The cult of cynicism

Something strange is happening to me.

I realized it in the shower the other day, where most of my greatest thinking happens, as I’m sure is the case for most people with OCD.

Clean, warm, no other people. It’s great.

I realized that the things I had always thought I never wanted, the things that seemed too hard, or mundane had inadvertently become the things I cherished most or received the most joy from.

It kinda freaked me out.

Does this mean I’m growing up or growing old? Am I settling down?

For the longest time, well – for at least the first twenty-six years of my life, I sincerely believed that the worst possible thing that could happen to me would be for me to get married to some dude and get saddled with a couple of kids.

From my point of view, willingly taking on the roles of wife and mother and housekeeper and cook and transporter and grocery buyer and nurse and holiday decorator and home furnishing arranger, etc., meant the death of any life I saw myself actually wanting.

So I joined the cult of cynicism.

My friends got engaged. I cringed.

My friends got married. I groaned.

My friends had babies. I gagged.

I was the type of person who turned up my nose at other people’s happiness and looked down on them for the tiny minded dreams, in my *humble* opinion.

I deeply enjoyed being the one to suck the air out of the room with a snide remark about how crappy I thought something else was all for the sake of the “joke” which more often than not I realized I was the only person A) laughing and B) who “got” the joke.

I still fall back into that line of thinking sometimes.

It’s hard for me to not roll my eyes when people talk about their favorite type of music and it’s drastically different from my own. Or when a person’s absolute most favorite show in the whole wide world is a reality tv show, I have to practice not moving my face muscles.

Luckily my time working for a prime contractor at Hanford around a lot of umm, what’s the word for self-aggrandizing, incompetent, liars called? Oh well, it has helped me with my “neutral expresssion face.” Seriously you guys, I used to get in trouble in meetings for wearing too much “expression” on my face. Because that’s a thing.

See? I’m doing it again! Ugh.

Anyway, what I realized in my shower revelation was this –

I believed a lie.

I wrapped it around myself for protection. I used it as a weapon on the people around me.

But the things that I looked down on other people for, or tried to guard myself against, ended up being life saving and life changing experiences for me.

So why would I do that? Why does anyone do that? I’m not even sure what I’m writing here, because revelations are hard to translate.

I’m trying not to do that anymore.

Having my daughter snapped me back into reality and showed me that it’s possible for such a shallow and selfish person to be grounded and anchored by the sheer depth of love for another human being. And that I was capable of doing all of the consequent little things love does. Me!

Falling in love made me realize that my life’s experiences can be enhanced in ways both challenging and unimaginable to my former cynic. And not at all like shackles and a death sentence. More like being best friends with an inside out version of yourself.

But I still struggle with the “too cool” for certain things vibe.

Judging by what I read on the internet, so do a lot of other people (have you ever read internet comments?). It makes me sad and frustrated that in our collective trying times, I have to shun the internet, just to keep the other cynics out of my head. Sometimes I just can’t do it.

And that really sucks because I love the internet.

But I guess what I’m curious to find out is if you’re out there and you’re thinking that something is beneath you, or that you’re not capable of even doing it, (whatever lame thing you think *it* is) is there the slightest possibility that you’re lying to yourself too?

Because what if it ended up being the most wonderful and amazing thing that ever happened to you?

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Jenn Turner

Jenn Turner

Jenn Turner was born under a tarp.She's lived on the internet ever since, and only recently learned how to make real friends. During the day she schemes at &yet with her native people and at night she hangs with her number one favorite person ever. Currently she's studying emotions, relationships and aspires to one day let go. Also, TriConf.

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  • Suzy Garza Higley

    Awesome! I struggle too. It’s like a split personality. I let the good one go out in public, haha.. I do think its (cough) growing up. But it doesn’t have anything to do with age. It’s easy to smirk and not be vulnerable. Believing in something knowing others will roll their eyes at you, that’s grown up stuff :)!!! Loved it!

  • tymulholland

    I was here. I understand more than you know. Damn internet is a spiraling pit of cynicism. I choose to explore the world. To live each day looking for something new, and fresh. Thank you for your perspective.

  • Dan Maycock

    It’s like the bully back in middle school was in fact the most insecure person, and the one that really had it together didn’t give a flying rip about anything and pursued what made them happy regardless of what people around them thought – I imagine that never goes away, yet people are constantly chasing after the thrill of one-uping someone online yet the world passes them by because they aren’t in tune with the fact that 99% of people avoid reading whatever clever jab they made towards the author (much like being the only person laughing in the room). Yet, how often do I do that same thing, whether it’s critizing someone in the car next to me or becoming the peanut gallery in a presentation – good things to keep in mind, as to the joy I’m depriving myself of from being so shallow and outwordly critical that I miss the joy of acceptance from and towards people around me