I like people who know who they are. Not that I’m entirely sure what “knowing who you are” really means, but basically, I enjoy people who aren’t posers. Yes, I just used the word “poser,” which should be used exclusively by skateboarders and middle school mean girls. What I’m trying to say is that people who choose hobbies, outfits, or basic personalities based on wanting to impress someone else are usually boring and/or scary. You never know what they really prefer, think, or desire, which leads me to believe that they’re secretly masochists or closet Justin Bieber fanatics. I don’t know which one is more terrifying.
This is why I am such a huge fan of Mindy Kaling.
[I’m pretty sure that read as a very awkward transition, but bear with me.]
Writing is an art. And, in case you’ve never compared exhibitions in the New Museum to the statue of David, art comes in many forms. I know people who love writing novels, scientific journals, poems, news stories, scripts, blogs (oh, hi), and even some weirdos who enjoy technical writing (pardon- what is wrong with you?). Though most great writers are capable of writing any aforementioned literatures, everyone tends to find their niche. They eventually embrace what comes most naturally. This does not mean that serious academic authors are more brilliant than the writers of Saturday Night Live, rather the two create different kinds of brilliance. At no point is either trying to impress the demographic of the other. They “know who they are” when it comes to their written craft.
Which leads me back to Mindy Kaling.
Mindy is definitely not a poser. In case you live the sad, lonely life of a curmudgeon, let me familiarize you with Ms. Kaling. She is a comedic writer and actress who has written for SNL, The Office, The Mindy Project, and a long list of other television shows/movies that I don’t feel like looking up. She’s also a director and producer and basically the funniest woman I’ve never met. Mindy knows who she is professionally and is my source of inspiration when the occasional killjoy tells me that I should compose more “serious” pieces for my blog. The biggest compliments I’ve ever received were the multiple texts over the last few years saying that I remind so-and-so of Mindy Kaling. These compliments even trump the one night when three separate individuals told me that I look like Kate Middleton (let’s ignore the obvious fact that it’s not true), which says a lot.
I’ve mentioned Mindy’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) on my blog before, so the fact that I’m going to quote it now should come as no surprise. In the introduction, she writes:
“This book will take you two days to read. Did you even see the cover? It’s mostly pink. If you’re reading this book every night for months, something is not right.”
“There are many teenage vampire books you could have purchased instead. I’m grateful you made this choice.”
She knows her voice, knows her audience, and embraces it. I hope to emulate that confidence as a writer, even if it means that the odds of making a lot of money with my writing are slim to none. Still, why don’t enough of us take that general approach in life? We’re told that certain college majors or careers or clothing brands are better than others, but how about taking pride (and even humor) in our preferences and talents while not judging people for theirs? Apples and oranges, people. We all bring something different to this world, so whether it’s your writing style, odd hobby, bar preference, or favorite band, be confident in what you like and what you bring to the table. Keep in mind, the world wouldn’t be the same without Thomas Edison and Captain Hanson Gregory (brilliant inventor- click the link).