‘What makes you weird is probably your greatest asset’ – Joss Wedon
It won’t surprise you to learn that a lot of my blog post ideas stem from drunken conversations Dave and I have in our conservatory at 11am on a Friday night. A while ago we were talking about passions, what inspires us and what sets our souls on fire (we’re a riot when we’re drunk). His, of course is running, it’s his own version of mindfulness where he can focus only on what’s happening around him and issues within his control. Mine? Music, more specifically, boybands, even more specifically, The Backstreet Boys. I’ll pause for the eye roll. And to quote Alanis Morissette; therein lay the issue and therein lay the problem.
My whole life I’ve been the dramatic one, the outgoing one, the talkative one, the one who is prone to getting a little over excited when I’m in social situations (my ‘shrill voice’ as Carrie calls it). And my whole life I’ve been made to feel that they are all unbecoming characteristics. When I told someone a while ago that I used to do community theatre as a child, the response I got was ‘that doesn’t surprise me, I bet you were so precocious your mother didn’t know what else to do with you, so she put you on the stage’. And as much as a throw away comment as it might have been, it’s stayed with me, because I can’t help but think that being on stage as a child wasn’t a positive thing. What I learnt that day? That if you’re tidy, and quiet, and read books, you’re good, but if you’re arty, and dramatic and talkative, you’re annoying.
A few months ago, Dave ran a 50-mile ultra-marathon (an exceptional feat I’m sure you’ll agree). This particular race had a tracker system where you could follow all the runners. The next day, he was following some of the runners who were doing the 100-mile option. He was still on a high from his own victory and cheering on his fellow comrades from the comfort of his arm chair. And, I don’t think he’d mind me saying this, it’s pretty much all he talked about all day. I understood, he had fully immersed himself in his passion that weekend, he felt their pain and wanted them to do well. The only problem is, I couldn’t help thinking, that if the roles were reversed and I’d been to see the Backstreet Boys the night before, and all I wanted to do all day was show the videos I’d taken, talk about the set list, and the wardrobe and how they interacted with each other on stage, I would have been shushed, or had an eyeroll, pretty early on.
Now, I fully accept that my passion might be a little more niche than others, people can wrap their head around someone who runs more easily. And I am insanely proud of Dave and all that he achieves with his running. People don’t always want to talk for hours on end about a group they have no connection or musical interest in whatsoever, but it doesn’t stop me feeling a little inferior. That how I feel is wrong. And I reckon it’s unfair for anyone to be made to feel that way. I’ve met two of my best friends because of the Backstreet Boys, who traveled from Manchester and America respectively to come to my wedding. All because of our silly little hobby.
If you’re passionate about running, or photography, or air fix models, or stamp collecting, it’s generally seen as a virtuous good use of your time. If you’re passionate about 90s American boybands, or are perfectly content spending a rainy Sunday binge watching Netflix then you’re wasting your time. Personally, I don’t see the issue, I’m not spending any money and I’m staying out of trouble; a model citizen really.
Yeah I know, I know it’s getting all a bit ‘woe is me’ now but hey, I’m dramatic. I guess what I’m trying to say is that differences are what makes the world go round and perhaps we should all be a little more kind and tolerant of people’s different personalities and passions. I LOVE hearing people talk passionately about things; anything. I genuinely find it a joy to hear people who’s face lights up when they’re talking animatedly about the things they love. If only more people could get on board with the amazingness of the Backstreet Boys I reckon the world would be a much happier place! Well, my world at least!
Because how can something that makes you this happy be a bad thing?*
*red wine was also involved, which incidentally something else i’m passionate about that’s frowned upon