Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On Loving Sincerity

This is me being completely sincere at age 15.
I just read a really great essay by Tavi Gevinson in her Rookie Year Book that inspired me.  I've always been a sincere person, as in I'd rather believe in things like Disney magic than scoff at it- which can be hard at times living in hipster-centric Brooklyn. I also like to think that I try to see the best in people and situations too. I think sincerity and optimism can go hand in hand. Tavi talks about how being sincerely obsessed with something (for her it was Bob Dylan, for me it was Audrey Hepburn starting in the 7th grade, among other things.) feels like a childlike thing that she can't ever go back to. She writes:
While this obsession had been pretty angst-ridden, it was also totally sincere. And, as the jadedness of growing to somehow understand the world has slowly made my enthusiasm for anything pretty rare, I do get a little homesick for that first phase of being a person who absorbs things and thinks about them. That first phase was a time when I was so much in my own world that I wasn’t aware of what a cliché that world made me, and so in awe of it that I wouldn’t have cared anyway. At the same time, it was the last time I would feel totally childlike in my outlook on something. And that’s, well, kind of a bummer.-Page 11 Rookie Year Book. Full essay posted here. You should read it.
Maybe loving sincerity explains why I write for tweens and young adults and love reading books written for them too.  Maybe it explains why I'm married to someone who is often described as "a grouch" aka usually leans towards pessimism rather than enthusiasm, but I try to hold on to sincerity as much as possible as an adult.  I agree with Tavi, I'll never be able to go back to that totally childlike obsession over something with true sincerity- and I don't think I'd really want to.  Tavi writes "I had found what made me feel like I was home, and I was serious about immersing myself in it."

I think it's important to always be looking for what makes you feel like you are home, and when you find it, to enjoy it as much as you can.  I don't think I can pull off teenage levels of obsession anymore, but I hope that I'll always live with a combination of knowing what makes me feel like I am home and the urge to keep looking for whatever makes me feel that way.

Do you ever feel homesick when you finish a really great book? Or listen to music you haven't listened to for a while (Joni Mitchell's Blue always makes me feel homesick). I think that's what I'm talking about.  I hope to always be able to have that homesick feeling sometimes while also finding what makes me feel at home.

I remember gathering things that represented everything my cousins and I were obsessed with when I was 14.  Things like an X-Files poster, an Audrey Hepburn biography and our Phantom of the Opera cd. We piled it all on the bed and then took a picture of it.  If that's not sincere, then I don't know what is. I'd love to hear about some of your angsty obsessions from your childhood in the comments.  Nothing ironic, what did you once sincerely love with all of your heart?

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