Lindsey Kuper (lindseykuper) wrote,
Lindsey Kuper

Liking things

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.

Tags: signal

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