quirks, quips, faults, and foibles
this is something i’ve been thinking about for some time now. what i’m talking about is a combination of things, really. firstly, it’s made up of those little idiosyncrasies that everyone has. foibles, quirks, oddities. the second part is more serious — it consists of what people like to term as “issues.” both of these things are parts of what make us who we are, some more negative than others. the former can generally be considered endearing (or irritating). the latter can cause some major problems.
the little quirks and foibles are just little habits, mannerisms, likes, dislikes — anything ever-so-slightly outside whatever is considered “normal” human behavior. everyone has quirks. they’re really what makes each of us a perfect, unique little snowflake of a person. i have heaps of them. for instance — i tend to go out of my way to look at animals or interesting bits of nature; i have a flair for — what i hope is — humorous hyperbolic melodrama; i have what could be considered a compulsion to “lay my cards on the table,” so to speak; i have numerous little phrases to which i am rather attached; and i (subconsciously) bounce when i’m excited — i tell myself that i’m not really bouncing, that rather i’m standing dynamically, but there it is. there are more than that, of course, but those are the ones i’m aware of. they’ve been brought to my attention sometimes positively, sometimes unkindly. i didn’t really notice my tendency to stand in dynamic fashion until an old roommate one day started laughing in the kitchen, where i was excited about some bit of food or another — i do very much enjoy muffins — and said, “aaaand you’re bouncing.”
i love finding other people’s quirks. my best friend has a way of ending long monologues with a single word that sums up her sentiments about the whole story — often “dead” or “jackass.” my roommate lets out a long sigh whenever he comes through the door after work. another friend has the tendency to sing my name on my voice mail, and yet another has a penchant for smiling in the most evil possible way in every photograph. the office manager at my current place of business talks back to her voice mail aloud.
to continue my fascination with good will hunting, robin williams’ as sean says at one point, “people call these things imperfections, but oh, that’s the good stuff.” that sums up my feelings on the subject quite well. i’m very much inclined to agree with him. the difficult bit is finding people who feel that way about our little idiosyncratic ways — whether they’re sending a picture message of a particularly tasty cookie or taking a native rock from each new beach we visit. some people will inevitably find our quirks annoying, but you know you’ve found a winner of a friend when your various foibles only make them like you more.
the second part of this is the subject of issues. by “issues,” i’m referring to the deep-seated emotional hang-ups all of us have gathered — usually unsolicited — in our lifetimes. from fear of commitment and lack of trust for others to the paralyzing fear of abandomnent or rejection, these are hard, heavy, and most often come complete with painful associations.
the sad part is that they’re seldom of our making. usually they are due to what has been done to us, things we would have much rather avoided if we’d had a say in the matter. my own in this category tend to be abandonment, rejection, and trust, with a healthy spattering of commitmentphobia for good measure. fear of judgment and censure rounds out the bouquet of badness in my emotional cask of bitter wine.
i’m willing to bet i’ve got others. in addition to that, some things i personally consider to be strong points can be taken negatively by others. my candor can be seen as hurtful, and my forthrightness can be taken as a tendency to overshare. my independence can make me seem aloof, and my sarcasm can make me seem angry or uncaring. that really can’t be helped, although i do my best to ensure that i utilize tact and pay attention to the comfort levels of others when it comes to more personal things. doesn’t always work, but i try.
when it comes to this second half, these gaps, these “faults,” the most important thing in my opinion is to recognize them for what they are. we are, all of us, the products of our experience in the world. our interactions with other imperfect people often leave us scarred and in pain, sometimes frightened and gunshy. sometimes angry and bitter. sometimes an intricate combination of all of the above.
the important thing, as i said, is to recognize what issues we carry in our repertoire and to try and figure out where they come from — although sometimes that’s painfully obvious. that way, when we have one of those crazy-making moments we all get, we can take a step back and a deep breath, figure out if what we’re thinking or feeling is stemming from the actual situation or if it’s a product of past experience projecting itself upon our current lives. it’s not surefire, and we’re bound to occasionally feel utterly nuts, but as long as we are honest with ourselves about our issues, we can work on them and work through them.
i’m also a firm believer in open communication. if we’re trying to have a relationship of any kind with another human being — no man is an island, etc., etc. — these issues can cause some serious problems. i try to be as up front with my own baggage as possible, in context of whatever situation in which i find myself. for me, it provides at least a modicum of extra accountability. that way, someone else can let me know if i’m acting crazy (hopefully with a bit more tact than that), and i can stop for a second to figure out why, then get over it and move on.
it’s a way to strive for a sort of complementary interdependence (as opposed to unhealthy co-dependence) in any kind of relationship. not sure i succeed, but i’m trying. and i do recognize the issues i have and make a concerted effort to resolve them as best i can, or at least limit the sphere of their influence so they don’t fuck with my head too much. everyone has issues. as long as we recognize them for what they are and take a proactive stance in dealing with them, they can’t get the better of us and ruin our relationships further. in the end, i think that’s all we can ask of ourselves — just to strive, grow, learn, and find others who want to come along for the ride.
Posted on 24 April, 2009, in soapbox, thoughts and tagged animals, authenticity, bounce, change, clarity, communication, fault, foible, friendship, good will hunting, hang up, honesty, issues, love, nature, personal growth, psychology, quirk, quotes, relationships, work. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.