Which part of you is peculiar?
And why you should nurture it.
I make a lot of noises, and not the normal sort that form words and have meaning. These noises are primal, ranging from baby Dinosaur shrieks as my body crosses the chasm between sleep and wake to muttering the Seinfeld theme song as I enter my kitchen. When I go to the bathroom, I’ve been told that I mimic a moving crew attempting to lift a Grand piano.
And that’s just when I take a shower.
If it were not for housemates and a deeply honest girlfriend, I would be totally unaware that I make these noises. For years, I lived alone and had no idea this was something I did. My ensemble of auditory oddities just show up unannounced, and when they do, my conscious mind is miles away.
I like to think of myself as a rational person. I make lists, send follow-up emails, and own multiple color-coordinated excel spreadsheets. But as I’ve come to terms with my noise thing—and a few other peculiarities we may explore in future newsletters—I’m learning that I have myriad quirks that never would have been visible to me without the soundboard of housemates and a deeply honest girlfriend.
I once did a podcast with Jim Fadiman, Ph.D, a well-known microdosing researcher and author whose most recent book is Your Symphony of Selves. In the podcast, he argued that rather than thinking of yourself as unified, breaking yourself down to parts may be helpful. You don’t have depression; part of you has depression. Your boss isn’t an asshole; part of your boss is an asshole. Kyle isn’t a baby dinosaur; part of Kyle is a baby dinosaur.
I’ve decided (just now) that I’m going to keep the noise thing. I have no intention of “working on it” or “habit-stacking” my way out of it. If anything, it’s something I’ll lean into. Some of my personality traits suck, and I should do my best to sand down the edges. But I’m also sick of our cultural obsession with “doing the work.” The protestant ethic that we should be on an unending slog to change any aspect of ourselves that makes others slightly uncomfortable—thus veering back to the double yellow line of normality.
Peculiarities make us, us. We should celebrate them. What are yours?
If you enjoy this newsletter, please consider forwarding it to a friend who might also.