You Are What You Love

1 Nov

I don’t wear this every day.

You know what’s gross? Snakes. There are some things you can hang with and some things you can’t, and snakes give me the heebie jeebies. Last night, I had the delightful opportunity to have a snake wrapped around my shoulders and allowed to snake about while I shifted uncomfortably and waited for the nice man to remove it from my person. Now, when we approached, it was clear that while I had no desire to be bedecked with serpents, my boyfriend wanted nothing more than the feeling of cool snakes on his bare neck. Who ended up with the snake-lace? Me. Of course, me.

Why are we drawn to force others into things they don’t want, need, or are downright scared of? Why was I physically carried onto a roller coaster at age 16 and why didn’t anyone let me out of the restraints when I whimpered pathetically to be set free? Did I grow as a person from riding Montu that day? I ride roller coasters now if that’s the order of the day, but I’m still filled with anxiety and dread for the first minute of the ride.

Do we need other people to enjoy what we enjoy to make us feel like our enjoyment is valid? I enjoy color-coding my to-do list every day, but I don’t tuck highlighters into my loved ones’ Christmas stockings. I do, however, have a long history of mixtapes and books and meals and trips to places someone else didn’t necessarily want to go. Snake Dude loves snakes and wants me to love snakes, too. We are all guilty. We share what we love, even if it’s unwanted. Sharing is caring and bonding and coercing. TS already loved the snake, and didn’t have to be convinced. I didn’t love the snake, but I still don’t love the snake. Maybe I never will, maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and have a gnarly hankering for slithery reptiles. But I didn’t buck the snake off and stomp on it with fiery passion, so I guess in the end, Snake Dude got what he wanted. What we all want, really. To have others know us through our interests. To feel accepted, if not desired.

As Jenny Lewis, former Wilderness Girl, said: “You are what you love, not what loves you back.” Accept, tolerate, deal with, and be open to, and one day find that you have grown to love what you didn’t think you could. At least that’s what happened with me and ‘Jersey Shore’. Snakes? That’s going to take a bit longer.

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