I was digging through my pic folder the other day and came across a screenshot I took of a couple of years ago of a Humans Of New York post 1 :

Funny enough, it’s something I’ve been thinking about recently.

What seems like forever ago, I went to a School for the Arts for my secondary education. I took Visual Arts and I remember the mindset in the above comment all too well. If it was classical, it was good. If it was modern, and symbolic, it was good. If it was anywhere near what was considered mainstream? The teachers would tear it apart. Mock it. Kick it to the curb.

That was the mindset that sunk in and lived in me for the longest time for Visual Art and, especially, with music.

I used to define myself more by shitting on things that I disliked rather than promoting what I liked. This meant that I disliked the people who enjoyed the thing I disliked. When I was a teenager, Metal was my thing. Iron Maiden. Metallica. Slayer. You name it.

Yet, in amongst Master Of Puppets, Hell Awaits, and Powerslave, I had a copy of The Joshua Tree and I listened to so much at home that the tape wore out and broke. And let me tell you, I only listed to this at home. I was more frightened at the idea of my friends finding out that I liked U2 2 than I was at the thought of my parents finding my small stash of porn magazines.

Think about all the “pure” metal heads/alternatives/emos/whatever who are running around saying “think for yourself” and “don’t be a sheep” will then turn around and ridicule you for listening to the wrong music. Or genre. Or sub-genre.

Think about all the “refined” people with their nose in the air and their pinky fingers sticking out who look down on those who like Taylor Swift, or some other form of “lesser” art.

I’m kind of pissed that it took me until my mid forties to realize that there is no right or wrong and you can like whatever you want and others can like whatever they want. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter.

We have a short, finite amount of time on this floating rock, why waste it worrying what people think of what you like or shitting on what makes other people happy?

Fuck being refined. Just be yourself and let others be themselves.

1: If I ever find the actual post again, I’ll link it properly.
2: And all these years later we find that Lars loves them … I also had, and still have, a huge love for 80s new wave/pop yet it took me all these years to honestly admit it. There was a point in the early 2000’s where it was cool to like 80’s pop, so long as you were at an 80’s Dance night at a local club. Now pretty much everyone admits that it’s all good and always has been and it’s ok to love it.