Boring Isn’t Bad: a defense of boring.

A friend of mine told me that she thinks she is boring.

I was confused when she made this confession to me. She’s smart, funny, adventurous, well-traveled, and can really hold her known in any conversation. How could she think she was boring. When I asked for clarification she told me; “I don’t have all these crazy life stories and experiences that you and my partner do.” She was raised by two happily married parents, with 2 other well-adjusted children, in a safe, middle-class suburb in Utah. It is because of her upbringing that she fears she is boring. Well, if being safe, healthy, and stable is boring, who would want to be interesting?

Most of my “interesting” stories come from trauma.

The stories my friends find funny and entertaining are all directly or indirectly linked to my trauma. They are bits and pieces of the adverse experiences that developed my CPTSD, or are linked to the bad decisions I made before I was ready to heal from them. While I tell them with a smile and a humorous spin, they could just as easily be told as a tragedy; dark humor is just a coping mechanism I use so I laugh instead of cry. Telling our story is cathartic. It helps us re-contextualize things and make sense of things. We all want to feel heard, to feel validated–

But perhaps I have taken it too far.

My story telling may have ended up glamorizing my trauma the same way teenage girls glamorized depression on Tumblr in the 2010s. Instead of depression being a mental health condition you had it became something you were. We conflated suffering with beauty, and trauma with depth. The more miserable you were, the more “special” you were. Instead of trying to heal you clung to the “emo” identity, because without your depression- who would you be? What would make you different and unique? Being happy would make you like everyone else, and that would make you boring.

But “Boring” isn’t an insult.

We throw around labels like “boring” and “basic” as if their crimes, but what does do those words even mean? Is it so terrible to be relatable? To enjoy things that other people like? To be float along in the mainstream? It’s not hurting anyone. When we say someone is “boring” we usually mean that they are predictable, unstimulating, and routine. We may not find the “boring” co-worker or family member to be exciting, but we usually find that they are dependable and steady. How is that an insult? It’s also important to remember that “boring” is a matter of opinion. One person’s “boring” is another person’s “fun”, and one person’s “fun” is someone else’s “overwhelming”.

In summary: boring is in the eye of the beholder, and it’s actually a good thing.

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