To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. e e cummings
I’ve been blogging for the last 14 months as Sinistra Inksteyne, but eventually (dawn breaks over Marblehead, New Zealand) I realised there was little point in building an online reputation for an alter ego whose name does not appear on any other work. So Sinistra Inksteyne will have to content herself with being a URL from now on.
As Francis Bacon observed, great changes are easier than small ones, so I didn’t stop with the name. This new picture isn’t me, but it might as well be (I’m working on developing the smiley wrinkles):
As I’ve mentioned before, this blog started as a way of keeping me accountable for my procrastination, but it no longer serves that purpose. Because I am now a perfect paragon of proactivity and – ha, no, sorry, couldn’t keep a straight face. But I’m not as bad as I used to be, not by a long shot, and there’s only so much talking about it that can be done before people stop procrastinating and get right on to clubbing you over the head with a thesaurus to make you shut up.
So I thought about what I wanted to do with this blog, and I decided that I just wanted to be myself – that is, to champion the cause of weirdness, oddity and eccentricity. I believe that people are individually created by God, which means that there is no standard-issue to vary from. To put it another way, ‘normal’ is not a Christian concept.
I have a sneaking suspicion that an awful lot of apparent ‘normality’ is due to peer pressure. People feel they have to fit one of a limited selection of moulds or they will be ostracized – and they may be right about this. But is it worth the price you pay?
It is a sad fact of human nature that if we are surrounded by one worldview, it requires a lot of effort to not succumb to it. As the letter to the Romans says, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould.” (Now there’s a nauseating thought.) But resistance is hard. It is less hard when there are more of you. Enter the internet.
I am weird. I freely admit it. I am odd. I have never been and never will be cool. And I’m fine with that. If that’s the price I have to pay for not having to chop off the bits of me that don’t fit (like some Ugly Stepsister of the soul) then please, put it on my tab.
And so I give you (fanfare please…)
the Eccentric Ethic & Æsthetic!
Eccentric: The Oxford Dictionaries’ definition includes the phrase “unconventional and slightly strange” for both adjective and noun.
If my picture doesn’t appear in the dictionary under the word ‘eccentric’ by the time I die, I shall have Unconventional and slightly strange graved (hur hur) on my tombstone. The oddity is partly, in my case, the result of being raised in a mixture of cultures, but one can only blame one’s upbringing for so much.
Ethic: One of my main reasons for not following the mainstream is because I follow Christ, and the two diverge widely. So truth is important to me. (Truth is my middle name – really…) Justice is important. Sustainability is important. Compassion, creativity and joy are important. Conformity – not important.
Æsthetic: Clothing sends a message. In my case, that message is “unconventional and slightly strange”. I find it lowers expectations that having the physical characteristics of the majority ethnic group means I have the same culture and value system. My personal appearance signposts my differentness – an early warning system, if you like. And it’s more fun wearing whatever I like anyway. I wish everyone felt freer to wear what best expresses who they are inside. Visual identity is a fascinating thing.
To sum up: this is a place for me to have fun being my eccentric self, and a place where others will hopefully feel encouraged to be their eccentric selves – particularly if they share some of the same eccentricities. As CS Lewis wrote: “Friendship is born at that moment when one man [/woman/small furry creature from Alpha Centauri] says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…””