Dortastic Me: The Art of Stealthy Ninja Compliments
The other day, I wrote a quick “you’re awesome. I love your work” message to a stranger. I do that, from time to time, because it’s not only a nice thing – it’s an honest thing. Life can be chaotic, and it’s important to take a moment to send something altruistic and complimentary out into the world.
Wow, that sounds really Hallmark meets New Age. Artists need to hear that someone likes their work. Any artist. It can be the difference between a bad day and a good, because – let’s face it, we’re an intensely tough-fragile bunch. There’s not a single artist (singer, dancer, actor, writer, photographer etc) who hasn’t, at some point, thought: good grief, what am I doing? I suck at this.
Actually, you don’t have to be an artist to have had that thought. It happens to parents, teachers, psychiatrist – basically, everyone. But let’s move on.
So, I sent off a quick message, which is no big deal (until this morning, I didn’t realize how much of a habit the Spontaneous Message of Awesomeness is). However, I might’ve used the word “dorktastic” in reference to myself. In retrospect, it’s kind of silly, and it’s probably not a word that
most people grownups use.
But I am a hopeless dork. I’ve come to terms with that. I currently possession the hardback, comic book version of The Last Unicorn, which is right next to my copy of The Princess Bride, which I haven’t read since college.
On my DVR, you’ll find Torchwood: Miracle Day. Yesterday, I quoted from White Fang. I’m currently drinking coffee from a large, red True Blood mug. You will have to pry that mug out of my cold, dead hands. It’s the perfect size, which is to say…giant.
I am, despite all appearances to the contrary, a big dork. Also, a geek – but not the kind that eats glass or live chickens. I read for fun. I quote from Shakespeare. I have been known to discuss Edward Said, Foucault, and Sartre for FUN. My idea of the perfect Sunday is one spend in bed, eating Chinese takeout, drinking coffee, and watching repeats of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yes, I liked the movie. Yes, I am aware that most people did not. But come on, Luke Perry? Lines like, “What are you DOING here? This a naked place” and the fact that I once memorized an entire scene of dialogue just because I could?
Yeah, I’m a dork. I’m ok with that. I figure it makes me well-rounded.
I try very hard not to be shy; it will surprise people to find that I am shy by nature. I push past that, and do silly things – like sing in public, give compliments to strangers, and recite poetry in various accents (Jamaican, Irish, English, and occasionally, Southern).
This often yields several notable “I carried a watermelon” moments. No, I won’t be recounting those, unless you send tequila. But I’d rather say something silly, or sound like a dork, than stay silent and wonder.
Because you never know what something, some random email or message, may mean to someone. Over the years, I’ve been on the receiving end of a few of those. Creeptastic ones aside, they make me grin like a cracked out, caffeinated FOOL. They’re awesome. Because they’re altruistic. That person didn’t have to take the time to be nice. It’s an extra special bonus, because it’s a compliment without pretense.
I never give empty compliments or praise. It’s just unexpected, sincere blurbs. That might make me a dork. That might make me seem a little silly. But it also makes me honest. It’s part of who I am, and I’m good with that.
When is the last time you gave someone (a stranger or acquaintance) an unexpected compliment?