The other day, my mother was talking to me about a kid at school she talked to. She’s a security guard at a middle school that’s mostly filled with delinquents. This kid in particular however likes my mother because she listens to him and as such, confides in her. He told her how he wants to go to college but that the kids in his school make fun of him for it. So he gets into trouble like the other kids in order to keep appearances. He described it to living a double life. It reminded me about me when I was young and how I used to give in to the pressures of others.
When I was young, I was scared to let people know me. Rather, I was nervous to let people know what I liked, disliked, and felt in fear that I would be judged for it. I preferred to seem just like everyone else so that they would leave me alone. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself so I tried to blend in. I would never tell the other kids that I liked to read or that I liked video games or that I didn’t like toys. Instead, I would keep to myself, hope to be a insignificant fly on the wall and enjoy my interests alone.
I remember one time when I was in middle school, this kid who was in my class came up to me while class was letting out and asked me what kind of music I liked. At that time, I mostly liked older music. I liked to take my parents’ CDs and vinyl and listen to that as opposed to what the biggest video on MTV was. My favorite band was and still is The Rolling Stones but I wasn’t about to tell him that. I knew that he probably wouldn’t have even known who they were and probably would have made fun of me for liking some band no one’s ever heard of.
So I lied.
I told him I liked rap. He looked at me and started to giggle. “Crap? You like crap?” He laughed at me. “Hey guys! He likes crap!” Five other kids then started laughing and came over to taunt me. Damn it! I gave them the wrong answer! I thought everyone liked rap. Isn’t that what’s popular now? I looked down and away from them, grabbed my notebook and backpack and left the room as quickly but nonchalantly as I could. I didn’t want them to see how embarrassed I was. I’m not sure why I remember that one particular instance. It wasn’t the first time something like that had happened to me and it wouldn’t be the last.
Thankfully, I’m not like that nowadays. I’ve stopped caring about what people think as much and thankfully my gamer title with pride as well as my love for The Rolling Stones. Oddly enough, I do like more types of music now, including rap. However, I do still remember how it felt to try to be something you’re not just because you rather not be hassled for it. After all, it’s just music or video games or some superfluous interest. It’s not really important whether they know or not, right? The problem is that while doing that here or there may not matter, it adds up and eventually you misrepresent yourself to others and, eventually, yourself.
You don’t owe anyone the courtesy of false common interest at the expense of your identity.
Have you ever told people you were something you were not? I know I’m not alone in having experienced something like this. Let me know any stories like this you may have in the comments. Thanks for reading this more solemn post. Peace and Love, brothers and sisters! Colorwind out.