After yesterday's blog entry, I was struck by the responses I received. So many of you have dealt with the "non-reader" and the masses of those folks that equate reading a floppy ole' comic book with sheer geekery or social apathy. What is fascinating is that in general, as folks get older, they seem to get less tolerant of those who are different. They can put any kind of mask on that they want, but it is still apparent that if a person doesn't come in a cookie cutter set they will be ostracized.
One thing I have always made sure to do growing up was to observe what I call the "Girl Rule". For those of you who may be unfamiliar, there are is a bit of a code that most moms pass on to their daughters. My mother always told me that when I was complimented, I needed to find at least one positive thing to say to the person who did so in response. She felt that it was a bit of "paying it forward" in that respect. In my lifetime, I have spent a great deal of time trying to spread that positivity towards others, knowing that I would not always get it in return.
Needless to say, I have run into this more in the past couple of years then ever before. Since I use the "Girl Rule" with both men and women, what has really resonated is the fact that there are a lot of shitty people out there who really don't care about other people's feelings as long as they are getting their own gratification. If that means having the smartest kid in the class or the coolest car, so be it. That is what butters their bread.
What rubs me wrong is when I am approached like I was yesterday. I don't know these people well, but I am trying to use the politeness that my parents ingrained in me. I always try to treat folks with respect and give them the benefit of the doubt. When it isn't reciprocated, I am not very surprised but am most definitely disappointed. Having it happen at the gym while I am changing my shirt just makes it ten times worse. God knows we don't want to go down the road of my horrible physical self esteem. At the gym it is like "Average Heidi meet Barbie", you know? To get ridiculed about reading comics just makes it worse.
Reading comics isn't something I ever used to admit to. When I would go downtown to pick up my weekly pull list, I just used to tell folks I was going to the bank or doing errands. After meeting my hubby, that secrecy was out the window. Jim not only worked at the comic book store, but almost every shirt he owned had a comic book character on it. By embracing my man, I embraced my geekery in all it's glory. I haven't looked back since... until yesterday.
I think I liked it better when I kept a lower profile at the gym. My workout partner is pretty well known there and has been featured in local advertising for winning last year's "Get in Shape" contest. As a past winner myself, and one of the few women to workout in the notorious iron room in the basement, it is impossible to stay under the radar. I am at the crossroads.
From here on out, I am going to tell anyone who asks that I love reading comics and I don't care who knows it. I will be prepared for these people to break my "Girl Rule" and be rude. I don't need their validation, that is for sure. If anything, they need to work on breaking out of their small boxes that don't allow them to be anything but robots who live in the system. What fun is that?