I am 23 years old and I sincerely like One Direction (1D). This is a recent relevation of mine since I just listened to them about two months ago (it’s easy to avoid top 40 hits when you don’t have a car). I kept seeing them trend on twitter so I went to youtube and listened to “What Makes You Beautiful”. I laughed because the video reminded me of all the small things by Blink 182 but I laughed even more because I actually didn’t hate the song. I didn’t hate it at all, in fact, I liked it. I listened to more songs and I liked them too.
I’m no stranger to pop music. Like a lot of 9 year olds of my generation I was a big NSYNC fan. Later, I would put Ace of Base or The Cardigans on playlists for 90s parties (thank you art school). For some reason, it’s okay to dance to something if you were ironically liking it or if you were drunk. But listening to it during your everyday life? That’s weird! That’s crazy! Don’t you know that music sucks!? At least those were the thoughts that flooded my mind after my introduction to One Direction. Nonetheless, I would not ignore my growing love.
Of course when I told my friends about my new interest they cringed and were surprised that I liked them. Not only am I way past One Direction’s demographic but I like foreign films and russian lit. Shouldn’t I know better? I have years of music listening experience and several years of perusing music blogs for new music. They were right, I did know better. I then realized that all those people I use to feel sorry for at the cinema for seeing Transformers probably knew better too. Maybe they just wanted to see a fun movie or thought Shia Labeouf or Megan Fox were hot. We shouldn’t assume that people are ignorant or feel bad for them because their tastes vary from ours.
Liking a pop group doesn’t mean I like Czech new wave any less and it certainly doesn’t mean I’m chucking all my vinyl into the dumpster for more NOW cds. Part of growing up is experiencing and trying out things that you thought were weird. If we never branched out we’d all be eating dino nuggets (ok cute but think of your arteries) and only listening to music our parents played. Don’t let what other people see you as define your interests and your actions. Maybe you’re ‘goth’and secretly like Ke$ha or ‘preppy’ and really into folk metal this month. That’s ok. Take accountability for your actions, you don’t need to be embarrassed because other people want you to fit into a neat little box.
Mrs. Harry Styles
We’ve stopped watching lions shred humans apart in colosseums only to do it ourselves. Metaphorically, usually.
I had this belief that to be human, was to be empathetic. Not necessarily kind or friendly, but on some rudimentary level, you could relate t someone else. I’m not sure about that anymore.
Social darwinism is a concept that many assholes probably haven’t heard of but they subscribe to its beliefs. You see someone mutter to a homeless person, “get a job” or roll their eyes at someone using food stamps in the checkout line.
I don’t have the answers to why this happens. Part of me believes that it must be the isolation of our culture. In this age of instant communication we can not imagine what it is like to be someone else. Even those who’ve gone through hardship and have pulled themselves out of it forget, that everyone is not them. Not everyone has strong support system, or dammit, the same amount of tenacity.
This is dangerous, so many in our world are making the leap from “asshole” to full fledged pieces of shit. Like many others, I saw the Amanda Todd video. Like most, I was upset yet not surprised. Every so often one of these videos goes viral after a teen commits suicide. What I did find surprising were the many people making jokes or celebrating this girl’s death.
We all make choices and we live with them. For most of us, are mistakes are not published on the internet. We keep our regrets to ourselves and try to forget. Everyone’s sadness is unique and there’s alone. The struggle that others go through does not necessarily alleviate the pain of yours. The death of your two dogs doesn’t make me forget the death of mine.
Let’s all take two seconds to think about someone else and not how they can harm or benefit us. Lest we all become pieces of shit.
"When did you become chicken shit?"-My father.
Well, not really. No he didn’t say that but I’m sure he thought it. Somewhere from infantile gymnastics and in-between the fourth grade, I lost my nerve. My teenage sense of invincibility was a ways off. Social charm and graces eluded me but I didn’t mind. I had the company of my dad and that was enough.
I climbed down the pool ladder. I was slow and deliberate. I paddled my way back to the shallow end and stuck to the wall. Like a parasite, I had found my spot and wasn’t planning on moving. I watched the neighborhood kids do handstands and cannonballs with more amazement than jealousy.
I was with my father, so I wasn’t so embarrassed that I was hanging around on the side of the pool than the diving pool. “My dad doesn’t let me go on the diving board” I would later say.
My refuge was underneath the surface. It was below where I felt safest. I became a shark and could hold my breath indefinitely. Today, I think my limit is thirty seconds on a good day. On the pool floor, I could see that I was in no danger. There was no gaping hole or murderous monster lurking. Later, I would hear about the girl who drowned because her hair got stuck in a plug and that would open up old wounds.
So I stayed under the water. I had speedo goggles on after all. My father accepted all of race challenges. I would swim my tiny heart out where my father casually floated.
The days past and I was having fun. I enjoyed these times with my father but he sensed my shyness, my fear. He took longer strolls to the food stand, even forgetting to bring me back a hot dog sometimes. “You’ll get a cramp Annie”.
The days felt longer and I felt myself getting bored. You can only time yourself holding your breath a few dozen times before the novelty wears thin. From a mixture of desperation and boredom, I detached myself from the pool wall and climbed up the diving ladder.
I crept across the board. My toes grabbed the edge of the board and I saw my young life about to to end. But here I was. It was too late to go back for a line had formed behind me. The plunge was quick and thrilling. The best part was feeling my body sink twelve feet below and torpedoing back up for air.
As summer disappeared into the fall, I felt a confidence grow inside me. Ready for whatever surprises the fourth grade would throw at me. Chlorine cleans all things, even a chicken shit like me.