Have you ever seen Waiting for Guffman? It is one of my favorite movies. Eugene Levy is in it, and he plays one of my favorite characters. At one point in the mocumentary, he explains something to the camera. He says, “People say, ‘You must have been the class clown’. And I say, No, I wasn’
I think it is so funny. The unfunny part though, is that I think it is funny because I can relate to it. I am an analytical person by nature. Often a curse, rarely a blessing, I frequently ask really obvious questions just to hear it answered in an articulate way that satisfies some logical need somewhere in my bones. I can’t simply, “catch on”.
I need to know why it works, exactly. If it is too far above me, like rocket science, I can give it up. I do possess that gift, which is my saving grace. Basically because I am not that smart so I don’t have a choice. But if something in me says, “Jenny, that easily makes sense, but it was too easily understood. You should think about why it makes sense, and analyze it until you want to cut your brain out and burn it”, then I don’t have a choice. I have to think about it, meditate on it, mull it over, marinate it in a bath of my brain fluids, talk it out…until it fits perfectly into the corresponding shape cut out on the surface of my brain.
I enjoy torturing myself in this way regarding all sorts of topics: humor, (I just laughed at that! How enjoyable! Wait….but why was it enjoyable?). Science (very, very basic science). Algebra (true story: my brain literally almost turned to ashes once in high school over an answer that was correct, but painfully easy to answer without knowing how I got to that conclusion). Foreign languages. Grammar. Beauty. Life.
If you are wondering how I can even live life, it is really quite easy: I am smart enough to see these puzzles in many daily things, but not smart enough to see all of them. Therefore, my thoughts are fairly evenly divided between agonizingly simple concepts made painfully difficult, and casually brushed aside deep and profound thoughts incorrectly identified as “overly thought-out ideas”. I prefer the fresh stuff like, “what makes a task ‘fun’?” People don’t ask that. But it has an answer, and I’d like to be able to talk to you about it, some time.
My life would be so much easier if I were a genius. But alas, I am not.
Do you feel kinda overwhelmed right now? Almost like you just finished watching a 24 marathon and you are relieved that it is not, in reality, the life you live? Well, I am not the only person with a brain like mine. There must be a name for us. Victims of left brained paranoia, maybe?
Anyway, I say all of that because it is a nice and natural transition into what this post is actually about: style.
I happen to like fashion. I always have. But, unfortunately, when it comes to my more right-brained pursuits, I can’t always leave my left brain behind. It’s like this lurking shadow who is not fun to have around at first, but teaches you a valuable lesson in the end, so you have come to respect him.
So guess what. My interest in fashion is tainted by my left-brain’s self-invite to the creativity party. My subconscious says, “This clothing advertisement is alluring.” Then Lefty comes in and raises his hand, prefaces his first question with the warning that after I answer it, there will be a follow up question, thereby feeling justified in hogging the floor for the next five minutes (don’t you hate those people?): “why can she pull this look off? Is it because she looks confident in it? Maybe. Maybe her strong collar bone gives her a sense of strength while her skinny arms denote femininity. And then her leather skirt balances out her vulnerable posture, and the raw, untouched nature in which she is surrounded provides an element of attainability that makes me feel like I could pull this look off, too…”
All of this leads to a question I have been mulling over for quite some time: what is personal style? How does one attain it? Is there a formula? Or is the lack of formula the definition?
Questions that, indeed, many others have asked before me. But perhaps not in such an obnoxious way. So I would like to pulverize the idea with you until you wish you had never even come across JenEric Generation with every fiber of your being. But I have taken too much time with my back story, so come back later for a relaxing post on visuals and aesthetics, and the sweet and sappy definition of “personal style”. I promise not to get too crazy.