August 1, 2018

Being a Fan

1:48 AM

I'm now going into week 2 of 2 as a New York City tourist. Being a tourist is pretty lame for multiple reasons, but that's a topic for another time. I've been maintaining a terrible sleep schedule and doing pretty much none of what a traditional tourist would do. But that's seriously a post for another time. Also, I'm not supposed to talk about doing nothing, remember?

Everybody has things they like, right? For example, those of you who know me well know that I like a variety of things, like anime, or video games, or music. Typically, we'd call that being a fan. I'm an anime fan. I'm a video game fan. Et cetera et cetera.

But for me, being a fan of a general concept or project is slightly different from being a fan of a person in general. I have songs that I like and games that I like, but I often find it hard to respect the actual person behind those creations. There are a few. ClariS, for example. Or Bob Ross. But it's always been hard for me to easily go, "Wow, this person is really amazing". Especially when the person is successful in a specific field that I also dabble in.

Today, I discovered the styling brand Boomslank (, which makes cool art and puts it on stuff. I really like what they've created and I'll probably buy some of their merchandise, but I won't tell that to others. I won't sing praises for other people. I won't be a fan of others. If you ask me, I'll probably just say that they're okay. Because as long as I admit that other people are better than I am, I will always be a failure.

At least, that's what I thought was the truth.

Spoiler spoiler, this probably stems from my childhood in an Asian household, and worse, my experience growing up in the Bay Area. Much like the rest of my problems. But this one in specific has been a part of me for a very long time. I spent the majority of my time as a middle schooler (and half of my high school) being compared to my friends and classmates by, well, pretty much everyone. Comparison and competition are classic themes of our culture, so much so that my parents would show me random articles of kid geniuses who were on their way to the top already. At first, they would say things like, "see what other kids are doing with their time" or "look how ahead they are". It'd make me feel pretty bad.

But instead of focusing on improving myself to catch up, I would make excuses. Maybe those people didn't deserve their success. They weren't actually that good. They were just lucky, or knew the right people. The more I was belittled for not being as good as others, the more I came to hate the skills and creations of others. Eventually, I just started to say that everything was bad. Because I genuinely believed that everything else was bad.

My parents eventually stopped saying those kinds of things. But I know that sentiment still lingers inside of them. And every time I find something cool, I still have to tell myself that it is okay to like it. It's okay to be a fan of other people. The success of others do not diminish my own accomplishments, and the abilities of others do not detract from mine.

This is exceptionally short. I'll probably write on this topic again. Probably not. There's not much to say, anyways. But be sure to remind me that everything is okay.

- Sam