On rejecting a monochromatic point of view

Sometimes, I feel very much like myself. As if I were whole and full and complete – unable to be broken down any further. And then, there are days when I know there are so many parts of me, to me. I am not always just one thing. Maybe I have been fighting against this all of my life: fighting against what is seen as excessive or crazy.

I was having a conversation recently with a friend about astrology. Horoscopes have always been a way to escape real life for a moment or two. I have even found myself fully subscribing to mine more than once. But nothing’s perfect, right? And astrology breaks down an infinite amount of possibilities into twelve semi-neat piles of people. My friend was slightly shocked to find out I am a Gemini – she of notorious chatter, mood swings, and manageable (or not) insanity. “You’re too nice to be a Gemini. They’re crazy.” It took some convincing, but in the end, I think he believed me. My wit is sometimes too sharp. I have my temper and my stubborn moments. I am easily excited and am known among multiple circles of friends for being loud (sometimes inappropriately so). But I am also thoughtful and tender, friendly and sweet. I have two sides.

One of my best friends from college told me something about music that has never left me. “I don’t trust people that only like one thing.” I’ve taken to applying this piece of wisdom to any and all things. Eclectic tastes immediately tell you something about a person. Not that they’re weird for liking one thing or for liking two seemingly incongruous things; that’s a snap judgment, and easy to make. Eclectic tastes tell you that a person is open to not only seeing new things, but trying new things, and liking new things. A person that is willing to share such tastes with you, when the most common reaction is a snap judgment, is probably the most open of all. That person does not define themselves by the narrow characteristics that people today list on their profile or playlist.

You can be two things. You can like two things. These are your puzzle pieces, and it’s okay to spend your life piecing them together, rearranging them as you like. Everything is not the sum of its parts. People cannot be broken down into intellect and heart and humor and taste. “We carry our lives around in our memories.” It’s not an equation; you cannot solve for “x.” The Shrek analogy works much better in this case – people are like onions, layered in several skins over time. People gather experiences and memories and they bear them like a haphazard collage. The different pieces just add more color to the art that is your life. Are you living a monochromatic life? Or are you picking up experiences along the way, regardless of color or shape or texture?

This was originally written in March of 2014.

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