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Liking things - Lindsey Kuper [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Lindsey Kuper

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Liking things [Feb. 4th, 2009|02:01 pm]
Lindsey Kuper
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Today Kevin keturn wrote something that struck a chord with me: "Admitting to liking things is scary." I want to share what I said in response.

When I was in grade school, middle school, and the early part of high school, there was a horrible assignment that I somehow ended up having to do in some form or another every year: design a "coat of arms" for yourself. A lot of people enjoyed doing this, but I hated it because the idea of committing to paper a few things that would describe The Essence Of Myself, Now And Forever, was absolutely terrifying. (Especially in the form of a drawing, which is something I was never very good at.)

For years I was also scared to buy music, because what if I bought some album only to find out later that it sucked? It wasn't wasted money or time I was worried about -- it was that I was afraid that the act of buying the album would make it go onto some kind of permanent record of What I Officially Liked, and I wouldn't be able to go back and change it later. How was I supposed to know in advance what I really liked -- what belonged on my permanent record and what didn't? It was much safer to just never admit to liking anything. But I was miserable.

When I was about 17, everything changed. I stumbled across some music that I knew I really liked -- not because anyone else suggested it, or because it seemed like I should like it, but because I just did like it for its own sake. The music itself made me happy, but the existence of something about which I could comfortably say "This makes me happy" made me ecstatic. Once I could come right out and say that I liked something -- anything -- I had one foundation brick upon which to build a whole identity.

Since age 17 I've just been getting happier and happier. In ten years or so, I might even be able to do that "coat of arms" assignment, although it might not take the form my teachers had envisioned.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: empty_fork
2009-02-04 07:22 pm (UTC)
still working on this one.
here on lj: interest list: empty.
my time, at least, is full.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2009-02-04 08:32 pm (UTC)
Man. At age 16, if you'd asked me to make an interest list, I think I would've started crying.
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From: majorpsycho
2009-02-04 08:06 pm (UTC)
I feel the same way but on the opposite end of the scale. I don't want to make a permanent and forever statement against something before I've given it due diligence. I can throw out "awesome" or "I love that" on something I've seen, worn, or heard once. But I like to think I'm more hesitant against berating something completely before a full exploration.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2009-02-05 05:38 am (UTC)
I really like that attitude! These days, I try to not make assumptions about anything at all. The world has surprised me too many times.
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From: majorpsycho
2009-02-05 02:45 pm (UTC)
I try my best not to make assumptions. The world has also offered surprises more than the control freak in me would like to admit. But sometimes you just have that gut instinct that you will or will not like something, and it's just a matter of going with those feelings and not letting the world pressure you into painting it into a box of "good" or "bad." Like you responded to the comment beneath mine, feelings just are.
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[User Picture]From: pmb
2009-02-04 10:25 pm (UTC)
I've had to embrace the fact that not all of the things I like are necessarily actually any good, and that I may not like them for rational, or even "good" reasons. It's been weird so far, but oddly liberating.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2009-02-05 05:36 am (UTC)
Yeah. A long time ago, when I was going through a messy breakup, a friend pointed out that it was counterproductive to make judgments about one's own feelings. He said that one's feelings -- liking things, not liking things, or whatever -- just kind of are, and that if one feels a certain way, one should just embrace the fact that one feels that way, not worry about whether the feeling is good or bad, because it's really neither. That sounds kind of like what you're talking about.
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[User Picture]From: jes5199
2009-02-05 06:21 am (UTC)

coat of arms?

januarychill once made a Skirt of Arms...
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2009-02-05 07:28 am (UTC)

Re: coat of arms?

On me it's more likely to be a Tattooing of Arms.
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[User Picture]From: jes5199
2009-02-05 07:30 am (UTC)

Re: coat of arms?

like this?


Edited at 2009-02-05 07:30 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2009-02-05 07:35 am (UTC)

Re: coat of arms?

Probably not exactly like that.
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[User Picture]From: keturn
2009-02-05 09:12 am (UTC)

why I let you do all the talking

I can see that, although I never had the particular worry about permanence. It's more about fear of liking the wrong thing. That was enough that the admission makes me vulnerable. And there's some other worry in there about how liking or caring about something opens the door to some sort of obligation.
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[User Picture]From: linettasky
2009-02-05 09:12 pm (UTC)

Re: why I let you do all the talking

Yeah, this. I've been trying to learn that if I just like stuff passionately, the judgment won't bother me. But I am still embarrassed when I know that what I like isn't cool/interesting/whatever. Or when I just don't know shit. My coworker, who used to be an indie music freak, was babbling about someone who was in town recently. I deduced that it was a musician, but not well enough to avoid the look of surprise when she realized I didn't know what she was talking about. Music is especially fraught with worry.
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[User Picture]From: royhuggins
2009-02-05 09:48 am (UTC)
In ten years or so, I might even be able to do that "coat of arms" assignment, although it might not take the form my teachers had envisioned.

So, it won't be made with macaroni? Or it will be made with macaroni? Not sure what you mean.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2009-02-05 12:19 pm (UTC)
Well, I wasn't planning on it, but now that you've suggested it, I see that there is no way that I can not make it out of macaroni.
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[User Picture]From: leadsynth
2009-02-06 08:34 am (UTC)
An interest list or a coat of arms is hard to make out of a social context, so when you grow up less socialized and less steeped in pop culture than most, you are bad at making a coat of arms.
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