Sunday, July 26, 2015

The "Struggle" of Being Neutral

I’ve been wallowing in my sorrow of my departure from NZ for almost a month now.  Okay, I know this is ridiculous cause this is reality and I have to deal but I’m allowing myself some occasional self-pity.

Post landing in JFK, I may have shed a few tears as I rode the escalator down to baggage claim, followed by a 16-hour marathon of sleep intertwined with chicken ranch pizza.  My second night home, I sobbed like the runner up bachelorette until 4AM and watched The Office for comfort. 

Since then, I have moved back into my house in Ithaca and acquired a new job working as a canvasser for NYPIRG (New York’s Public Interest Research Group).  Yea, I’m knocking on doors asking strangers who owe me nothing for money now…

(sometimes I make friends along the way)
This morning I came across a scholarship essay I’d written last year in which I defended myself from being considered “entitled.”

It was hilarious.

As I sit here in my bed with its 2-inch foam mattress topper (yes, 2 inches) at 10AM on a Saturday morning, sipping my creamy cup of coffee and frequently checking my iPhone, I loathe myself for having the idea to write about such a bogus idea in the first place. 

I’ve always taken such pride in considering myself a hard worker and a driven woman.  I don’t refute this, but nonetheless, it’s entertaining to reflect on a time in my life where I did not consider myself entitled. 

Here I’m about to take a mean, stinky dump on myself and members of my generation everywhere:

When does the stupidity of being young end?

Just last year, I can recall on multiple instances where I was being blatantly ignorant, racist, homophobic… okay you get it. 

My desire to shed wisdom on my few but beloved readers (God bless you all) is kind of also hilarious, given that I’m this like 20-year old white girl who like can’t even pay her own rent without the financial support of her parents and also may or may not have just used the fork she ate a can of tuna with to stir milk into her coffee.

For my own peace of mind, I’m introducing a theory for a new classification of human; it’s called “being neutral.”

Neutral /’(n(y)ootrel/
1.  not helping or supporting either side in a conflict, disagreement, etc.; impartial.
2.  having no strongly marked or positive characteristics or features.

(That definition is actually from the Dictionary! Not my chamber of made-up words.)

When the world of science clashes with social theory in a modern context irrelevant to Charles Darwin, I will be classified as a seven on the pH scale, or as a I like to call it: a basic bitch who drops acid; utterly, undeniably, indefinitely neutral. 

(In case your knowledge of Chemistry is limited, I don't actually drop anything but expensive dishes and the occasional vase)

I took to this new classification of human being for a number of reasons.  For one, the mean between being disadvantaged in the world and being absurdly privileged doesn’t have a specific title.  Some would call this “middle class”, but truthfully, this only applies to one’s socioeconomic status.  There are so many other things that factor into a human’s advantage in the world:
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Physical attractiveness 
  • EQ
  • IQ 
  • Style
  • Competence 
  • Do you have a strong father figure in your life?
  • Hair color
  • Ability to read people
  • Ability to read the manual (aka patience)
  • Ability to read
  • If you have a cute dog
  • Nail bed health
The list goes on.

So if the scale of privilege ranges from the Mormon founder’s 23rd wife to Donald Trump, I’m somewhere in the middle. 

In politics, being neutral is often given the imagery of sitting on a fence; being that awkward space holder who can’t choose a side. Also consider how there is no way to comfortably sit on a fence.  Elphaba made defying gravity appear a hell of a lot easier than my figurative struggle of doing so. Then again, everything hard about life appears effortless in musicals.  My dream rendition of Annie would feature a 28-year long story detailing her struggle with poverty, puberty, and eventually, a hard-knock life of college where she kicks ass, supports herself as an underground drug dealer (if Walter White can do it so can Annie), then becomes our first woman president.  But the original scriptwriters felt she needed to be handed a life of leisure as a one-way ticket to Easy Street gracefully fell into her little innocent pale hands. 

So here we are, sitting on figurative fence in some awkward state of limbo.  What else qualifies for neutrality? How about the inability to identify with any sort of social group, stereotype, generalization, etc…

People elaborate on how the variety of careers for "kids these days" goes on and on now.  What about the variety of social stereotypes a “kid” can fall under?

Just to name a few, here we go…
  • Science nerds who don’t do alcohol/drugs/girls/guys/things besides science
  •  Computer programming nerds who are always stoned
  •  Jocks who play sports
  •  Jocks who don’t play anything but have “all about fitness” in their Tinder profile
  • Music geeks
  • Musical theater geeks
  • Art kids who don’t talk a lot
  •  Art kids who are super bubbly and you spend too many minutes wondering if they’ll lose their virginity
  •  Hipsters 
    • The sub-classes of hipster are as infinite as the Universe
  • Trust-fund hippies
  • Basic bitches
  •  Frat guys
  • Wannabe hipster frat guys
  • People who talk about politics 24/7 and order vegan
  •  Stoners who are the target audience for Pizza Hut’s pretzel-crust-cheddar-letmegothrowthisup-thing
  •  People who take photographs a lot and wear flannels
  • Guys into film who wear Hawaiian shirts and bucket hats
  • People who are members of 10+ clubs who scare you cause they’ll probably be your CEO one day 

Ah, remember the good old days when the popular girls were the cheerleaders and the kid with the bushy hair and glasses was your math nerd? Yea, me neither. Thanks for giving me a false view of status quo, Hollywood. 

I could be considered a basic bitch when I get too drunk at the bar and trip/fall ungracefully to the floor in my heels. 

I’ve been accused of being a hipster simply because I’ve said that I’m not a hipster.

I thoroughly enjoy snapping photos and my love for flannels is equivalent.   

I love the thrill of staying up until 4AM to work on coding. 

Sometimes I go through a phase where fitness is fun and I eat spinach. 

It’s automatically assumed I’m a hippie when I go knocking on doors for my job promoting environmental awareness.
Old stoner dude at the door: “So what’s the worse drug you’ve ever come across?”
Me: “Uh, I don’t know… testosterone?”

I don’t have any special traits that could strongly mark me as a specific something.  My level of privilege in a first world country is average, but I’m undeniably a member of the entitled.  I love climbing fences, and although they’re an uncomfortable resting site for my bony bum, I can sit contently on one and watch a melting pot of stereotypes pass by below. 

My point? Yea, yea, here it is...

Remember when I asked earlier when the stupidity of being young will ever end?

I have an addendum to my theory.  The sooner we can remove ourselves from these stereotypes as young adults, look at ourselves as who we are rather than trying to identify with some type of group, and critically assess our privilege in comparison to others, the sooner we can mature and see the world for what it is; people for who they are. 

If you’re saving up for a Louis Vuitton bag to impress your girls, or wearing glasses way too big for your face to an art show you don’t care about, stop.

Being neutral, a classification of human that I thought signified nothing special, is possibly the most special thing out there.  Originality stems from origin (literally), which is comprised of your personal entities that are completely irrelevant to any external prototype of what you think you should be.

Also, I hear seven is a lucky number.  Shoutout to the pH scale for utilizing this spectacular and loved number for neutrality!

(I’m not a science nerd I promise)

Keep Happy,

No comments:

Post a Comment