Recently, I’ve been speaking with a number of companies that provide anonymous demographic and psychographic information designed to provide insights into one’s consumers. In looking at some of the segmentation profiles I found it interesting to re-examine how people are classified. It reminded me of the line from High Fidelity paraphrased to this example as grouped by ‘what they like, not what they are like.’
I won’t comment much about the profiles themselves but I will say it reinforced for me the notion of it’s ok to like what you like and be who you are going to be — the fact is inevitably you’ll never be alone in either.
And, that’s the point I hope I can pass along to baby after they’re born and old enough to begin to comprehend the complexity of the world. It is ok to like what you like and in a more grand term, be who you will be. And, you’ll have the support of your parents as you do it.
Sure, we aren’t going to necessarily support you if you decide you like some patently bigoted shit or want to be involved in a cult or something else that inevitably will hurt you and society. So long as its within the law, within the parameters accepted by school or extracurricular activities you chose to be involved with and, when the time comes, in line with your employer handbook and doesn’t clash with whatever other rules that come up while living under our roof…
Other than that, though, go nuts. Like having spiked blue hair? Go for it. It’s just as ok as if you want to have your normal hair. Like predictably written, pop-culture driven buddy comedies that feature overpaied but underacting a-listers? Enjoy. It’s just as ok as if you were into obscure underground indie foreign films. What to play oboe? Double reed it up. It’s just as ok as if you wanted to spend your free time perfecting becoming a ping-pong player. Interested in rocking out to death metal with dad? Bring on the mosh. It’ll be just as accepted as if you decided you could only sing along to Z100. Want to read ‘trashy’ romance novels? Prop up your pillow. It’s just as OK as if you were to spend it reading psychology mags you stole from mom. Want to spend the day coding your own video games? Have at it. It’ll be just as ok as if you want to spend the day in the woods hiking or loitering on the street corner with your friends discussing whatever it is you people discuss. Want to watch Fox News? Ok, well, we have to draw a line somewhere, remember?
Anyway, you will likely catch flack from someone for any one of those choices at some point in your life. A friend will make fun of it. You might even get bullied by a school mate or coworker for it. Some of the “cool kids” might try and ostracize you simply because their individual taste has resulted in them liking something different than you.
But, the truth is, you aren’t alone in what you like. I promise you patawan, there are other people who share your interest. It might take you some time to find them and bond with them over your combined superpowers but it will happen.
And, with any luck, not only will you find and befriend these people who will unabashedly support the same things you support (and will unabashedly end up supporting you as a person as well) but of the things that you were the most made fun of for enjoying they will become the next big thing and your knowledge will provide you with an opportunity to shine as the awesome person you will have become by that point.
Just make sure while you’re looking for your interest soul mates, be sure to embrace others for who they are going to be too as best you can. Some of them will be assholes. Fuck them. But, I think you’ll find that most won’t be and in the process of you embracing their interesting interests you might just discover something interesting about yourself.
The reality of the situation is your mom and dad were just that kind of misfits when we were young and gravitated to things that weren’t always cool when we were younger. Well, let me rephrase that, in our own minds we were cool and that’s what was the most important thing. And that self-determination, that self-confidence, that self-awareness was what gave us the strength to become the successful individuals we became as adults.
We are who we are because of what we like and it is because of what we like we ended up together. Even now, we just keep on liking the things we like and because we like those things we keep making new friends who have supported us at some very special parts of our lives together.
Thus far, being true to who we are has worked out well. It wasn’t always the easiest road, but it’s the road we took.
So, embrace your inner misfit. Be who you are going to be. It’s the only you you have.