I frequently suffer a crisis of confidence and therefor subdue key parts of who I am, what I like, and what I do for the sake of perceived social lubrication/cohesion/solidarity. In the name of keeping things copacetic I will like what you like, hate what you hate, and coo at what you coo at.
Peer pressure and the need to fit in is stronger than you would like to admit.
Here is what will happen: for the sake of convenience and in the name of not wanting to embarrass myself I will suppress the fact that I love country music. I'll be in a gathering of hip 20-somethings who go to clubs and own Volkswagens and I just won't want to screw around with it. And the next thing I know some black guy will talk about how much he loves country music and he'll sing a few verses or something. He just comes out and owns country music, no apologies. The truth is no one really cares all that much after all, and he gets points for being brave, unique and different. Now I look like a chump because if I reveal my like minded affinity then I'm just jumping on the bandwagon, or it becomes obvious that I'm a candyass weakling who allowed himself to be cowed by the majority.
Same goes for politics. I frequently find I'm the only conservative in the room, and lately I have taken to just shutting up (thanks a lot George W. Bush—don't play that game, I know you can hear me) when it comes to politics. Even if I think of something good to say—a zing, if you will–I will be too afraid to say it, just in case I could be wrong or off the mark. But then I'll hear someone smart say the thing I thought of, a columnist or a pundit, and I'll curse myself and tear my clothing because if I would just have a little testicular fortitude then I could be the one to say the thought provoking thing in the face of adversity.
But then again, in the past I've been the guy who says whatever he thinks, come what may, and I came off as a brash, arrogant loudmouth whom his friends didn't want to talk to.
A brother just can't win.