Stop taking yourself so facetiously

In generations past, people were told to stop taking themselves so seriously. I think we millennials have taken the idea so seriously to not take ourselves seriously that we have driven ourselves into the other ditch – we see ourselves as jokes, and want to make sure everyone else does, too.


Okay okay, I lolzed at this. But also—- go apply for a job you lazy millenial!!

I think a lot of it may do with the kind of overwhelming crappiness of our times and growing connectivity with the rest of the world – we see ourselves as tiny little specs of dust in this huge dust storm of humanity that’s being driven by uncontrollable winds of huge corporations, insane political figures, and fidget spinners. So, we retreat, make memes, and giggle our way through every situation.

I’m kinda writing this about my not-so-distant-past self. I got pretty caught up in the “FML” culture of PhD students – a kind of ironic learned helplessness. There’s something pride-zapping about making poverty-line wages and having your research projects fall way short of your expectations that can drive even the most Pollyanna of us all into self-deprecating pessimism.

And look, I’m all for a good lolz. But they can be taken too far. Sometimes you need to take yourself seriously enough to take a shower, put on some nice clothes, and actually try, ya know?

I say all this coming out of a successful post-doc interview. I was gratified by how much they.. respected.. yes, respected!! me and my dissertation work! The whole experience made me realize that I use sarcastic, self-deprecating humor as a shield against expectations.  I didn’t want to disappoint people, so I made sure they kept their expectations low so I wouldn’t have to deal with their disappointment or be assigned more responsibility. #realtalk

But yeah.. this past week has opened my eyes to my own value in my field. It’s scurry, but I actually have the potential to bring some good to the world through my research. Eeks!

So, I know most of you aren’t in PhD world, but I think this could apply in a lot of situations. Being a mom, for instance, is huge. I’m sure getting spit-up on and getting into intense arguments with 4 yr olds isn’t always validating, but you have this unbelievable influence in how a real life human being sees the world! That’s really not small. For realz.

(This is getting a little ramble-y, but I blame it on the ferocious winds of Irma whirling my brain to and fro’. #science)

My point is – don’t discount yourself, kid! Lolz it up, but don’t lolz yourself into a false sense of insignificance.

..Unless you just want to be insignificant, and then I guarantee you that you will succeed in that 😏




1 thought on “Stop taking yourself so facetiously

  1. Another solid post, Gallinator. You really do have insightful, and, dare I say it (“there is nothing new under the sun”), *original* contemporary cultural critiques (say that five times fast) to offer. I have a pretty self-deprecating approach to my songwriting, but some people tell me I have real potential, and maybe if I wasn’t always mock-pretentiously saying “I’m an artíst” and secretly putting down talented local songwriters with “oh yeah, they’re good, but nobody makes it in this biz… so we really oughta stop kidding ourselves and give up on these pipe dreams”, maybe I would have higher expectations on myself for this interest of mine, and it would compel me to be more serious about this pursuit, and, e.g.: write complete lyrics to songs where the music is fully laid out, and I like the song (musically); practice more cover songs, to get better at playing and at songwriting (I always tell myself I’m going to do this, but I rarely “hunker down”); professionally record songs that are already complete; and, last but not least, book gigs, as I love performing, and typically I get a genuinely positive response from at least some of the “crowd” [oh no! am I not taking myself seriously enough just now with the “air quotes”?!] ;-P

    I think you’re onto something, though. This is probably not exactly what you were talking about, but I am reminded of a shirt I would see around the Georgia Tech campus that I despised: “genius by birth… slacker by choice”. First, it’s rather presumptuous to claim that you’re inherently a genius, but second, why is it “cool”/funny to waste that gift? Of course, this individual didn’t think of a cultural statement out of thin air; it’s a symptom of our time. But I suppose your criticism would be apt here: the GT student probably IS a pretty smart guy, but, by “not taking himself too seriously”, he’s excusing himself from the pressure of being a straight A’s or an A’s and B’s student, and accomplishing something his high school teachers always dreamed he would (losing the HOPE scholarship is practically a rite of passage in some GT cliques).

    This also makes me think of the Church of SHATTER I’m “trying” to start. I really did care about it. I did think that the world needs a place like this for me and my fellow “post-Christians”. But my frequent self-deprecating remarks towards my efforts in this arena–calling it a cult and so forth–act as a readymade defense if/when it goes nowhere. Hmmmm… food for thought.

    My fav line: “being driven by uncontrollable winds of huge corporations, insane political figures, and fidget spinners.” Hehehe!

    Have a nice day.

    Liked by 1 person

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