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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Geek T-Shirt: An Enlightenment In Process

My favorite online store had a sale today, 2 for 1 T-shirt sale. I can't tell you how excited I was to see the T-shirt that I had wanted for so long is finally on sale and that I can justify myself to purchase it. The problem is, I need to get another shirt to fully use the 2 for 1 promo. So off I went on my expedition to the unknown, trying to find the one that is destined for me. Or something that is at least nice enough for me to wear. Some instantly caught my eyes, like the Dia de las Muertas Star Wars character. It's passable enough, even though I am not exactly a Star Wars fans, but others were completely foreign to me. Had I been shopping in Amazon or other generic online store, I won't hesitate to be ignorant and just choose whatever I find fancy. Yet in this store I felt the pressure to actually know the things that I purchase, since it is sort of a specialty store. It enraged me.

I mean, come on. Yes, I never read Marvel or DC comics, or any comics except the ones that I randomly found in the library and that wasn't much. I never watch Walking Dead, I don't even watch any TV series in that matter. I have no idea who Deadpool is, and I know Spiderman and Batman and Superman only from old TV shows where Batman has the dad bod and comic bubbles. But. But! Why can't I buy whatever I like? Why can't I buy the cool tee with the cool picture of the spaceship in the sky, even though I have absolutely no idea what Normandy SR-2 is? Why can't I buy the Darth Vader Galactic Tour shirt that looks absolutely rad, even though I have never ever watch even a single Star Wars movie till the end? Why can't I buy Carol Corp tee even though I have never even heard about this character before? I can do whatever I want, right?!

My overly creative mind churned and whirled, and I was set to write an article on how categorization and labeling hurt everyone's perspective and making them unnecessarily boxed and eventually clashed against each other. I was set to tell the world that before coming to US I have no idea what nerds and geeks mean, and I feel no pressure to justify my purchase. If I like Cookie Monster, then for the love of cookie I will buy his T-shirt and no one will even wink. I did not feel pressurized, threatened, uncomfortable on making a simple purchased until I come to US. That means US is the one that has it wrong, right? If it feels okay before, and it feels worse now, then naturally the new condition is less favorable for me. Logic, my friend, logic.

Of course, one laundry load later I started to see that my logic is wrong. There is nobody that could stop me from wearing whatever I want, whether I am actually a fan girl or I just wear it with blissful ignorance. Nobody would stop me and say, "Excuse me, but please don't use your gorgeous pumps to walk in the mud. It is such a blasphemy to all fashionista in the world." There isn't any law passed that somebody has to be a skater to actually donning the skater style, or that you have to be really into Nirvana to adapt the grunge style. And yes, I can don whatever comic/movie/book character I want on my t-shirt, and nobody, absolutely nobody has the right to complain. Except my conscience. And that's what's stopping me.

Somehow, I get it. I just get it. It wasn't out of fear that the 'knowing' people (a.k.a the true fans) will judge me. If they did, I would simply give them a royal middle finger salute anyway. I dislike narrow-minded and judgmental people, and throughout this blog it's a recurrent theme to remind my readers on how NOT to be narrow-minded and judgmental people. What I did, what's stopping me from buying and wearing things in blissful ignorance is my respect to these guys, the true fans. It may be just something cool to me, but to them it is something that is truly important. Don't laugh or judge guys, I also think Superbowl is not important and your obsession with beer and bacon to be totally ridiculous. Yet to some of you guys, it's pretty much defined your life. 

I know the squirming feeling inside when somebody mention how hot Emma Stone/Hermione is, and how hard for me to resist the urge to throw the complete series at their face and screamed, "She is more than that!! Read the effing book, will ya???". I know the crushing feeling when I watched The Hobbit and it was absolutely nothing like the book, or when people say they just love Lord of The Ring but has no idea about the great years that come after Saruman was killed in the Shire. I know it all too well. And I can't justify inflicting the same feeling towards other by forcing my right to wear something, especially when I wear it in ignorance. Just because I can do that, it doesn't mean I should.

It's just a T-shirt, you say? Sure, but imagine how peaceful and how civilized the world will be if everyone set their "Me!" aside and be more considerate to other people's feeling. To some of us, they're just cool looking t-shirts, to others these shirts represent an important (and very dear) part of their life. Almost like a culture, even. And what's stopping us from respecting other people's culture? None. None except our own ignorance. As trivial as it sounds, these t-shirts remind me of how important it is to be courteous and respectful towards things that I don't really know about. I only wished more people would realize this, like the people that did topless pics in the sacred Angkor Wat in Cambodia, or people who uses ultra-short shorts and disrespectfully bugged us as we try to conduct our prayers in the temple in Bali. Trust me, the world could be a better place if we just learn to understand things instead of forcing our own beliefs.

It's up to us to dispel the initial feeling of repression when encounter a new culture. Yes, you can think it as "Their place, their rule" (and that includes the specialty shop) and be totally bummed about it, feeling that your right has been curbed or worse, trampled. Or you can just chill out and try to understand that these guys are just trying to protect something important to them; and if you don't really get what it is, it's totally okay as well. You don't have to force yourself to fit in, and at the same time, you definitely shouldn't force other people to fit in your standard. Nobody's perfect, because perfection means one standardized thing and each of us human is unique. Embrace our differences. We are, after all, not a bunch of Stormtroopers. Sorry, can't help myself ;). 

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