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Have you ever had an interest in something that wasn’t necessarily bad, but you still felt slightly embarrassed to proclaim it to everyone? I have and please chime in the comment section so I know that I’m not a weirdo.

For years my sisters and I would imitate our father and his unnatural hatred of generic food.  I remember one time him going into the pantry to get the bag of sugar to refill the sugar bowl and looking with disgust at the bag.  “Wha- are you telling me I’ve been putting non-name brand sugar in my coffee this whole time?!”  He then went through the fridge and pantry and threw away all the non-name brand food, citing:  “It’s not real food!”  As unsettling as that situation was, because, ‘Dude, even though it was cheaper, it’s still edible.’ It was a symbolic lesson that I carried with me in life.

With that being said, there might be times that you might have a harmless interest in something, but fear of expressing it to others might make you hide that part of yourself.  For some, you might enjoy “Star Trek,” but don’t want to be seen as a Trekkie, so you watch the early seasons of it on Netflix when no one’s around.  For others, you might think that adventure games are fun, but you don’t want to be seen as one of those “Dungeon and Dragon” players that seem like they’ve been kept away from all day light and natural air for about a week and don’t have a firm grasp on humanity.  For me, I like “Death Note.”

For those who aren’t familiar with the show, it is based off a Japanese manga series.  A manga is a like a comic book/graphic novel (like the “Sin City” series, which I also loved… I’m starting to feel a little vulnerable right now… but let’s keep it going.)

When I watched “Death Note” for the first time, I was amazed at the brillance of it.  To summarize it right now would be an insult, because I wouldn’t be able to do it justice within a few sentences, but it is definitely one of my favorite shows.  This is the first time I’ve publicly admitted it.

When I was on Facebook, I wouldn’t add it to my list of favorites because I immediately got images of those over the top anime lovers from high school who would draw Japanese characters in their free time, write “Sailor Moon” fan fiction, collect ninja swords, and do Tai Chi in the middle of lower terrace.  I didn’t want to be associated with that!

But I LOVE “Death Note,” and even had a specially made “L” shirt done (one of the characters).  One day, I started thinking, “Why do I care what others think about me and my love for this one show?”  Even if I was like those over the top anime lovers, the thing was, those people had such a freedom about themselves.  They didn’t care what people thought when they would insult them with a fairly obscure “Yu-Gi-Oh!” reference.  The same way how the Trekkies and Star Wars fans will walk into an auditorium fully decked out in their shows’/movies’ character garb.

The reason for all of this.  It is so easy to be generic.  To want to blend in, and not fully express all of the unique quirks that make you who you are.  Some people will accept that bland version of you, but for others, they’ll discard you.  Seeing you as “not a real” person.  Even though it’s stupid for someone to do that, in the end, it’s better to embrace your whole self, if not for anyone else, but for you.  It is a privilege for people to meet the real you, otherwise, you’re cheating the world out of it.

Kendra Koger is also a closeted Yu-Gi-Oh! fanatic (first two seasons).  Express your quirks on her twitter @kkoger.

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