It’s pretty funny to learn something new about yourself. It happened today. Actually, it wasn’t that I learned something new, but someone finally put words to a part of me that didn’t have a label.
I’m enrolled in a Medical Assisting program, and today a large number of my classmates graduated. I was saying goodbye to a lady who always could make me laugh. Mid hug, I told her something like, “I’m going to miss you, you’re always so funny.” And she said, “You’re funny too, Kelly. You’re funny without even knowing it because you’re so serious.” I laughed and said, “Yeah I probably am too serious.” We finished our goodbyes and away we went.
I keep thinking about what she said, though. It was not something I expected her to say. This classmate with whom I hardly spent any time—and the little time we did spend together was spent joking around—thought I was funny because she thinks I take things seriously. I didn’t realize I had ever acted particularly serious around her, especially not enough for her to find it amusing. And I didn’t realize that it was so easy for other people to notice that about me. Am I really that serious about life?
I was trying to figure out what, in our limited time together, had given her that opinion.
The best answer I can drum up happened last week. Our class was planning on dressing up for Halloween with a “geriatric” theme. She asked if I was going to dress up, and I told her that I wasn’t because it seemed mildly offensive; I didn’t want to feel like I was making fun of the people at my work. (I work at a retirement home.) Maybe this is it? Me being a little overly serious about a very nonsensical topic. The truth is even though I do think it had potential to be a tiny bit offensive, mostly I just don’t care a thing about having school spirit, especially when it means exerting energy to put together a costume for a holiday I don’t even like.
Yeah, I just reread that paragraph.
No matter how I spin it, that sounds like
a person who takes things pretty seriously.
Or I’m just a grump.
(Probably both are true.)
Anyway, I thought about this the whole car ride home (the mark of someone with a serious personality?) and have come to grips with the fact that I probably do come off as serious, even to those who don’t know me well.
There are times when I get silly, times when I’m the farthest thing from serious. But the truth is that even then I always have my critical lens within reach. I think about things a lot. …”Things” meaning everything. And I normally think about these “things” with a serious perspective. I think about society and how people treat each other and what our actions mean below the surface and the origin of our words and our traditions and world religions and conflicting view points and the point of life and yada yada yada. I sometimes have a hard time with small talk, and my preoccupation with these thoughts is probably why. I’d rather sit and talk about heavy things than be entertained with lighthearted topics. Isn’t that kind of messed up? But truthfully, the big, heavy things are what entertain me.
I don’t think it’s a good thing, necessarily. Sometimes I wish I were different. Sometimes I think it’d be easier for everyone around (myself included) if I just didn’t take things so seriously. But, Kermit said it, and I ought to listen: “When green is all there is to be, it could make you wonder why, but why wonder why wonder? I am green and it’ll do fine…”
So I’ll keep to it. I’ll just be here writing long, serious analyses of why people perceive me as serious. And all will be right with the world.
(Title from Indigo Girls’ Galileo.)