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Do you remember when your choice in music could make or break your social standing?

I do.

ImageIt seems very, very silly in retrospect, but I distinctly remember that time in my life.  I would bring my Sony Discman to school so I could listen to Tori Amos in the library (cool, I know), but I would play it at the lowest possible volume so that there was absolutely no chance that anyone could hear “Cornflake Girl” trickle out.  I was already at the very bottom of the social ladder, so any perceived individuality would… would…

Would what, exactly?

What the hell was the big deal?  Why couldn’t I like something that wasn’t on the Billboard Top 100 and just talk about it?  What made me think that someone had the right to judge me for not listening to the same tightly proscribed genre of music as they did?  Cripes, you could have drawn political borders around the cliques in my school and their allowable songlists; the social groups to which I barely belonged were strictly alt rock and Christian alternative, and deviation was not tolerated.

I was just thinking about this and I got seriously angry. 

All the more so because I know people who still act like this.  People that pride themselves on having playlists populated entirely by bands that no one has ever heard of.  They equate anything popular with low quality, and sneer at those that deign to be part of the masses.  Across the battle-lines stand people who just as obnoxiously only listen to Virgin Radio and shun anyone that hasn’t attended a Rihanna concert.

And these are grownups. 

I play my personal selection of music more proudly these days, but I still have to fight that feeling of self-consciousness, that leftover damage from Grade 7 when I was first cut down for not liking Nirvana enough.

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”  Kurt Cobain