Monday, December 14, 2009

"Attempting to get at truth means rejecting stereotypes and cliches" - Harold Evans

I conducted a funny experiment today. I was sitting with M drinking coffee when I realized that I'm starting to fit a stereotype I've always had in my head. That stereotype is that of a the "coffeehouse girl" (I made that into one word for you K). I've never really fit a stereotype, in my own opinion, before. I've never been athletic enough for the cheerleader (although many would argue I'm bubbly enough), I'm not the smart book worm, I'm not a skater, athlete, punk....ect. You get the idea. Now this isn't to say that these stereotypes exist, I'm just going off of what I perceive pop culture thinks of as "stereotypes."

My version of a "coffee house girl." Artsey, likes to read...obviously likes coffee, computer with her all the time, kind of a hot mess...but looks like she has it control. Likes to write and talk with people. Usually a bit alternative looking, messy hair, TOMs shoes, multiple piercings, tattoos maybe. Struggling musician playing open mic nights just to get by.

I fit most of these descriptions, the idea I had in my head. Actual all of the descriptions, although I don't rely on my music "just to get by." I laughed with M over coffee about this and how I thought it was funny that I finally fit into a stereotype without meaning to. It just kinda happened that the only place I can study is coffee houses and all the other descriptions just fell into place in the last year.

And so I decided on my experiment. I wanted to see what other people thought the stereotypical "coffee house girl" was. I wanted to see if I fit into their stereotypes too. And that's when things changed a bit.

The responses I got were a lot more far reaching than I thought, proving to me yet again that people think in completely different ways. One thing that almost everyone said was artsey, but that was the only very consistent answer. Other answers were: black clothing, glasses, laptop in tow, loner, hipster, laid back, mac user, snob, shallow, intelligent, poetry lover, too good for mainstream, loves jazz, indie, island and folk music, English major, on the go, high power, healthnut, family oriented, smart, sophisticated, bookie, urban, dreamer, wisher, radical, liberal, coffee junkie

I love that only one person put anything in their description about loving coffee. As I looked over the list I realized that I didn't fit into many of the categories people were mentioning. Yeah, I'm the English major and I'm generally on the go. I almost always have my laptop in tow and people have described me as artsey before. I love all kinds of music. I do dream and I do wish...but I wouldn't say I'm "radical." Everything else doesn't really fit. I'm not liberal, I hope I'm not a snob or shallow. I still have my old Dell (although I hope to be a mac user one day), and there are still mainstream things that I like, Disney being one of them (although I do hate Starbucks officially). I mean, loner? Really? If anyone described me as a loner ever I would probably fall over in shock....and then call my best friend to tell her about it. I need people.

I sat thinking about this wondering how I could have been so off about what people view as "stereotypical coffee house girls." I was kinda offended at first. If I was ever going to fit into a stereotype I would have chosen coffee house regular for myself.

And then I kept thinking. Maybe all stereotypes are...are just people's own view. I mean, I thought I had it pretty nailed down, but when I asked around it was completely different. And that's probably a good thing. Cause who wants to fit a stereotype anyway. It talks in the bible about how we are all an important part of the body, and if we were all the same, the church body wouldn't be able to truly show Jesus. We can't all be good at everything. And so Jesus, cause he's crazy awesome, made everyone just a little bit different, essentially erasing the possibility for stereotypes.

Yeah! Ha. So I might have been sad at first that I don't really fit the stereotypical "coffee girl" idea. But I'm me. I'm bubbly, I love all things about being a kid (happy meals, disney, snowglobes ect) but I also love my independence as an adult. I love coffee and I love writing for hours on end...but just cause I like those things doesn't make me someone you can put in a box. Maybe that makes it harder to find people who actually understand me, but isn't it nice to surprise people? Yeah....I'll go with the out of the box for now.

I think I now fully understand why I love the movie "The Breakfast Club" so much.

"We're all pretty bizarre...some of us are just better at hidding it, that's all" - The Breakfast Club

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