Ok, so over the course of my life, I have have met many, many people who when they find out that I am a giant nerd tell me things like, “Man, I loved comic books when I was a kid. But I had to give them up when I became an adult.” Or, “Yeah, I used to build models all the time! But then, I grew up.” “Me and my friends had this D&D campaign all through college, and then…” And the saddest, to me, “I used to be goth, but then I hit 25/30/35/40…”
Ok, listen, I get it. When you’re an adult, especially when you’re a young adult in your late teens and early twenties and have no money, sacrifices have to be made. And I don’t just mean things like not picking up comics, sometimes I mean things like living on ramen for two weeks so you can afford to gas up your car to make it to work. Or repairing the same shitty pair of Payless black lace up shoes with Shoe-goo until there literally is no more sole to glue back together.
There are, in fact, times when being an adult sucks ass.
BUT, this is something I think everyone in this stupid “boot-strapping” country needs to realize: everyone needs a “luxury” once in a while. I’m not talking about a fancy car, couture, or even a spa day. I’m talking about a novel that hasn’t been assigned for a grad course, that fancy eyeliner, and yes, even a periodic comics splurge, gaming book, or DVD.
Honestly, if you tell me that I could retire at 50 by not getting a latte a day, I assume that you’re the kind of asshole who, to quote Molly Ivins, was born on third and thinks you hit a triple.
Now, I am not recommending unrestrained spending, but sometimes you need something frivolous just because. And granted, my idea of frivolous differs wildly from people who have money. My idea of frivolous is a top off the sale rack that I can’t wear to work. Or black lipstick, for same (I stock up at post-Halloween sales). You can’t live off just work and nothing else. Everyone needs fun now and then. And yeah, for some people work is their fun. Woo. Great. Go you. But for most of us, work is what we do to afford to live, and hopefully to also afford to have fun.
Anyone who follows me on social media knows that one of my big bugaboos is anyone who tells people, “You can’t do X after you’re age Y.”
Go fuck yourself.
You will pry my Urban Decay eyeliner and black lipstick from my cold, dead hands, ok, asshole?
Thanks to a friend on G+ I discovered Queenie Black’s Elder Goth make up tutorial. Because make up does not go on older skin the same way it goes on younger skin. And you don’t have to give up your personal sense of style because you got old, or had kids, or whatever the fuck. Now, some of us do work at places where we can’t exactly go Full Goth all the time, but you can always add little touches and flourishes to your “business casual” attire that still let your freak flag fly.
And with hobbies, it’s a lot easier to reconcile them with work because you typically aren’t doing them at work. And when people ask what you did on the weekend, there are lots of things you can tell them that are technically true, and honestly, the current board game explosion is a great cover for TTRPG-ers. “Yeah, my buddies and I got together to play games.” Ta, da! That’s it. You don’t have to explain what game, if you don’t want to.
And it’s not that I’m ashamed of being a gamer, granted Gamergate has made wearing that particular freak flag a lot more difficult in polite society, but I do get tired of trying to explain role-playing games to people who think playing pretend stops when you hit puberty. So I mostly just say I play games with friends. In fact, this weekend we had a great game of Ribbon Drive.
And the popularity of the MCU and certain DC movies has made being a comics nerd far more acceptable. My Big Boss actually came in super excited to share that he was reading a copy of one of the new histories of Wonder Woman that came out in the last year or so.
Now, granted, I’m fortunate in that I’m in Seattle. So I can let a lot more freak flags flutter freely than a lot of folks. Work doesn’t care if my tattoos show, which is good, because the more recent ones have been encroaching on really difficult to hide. I can have funny colored hair. I can keep my nose piercing in, and they’re fine with the fact that I’ve been stretching the lower holes in my ears. Not every business in Seattle is like that, my sister has to keep her tattoos hidden at work, but most businesses here really don’t care about exposed tattoos.
And as far as reading comics at work, e-readers are the bomb.
Trust me, it’s way easier to read on a tablet or phone on the bus. Also, no one gets to be judgey at you for the cover of whatever book you’re reading. Man, I hated reading romance novels on the bus. And also, carrying a couple hundred books around with you on a device is WAY lighter than lugging around the paper book you’re ALMOST done with and will definitely finish before the end of your commute, AND the next physical book you want to read.
Yes, the struggle is real.
Also, in case you did not know Marvel Unlimited is the fucking bomb for catching up on back issues of stuff you couldn’t afford to buy when you were in college and living on ramen and gassing up your car with change you found between the couch cushions. Not that you could do that now but still, you get the idea.
But back to being who you are. Part of being an adult is that you get to decide how you spend your money once bills and rent are paid.
This person is adult-ing correctly.
So if I want to blow money on getting Winter Soldier fan art that I really, really like framed, I will do that. If I want to decorate my bedroom in Early-American Comic Book, I get to do that. If I want to wear nothing but black, cat-eye eyeliner, purple lipstick, and gauged plugs in my ears, I get to do that.
This is the same impetus that led to me eating ice cream for breakfast and proclaiming “I’m a grown up!” at the Geek Husband What Rules when he asked what I thought I was doing. I paid the rent on that apartment, I paid the bills, I bought that damned ice cream, and if I was having a shitty morning and wanted ice cream for breakfast, I was going to eat my damn ice cream for breakfast.
When I could eat ice cream. Stupid lack of gall bladder.
So, yeah, be who you are. Do the things that bring you joy. Have fun, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t wear that/read that/enjoy that because you’re above age X.
Pity those people, for their lives must truly suck.
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