You Are Who You Are

A response to the Retroist article “Not Everyone Will Like What You Like.”

I was reading this post on Retroist yesterday, which discusses the upcoming movie Ready Player One, but also how it has taken a healthy lashing from people critical of the nostalgia-heavy film.  The questions the article brings up are if we’ve had enough of eighties pop culture, and is the “critical” response (they’re not real critics, but peoples of the internet who critique) a backlash against nostalgia.

I agree with Retroist’s response to those questions:

“I am going to see Ready Player One because I am into it. But I am into a lot of things that people are not into. It is folly to think that everyone will be. We have been lucky enough to live in bit of a geek culture explosion. I would like to think that it will last forever, but if I have learned anything about pop culture over the years, it will not.”

Perfect response.  This is why you see something, do something, or be who you are.  Because you are an individual, and you’re entitled to do what you enjoy.  There is no “if/and/but” about it. It doesn’t matter if something is trendy – if you enjoy it, be an individual and enjoy it.

The biggest problem with society as of late is the constant harping by those who feel to be the “authority figures” on you (when they aren’t) to conform and like the same things, think the same way, vote the same way, or just be like everyone else…or worse, them.

Um, nope.

In regards to Retroist’s response to the harsh critics of nostalgia, they can take a long walk off a short pier.  Nostalgia (and the geek culture that goes hand-in-hand with it), are here for the moment. Both are trendy, but have also had a group of people who were into them long before it was trendy.  We are the innovators, and even if the “trend” dies, the concept will still exist.  That alone is what keeps any interest going for the innovators.

Will both things go away as trends?  Yes.  That is the nature of pop culture.  Retroist is right in that respect.  But it will never go away.  It’s like any sitcom that has lived in constant syndication longer than the actual original airing , and still garners a huge following, even as the new target audience gets younger and younger and moves through different generations.

Seriously, when did The Golden Girls become so trendy?  I knew I loved it growing up, it was funny and smart, and had a whole legion of child fans back then.  Now I see all kinds of tie-in merchandise that these ladies could have gotten ancillary for years ago.  Heck, give Betty a cut of that money!

Anyway, before I get off topic…

I’d like to further expand on Retroist’s response, and discuss how individualism applies here.

I’ve spent most of my life (rather inadvertently) not being like everyone else.  I’ve struggled to conform and do what everyone else does or likes.  And while I’ve had moments where I think I should just “be like everyone else,” I’ve found that the people who truly care are the ones who embrace my personality and self as it is.

Everytime I feel like I should be like my family (none of whom I have anything in common with, other than shared bloodlines), I realize that maybe things would be different for me.  And not necessarily the way I want them to be.  I always craved athleticism, (what I perceived to be) popularity, and to be able to do things with them.  I just always wanted to belong.  I wanted to be able to converse with my family in a meaningful way.  Even in my thirties, I still feel that way at times.

I’ve come to the realization that who I am is more than what I have in common with others.  It is my personality that reflects who I am.  I’ve made meaningful friendships once I’ve dropped this pretense that I have to be like everyone else.  As I’ve become more individualistic and less conform-esque, the happier I’ve been.

I’m always going to have to remind myself to do something because it makes me happy, without thinking about how someone else may feel about it.  I’m sure there are people around me who roll their eyes at the things I enjoy.  I know people (especially family members) that ignore things I enjoy and openly gush about (like the geek that I am).  I don’t like the idea of that, but I understand that they don’t take interest in the things I’m interested in, much in the way I don’t take interest in the things they like.

I won’t apologize for not liking the things others in my family circle like.  I love my ability to write, to dance (I physically can’t anymore!), to be true to myself and the people who want to be around me.  If others don’t like me for what I am, they don’t have to.

Likewise, we don’t have to defend our interests to the total strangers of the internet, who critique everything and beat people down to their level while screaming “CONFORM!”, or worse, questioning why someone likes what they like.  When we defend our interests, we continue to keep the concept of things alive and well.

Ready Player One, to be the individual and enjoy the things you were meant to be and enjoy?


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