Do you remember that feeling when you discover something for the very first time? That beginning period where everything is just incredibly magical and you can’t believe you’ve lived your life without this thing for all these years… It really isn’t something you can describe, it’s just a feeling.
Remember when you told someone about this new thing you just discovered and they shit on it? It’s the worst. They act like you’re a complete idiot for not knowing about this thing before and how you’re probably only into it because it’s trendy. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I am 100% guilty of this. I think that we all are. I don’t think my mom will ever let me live down the fact that I finally invested in Birkenstocks, after YEARS of making fun of them when she wore them. It’s hard not to feel some pain when the things you’ve wanted for years that are hard to find… are suddenly really easy to find because everyone wants it. My years of having to wait for Spirit Halloween Stores to open just so I could find black lipstick and nail polish are over… but I’m still salty about all the girls in high school who made fun of me for black nail polish now wearing black nail polish. And that will probably never change. I’m sorry, I’m only human.
In case you didn’t know what a “Gatekeeper” is, according to Urban Dictionary, the term “Gatekeeper” means: “One who devalues other’s opinions on something by claiming they’re not entitled to the opinion because they’re not qualified, the rightful decision-maker, a part of a particular group, etc.” So basically, a bunch of entitled jerks.
The first time I really remember encountering Gatekeepers was in high school. I was raised on a lot of Classic Rock and Queen was played a lot in my house. In fact, I had a huge crush on Freddie Mercury when I was a young girl. My dad had “The Game” in his truck and it’s still one of my favorite albums. One day, a couple of guys in my class were talking about Queen. I casually mentioned that I loved Queen. They immediately pounced. They wanted me to recite all the band members names, tell them my favorite Queen song (after snottily stating, “I bet it’s Bohemian Rhapsody, isn’t it?”), and name all their albums with the year that they were made. I was horrified. I didn’t know all these answers. I got a lot of shit from those guys for years. I wasn’t able to even say I liked any band without them calling me a poser or trying to force me to extensive background checks for any band or artist. I guarantee that none of those guys could have even answered their own questions they drilled me with. But that’s the thing, I was already branded as a stupid girl who wouldn’t possibly know Classic Rock. Don’t worry, I’ve had men drill me for my Classic Rock knowledge my entire life. It’s as if they need to prove that I’m even worth the air that they breathe and it’s truly disgusting.
Another fun high school story… As many of you know, I read Tarot Cards. I’ve really dived into it these past few years and it’s something I really enjoy doing. You may be asking yourself why I didn’t start sooner. In high school, we had a “Ides of March” festival at school that the Juniors (maybe Sophomores? I don’t remember) would put on. I was one of the tarot readers one year and I was juiced. Here was a school reason on why I needed to buy a deck of cards that I had been drawn to for years (but afraid to buy cause lol Catholic kid). I bought a deck and was pretty overwhelmed. There’s 78 cards. SEVENTY-EIGHT. There was no way I was going to be able to memorize all of those so quickly but I desperately wanted to learn. Another girl who had been assigned to tarot reading took me aside. According to her, she had been reading for years and wanted me to know that if I couldn’t just look at the card and immediately understand the meaning, I wasn’t meant to read tarot cards. She claimed that there wasn’t any “studying” involved. It was purely something that you just ~knew~. That one talk stuck with me for a really long time. After that, I stowed away my cards and periodically would take them out and see if I finally just ~knew~ what they all meant. Spoiler alert: I did not. It wasn’t until I met a very lovely and wonderful woman (and tarot reader!) named Sally, that I finally understood that it takes practice and it’s something you learn, not just ~know~. Who knows why that girl decided to tell me that. Maybe it was a power trip or jealousy or just mean girl syndrome. Either way, I’m glad that I finally decided to go for it.
Sometime in college, I really wanted to get a Batman tattoo. I’ve always loved Batman and I had wanted this specific tattoo for years. Why did I wait so long? Well, I was collecting old Batman comics and reading through the Batman Encyclopedia that I picked up. I wanted to make sure that if anyone saw this tattoo, they would dread the minute they needed me to prove that I was a fan of Batman. I literally studied Batman because I was so paranoid that I would get bullied about my Batman tattoo. I remember telling Jessica that I really wanted this tattoo and the reason behind not getting it. Jessica immediately scoffed and said, “I guarantee that any basement dweller who questions you wouldn’t know half the stuff you already know about Batman”. And she was right. So, I got the tattoo (it’s a Bat Symbol on my left hip). Not even going to lie, I partly got it in a spot that not many people see specifically so I didn’t have to deal with bullying about it. Isn’t that sad?
I would be a very rich woman if I had a penny for every person I’ve heard saying, “I did it before everyone thought it was cool”. Heck, I’ve said it. Believe me, during this past summer when everyone “discovered” Fleetwood Mac (hi, where are your parents?), I was rolling my eyes. This past Christmas, I saw at least 30 people finally get a record player. And don’t get me started on the importance of journaling and the bullying I’ve gotten since 7th grade for journaling. There’s always going to be things that you were super into before anyone else (you know of) was into it. There will always be knowledge that you can share with the world that is brand new knowledge.
So why are you so hell bent on keeping it a secret? If something is this cool, why not share it with the world? If someone wants to get a tattoo on their own damn body of something you KNOW you know more about than them, why not let them? Is it your body? Is it your money? No. So chill out and stop worrying so much about what other people are doing. If it makes them happy, let them have it. You can’t stop that initial “Oh my god, I knew about this thing before it was so freaking cool and now look at everyone” but you can stop how you go from there. Sure, it might be that one friend you have that gets into everything that’s ~trendy~ but whatever. Are you a real friend of theirs if you don’t want them to just be happy? Plus, they’re spending their money on all these trends, not you. Who cares?
Do this exercise with me. Take a deep breath. Think about a think that you’re obsessed with that has recently become a trend… Now think about why it pisses you off so much that it’s popular. Is it because you were made fun of for liking these things when you were younger and now it’s annoying as hell to have so many of those people into it? I get it. That sucks and people can be relentless jerks. Is it because you were bullied for “not knowing enough” about that subject so now you dedicate yourself to learning that subject and you feel like you’ve invested so much time and money into this so everyone else needs to too? That sounds exhausting dude, I think you need to drink some water and maybe go for a nice long walk or something. In the end, something you have always loved (before it was cool) gaining popularity isn’t going to diminish your love for this thing. It’s not going to make this thing just disappear because you loved it first. It’s going to be okay, I promise.
Oh, and Bohemian Rhapsody is a fucking epic song. Bite me.