June 6

Once, a youth worker friend of mine told me that one of his high school students came to him distraught. Thinking there was something wrong at home or maybe that he’d experienced a nasty breakup with his girlfriend, he inquired about what was wrong.

“It’s terrible,” he said. “You see, I really like this band [name redacted].”

My friend nodded and asked, “What happened? Did the band break up? Did something happen?”

“No, it’s not that,” the high schooler continued. “It’s that a bunch of people in my school just discovered them, so now they’re ruined. I can’t listen to them anymore because they’re not cool now that everyoneelselikes them.”

True story. It’s tempting to modulate our own likes and dislikes based on popular opinion. It’s not “cool” to like cheesy pop music or pop art. It’s considered artistically immature to laugh at a silly comedy. You’re supposed to only like dark, dense films that force you to confront the dysfunction of contemporary society, right?

Here’s my advice: like what you like, unapologetically. Everything is useful in your creative process. If it makes you feel the way you want to feel, like it without remorse and don’t worry about what other people think.

Worry less about how others perceive your taste and seek to let the world inspire you in whatever way it does.

Just like what you like, unapologetically.


is there something you enjoy that you find a little embarrass­ ing? Why?

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