore until we’re steered into new terrain by opinion leaders. People we trust to have our needs and wants close to the chest.
My classic example is my response to watching documentaries. If someone suggests we watch a documentary my immediate reaction is “meh, I’m not really into documentaries.” They’re just not something I seek out. I like fictional narratives that evoke emotional responses. I want to be blown around by the winds of human creativity to discover my own reaction when I reach the eye of the storm. That was a terrible metaphor. I know that documentaries are narratively constructed realities, but they don’t have an immediate appeal. As such, I’ll push them away any chance I get. Thing is, if someone gets me to watch a documentary I’ll be FASCINATED. It’s all I’ll be able to talk about for weeks. I’ll start shoehorning discussions into anteater territory so I can be all “oh by the way, did you know anteaters are actually named anteaters because their methods of mastication emulate those of ants?” (A fact that is no fact at all. That one came from the same arsehole in which I dwell) I’m so wrapped up in the glory of learning that I’m blind to all else. Cue the next time I hang out with that friend, they’ll ask if I want to watch a documentary and without irony I’ll reply “meh, I’m not really into documentaries.”
Man, I thought the theme of this entry was gonna be exploration of the unknown, not Leon is a boring dickbutt.
The other day I went on a date. This date involved going to Allen Gardens Conservatory. An indoor greenhouse smack bang in the middle of a park, it has a range of plant life from small trees and cacti to flowers and fruit bearing bushes. Looking at plants? Not my kind of thing. On a date though? Being around someone new is a surefire way to get me to expand my boundaries. I don’t want to disappoint someone new and I also like seeing how their personality comes to light in their own element.
I’m sure you know what’s coming next: I had a fucking great time.
So many colours and patterns. Nature has an art of its own, a divine design that’s equal parts eye-catching and fascinating. The beauty of things for me was secondary to the how and why, the evolution and similar familial links between different species. My brain was lighting up all over with those same pleasure and reward systems I knew from learning as a child. Gently feeling the variety of textures was something else. Concurrently there was an innate high gleaned from just observing, taking things in. Stopping to smell the roses in a literal and metaphorical sense.
I so often impress that restrictions breed creativity, but so easily forget the importance of pushing those boundaries.
Cue my girlfriend asking if I want to watch a documentary tonight…