Do you know that feeling where some friends are ripping on some song, or musician, or genre, and you’re thinking, “but I like that”. But you don’t say anything, because it would be embarrassing. You don’t want them to think less of you. You want to fit in, and the easy way to fit in is to agree with them, or at least not disagree with them. And inside you make a note, “don’t tell these people / anyone that I like this thing”. And maybe you feel a little ashamed, like you should have better taste, or that you have a silly or unsophisticated view of the world.
Stop it. Stop it right now!
Liberate yourself to like whatever the fuck you want to. I was listening to Dave Grohl on The Nerdist and the perspective that emerged about liking what you like was awesome. It got me thinking about how I have guilty pleasures in music, and I need to promote them to straight up pleasures. For example, I like teen pop. I like Def Leppard. I like trance radio. Stereotypes in my head would make thing that these make some sort of weird, lame, ecstasy roller…. And maybe you think of me as that now that you know I like these. But fuck it, I like them and I’m gonna listen to them. And I’m not gonna change the radio station anymore when you get in my car.
There was this guy on the wrestling team in college. I was a 167 pounder, he was a 141 pounder, and man could he run. He wasn’t built like a runner, he was built like an ass-kicker. Like most of us, he was broad shouldered, a little short, and more fast-twitch muscles than anything. As part of our conditioning, we’d have to sprint 400s, or go on 5-10 mile runs. He was always at the front of the pack, with his yellow Sony walkman, tunes cranking. I always figured he was listing to Metallica, or some other high energy, angry, get fired up music to keep him fighting for the front of the line. One day I snuck a peak of his walkman, and the tape was labeled “Love Songs”. He had 90 fucking minutes of ballads on that tape, and that’s what fueled his drive. Ballads got him fired up. And he didn’t give a shit who knew it turns out. He wasn’t ashamed, he didn’t care what we thought, because he knew how it worked for him, and the results were impressive to see.
Be yourself sounds cheesy, and for me is frankly unactionable. Instead, just stop feeling bad about the things you like (as long as they don’t hurt other people…) Crank the volume and belt out your favorite guilty pleasure. Fuck everyone. Enjoy it. You deserve it. If they crap all over you for it, that’s on them, you’re still having fun, unburdened by your fears of redicule.