My nephew sent me a picture of one of his cupcake creations this morning.
He’s a young, single guy living on his own; hardly the first person you would think of as an enthusiastic cupcake baker. But he definitely is; check out some recent pictures he’s sent me.
Having an unusual interest runs in his family. Among her other hobbies, his Mom enjoys dressing her bearded dragon and other pets up in costumes to celebrate the holidays.
We can’t really point fingers in our family, though. This weekend, my husband is making a pilgrimage to Cleveland to attend a convention for lovers of the band Devo, where he will perform, in costume, with Devomatix, his Devo Tribute band. He could not be more excited.
As for me, I’m sad to say that I think my most unusual quality is that I’m a staunch Democrat in one of the reddest states. But I live in a pretty blue area of the state, so even that isn’t particularly unique.
That wasn’t always the case. I was a pretty weird kid. In elementary school, I lived in a world of books and imagination. I wanted to be a writer and somewhere there’s a stack of the not-bad-for-a-kid stories I wrote then. I actually took a correspondence course (remember those?) with my mother in How to Write and diligently completed all the exercises.
I played with “paper dolls” I cut out of discarded Sears catalogs and made up elaborate stories for them for much longer than I would have ever admitted to any of my friends.
And that ended up being a problem. While I was in my bedroom reading the Narnia books over and over again, my peers were growing up. When we started Sixth Grade, I learned to my chagrin that girls and boys who are sneaking off for behind-the-playground games of Spin the Bottle aren’t interested in hearing stories about magic wardrobes and other worlds.
I wanted to get in on the Spin the Bottle action. (Spoiler alert: it didn’t happen.) So, like many adolescents, I began a years-long effort to hide any part of myself that stood out. Eventually, I hid those parts so well that even I forgot about them.
I regret that so much. I have friends who spent their high school years making short films with their friends, friends who learned to play guitar or other instruments, even friends who kept writing short stories. Meanwhile, I grew into a woman who wouldn’t take the New Yorker to the swimming pool when I lived in a very conservative community because I was afraid of my neighbor’s comments. I had spent years nurturing the part of me that cared too much about what people think instead of nurturing the true part of me, the weird and fun part.
The good news is that it’s not too late. I’ll soon have no children at home to be humiliated by my very existence. And when your husband is in a Devo Tribute band, the bar for the amount of humiliation you can bring to the family is very, very high. My interests at the moment aren’t all that esoteric: reading, writing, photography, cooking. But I’m looking for a chance to let my freak flag fly and I’m hoping you guys will join me for the journey.
In the meantime, let’s all be inspired, as I am so frequently, by Southern Culture on the Skids.