Thursday, January 31, 2013

Guest Post: Say "No" to Guilty Pleasures and Why Being Yourself is Totally Awesome

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Recently, I read a little quote from Foo Fighters front man and personal god, Dave Grohl, in which he proclaimed:
“I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you like fucking Ke$ha, then listen to fucking Ke$ha.”
And as I read these words, I nearly leapt in the air and pumped my fist victoriously because Mr. Grohl, the man of little bullshit, had spoken of the reality I have started to practice daily. So, for the love of Duck Dynasty beards, let’s all just stop feeling guilty and apologetic for our interests. *(Unless your interests include homicide, Holocaust denial, and/or the sport of curling.)
Guilty pleasures are a figment of the past. They are merely one of the many trivial ways we choose to marginalize each other. As a professional fan girl who once attempted to store her freak flag away in the farthest corner of her personality, I feel the need to preach to others that loving entertainment that some find “stupid” or “low brow” or “nerdy” or “polarizing” is actually really normal and totally awesome. So now is the time to proudly announce, “You know what, world? I actually really love musical theater, and The Avengers, and Honey Boo Boo Child, and Aladdin, and One Direction, and ‘Storage Wars.’”
Aren’t we made to feel guilty about enough things nowadays? From the lack of the right job or no job at all, to not having a significant other, to the inability to cook or keep a plant alive. Must we also feel ashamed of being super stoked Damon and Elena hooked up? Or embarrassed of your undying love for Andy Cohen? The answer is an emphatic, NO.
When I first arrived at college, seven hours away from home (yet still paying in-state tuition. God bless Texas.) I came prepared to adapt. Making friends was a necessity to survive. I quickly learned there wasn’t much to do in ole Lubbock, Texas besides study, drink alcohol, eat Whataburger’s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits, and get into shenanigans with friends. Not necessarily in that order. I couldn’t fail to create significant bonds in college and simply drive the 380 miles home on the weekends to see family.  
But how would I ever make these relationships happen if people knew of my large collection of homemade Harry Potter shirts? Or god forbid, what if they decided to put my iPod on shuffle and got an earful of “Colors of the Wind”? Thus began the process of dismantling my freak flag I wasn’t even aware I was flying while in high school, folding it into that triangle thing, tucking it away, and subsequently hiding my love of all these random things behind the guise of irony.
Me on a daily basis
Cut to about two and a half years later and I was simply exhausted by all this pretending. I had an amazing group of friends and a boyfriend, so apparently my little attitude of “I kinda sorta like that thing I’m actually obsessed with” managed to work in my favor. But around late April of 2011, I began to slowly begin my descent into the world of “Glee,” easily the most polarizing show on the face of the Earth.  By the end of the second season, I was completely and incandescently obsessed.  My friends on the other hand, seemed to curse the very existence of the popular musical dramedy. But here I was, twenty-one years old, I had a terrific internship, and I was about to head into my last semester of college and it occurred to me. I really just don’t care.
          I don’t care that I love “Glee” and others don’t. It’s not like I’m holding a gun to their head and forcing them to watch it. But I am going to watch every single episode and cry and sing uncontrollably and if that bothers somebody, then that’s HIS OR HER problem.
          Thankfully, my lovely group of friends didn’t care I was a closeted (or maybe not so closeted) freakazoid either. In fact, I seem to have become to the go-to person for random information like “Was Rasputin real?” or “What year did that one movie with Nicolas Cage in which he was insane and gambling come out?” The answers are yes, and Snake Eyes (1998) respectively.
And you know what else? Someone’s getting a smack down the next time this happens:

INT - COLLEGE APARTMENT. LIVING ROOM. Random GIRL holding a cup of Hawaiian Punch and vodka in a “Sassy Bitch” pink goblet excitedly makes an announcement to a gaggle of girlfriends. Her voice not dissimilar to Kourtney Kardashian’s.

GIRL
Oh my god, you guys. We should watch Mulan. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if we watched Mulan right now? Because we’re like hot twenty somethings and therefore way too cool for it. We should watch it. It would be sooo funny.

GIRLFRIEND laughs hysterically, careful not to spill her drinks. She’s in the middle of a game of Edward Forty Hands.

GIRLFRIEND
Weren’t we like five when that came out? We should totally do it and then laugh about how lame we are the entire time.

Gaggle of girlfriends all laugh and take sips from their personal bottles of Boone’s Farm.
END SCENE.
*All hypothetical activities taking place in hypothetical scene are based on personal experience.

        One. Mulan is a terrific animated film. The music is amazing and it’s actually pretty depressing. And two. Sit down and watch the movie for real before I curse you. Unless you actually hate Mulan. I don’t know how that’s possible, but that’s fine too. This should apply to all of our little quirks and interests. If you have the ability to quote anything Nene Leakes says verbatim, then do it and own it! And at the end of the day, does it really matter? Does it really matter that I spent a weekend watching every episode of “Teen Wolf?” I loved every second of it. If you ask me, that’s what truly matters. If you own up to what you enjoy, then no one can ever use it against you.
Why must the content and reputation of what we choose to watch, read, or listen to also comment on the content of our character?
        Books, music, television, theater, movies; every single ounce of these mediums are subjective. So stop denying the night you watched the “Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami” marathon or the fact you know every word to every song from Wicked. It’s okay. It’s cool.
        What’s not cool is pretending to like things you actually hate, denying things you actually love, and basing friendships off it. There is nothing more annoying than someone who pretends to like something simply because of what it might say about them. I believe my 6th grade self in my uber Avril Lavigne phase would have used the term “poser.” I would much rather my friends be truly emotionally invested in “Pretty Little Liars” than be pretending to love “The Stranger” by Albert Camus…though there’s nothing wrong with Camus, I really loved that book.
        For example, I hate dub step. I could listen to Skrillex in my spare time or I could toss a couple forks into a garbage disposal. But there are people whom I consider friends, who love it, and I love them for it!
        There is also nothing more annoying than someone who is indifferent to everything. Opinions make us people. Loving creativity of all kinds makes us interesting. Withholding mean-spirited judgment makes us allies. So own up to what brings you joy. There are people out there who love it just as much as you do! Those guilty pleasures of yours are now simply just, pleasures.



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