The best day of my life was the day I stopped hating so many things.
“The arctic monkeys are playing? Ugh, I hate their music.”
“Neil Gaiman. Ugh, I hate his writing.” (sorry Neil. I think you’re a lovely person. I truly do. I want to love your writing. I just don’t.)
“I can’t believe people like game of thrones. I hate it.”
“I hate when ______ do ______”
There are so many things in our life that we ‘hate’. Be it women, to wonderwoman, we all hate more things than we can count on our hands, at any given time. And we’re very vocal about it.
We live in a world where we can hate a lot of things, because we’re being exposed to so many things. And that’s a great thing, because it means that, thanks to the internet and all the goodness of modern life, we have access to more culture, more opinions, more…well…everything! A big hoo-rah for our modern knowledge, but the caveat is that now we must form opinions on all. These. Things.
And more often than not, we’re snobs about it.
With the rise of the open internet came the rise of the hipster, proclaiming, proudly, their lordly knowledge over esoteric areas of common things. Liking things before the far-flung masses laid their grubby paws on them. Knowing things that others did not know. Popularity, common knowledge, being ‘known’ was frowned upon. Similar to the ‘hardcore’ or ‘true’ nerds in geek culture, the concept is ‘you’re not a true fan of ____ like I am.’
I am better than you.
I know more than you.
Oftentimes, while smoking their alabaster pipes in clothes that belonged to long-dead grandpas, they’ll sigh about the long-lost days when the arctic monkies weren’t mainstream. When they couldn’t hear their songs on the radio, or listen to teen girls moon over their bands. When their favourite things weren’t successful and popular…
Isn’t that what we want from our favourite people making our favourite things? Don’t we want to see them succeed? Don’t we want to be able to talk to people, be they your friends and family, or even just your favourite barista, about the things we love? Isn’t love meant to be shared?
I love that some of my favourite books are displayed proudly at the bookstore. I don’t have to struggle to explain who Hayao Miyazaki, or Felicia Day, or Of Monsters and Men are to the people I love. They’ve seen them, on TV, in the library, on the radio. And it’s nice.
And I’m tired of cringing whenever someone says they ‘love’ something. Whenever I express my own undying admiration for some piece of pop culture, some band, some artist. I remember after I finished my interview for art school, I happened to eavesdrop cough, overhear a professor tear in to a poor girl when she answered Frieda Kahlo as her favourite artist.
“KAHLO IS SO CHILDISH OF AN ANSWER. Why don’t you know of *insert very obscure artist reference here*?! I can’t believe I’d hear such a JUVENILE reference from someone who has this much talent!!” I almost felt sick. Because not only was he deriding one of my favourite artists (Oh god, I thought, does that mean I’m juvenile too?!?!) but he was digging in to a treasured artist that deserves every bit of recognition and love she gets.
It’s exhausting to hate so many things. It’s time and energy, all of it negative, that I really, badly, didn’t have.
So I quit hating as many things. I gave it up, like a bad habit (which it 100% is). I bite my tongue every time I start to speak up in a conversation, an old knee-jerk reaction I’m still trying to fight out of me.
Suddenly all that time and energy I spent on hating so many things was filled in with MORE things to love. More shows I could exclaim about. More books I could dig my teeth in to. More authors, more people, more quotes, more fandoms, more…everything. I was open to enjoying things instead of hating them, and that was so, so great.
***That being said, I do come up, from time to time, with things I love that are problematic, or things that are just plain problematic, in the media. There are still things I do, genuinely hate. Sexist things, racist things, Donald Trump…it’s ok to hate some things. Just be aware of what you’re hating. Be aware of how much energy you’re spending on something. Is it worth it? Understand why you hate them, have a reason, think it through. Hate is such a strong word - use it for the things that really, truly are the scum of the earth. And nothing more. ***