In third or fourth grade, I fell absolutely in love with Sailor Moon. I looked forward to watching it every day and often daydreamed about being a sailor scout. My best friend at the time, however, strongly voiced her dislike of the show. This is the first time I remember being self-conscious about something that I like. I remember withdrawing this aspect of myself, because I didn’t want to be judged by my friend.
I recently had a conversation about this exact event in my life and when people commonly became conscious about what others thought of them and their likes or dislikes. Most people in the conversation remember this awakening around the same time: 3rd or 4th grade. 7-9 years old.
A few days ago, I saw a post on Twitter asking, “What is the most embarrassing music you listen to?” It made me start thinking about guilty pleasures and all the things I have enjoyed in private, for fear of other people’s judgement. Why should we feel guilty or embarrassed for liking something? Especially something that brings us momentary joy in our sometimes monotonous lives and dreary society. I mean, I’m not calling for us to start proclaiming our likes to everyone we speak with, but if we don’t speak about whatever it is out of embarrassment, I feel we are doing ourselves a great disservice.
There is often a disconnect between members of different groups (and members of the same group) which can create a deafening loneliness. That’s how I felt in 4th grade and many times throughout my life. Surrounded by people, friends and family, but alone. Not fully belonging. And now I’m thinking about how many people might have felt the same way at any point in time. How many friends I could have made, if someone would have said, “Yeah, I like that. So what?”
But people rarely want to step outside of the norm. They don’t want to disrupt the status quo. I see so many inspirational quotes floating around the web, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?“, “Let’s be weird together”, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those that matter don’t mind.” Where were all of you bold people when I was hiding my love for badly acted teen dramas? Where are all of you bold people now?
I still like badly acted teen dramas. Badly written teen fiction. Cheesy music ala Hanson and T-Swizzle. And I rocked the hell out of that first Nickleback album. I’m not going out of my way to hide any part of me anymore. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to feel embarrassed for liking Twilight because the cool kid said it was stupid. And I sure don’t want my children growing up feeling shamed for liking something.
But…maybe I’m thinking about it too much ¯\_(ツ)_/¯