August 11th, 2022
“Most of the things we love are the things that embarrass us,” wrote Helena Fitzgerald.
It is terribly true, and I would add: the things we love THE MOST are the things that embarrass us, and the things that embarrass us tell us the most about ourselves and each other.
I like learning about what others like, but I love trying to figure out why.
I’m often asking people what their hobbies are, or what they like to do in their free time, sometimes because of my job but most of the time because I am genuinely interested. Generally, people choose to tell me “normal things”; that is, they talk about the things they like that are widely believed to be what “normal people” like. (Spoiler alert: none of you weirdos are normal.)
It’s when someone tells me about something they love like it’s a secret I haven’t earned the right to know that my ears perk up because a truth is revealed.
When the eyes hit the floor, or the nervous laugh escapes their lips, or the sweat starts to drip from under their arms is when I know that the thing they love is a thing they don’t think they’re supposed to love.
And it is something so beautiful when they say it out loud.
It starts as admission and takes a leap to proclamation; it’s a love letter by morse code, a message in a bottle, said with the hope that someone around will see it, hear it, open it and tell you they feel the same way.
I was embarrassed a lot as a kid, and I love things hard. It took me a long time to understand that I am what I love, not who loves me. It’s why, over the years, I’ve worked hard to sand off my cynical edges; it is so much better to celebrate joy and loving things than it is to find fault and be critical of everyone and everything, which is the internet’s whole ass personality some days.
They say be the adult you needed as a kid; kid me needed this adult me to let him know it’s okay to love so embarrassingly hard.
Please feel free to share the things you love below, as long as you remember one thing:
It is never, ever embarrassing to love.