Am I a (wo)man or a Muppet?
I intended to write this blog post several months ago after seeing The Muppets, but . . . well, you can see how rubbish I've been about blogging much of anything.
Anyway, I still giggle incessantly whenever I hear the song "Man or Muppet?" from the film. But the song also inspired thoughts about how, when I run into people I haven't seen in a long time, I'm often told, "You haven't changed at all." When that remark is in reference to personality rather than appearance, it usually comes in one of two tones: the I'm-pleased-you're-still-awesome tone of voice, or what I'm going to call the why-are-you-still-acting-like-a-Muppet tone of voice. The latter tone tends to be used when I'm acting like the big geeky goofball I am at heart, which leads to me wondering (and often replying), "Um, should I have changed? I'm happy with who I am."
I eventually realized that the why-are-you-still-acting-like-a-Muppet tone tends to be used by people who view growing up as a matter of change. Growing up means you become serious and mature and stop taking delight in childish things. But for some of us . . . well, I think C.S. Lewis summed it up rather well:
"When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."
As I said, I'm a geeky goofball. My closest friends have always known and accepted that. But for much of my life, when I was outside the comfort zone provided by my friends, I often hid that geek girl or apologized for her because she didn't fit in with the norm--or at least what certain circles deemed to be the norm. And sadly, sometimes I still hide her when I'm outside my comfort zone. But the important thing is that I've realized that I like being that goofy geek girl. I don't want to hide her, and I sure as hell won't apologize for being her. The higher my geek flag flies, the happier I am with myself.
So for me, growing up didn't mean changing who I was. It meant accepting who I was.
That's not to say that I haven't changed at all over the years. I have. Somewhere along the road, I went from being a fairly credulous individual to becoming super skeptic girl. My religious beliefs changed. My career path has gone in directions I hadn't anticipated. I've taken on new activities and interests while setting aside others that, at one time, I couldn't imagine going through life without. I'm always learning and discovering new things, and with that often comes change--sometimes little, sometimes big.
But, at the end of the day, there's a fundamental part of me that hasn't changed. I'm still the chick who takes a geekish, childish delight in spaceships and zombies and unicorns and the like, not because they're escapist as some would claim, but because of the new perspective they offer on the real world. I'm still the chick who likes be surrounded by a weird (in a fun way) and diverse group of friends, who randomly bursts into song, and who thinks life can't be all that bad if you can still laugh.
So to answer the question in the subject of this post: I may not be made of felt, but I'm totally a Muppet.