You can’t be a _____ if…
Fill in the blank. I’m sure there is something that you’ve done or tried to do where someone has said something like this to you. Try to hold you back from doing or being that thing because you didn’t fit their idea of what it was supposed to be.
These are called gatekeepers. A gatekeeper is a person you guards access to something. Funny thing, essentially the word has not changed over thousands of years. Before modern times though, gatekeepers literally guarded gates. Now, the gates are metaphorical.
You’re not good enough to do this. You’re not smart enough to be part of this group. You don’t look the part. You don’t speak the part.
You don’t do this thing exactly the way I think it’s supposed to work, so you aren’t allowed to do or associate yourself with said thing.
There are some things where “gatekeepers” are a good thing. School, sports teams, certain jobs. Yes, there are a few things where only qualified people should be allowed. But those aren’t the gatekeepers who guard the tightest.
Hobbist gatekeepers, recreational gatekeepers, identity gatekeepers. Those are the ones who are the most strict.
You aren’t the life-long, ‘oppressed’ nerd so you’re not allowed to enjoy board, card, or tabletop games. You can’t quote a movie word for word, so you’re not allowed to call yourself a fan of a movie franchise. You have too many of this one thing, so you can’t possibly be a minimalist.
Once you tell people who you are, they will tell you who you are not.
Don’t let them.